My Name Is... Robert Zubrin

Founder of Pioneer Astronautics and co-founder of The Mars Society

Posted 9/21/18

Growing up fascinated with space I’m a child of the space age. I was five when Sputnik flew. While the adults might’ve been freaking out, I was exhilarated. I was 17 when we landed on the moon. I …

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My Name Is... Robert Zubrin

Founder of Pioneer Astronautics and co-founder of The Mars Society

Posted

Growing up fascinated with space

I’m a child of the space age. I was five when Sputnik flew. While the adults might’ve been freaking out, I was exhilarated. I was 17 when we landed on the moon. I was reading science fiction and those two events meant to me that all those stories of exploring space would be real. I grew up reading science fiction novels from authors like Arthur Clark and Robert Heinlein. We got to the moon, but nothing further, and I didn’t give up on the idea of going further into space.

Eyes in the stars

I can remember teaching science to junior high and high school students in New York. I would take the subway for an hour every day to get to work, and I was questioning what I was doing with my life. I went to graduate school at the University of Washington in Seattle and received and advanced degree in aerospace and nuclear engineering.

I started my own company called Pioneer Astronautics, and our headquarters are in Lakewood. We do research and development for new technologies that have the potential to advance the country’s space program. We’ve worked on breathing systems, turned water and carbon dioxide into rocket fuel and oxygen, and we’ve broken down lunar rocks to produce oxygen.

The Mars Society

In 1996 I wrote “The Case for Mars.” In the book, I detailed how scientists can send humans to Mars, produce fuel and oxygen with the planet’s natural resources and build bases and settlements. The book shows how we can build a new life on Mars.

I received hundreds and thousands of letters in response to the book. People were infatuated with the idea of starting a new life on Mars.

In 1998, I co-founded The Mars Society, a nonprofit with a mission to further explore Mars and create a permanent settlement for humans on the planet.

We have two practice Mars exploration stations right now. One is in the Arctic and the other is at a desert in Utah. People conduct practice Mars missions at those two locations to learn how to explore the planet.

We support base building, the creation of new technologies that will further the possibility of settlement on Mars and transportation systems that’ll get us to the planet.

There are two visions of the future we have in our society. There’s this one where we’re

confided to Earth, and we’re running out of resources. Then there is one when we’re in space, and there’s possibilities.

I believe in the open future.

It’s possible that we could get to Mars in the next decade. We’ve been 10 years away from landing people on Mars since 1970.

We’re much closer today from a technical point than we were to being able to send men to the moon in 1961.

If you have a suggestion for someone to interview for My Name Is... contact Joseph Rios at jrios@coloradocommunitymedia.com

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