Mars Society unveils plan for Mars Technology Institute

The nonprofit Mars Society is getting set to take the next giant leap in its mission to support Red Planet exploration and settlement, by establishing a Mars Technology Institute to develop the tools and processes those settlers will need.

Robert Zubrin, the Mars Society’s founder and president, outlined the plan today during the advocacy group’s Red Planet Live podcast.

Many of the details in that plan still have to be fleshed out — including sources of funding, the precise structure of the organization, and where the institute will be headquartered. But the Pacific Northwest is one of the top prospects for the institute’s center, along with Colorado, the longtime home of the Mars Society.

During the podcast, Zubrin touted the Seattle area’s array of biotech and AI ventures, as well as its quality of life. “The Pacific Northwest is perhaps at the top of the list,” he said. “Colorado’s an alternative.”

He said the Mars Technology Institute will complement the efforts of NASA and other space agencies, and follow through on SpaceX founder Elon Musk’s vision to make humanity a multiplanet species.

“SpaceX and other entrepreneurial launch companies are already moving rapidly to develop the transportation systems that can get us to the planet Mars,” Zubrin said in a news release. “What is needed is an institution devoted to developing the technologies that will allow us to live once we are there.”