Our Team: Duke's Martians

One Team

How we approached it

Going to Mars is not just a technological feat; even more so, it is a challenge of the human spirit, intellect, and community. Our project not only sought to understand the logistical and technical challenges of a mission to Mars, but also the human challenges: through our interdisciplinary, modular-based team approach throughout the year long project.

We examined a series of risk-based decision scenarios involving the settling of Mars, considered from a variety of vantage points. As with prior DeCIPHER projects, we began with a 6 week “bootcamp” of key concepts, and then delved into team research. Over the course of the year long project, students role-played an array of groups preparing for and undertaking the mission to settle Mars, such as government agencies, private enterprises in space transport, mining or other sectors, nonprofit groups, and the settlers themselves. We examined benefits and risks from a variety of vantage points.

Each key decision point was evaluated by sub-teams, each of whom brought different knowledge and motivations to the questions of objectives, tradeoffs, and solutions. We considered each decision in a “module,” or a set of several dedicated class meetings for each of the selected decision. Sub-teams rotated between different stakeholder groups as the project progressed through modules to provide a broader vantage point for each participant. Both the boot camp and the modules included team members' reflections, and anticipatory thoughts on how these issues may be applied in analyzing the Mars settlement. The graduate project manager coordinated progress, and each of the thematic modules include sub-team advisors who were faculty members or post-docs.

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One Mission

Why Explore Mars?

A

successful mission to Mars requires years of planning from various organizations: government entities, private corporations, scientists, sociologists, economists, religious organizations, and many other disciplines. As the possibility of settling Mars becomes less remote, these various actors must begin coming together to envision the next great effort in human exploration. Our team has modeled this interdisciplinary approach to develop a set of deliverables for the public to begin to understand both the greatness of this challenge and the possible reward of such an endeavor.

Our Project's Educational and Public Deliverables:
  • Analyses and recommendations on key elements of settling Mars, drawn on tools from multiple disciplines including science, engineering, history, economics, ethics, law, and international relations.
  • Products for internal pedagogical use, including policy memos, role playing strategies, oral presentations, and other products appropriate for audiences as identified throughout the project(e.g. blog posts as mission logs).
  • Engagement with government agencies, private enterprise, and nonprofit organizations, contributing to the development of policy on going to Mars
  • We will present our work with a poster at the Bass Connections showcase, communicating the project insights via visual displays of quantitative and qualitative information.
  • This Website!


We encourage you to explore this website, and challenge your understanding of what a mission to Mars requires!

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"...without the understanding of the fundamental elements of science, engineering, history, economics, ethics, law and international relations...there is no future for humanity on Mars..."

1,060
Hours of Research
26
Team Members
7
Publications
Who We Are

One Team, One Mission

Adam Doll

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Angel Heredia

Undergraduate Student, Duke University
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Charles (Chase) Hamilton

Project Manager
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Christopher Kilner

PhD Candidate in Ecology
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Chunxin Tang

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Clare Holtzman

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Dan Buckland MD PhD

Assistant Professor
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Donald Pepka

Undergraduate Student, Duke University
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Jenny Chen

Undergraduate Student, Duke University
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Jeremy Yu

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Joanna Feaster

Undergraduate Student, Duke University
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Jonathan B. Wiener

Perkins Professor of Law, and Professor of Public Policy and Environmental Policy; Co-Director, Duke Center on Risk
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Jory Weintraub

Science Communication Director and Senior Lecturing Fellow
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Lelia Jennings

Undergraduate Student, Duke University
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Logan Taylor

Undergraduate Student, Duke University
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Nathan Nouri

Undergraduate Student, Duke University
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Patrick Wilson

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Ritika Saligram

Undergraduate Student, Duke University
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Sam Schrader

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Savannah Artusi

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Shivam Patel

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Shu Boboila

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Siobhan Oca

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Somia Youssef

PhD Candidate
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Spencer Kaplan

Undergraduate Student, Duke University
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Tyler Felgenhauer

Director of Climate Research, The Duke Center on Risk
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Mission Log

Mission to MArs: Details

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T+01

Mark Borsuk

Duke Engineering
T+02

Amy Schmid

Duke Biology
T+03

Mohamed Noor

Duke Biology
T+04

Dawn Bowles

Duke Medicine
T+05

Sarah Deutsch

Duke History
T+06

Emma Lehnhardt

NASA
T+07

Jennifer Buss

Potomac Institute
T+08

Sarah Stewart Johnson

Georgetown
T+09

Katherine Tighe

NASA-JPL
A Sincere Thankyou

Acknowledgements

This report accompanied by the website (ourmartian.world) was prepared by a team of research assistants over the summer of 2021. Many thanks to Jory Weintraub, Jonathan B. Wiener and Tyler Felgenhauer for serving as Faculty Leaders to guide the summer team. Thanks to Chase Hamilton for serving as a remote consultant throughout the production of the report and website. Thanks to Joanna Feaster for serving as a graphic designer, technical expert and editor to generate the report. Thanks to Donald Pepka, Adam Doll, and Jeremy Yu for serving as primary editors and authors of the report. Thanks to Christopher Kilner for serving as the website and game developer of ourmartian.world to supplement this report. Thanks to Somia Youssef for serving as project coordinator to facilitate the preparation of the report and website. Thanks to Jenny Chen for her art on the team website. Many thanks to the administrators and staff at Bass Connections, the Center on Risk and the Center on Science and Society at Duke University for their generous sponsorship of this project.