Will collaboration or competition propel humans to Mars and beyond?

Will Collaboration or Competition Propel Humans to Mars and Beyond? A Future Tense Event.

Will Collaboration or Competition Propel Humans to Mars and Beyond? A Future Tense Event.

Future Tense
The Citizen's Guide to the Future
March 2 2017 4:18 PM

Will Collaboration or Competition Propel Humans to Mars and Beyond? A Future Tense Event.

A father and his son look at information about planet Mars on a poster put up at the Nehru Planetarium as a special preview on India's Mars Orbiter Mission, in Bangalore on September 23, 2014.

Photo by MANJUNATH KIRAN/AFP/Getty Images

Between the close of the Cold War and the more recent retirement of the U.S. shuttle fleet, we’ve long since left the first Space Age behind. But now it seems there’s a new space race brewing—one that may take humans out of our planet’s orbit.

The first Space Age was a geopolitical race between superpowers eager to outreach one another. Today's space race is a more complex interplay of networked nations and private players alternatively competing against, and collaborating with, one another. Once the exclusive provenance of old power nations, space exploration has increasingly opened to new global players with India, China, Nigeria, Japan, the European Union, and the United Arab Emirates getting in the race. Private enterprises are also playing an increasingly prominent role in our interplanetary yearnings, as evidenced by the ventures backed by Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, and Richard Branson.


NASA is still very much in the game, but without a moonshot-like commitment for Mars, its projected 2040 manned mission seems far off. A start-up company, or an upstart country, may beat us there—or perhaps help us all get there together as partners.

Join us at noon on Wednesday, March 8, in Washington, D.C., to consider whether it will be competition or cooperation that finally gets us to Mars and beyond.

For more information and to RSVP, visit the New America website.



Andrés Martinez
Editorial director, Future Tense

George Whitesides
CEO, Virgin Galactic and the Spaceship Company

Anne-Marie Slaughter
President and CEO, New America

Lindy Elkins-Tanton
Director, School of Earth and Space Exploration, Arizona State University


Scott Pace
Director, Space Policy Institute, Elliott School of International Affairs
Professor of the practice of international affairs, George Washington University

Eric Stallmer
President, Commercial Spaceflight Federation

Ellen Stofan
Former chief scientist, NASA

Konstantin Kakaes
Fellow, New America
Author, The Pioneer Detectives


Talal M. Al Kaissi
Senior adviser, commercial affairs and special projects; director of U.S./UAE space affairs, UAE Embassy Trade & Commercial Office

Rob Chambers
Orion production strategy Lead, Lockheed Martin Space Systems

Thomas Cremins
Associate administrator for strategy and plans, NASA

Véronique Dockendorf
Deputy chief of mission, Luxembourg Embassy

Deji Bryce Olukotun
Author, Nigerians in Space and After the Flare (forthcoming, 2017)
Senior global advocacy manager, Access Now

Karl Schroeder
Science fiction writer and futurist

Future Tense is a partnership of SlateNew America, and Arizona State University.