With the new year upon us, here’s a short list of Mars themed events, conferences, releases and anniversaries to look out for in 2011. If I’ve missed any, or you have an update, drop me a line.
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- 1/1 2011 (5th) Mars Desert Research Station field season starts.
- 1/4 7 year anniversary of Spirit on Mars (miss ya, buddy).
- 1/13 Mars Program Update: From “Follow the Water” to “Seeking Signs of Life” at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington DC (archive video of the event).
- 1/17-21 Landing Site Characterization and Selection for Future Exploration Missions, a Europlanet JRA1 Workshop in Leiden/Noordwijk, The Netherlands.
- 1/25 7 year anniversary of Opportunity on Mars.
- 2/4 Mars in conjunction with the Sun from Earth, in Capricornus. Earth in superior conjunction with the Sun as seen from Mars. This will impact communication with the Mars Explorations Rovers currently on the Red Planet.
- 2/8 Fourth International Workshop on the Mars Atmosphere: Modelling and Observations in Paris, France.
- Simulated ‘landing’ of the Mars 500 2/12, with a Mars walk planned between 2/14 an 2/22 (See full list of February 2011 Mars 500 activities).
- 2/23 48th 2001 Mars Odyssey Project Science Group Meeting
- 2/25 The Mars Society presents: Mars Direct: Humans to the Red Planet within a Decade, by Robert Zubrin. 1:30 PM at the University of Washington, Seattle.
- 3/1 Proposal due date for scientific investigations and analyses for the 2016 ExoMars mission.
- 3/9 Mars in perihelion (closest to the Sun).
- 3/11 Mars Needs Moms animated Disney movie debuts.
- 3/21 Fifth Mars Science Lab Landing Site Community Workshop (see also, the September 2010 review of the fourth workshop from the Planetary Society).
- 4/6-7 The International Space Station and Mars Conference at George Washington University in Washington DC, by Explore Mars, Inc.
- 4/14 Life on Mars: Tales from the New Frontier release. Jonathan Strahan’s anthology of original Mars themed science fiction short stories, including works by Kim Stanley Robinson, Cory Doctorow and Nancy Kress.
- 4/19 Robert Zubrin‘s birthday, founder of the Mars society and leading manned Mars mission advocate.
- 5/7 2011 Mars Desert Research Station field season ends.
- 5/14-15 JPL open house in Pasadena, CA. Get up close with Mars rover tech/science and talk to some of the mission team. Previous years have allowed tours of the facility where Mars Science Lab Curiosity is currently being built (see my pics from the 2009 event).
- 5/31 Red Faction: Armageddon video game release.
- 6/2-4 University Rover Challenge at the Mars Desert Research Station in Hanksville, Utah. Design and build the next generation of Mars rovers that will one day work alongside human explorers in the field.
- 6/13-15 The International Conference on Exploring Mars Habitability in Lisbon, Portugal. Part of Mars Week in Europe.
- 6/16-17 First International Mars Exploration Program Analysis Group (MEPAG) Meeting (PDF link) in Lisbon, Portugal.
- 7/23-24 11th Australian Mars Exploration Conference (AMEC 2011) in Perth, Western Australia.
- 8/4-7 14th Mars Society Convention in Dallas, TX (Embassy Suites, Grapevine TX). See also: Dallas Mars Society Chapter.
- 9/30-10/2 11th European Mars Convention (EMC11) in Neuchâtel, Switzerland.
- 10/16 Mars 500 mission hits day 500.
- Preliminary return date for the Mars 500 mission.
- 11/7 2011 launch window opens for optimal trips to Mars, bringing with it possible launch dates for the Russian/Chinese Phobos Grunt/Yinghuo 1 (now slated for 2013 though) and Finnish MarsMetNet missions.
- 11/9-10: Women and Mars conference.
- 11/25: Launch date for NASA’s Mars Science Lab ‘Curiosity’ rover (planned landing between August 6 and August 20, 2012).
- 11/25-27:2011 National Mars Education Coference in Cocoa Beach, FL.
- 12/25 Mars Express celebrates 8 years in orbit
Further Mars calendars available at Berkeley Astrobiology and the Mars Exploration Program Analysis Group newsletter (PDF link).
Note, an originally scheduled Eighth International Conference on Mars at Caltech for July 2011 appears to have been rescheduled for 2013.
While you’re here, check out my other curated post on Mars themed Twitter accounts.