to: 10 Mar 2020


TU Delft, Netherlands


The Red Destination: A Lunar Voyage to Mars

A world-wide push for the stars is emerging. Curiosity for human exploration of other celestial bodies is surging. We have set our sights on the Red Planet, as well as the Moon, where new nations have recently left their mark. This reminds us of 50 years ago, when Neil Armstrong’s step on the Moon was the first step onto extraterrestrial ground. Human exploration flourished under the pressure of the space race. Yet, since our visits to the Moon, no one has left low-Earth orbit. Granted, below the radar of public interest, probes have visited many places in our solar system. Landings have been achieved on Venus, Mars, Titan, and multiple comets, but no further attempts had been made to set another footstep.

A new space race is on the horizon. Commercial companies and countries are working, often in competition, on tangible plans to go back to beyond low-Earth orbit and to someday possibly reach Mars. Until we get there, many questions will emerge. Who will lead the race? Who will be the competing parties? What is different now, compared to the past half-century? The VSV Symposium 2020, taking place on March 10, will attempt to answer these questions. People from all sorts of disciplines, ranging from visionaries and realists to skeptics, will shed their light on different sides of the debate.

In the morning, workshops, given by companies, will challenge students and provide them with hands-on experience. In the afternoon, by means of speeches and panels, we will delve into the dream and goal of the new space race. The program is as follows: first of all, some wild ideas will be touched upon, ranging from space stations to grand colonies on Mars. Let’s get the public’s imagination going! Afterwards, industry leaders will reflect on these visions and present their current plans. This is followed by the last speaker, who will share what lessons we have learned from past strategies. Lastly, during the symposium’s panel, several speakers will join in on the discussion and the audience is encouraged to ask their questions.

Spaceflight is hard. In space, it takes the world’s best minds put together to achieve something great. Public, political and individual commitment and conviction are needed. To set the first steps in this direction, the VSV Symposium 2020 wants to stimulate innovation by inspiring students. We want to bring students and professionals from all different backgrounds together, and unite them under a grand vision. A vision, that will contribute to the foundation of the new space race.