Moving to Mars? A Panel Discussion on the Ethics and Logistics

Moving to Mars? A Panel Discussion on the Ethics and Logistics

Moving to Mars? A Panel Discussion on the Ethics and Logistics, co-presented by ASX and The Star Spot.

Human survival depends on planetary settlement. While Mars is the top candidate for hosting human settlers, significant ethical and logistical controversies surround the prospect of sending humans to the Red Planet. ASX has assembled a team of experts to examine those questions. Is there an ethical way to put humans on Mars? Can we search for Martian life without harming it? Are there any contemporary projects that could feasibly send humans to Mars? If not, when will we be able to launch a Mars mission? And does Canada have a role in the future of space travel and planetary settlement?

We have assembled panelists with a wide range of backgrounds to cover the most pressing questions about Martian settlement, a topic with a serious impact on the survival of our species. We will be announcing each of them shortly, so stay tuned!


Panelist 1: Professor Paul Delaney, Senior Lecturer of the Department of Astronomy and Physics at York University
Bio: Paul Delaney received his B.Sc. from the Australian National University in Canberra, Australia, and his M.Sc. from the University of Victoria, British Columbia. He worked as a nuclear physicist for Atomic Energy of Canada, and was a support astronomer at McGraw Hill Observatory in Arizona. He is a Senior Lecturer at the Department of Physics and Astronomy at York University where he is the Astronomical Observatory Coordinator, and is Director of the Division of Natural Science. He is a passionate educator, and delights in discussing the wonders of the universe with people of all ages. He coordinates an extensive astronomy Public Outreach program and hosts the internet radio program “YorkUniverse” (on He has been the recipient of York University’s Faculty of Science and Engineering Teaching Award, a ‘top 10’ finalist in TV Ontario’s Best Lecturer competition, the recipient of the University Wide Teaching Award, the winner of the Royal Canadian Institute’s Sanford Flemming Medal, and the recipient of the Qilak Award from the Canadian Astronomical Society.

Panelist 2: Professor Mark Kingwell, Professor of Philosophy at the University of Toronto and a contributing editor of Harper’s Magazine in New York
Bio: Mark Kingwell is a Professor of Philosophy at the University of Toronto and a contributing editor of Harper’s Magazine in New York. He is the author or co-author of eighteen books of political, cultural and aesthetic theory, including the national bestsellers Better Living (1998), The World We Want (2000), Concrete Reveries (2008), and Glenn Gould (2009). In addition to many scholarly articles, his writing has appeared in more than 40 mainstream publications, including Harper’s, Adbusters, the New York Times, the New York Post, the Wall Street Journal, the Guardian, the Globe and Mail, the National Post, the Toronto Star, and Queen’s Quarterly. Professor Kingwell has held visiting posts at Cambridge University, the University of Chicago, the University of California at Berkeley, and the City University of New York, where he was Weissman Distinguished Professor of Humanities. His latest books are the essay collections Unruly Voices (2012) and Measure Yourself Against the Earth (2015).

Panelist 3: Olathe MacIntyre, Postdoctoral Fellowship in the School of Engineering at the University of Guelph
Bio: Olathe MacIntyre’s B.Sc. in Biology at Dalhousie University and research at a wastewater treatment greenhouse lead her to realize closed-loop systems could mitigate human environmental impacts and ensure food and water security. Her study of closed-loop systems in the context of space colonization inspired her to pursue astronaut training. After working as an Onboard Marine Biologist in Alaska, she completed her M.Sc. in Space Science at the International Space University in France, and co-authored “Visysphere Mars: Terraforming Meets Engineered Life Adaption.” She received an internship at the world-class Controlled Environment Systems Research Facility at the University of Guelph, where she earned a Ph.D. in Environmental Sciences. Her thesis explored the implications of hypobaric conditions for plant-microbe interactions in a Lunar or Martian greenhouse. A Postdoctoral Fellowship in the School of Engineering at the University of Guelph in the area of water and wastewater treatment followed and she is currently with Science North inspiring the next generation of scientists with space exploration.

Panelist 4: Professor Leah Bradshaw, Professor of Political Science and a member of the faculty in the Interdisciplinary PhD in the Humanities at Brock University
Bio: Leah Bradshaw is a professor of Political Science and a member of the faculty in the Interdisciplinary PhD in the Humanities at Brock University.  She began her career as a scholar of Hannah Arendt, the great 20th century theorist of totalitarianism and the modern human condition. Arendt continues to be a major influence.  Much of Professor Bradshaw’s scholarly work has devolved from considerations on the break between ancient and modern political theory in the West. She has written extensively on themes of tyranny, oligarchy, empire and power framed in the chronicle of the Western tradition. In the past decade, her attention has turned to questions of technology and the intersection between technology and modern science. Foremost among her concerns has been investigating the impact that technological thinking has had upon our capacities for moral and political judgment, and on the prospects for democratic self rule.

Panelist 5: Chuck Black,  Journalist, technology advocate, event organizer, public speaker and activist
Mr. Chuck Black edits and contributes articles to the Commercial Space blog, plus compiles and curates the Canadian Aerospace News, the More Commercial Space News and the Space Conference News aggregation feeds. He also organizes and produces events focused on the commercialization of space derived technologies which bring together industry experts for detailed in-person discussions, collaboration and networking on a wide variety of topics for various groups.

Panelist 6: Dr. John Rummel, Senior Scientist with the SETI Institute and a Visiting Scholar at McGill University’s Institute of Air and Space Law
As a retired Professor of Biology at East Carolina University, he has been a member of the NASA Advisory Council’s Planetary Protection Subcommittee and a planetary protection advisor for Mars One. He is the former (founding) Chair of COSPAR’s Panel on Planetary Protection. He previously worked at NASA Headquarters, both as Senior Scientist for Astrobiology and as Planetary Protection Officer, and served as NASA’s Exobiology Program Manager and Research Program’s Branch Chief in the Life Sciences Division. A holder of eight NASA Group Achievement Awards, he is also a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and has received both the Life Sciences Award from the International Academy of Astronautics and the NASA Exceptional Performance Award. He received his PhD in community ecology and evolution from Stanford University, and his undergraduate degree in environmental biology from the University of Colorado.


Date: Wednesday March 16, 2016
Time: 7-9 PM
Location: The Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE), G162 Auditorium located at 252 Bloor Street West


The moderator for this discussion will be Justin Trottier, the co-founder of ASX, host of The Star Spot podcast, and a passionate advocate of space advocacy, critical thinking, and scientific literacy. More information about The Star Spot can be found on their website,

This event will be recorded live. So even if you cannot make it out with us, you can still look forward to watching this event online!


Event schedule:
6:15 Doors Open
7:00 – 7:15 Introduction & Opening Remarks
7:15 – 7:45 Can we do it? Moderated Discussion (30 minutes)
7:45 – 8:00 Q & A Session (15 minutes)
8:00 – 8:10 Intermission (10 minutes)
8:10 – 8:40 Should we do it? Moderated Discussion (30 minutes)
8:40 – 8:55 Q & A Session (15 minutes)
8:55 – 9:00 Closing remarks (10 minutes)
9:00 End, light refreshments

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