Today, Purdue School of Aeronautics and Astronautics students presented their research study findings to NASA’s Bill Gerstenmaier and moonwalker Buzz Aldrin on how they would go about colonizing Mars before the year 2100.

Bill Gerstenmaier (NASA’s Associate Administrator for Human Exploration and Operations) and Buzz Aldrin (Apollo 11 astronaut/2nd man to walk on the Moon) were in attendance at today’s presentation to hear how Purdue AAE 590 students would go about colonizing Mars.

The project was spearheaded by Visiting Assistant Professor of Astronautics, Sarag Saikia:

The amount of hard work and dedication that went along with this project was very apparent from the beginning.

By 2075, they planned to have 50 people living sustainably on Mars while 5 years later, having their first Martian retirement.

From the life support, to launch vehicles, to power/water production, and eventually their own ISRU (in-situ resource utilization) the students all worked together to develop the plan

Gerstenmaier seemed quite impressed with how much work had been done in such a short amount of time (all in a spring semester).


A graphic that I had never seen before today’s presentation was this one, noting how NASA now plans to utilize the Moon as a proving ground on our way to Mars.

A graphic used previously many times incorporated the Moon very little, seemingly only to test Orion.

The asteroid redirect mission (ARM) is also absent from the new plans, it seems.

The ISS has been crewed for nearly 17 years now. One of the things Bill mentioned in his talk after the students presented their research, was he believes the Space Station program and sending humans there every 6 months to a year shouldn’t be abandoned until we have a new destination in place, up, and running whether that be the Moon or Mars. It was promising to hear, as just recently talks have begun on the ideas of extending the ISS beyond the planned 2024 timeframe.

Buzz Aldrin was in attendance and was thought to be speaking after Bill, but I believe time ran out and he wasn’t able to. Either way, amazing to be in the presence of such a hero.

Daily photo:

Bill Gerstenmaier, NASA’s Associate Administrator for Human Exploration and Operations, speaking at Purdue University a talk after hearing Aeronautical & Astronautical Engineering 590 students offer their best plan on how to go about colonizing Mars between now and the year 2100.