Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Pinoys to join Mars Homestead Project



MALOLOS CITY—Believe it or not, Filipinos will be taking part in the ambitious Mars Homestead Project that will be built by 2030.

Dr. Custer Deocaris of the Rizal Technological University (RTU) based in Mandaluyong City made the announcement on Saturday.

“Our very own Filipino astronomers, architects, engineers and students will be taking part in designing, planning and promoting for the Mars Homestead Project,” Deocaris said in an email message.

He said the goal of the ambitious project is to build the first permanent settlement beyond Earth allowing human civilization to spread beyond the limits of our planet.

Deocaris did not discuss details Filipino participation in the project, but said that ranking officials of the Mars Homestead project informed him that there designs that still needed for the settlement program.

It means that project organizers are still open for collaboration including with Filipino experts and engineers.

With regards to details of the Filipino participation, it will be discussed in a press conference at the RTU today (Tuesday).

Dubbed as First Astrobiology Forum with the theme “Mars Habitability”, the presscon will start at 9a.m.

Deocaris said that journalists will have a chance to interview NASA astrobiologist and Stanford Professor Dr. Lynn Rothschild, along with founder-director of Mars Homestead Project Engineer Bruce MacKenzie during the press conference.

Other issues that will be presented in the forum include the history of Mars water and updates on researches on Martian microbiology.

As an astrobiologist and head of the RTU Office of Space Innovation and Cooperation (OSSIC), Deocaris said “Mars, as you may know, is very important right now, in that we have ongoing missions designed to characterize the planet and search for biosignatures of life.”

Astrobiology, he said is a subject taught only at RTU which is considered as one of the newest and most cutting-edge fields of science as there is so much great deal of creative and exciting work happening now.

It revolves around questions on the origins and evolution of life, how life changes its environment, on the future of human civilization and its impact on biosphere amidst the various astronomical phenomena like asteroids and comets, and the scientific aspects of search for life beyond Earth. Dino Balabo