DECIPHER: Going to Mars - Science, Society and Sustainability (2020-2021)

This project team developed and examined a series of risk-based decision scenarios of the settlement of Mars. Team members developed analyses and recommendations on key elements of settling Mars, drawing on tools from multiple disciplines including science, engineering, history, economics, ethics, law and international relations.

Major research focuses included habitat, housing and community; society and sustainability; international relations and security; and governance. Team members collaborated to produce website and reports, including:

  • Equity and Resource Equality
  • Inter-state Collaboration, Incentives
  • International Investment, Arbitration
  • Commercial Funding
  • Backward Contamination
  • Medical Risk, Ultrasound Systems

This teams work lives on through the Duke Space Initiative.


Summer 2020 – Spring 2021

Team Outputs

Our Martian World

Best Practices for Going to Mars (2021 Fortin Foundation Bass Connections Virtual Showcase)

Going to Mars: Science, Society and Sustainability (poster by Savannah Artusi, Shuobo Boboila, Changhe Chen, Adam Doll, Joanna Feaster, Logan Taylor, Angel Heredia, Clare Holtzman, Lelia Jennings, Christpher Kilner, Natha Nouri, Siobhan Oca, Shihvam Patel, Donald Pepka, Ritika Sligram, Samuel Schrader, Chunxin Tang, Patrick Wilson, Jeremy yu, Chase Hamilton, Dniel Buckland, Tyler Felgenhauer, Spencer Kaplan, Jory Weintraub, Jonathan Wiener and Somia Youssef)


Spencer Kaplan

This Team in the News

Securing the Final Frontier: Duke’s Space Diplomacy Lab

Summer Spotlights: How Four Ph.D. Students Advanced Their Research

Summer Research Snapshots 2021

Introducing: The Duke Space Initiative

Senior Spotlight: Reflections from the Class of 2021

Q&A with Current Political Science Students

Duke Law Faculty, Students Tackling Diverse Interdisciplinary Research Projects through Bass Connections

See earlier related team, DECIPHER: Decisions on the Risks and Benefits of Geoengineering the Climate (2019-2020).


Image: Curiosity is ready for clay (highlighted), by NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS


Team Leaders

  • Daniel Buckland, School of Medicine-Surgery: Emergency Medicine
  • Tyler Felgenhauer, Pratt School of Engineering-Civil & Environmental Engineering
  • Charles (Chase) Hamilton, Duke Law-JD Student
  • Spencer Kaplan, Sanford School of Public Policy, Undergraduate Student
  • Jory Weintraub, Science & Society
  • Jonathan Wiener, Duke Law
  • Somia Youssef, Arts and Sciences–Political Science–Ph.D. Student

/graduate Team Members

  • Savannah Artusi, Juris Doctor
  • Shuobo Boboila, Juris Doctor
  • Clare Holtzman, Juris Doctor
  • Christopher Kilner, Ecology-PHD
  • Siobhan Oca, Mech Engg/Materials Sci-PHD
  • Samuel Schrader, Juris Doctor

/undergraduate Team Members

  • Changhe Chen, Economics (BS)
  • Adam Doll, Mechanical Engineering (BSE)
  • Joanna Feaster
  • Logan Green, Computer Science (BS)
  • Angel Heredia, Political Science (AB)
  • Lelia Jennings, Mechanical Engineering (BSE)
  • Nathan Nouri, Economics (BS)
  • Shivam Patel, Public Policy Studies (AB)
  • Donald Pepka, Public Policy Studies (AB)
  • Ritika Saligram, Political Science (AB)
  • Chunxin Tang, DKU Interdisciplinary Studies (BS)
  • Patrick Wilson, Mechanical Engineering (BSE)
  • Jeremy Yu, Political Science (AB)

/yfaculty/staff Team Members

  • Mark Borsuk, Pratt School of Engineering-Civil & Environmental Engineering
  • Dawn Bowles, School of Medicine-Surgery: Surgical Sciences
  • Curtis Bradley, Duke Law-Center for International and Comparative Law
  • Mary Cummings, Pratt School of Engineering-Electrical & Computer Engineering
  • John De Figueiredo, Duke Law
  • Sarah Deutsch, Arts & Sciences-History
  • Earl Dowell, Pratt School of Engineering-Mechanical Engineering & Materials Science
  • Laurence Helfer, Duke Law-Center for International and Comparative Law
  • Christine Ogilvie Hendren, Pratt School of Engineering-Civil & Environmental Engineering
  • Mohamed Noor, Arts & Sciences-Biology
  • Amy Schmid, Arts & Sciences-Biology
  • J. H. Pate Skene, School of Medicine-Neurobiology