Robert Zubrin head shot

Robert Zubrin

Author and Founder, The Mars Society

Robert Zubrin is President of Pioneer Astronautics, an aerospace R&D company located in Lakewood, Colorado. He is also the founder and President of the Mars Society, an international organization dedicated to furthering the exploration and settlement of Mars by both public and private means. Formerly a Staff Engineer at Lockheed Martin Astronautics in Denver, he holds a Masters degree in Aeronautics and Astronautics and a Ph.D. in Nuclear Engineering from the University of Washington. 

Zubrin is the inventor of several unique concepts for space propulsion and exploration, the author of over 200 published technical and non-technical papers in the field, and was a member of Lockheed Martin’s “scenario development team” charged with developing broad new strategies for space exploration. In that capacity, he was responsible for developing the "Mars Direct" mission plan, a strategy which by using Martian resources, allows a human Mars exploration program to be conducted at a cost 1/8th that previously estimated by NASA.

Zubrin is known internationally as one of the most creative engineers working in the aerospace industry today, and he and his work have been subject of much favorable press coverage in The Economist, The New York Times, The Boston Globe, the London Times, The Washington Post, Fortune Magazine, Newsweek, Air and Space Smithsonian, Popular Science, Space News, and many other publications, and he has appreared on Discovery Channel, CNN, NPR, and the BBC. He is the holder of three US Patents, and has five more pending.

In addition to his many technical publications, Dr. Zubrin is the author of seven books, including "The Case for Mars: How We Shall Settle the Red Planet and Why We Must," published by Simon and Schuster’s Free Press Division in Oct. 1996, “Entering Space: Creating a Spacefaring Civilization,” published by Tarcher Putnam in Aug. 1999, “Mars on Earth: Adventures of Space Pioneers in the High Arctic,” published by Tarcher Penguin in Sept. 2003, “Energy Victory: Winning the War on Terror,” published by Prometheus Books in November 2007, the humorous “How to Live on Mars: A Trusty Guidebook to Surving and Thriving on the Red Planet,” published by Random House in December 2008, and “Merchants of Despair: Radical Environmentalists, Criminal Pseudoscientists, and the Fatal Cult of Antihumanism,” published by Encounter Books in 2012.

Since founding Pioneer Astronautics in January 1996, Dr. Zubrin has served as the Principal Investigator of numerous research and development efforts in areas including spacecraft and launch vehicle propulsion systems, Mars and Lunar in-situ resource utilization technology, EVA life support and propulsion, and robotic exploration systems.

Prior to that, for 7 years, Dr. Zubrin was employed as a Senior, and then Staff Engineer at Lockheed Martin (formerly Martin Marietta) Astronautics in Denver, working on the design of advanced space transportation and propulsion concepts. He won two Inventors awards from Martin Marietta for his design of a nuclear rocket engine that could use CO2 as propellant, allowing a vehicle so powered to have unlimited mobility on Mars, and for his design of the "Mars Direct" mission architecture. While at Lockheed Martin, Zubrin also worked on many other projects ranging from small ICBM and missile defense systems to robotic Mars balloon missions, space nuclear power, and the design of aerial-refueled rocketplanes.

"Mars is the new world. Its settlement presents the challenge that will determine whether we remain confined to Earth, or can become a multiplanet spacefaring species, with a future made unbounded by our courage and creativity. Mars One has accepted that challenge. It is a daunting one, and the odds may well be against them. But if no one tries, no one will succeed. I'm proud to do what I can to help."

Latest Planetary Radio Appearances

Science Fiction Greats on Humanity’s Destiny in Space

Robert Zubrin of the Mars Society talks with Gregory Benford, David Brin, Geoffrey Landis and Larry Niven about terraforming Mars, the origin of life, the drive to explore and more.

Robert Zubrin Says "Mars Now!"

Robert Zubrin Says Mars Now!

Robert Zubrin, 22nd Century Martian

Robert Zubrin, 22nd Century Martian