MarsDrive, founded in 2005, is an international non-profit space organization with a world-wide membership and branches across North America, Europe and Australasia. MarsDrive's goal is to involve the public, directly and actively, in the settlement and exploration of space.
MarsDrive envisions "a spacefaring civilization spreading life outward into the cosmos." Its intent is to enable the rapid expansion of humanity into space and Mars by gathering public support and helping build up funds for the growth of a viable space economy.
To support the public, private, and non-profit space sectors, MarsDrive seeks to translate large-scale public support for space exploration and settlement into targeted funding and provision of scholarships, small grants (for R&D and pects) and a space infrastructure development fund (capital grants). MarsDrive outreach projects include their new 'Space Access Petition' , a presence in 'Second Life' and 'MySpace' , along with an educational website called 'Kids4Mars'
Currently, MarsDrive is designing a new manned Mars mission plan led by retired NASA engineer Ron Cordes. A preliminary baseline profile will be announced later in 2008. Its first Mars mission design was the "Mars for Less" design reference mission plan, by Grant Bonin. Mars for Less was peer reviewed in such publications as the Journal of the British Interplanetary Society and The Space Review. The plan was also presented at the 2006 International Space Development Conference in Los Angeles.
MarsDrive also produces space and Mars related games, art, comics, and animations that raise interest in the settlement of space and Mars. Members attend and present at various conferences such as ISDC or the annual Mars Society Conference. Members also engage in public outreach, presenting the benefits and motivations for going to Mars to the general public, companies and the government sector.
MarsDrive's role as a think tank and support group for many other space advocacy and space-related groups continues to expand. The organization's Chief Executive, Frank Stratford, is also Director of Operations within the Australasian team. Hal Fulton heads up US operations. Randall Shelaga manages events and activities throughout Canada.
For the farther future, MarsDrive is developing its own Space Access Plan to lower the costs of space transport via the funding and construction of infrastructure projects (both orbital and surface). Key concepts include a space station, asteroid mining complexes, solar arrays, orbital shipyards and both Lunar and Mars based settlements & research facilities.
Compared to other space advocacy groups, the most significant difference of MarsDrive can be summed up in the words of Frank Stratford, CEO and Founder: "The future of our expansion into space and onto Mars is really up to each of us. If our generation does not make the decision to go, who will?" MarsDrive promotes a message of personal responsibility for a human future in space.