The Red Planet as seen by Europe’s Mars Express.
Credit: ESA/D. O’Donnell – CC BY-SA IGO


As the shutdown of the U.S. government continues — and the State of the “Dis-Union” address is under back and forth banter – yet another space causality: A major meeting on Mars Extant Life has gone extinct.

A Mars Extant Life Conference, scheduled next week for Carlsbad, New Mexico has been postponed.

Conference organizers today said it is “with pain and regret” the meeting has been postponed.


“The current shutdown of the U.S. government is exacting a toll on increasing numbers of people, and these consequences have now extended to many people involved in this conference.”

Despite a possible resolution of the shutdown, the organizers could not wait any longer.

“Unless something changes, our current estimate is that ~15% of our expected attendees (many of them civil servants) will be unable to attend on our currently scheduled dates.  An additional 35% have sufficient worries or concerns that they have recommended postponing the conference to a later date,” meeting organizers explained.

NASA Mars 2020 rover searches for postponed conference agenda in 2019.
Credit: NASA/JPL

Nationwide challenges

“Because of financial concerns many of us in the NASA system need to be careful with cash flow. We are seeing nationwide challenges with the airport security system involving the TSA [Transportation Security Administration] workers, and most of our registrants would be travelling by air to the conference venue.  Our conference speakers have started to drop out at an alarming level,” advised the organizers.

“We apologize for the postponement of this conference, which is an action we have not taken lightly,” explained the meeting organizers. “We know all of you have made plans, and that this may cause unwanted disruptions to those plans.  However, this decision seems to result in the greatest good for the greatest number.  We will be in touch with you once things settle down, and we can focus on re-planning.”

Yes, life on Mars – so goes life on Earth.

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