To Explore New Worlds and Seek Other Life:

This was why Carl Sagan, Bruce Murray and I formed The Planetary Society.

  • What is our place in the Universe?

  • Are we alone — is life in the Universe iniquitous or unique?

  • Will humankind become a multi-planet species or be limited to Earth?

  • How will Earth and Life evolve:  in cooperative symbiosis or with mutually assured destruction?

I am privileged to have a life seeking answers to these questions and to experience the great adventures and discoveries  of exploring new worlds — metaphorically travelling (with apologies to Isaac Newton)  on the shoulders of giants.


  M  A  R  S 


   The only world humans can reach with atmosphere and water; on it will be determined how humankind will evolve as a multi-planet species.  Three possible ways (hover over images for description).

This year (2020) Mars will be explored with missions from the United States, Europe/Russia*, China,  and the United Arab erEremites  joining five spacecraft already there.  See a list of all Mars missions; past, present and future.
* UPDATE (March 2020) - European/Russian mission delayed to 2022


Written by Louis D. Friedman. Available on Amazon in 2nd Printing by University of Arizona Press, copyright 2015. 





Page Publishing, New York



Written by Louis D. Friedman  John Wiley & Sons, copyright 1988. Available on Amazon 

Current Activities of Interest


    In 2020 we will celebrate the 40th Anniversary of The Planetary Society – a child I nurtured into maturity.  I owe it, and the great career I had there to two great scientists:  Carl Sagan and Bruce Murray.   Depicted here are the Society’s LightSail-2 mission  (link) which I started, successfully flying in Earth orbit as a solar sail.  Solar sailing is now real.  Among other highlights from my career with the Society are: Our advocacy and testing of Mars Rovers in the 1990s to introduce them into the American planetary program; our creation of a library, Visions of Mars, now on the surface of Mars awaiting the first human explorers; and inventing the Living Interplanetary Flight Experiment (LIFE) intended to be the first test of transpermia – the theory that life can flow between the planets in space. These are depicted below. 



 LIFE (Living Interplan-

etary Flight Experiment)

There have now been four rovers sent to Mars by NASA – Sojourner (named in a Planetary Society contest) in 1997, Spirit and Opportunity in 2004, and Curiosity in 2010. In 2020 NASA and the European Space Agency will launch two more rovers. Mars has a much land area of the Earth to be explored. 

Visions of Mars was developed in cooperation with Time Warner Interactive Media and was intended to fly on the Russian Mars 96 mission. Unfortunately that mission failed to launch from Earth and the spacecraft fell into the Pacific Ocean. Later it was successfully incorporated on NASA’s Phoenix mission to Mars in 2006 which landed in the North polar region of Mars.

Dr. Friedman was the co-inventor of the Living Interplanetary Flight Experiment intended to fly living microorganisms to the Martian moon, Phobos, and back to test the theory of transpermia.  

International Cooperation became a very important objective of The Planetary Society starting in 1983.  Our efforts enhanced the political advocacy for human and robotic space exploration and led the Society to significant influence in American, Soviet, French and Japanese space programs. International cooperation advances science and benefits public interest.  We need that now -- more than ever -- recent American policies have turned away from cooperation.  NGOs, like The Planetary Society, can make a difference.

The Solar Gravity Lens Focus Mission

To 600+ Astronomical Units (90,000 km) from the Sun 
I am working with JPL Scientist Slava Turyshev, Darren Garber of NXTRAC, Prof. Artur Davoyan of UCLA and a team of Aerospace Corporation engineers on a new mission concept to make it possible to image planets around distant stars.

 A Mission to Find  and Study  Life on  an Exoplanet

See this White Paper presented to the National Academies of Science Space Science Board, connecting to the project above.  

The solar gravity lens is nature’s telescope — the only one that may permit us to see life on another world.


Article in Aerospace America by Slava Turyshev and I about a mission to the Solar Gravity Lens Focus.  

A fleet of small sat solar sails going out of the solar system at record speed – a project I am studying with colleagues at JPL, the Aerospace Corporation, UCLA and a private company, NXTRAC.

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