Explorations of Mars
A Conversation with IFK Postdoctoral Researcher Jordan Bimm
About the Event
Everyone is talking about Mars. Is there life there? Will humans ever set foot on the surface? Should we try to establish a settlement? How did we become obsessed with the Red Planet in the first place?
Join us for a conversation with Jordan Bimm, Postdoctoral Researcher at the University’s Institute on the Formation of Knowledge, to explore the history and culture of Mars exploration. We will discuss how Mars has factored into different social and political projects here on Earth, including theological debates, military conquest, scientific exploration, and commercial settlement. Bimm has just returned from participating in a simulated Mars expedition at the Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) and will also share reflections from that experience. The conversation will preview Bimm’s upcoming course at Graham this Autumn.
Institute on the Formation of Knowledge
Jordan Bimm is a historian of science, technology, and medicine focused on the human and biological aspects of space exploration. His forthcoming book, Anticipating the Astronaut, examines the surprising history of pre-NASA space medicine test-subjects contributing to early visions of an ideal spacefaring body, including push-button soldiers, high-altitude Indigenous people, mountaineers, women pilots, and animals. His current project, Putting Mars in a Jar, recovers the forgotten military origin of astrobiology—the study of potential extraterrestrial life—through a history of U.S. Air Force life-on-Mars simulations in the 1950s. He holds a PhD in Science & Technology Studies (STS) from York University in Toronto, and was most recently a SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellow at Princeton University.
He holds a Daniel and Florence Guggenheim Fellowship at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington D.C. The prestigious fellowship provides the opportunity to work with NASM's curators and collections to further his project about the military origin of astrobiology, the search for life in the cosmos, and Mars environmental simulators called "Mars Jars."