Death & Crime - Mars Society Convention

24th Annual International Mars Society Convention - 4 Days


Kenyon: The Two Plots Problem: Dealing with Death and Crime in a Martian Colony

As Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote in the Scarlet Letter, any new colony must allot a portion of its land as a cemetery and another portion as a prison. These two plots of land are not usually the first that come to mind when planning a Martian colony..... Several authors have mused about crime in space, but they rely on current treaties or maritime law to discuss how to prosecute a Martian crime back on earth. The reality is that the settlers on Mars will not return to earth to stand trial. Handling these situations requires developing new institutions, which presents a unique opportunity for reform not presently available on Earth. To give these institutions the best chance at success, we must begin preparations now by asking the right questions about future colonies, exploring potential answers to the questions, and outlining a system that adequately prepares colonist for these eventualities while being flexible enough to adjust to rapidly changing situations. History has taught us that how institutions function now is directly related to how they functioned in the past. The Shire Reeve of the 7th century begat the Sherriff of the 21st century. People have been buried in the ground since the Middle Paleolithic era. Deciding how the Martian colony of this century handles crime and death will shape how crime and death are handled for centuries to come. These should not be the knee-jerk decisions of colonists in a crisis. We have an obligation to get things right, and that is something better not left to chance.

The 24th Annual International Mars Society Convention is Thursday-Sunday, October 14-17, 2021. This convention presents a unique opportunity for those interested in the planet Mars to come together and discuss the science, technology, social implications, philosophy and a multitude of other aspects of Mars exploration.

You can register on the main website After you register, you can access the convention's main application Attendify at using code "TakingFlight".

More info and session listings are in the hub world, code PDK958

This meeting is interactive. Most of the time the speakers and members are appearing on a Zoom screen. You will be able to grab the mike so you can talk to the people in Zoom.