Advisory Board

Artemis Westenberg, MBA

Artemis Westenberg, MBA is the President, Director, and Cofounder of Explore Mars, as well as a member of its Board of Directors. She is also the Director and Owner of SpaceWorks. Artemis has 4 decades of experience as an influential lobbyist and advocate among a variety of circles, organizations and causes in the Netherlands, Europe, and North America. She has been a lobbyist in the space exploration sector since 2000, starting with a successful lobby for her grammar school when 17.

A prominent feminist in the Netherlands, she had a long career in lobbying and public affairs — then became captivated by the idea that women and men could have an equal role in Mars exploration. In the late 1990s, she helped two Dutch advocates get Dutch affiliation of The Mars Society, Inc., off the ground in their home country. In 2010 she established Explore Mars with a group of likewise Mars-dedicated space advocates, and saw it grow into a worldwide organization whose board of advisers includes astronaut Buzz Aldrin and planetary scientist Chris McKay. Explore Mars is the nonprofit advocacy group that insists humans can be on the red planet by 2033.

Between the elimination of the U.S. Space Shuttle Program in 2011 and repeated cuts to portions of the NASA budget, human exploration of Mars may seem to be receding into the future, not getting closer. But Artemis argues that Explore Mars’ 2033 deadline is “tough but doable”.

Over the years, she has become an expert on the geology of Mars and NASA’s Mars Science Laboratories, Curiosity and its predecessors Spirit & Opportunity. Artemis is a well-known Mars and space ambassador, often as a Netherlands spokesperson among the national and international space community. She intends to see humans walk on Mars within the 15 years.

Since 2000, Artemis has been involved in space exploration advocacy, as President of the Mars Society Netherlands and Steering Committee member of The Mars Society.

She served as crew member in a number of MDRS (Mars Desert Research Station) crews and consequently as CapCom and logistic manager for the 2007 four month crew of FMARS (Flashline Arctic Research Station).

For the four month FMARS crew in 2007, Artemis took on the responsibilities of Mission Director, managing the MDRS since August 2008, which she turned into a financially independent and self-sufficient project.

Afterwards Artemis took on the responsibilities of managing the Mars analogue stations as Mission Director until 2010, managing the MDRS since August 2008, which she turned into a financially independent and self-sufficient project.

Artemis was involved in the effort to establish the European Mars analog station, in which design she has been involved from the start. She has organized (inter)national conferences since 1980, among which several conferences for the Mars Society in the Netherlands and Europe.

Since early in her career, she gained knowledge in public affairs and business administration while working for Honeywell and Thorn EMI computer software, and later in the working of governments as member of the Dutch government delegation to the UN conference on the status of women, in 1980, as president of the Council of Women for Rotterdam, and as campaign manager of the Dutch Libertarian Party, next to her extensive interactions with the US Congress on matters of policy. Artemis is president of the Netherlands Society of Women’s Interests, Women Work and Equal Citizenship (a founding organization of the International Women’s Alliance) and is delegate to the UN Commission on the Status of Women #63.

Artemis worked for more than 14 years as Business Manager of the Van Beek-Donner Stichting, a welfare foundation dedicated to supporting Rotterdam women of all ages in their personal development.

In the Netherlands, she is often the spokesperson for the space community when Mars is in the Media. She has been quoted in numerous national and international newspapers and magazines and has appeared on national and international television and radio. She enjoys her work as space ambassador giving lectures for any age about space exploration and Mars.

She earned her Master’s of Arts degree in Ancient History, and Islam, with minors in International Relations, and in Classical Studies from Leiden University, the oldest university of the Netherlands (founded in 1575), and earned her degree in General Management from the Dutch Entrepreneurial Society.

In 1990–1991, she earned her MBA from the Rotterdam School of Management at Erasmus University.

“I’m not worried about morale. I think that the scientists who go to Mars aren’t going to want to come back for several years.”

Artemis is multilingual, speaking Dutch, English, Spanish, French, and German regularly, with fluency in others.

View the slides of Artemis’s presentation at the 1st Landing Site/ Exploration Zone Workshop, October 2015, That first step will be talked about for generations: Writing History.

Watch her final remarks at Explore Mars Conference in 2014. Watch her at the Summit on Human Exploration of Mars part 1 and part 2. Watch Artemis giving The Keynote Address At The Humans To Mars Summit.

She appeared in Planetary Radio, Why Mars? We’ve Got the Answers on May 2018, and on The Planetary Society’s Planetfest 2012 with Robots Now, Humans by 2030. Read her interview at Undark, Five Questions for Artemis.

Read Women of Mars and NASA Begins Effort To Find Landing Sites for Human Mars Missions. Read the Press Release from Explore Mars for Artemis to Deliver Keynote Address at ENVISTA-2015 Conference in India. Read Affordable Human Exploration of Mars: Recommendations of a Community Workshop.

Listen to the Broadcast 1523 at The Space Show. Visit her Explore Mars in Netherlands, international Explore Mars, and her SpaceWorks company webpage.

Visit her LinkedIn profile. Follow her on Facebook, and Twitter.