Joseph Palaia

Joseph Palaia is an entrepreneur, engineer and technologist whose personal mission is to create the first permanent settlement on Mars and pursue development in the inner solar system. A resident of Colorado, he is currently Business Development Manager for Pioneer Astronautics. Pioneer develops cutting edge space technologies for NASA and the DOD, with special focus on space in situ resource utilization (ISRU).

In 2009, Joe served as executive officer and chief engineer for a one-month simulated Mars mission at the Mars Society's Flashline Mars Arctic Research Station on Devon Island in the Canadian Arctic, where he became the first person in history to launch and operate an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) while wearing a simulated spacesuit. While there, he also deployed a prototype lunar rover for Team Omega Envoy. Joe returned to the station in 2013 as Commander of the Mars Society’s Mars Arctic 365 Phase 1 refit mission, and he remains the FMARS Program Director for the Mars Society.

Joseph holds a B.S. degree in Electrical Engineering from the New Jersey Institute of Technology and a M.S. degree in Nuclear Science & Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He has played an integral role in commercial design studies of the first permanent Mars settlement for the 4Frontiers Corporation, having authored or co-authored technical papers on the topics of Mars nuclear power plant design, Mars settlement architecture, space economics and the economics of energy on Mars. An Eagle Scout, he received the 2005 Peter Diamandis Leadership Award and the 2007 YYoung Professionals Entrepreneurship Prize from the Luigi Gerardo Napolitano Society. He speaks frequently at conferences and events worldwide on the topics of Mars settlement and space development.