The 21st Annual International Mars Society Convention will be held this year in Pasadena, California, August 23-26, 2018.
The four-day International Mars Society Convention brings together leading scientists, engineers, aerospace industry representatives, government policymakers and journalists to talk about the latest scientific discoveries, technological advances and political-economic developments that could help pave the way for a human mission to the planet Mars.
The Conference Flyer lists the wide variety of sessions with something for anyone with an interest in Mars, regardless of technical or non-technical background:
From a technical point of view, we are much closer today to sending humans to Mars than we were to sending men to the Moon in 1961, and we were there eight years later.
Go to the conference to understand the justification for that statement.