Members of the founding Board of Directors of the Mars Institute formally unveiled the new organization today at the World Space Congress. The Mars Institute is a California-based nonprofit corporation whose stated purpose is to further the scientific study, exploration, and public understanding of Mars. A new century of scientific knowledge and exploration of Mars has begun, with the current planning and prospect of many new missions to be launched to the Red Planet. The Mars Institute was created to respond to this opportunity and, out of a need strongly felt by its initiators, to establish an independent nonprofit organization whose sole purpose is to focus on advancing the scientific study and exploration of Mars, with a central commitment to conducting high quality peer-reviewed research, and on sharing knowledge and experiences of Mars exploration with students and the general public worldwide. The Mars Institute will strive to provide leadership as the premier international non-governmental organization for the peaceful advancement of these goals.