February's meeting was attended by Gerry William, Jonathan Butler, John
Stone, Shannon Rupert Robles, Bill Estep, Patrick Purcell, James Roth, Jeff Berkwits, and Dave
Bob Hoogbruin attended the meeting as a guest. He is a former L5 Society member who was
referred to us by Francis French of the Reuben Fleet Science Center.
We had a lengthy agenda so the meeting lasted from 7 to 10 pm, with individual discussions
lasting up to 10:45 afterwards.
MDRS Mission Support Debriefing
The meeting began with a debriefing of our last month's experience as Mission Support for Crews
12 and 13 at MDRS. We had mixed reactions to the experience. The two CAPCOMs felt more control
was necessary over who could be present in the Mission Support room on the MOO during operational
hours. At times, the room was filled with many more people than were signed up for the posts.
Some concerns were expressed about conversations in the room that were well off topic. It was
also suggested Mission Support might better be accomplished with only CAPCOM, who would then
forward questions and concerns to a team of qualified persons who would answer the questions.
The feeling was that having various Mission Support slots being filled each night with the
responsibility of reviewing and editing reports before they were posted to the website was not
an effective use of time and personnel. A contrary view was expressed that limiting Mission
Support to a CAPCOM who would route questions and problems to experts would limit the
participation of Mars Society members and take away from the comraderie and feeling of
contribution that comes from being able to participate in the MDRS project through Mission
Our experience as Mission Support varied with each crew. Crew 12 filed many reports early each
evening and maintained regular contact. Crew 13, on the other hand, typically didn't start
filing reports until it was nearly time for Mission Support to sign off. This affected the
support experience in that for Crew 12, Mission Support officers were very busy from the sign-on
time to sign off. During Crew 13, without any reports to review and process for most of the
evening led to much idle time waiting and chatting with each other on the MOO.
We were happy that, during our tour as Mission Support, for the first time in MDRS history
journalist's reports written by Mission Support members were posted to the Mars Society website
along with the daily reports from the habitat.
Shannon and Jonathan are scheduled to be at MDRS during Expedition One. Shannon will be there
for two weeks during Phase III and Phase IV, March 1-March 15th. Jonathan will be there for the
final week during Phase IV.
Expedition One crucially needs volunteers to act as CAPCOM for the next month and Shannon asked
that some of us volunteer to help out.
Jeff reported on our recent PR effort. He said we appeared in 10 different outlets, including
TV, radio, and newspapers. He estimated that the equivalent dollar value in advertising for
this coverage came to between $10,000 to $20,000.
Examples of the coverage can be seen at the link "TMS-SD in the media" on our chapters Media
webpage at http://chapters.marssociety.org/sandiego/media.html
For future PR, Jeff, Gerry, Bill and Dave volunteered to be a kind of PR Task Force to consider
ways to continue the good efforts we have made so far.
Our chapter's first annual anniversary dinner (2nd year of chapter's existence) will be on
Saturday, February 22, 2003, at 7 pm. The dinner will be at Acapulco Restaurant on Miramar
Road. More information is available in the chapter website's upcoming events section.
We will be giving a panel discussion at the CONDOR science-fiction convention again this year in
Del Mar. Our panel is scheduled for March 1, 2003, at noon. Gerry, Bill, Dave, and Jeff will
be on the panel, with writer Victor Koman as a guest.
Yuri's Night: April 12, 2003
We intend to host another party commemorating the anniversary of Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin's flight
into outer space. The anniversary is April 12th, Saturday. We have not decided on a location
yet. Gerry is planning the event, and Patrick and Dave volunteered to help him out.
Eyes on the Universe
We have been invited to speak at the Reuben Fleet Science Center for the Wednesday night lecture
series. We are requesting, in order of preference, April 30th, 23d, and 9th. Our topic is
tentatively entitled "Mars Needs Women (and Men): The case for sending humans to the red
planet." Our goal will be to explain the benefit of having a goal of sending humans to Mars,
the various plans for getting there, what we can do on Mars once we're there, the social
implications of going, and whatever else we can think of.
Stars in the Park
We hope to have an internet link to the habitat for the next Stars in the Park outreach on March
5th, 7-9pm in Balboa Park. Shannon will be at the habitat on that date. Dave's laptop has
wireless internet access, which would enable us to have a link to the habitat. We hope to have
an audio link to the hab, but failing that to access the hab through the MOO. Shannon and Dave
will coordinate this.
Gerry signed up to be an assistant to Project Astro. He will be assisting a science teacher at
High Tech High in teaching astronomy to students at a local public school.
Gerry is attempting to establish contact with the museum so we could do some kind of
No progress has been made yet on obtaining MDRS suits. We discussed getting a small robotic
rover. Patrick has some kind of small robot which he agreed to bring to an upcoming event.
Mars will be closer to Earth than it has been in 73,000 years. We intend to do something in
conjuction with that opposition but have not yet decided on the right venue.