Attending the June meeting were Gerry Williams, Patrick Purcell, John
Stone, Jeff Berkwits, Tim Sommer, Dave Rankin, and Groff Bittner.
RECAP OF THE PAST MONTH: SUCCESSFUL OUTREACH!
The June meeting began with a recap of events since the last meeting, including the two talks
at the Reuben Fleet Science Center presented by Gerry, Shannon, Dave, Jonathan, and John, the
subsequent talk before the Shelter Island Rotary Club by Dave, Gerry and John, Stars in the
Park with Gerry and John, and Dave's two radio interviews, one in for a scifi show in Kansas
and the other on public radio in Dallas.
May was a very busy and successful month in terms of preaching to people beyond the usual
The Weekend Talks at the Fleet Science Center was free to anybody who already was at the center
so we had some walk-in guests in addition to the guests who planned to attend. The Eyes on the
Universe lecture was a ticketed event.
The Shelter Island Rotary audience consisted of a bunch of old military vets, who were really
interested in our topic but knew nothing about it until our presentation.
The radio interviews got the message out to a mass audience in two different parts of the
county, promoting not only the Mars Society and the concept of sending humans to Mars, but also
promoting our own chapter's efforts, which sends out the message that regular people can do
something to advance human space exploration here and now.
Comic-Con Guests and programming
Discussion eventually switched to upcoming events.
Our next major endeavor is Comic-Con. We will have two presentations and a table in the main
hall again. Our first presentation will be on Friday and will be the usual MDRS program
presented by our chapter members, but with the most recent information. San Diego provided two
crew members to the Habitat, as well as provided a month of Mission Support.
The Sunday program will be our distinguished guests panel. This year's panel includes Star Trek
star Nichelle Nichols, her companion and Rockwell guy Jim Meechan, "Robinson Crusoe on Mars"
actor Victor "Friday" Lundin, columnist John Carter McKnight, and Malin space scientist Dr.
The table at the Comic-Con will have our usual display but with updates to the images. We will
try to make the table so it can be left unattended, but it would help ENORMOUSLY if people
would agree to staff the table at times. Last year, during times the table was staffed,
interaction with passersby prompted more people to look at our table and take informational
flyers from the table. It would really help if we could get several volunteers to staff the
table in shifts, even if it's only for an hour or so. The table will feature a 3-foot diameter
helium balloon painted like Mars.
Our ongoing activities include Patrick and Gerry working on putting a rover together. They have
the chassis and are working on the body. They hope to have the rover completed by August (and
The Spacesuit Team Assembles
We talked more about building our own analog space suit and designated a volunteer task force to
get it done. Gerry has already some bought material for the helmet and backpack. Gerry gave
Tim photos of the suit to show to a seamstress so we can get an idea what she would need to get
it built. Gerry, Tim, and John volunteered to work on getting the space suit built. Bill
Estep, who was not present, was volunteered to be on the task force because somebody at the
meeting said he once mentioned some interest.
John has agreed to buy an inexpensive "hazmat" coverall out of a catalog that looks pretty much
like a spacesuit as an alternative, or addition, to the canvas pressure suit like they use at
MDRS and Flashline. It's under $10 so the risk that it won't be usable was deemed acceptable
for the cost.
GOALS AND OBJECTIVES
General Discussion and "Subgroup" Goals
We've been discussing goals at the last several meetings but have not really agreed on any,
other than to keep doing what we've been doing. The "PR subcommittee" has adopted one goal of
having at least one PR placement about us in some kind of media somewhere on this planet (Earth)
each month. A modest goal, but a goal nonetheless. The "rover team" has apparently adopted a
goal of assembling the rover by August. The "spacesuit team" has now assembled with a goal of
putting together a suit. A tentative but probably unrealistic goal is to have the suit
completed by the time of the Comic-Con.
Despite the goals of these subgroups, our chapter has not adopted any chapter goals. We began
the discussion for that in earnest at this meeting. The first topic we discussed was
An implied goal of all our PR activities has been to recruit members for the chapter. However,
we have not done much at any event to close the deal on new members. We've been bringing water
to the horses and letting them drink but we haven't saddled too many, to mangle a metaphor. We
decided to work on some techniques to recruit members at the outreach events.
The first tangible suggestion is to have a sign-up sheet for informational emails at every
event. Until now, we've directed interested people to our website and the mailgroup but this
has required them to make the effort to find out more about us once they get online. With an
email mailing list, we can proactively keep interested people informed of our regular activities
thereby increasing the likelihood of more attendance and participation. Patrick volunteered to
put together the sign-up sheet.
Patrick also volunteered to contact Mars Society HQ on a regular basis for names of any new
Mars Society members who live in Southern California so we can contact those persons and invite
them to attend our events and meetings. It has been our experience that new local Mars Society
members are not always told by the Mars Society about our chapter's existence.
We already pass out 1/2 price membership sign-up forms at our events but we've been reluctant to
actually sign people up at the events, presumably because nobody likes to ask somebody else for
Recruitment is an ongoing concern, so anybody is welcome to suggest ideas on how we can increase
membership without being annoyingly aggressive about it. Ideas are also welcome on how we can
increase participation by existing members. Post your ideas to our mailgroup or show up at the
next meeting and discuss them there.
The Library has Come In
... but library books are still out and need to come home.
Jeff recently retrieved the chapter's library from Kelly and the library is now home at our
meeting location. However, many of the books in the library remain checked out to members, and
have been checked out for almost two years now. Please look for the Mars library books you
might still have in your possession and bring them back with you when you attend the next
chapter event, or make arrangements to return them.
Mars San Diego Web Store
Gerry said Cafe Press might be cutting off our web store. If anybody wants to buy something
from the store, go ahead and do it. Buying items could help the store remain open. Gifts for
our Comic-Con panelists will be purchased soon. The
MARS SAN DIEGO WEB STORE is here.
July 2nd is the next Stars in the Park.
July 10th is the next Monthly Meeting.
July 17-20th is Comic-Con International 2003.
July 25thth is the next Mars Movie Night - "Abbot and Costello Go To Mars" (1953).
Hope to see you all then.