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"The Earth is the Cradle of Mankind, but one does not live in the cradle forever."
-- Konstantin Tsiolkovsky, 1895


Kelly Jernigan, Gerry Williams, Andrew Salamon, Gilbert Ikezaki, Groff Bittner, Jonathan Butler, John Stone, Shannon Rupert and Jason Van Aardt met at TMS-SD's MDRS Mission Control Center in Mira Mesa (in Kelly's house).


We opened by discussing the MARS Desert Research Station, which went active today (taking everyone by surprise). This has quite an impact on our chapter, as we're slated to handle the MDRS Mission Control duties for the second month of operation (now scheduled for March 8th through April 8th, barring any more surprise events). There was a general last-minute call for MDRS online support staff for February throughout The Mars Society. Positions needed are 1) Mission Support Director (usually Tony Muscatello, except when he's actually in the Hab), 2) a CapCOM, 3) a Science Officer, 4) an Engineering Officer, 5) a Journalist/Liaison, and 6) Observers. These positions are to be filled on a daily basis throughout the month of February and presumably up to March 8th.

Kelly has a mostly empty room in his house in which he is letting us put the San Diego MDRS Mission Control Center. There is a computer and cable Internet access (with a hub for more computers), and small shelving unit that contains TMS-SD's Library (most of which was donated by Robert Jacobs of Univelt Inc. Publishers). The current plan is to decorate this room with a Mars/science theme so we can invite the local media when we activate as Mission Control. Posters, Mars globes, photos, drawings, models, designs, etc. are needed to spruce up the place.

To get some advanced training time, TMS-SD has decided to meet at our TMS-SD's MDRS Mission Control Center on the evening of Wednesday, February 20th from 7:00pm to 10:00pm for a "Mission Control Shakedown"; with the following volunteer crew assignments: Mission Support Director--Kelly Jernigan; CapCOM--Gerry Williams; Science Officer--Shannon Rupert; Engineering Officer--Andrew Salamon; Journalist/Liaison--Dave Rankin; Observers--John Stone, Groff Bittner and Jonathan Butler. Additionally, it was discussed that individuals would volunteer as time and commitments permit, with Shannon volunteering as Science Officer on February 12th and 14th as well (everyone else had to check their respective schedules).

Only Kelly was able to volunteer some time monitoring the online activities during the four-day late January 2002 Euro-Shakedown of the MDRS. Gerry put together a rough PowerPoint presentation with the available media for this shakedown mission that gave our chapter a better feel for what went on there.

At this point in time, it is uncertain whether Gerry will be going to Denver for a week to train on MDRS Mission Control procedures prior to our Month 2 start date. We're awaiting clarification from the Mars Society. Gerry is anxious about whether this trip will happen, as MDRS is 2/3 of the way to Denver by car. He plans to stop at the Hab and shoot some video for use in our publicity and outreach packages when we activate as MDRS Mission Control.

We also discussed the possibility of contacting some local colleges to help us generate special missions that could be carried out at MDRS during our tenure as MDRS Mission Control. Geology was an intriguing concept (given the location), and several members are going to approach various organizations to see if we can set this up.


TMS-SD ran a Public Outreach on February 6th from 6:30 to 9:30pm in Balboa Park at the San Diego Astronomy Association's "STARS IN THE PARK" telescope event. It was a beautiful, warm clear night with Saturn and Jupiter stealing the show. Dave, Andrew and Gerry talked with a good number of people (including Gilbert and Jason). Gerry ran a MDRS Construction PowerPoint presentation loop on his PowerBook, which drew a lot of interest from the public. On March 6, 2002 we'll do another public outreach at the SDAA's telescope event outside the Ruben H. Fleet Science Center in Balboa Park.

Additionally, Gerry has been in contact with the architect of the MDRS Hab, Frank Schubert. Frank has sent some floor plans of the Hab, which Gerry intends to use to scratch-build a scale model (internal and external) of the MDRS for our outreach activities. Gerry plans on documenting his model building on TMS-SD's website.


The next topic for discussion was ConDor IX -- San Diego's Annual Science Fiction Convention that will be held on February 22-24, 2002. TMS-SD has been given presentation time on Saturday for an MDRS presentation and panel discussion. We'll be discussing our presentation in more detail at 6:00pm on Wednesday, February 20th just before our Mission Control Shakedown. Members will be bringing their laptops (with PowerPoint installed) and Gerry will be providing CD-ROMS of the existing presentations he's put together on the MDRS. Half of the presentation will be a PowerPoint slide show, and the other half will be a 4- to 6-person panel of our members discussing the MDRS and fielding questions from the audience. Additionally, ConDor has given us a fan table for all three days of the convention. Regrettably, Gerry won't be able to be there for the presentation due to work schedule conflicts (such is the life of a freelancer), but he'll be making sure that the rest of the group have everything they need, including a video projector and computer interface. It is unknown at this time if ConDor will be providing us with any complementary memberships to the convention.


Our Comic-Con (August 1-4, 2002) panels are coming along. Currently we're planning on doing two or three presentations, and we're starting to approach our "celebrity wish list" -- Dave has received several "yes's" (both firm and tentative), some "maybes", and a couple of "sorry, can't make it's". Shannon has posted the proposals for feedback on our TMS-SD Mailing List, but hasn't gotten any feedback as of yet. We should be submitting this proposal to Comic-Con within the next month.


We further discussed adding a "Bio" page to our chapter's website, along the lines of the MDRS committee site. We may start photographing our members as early as our Mars Movie Night on the 15th (we will be in a photo studio, after all). We also discussed a handful of small changes to our chapter's website (including the fact that we can't get the Chapters list information updated by the Mars Society's webmaster). [Note: They have since updated this list!]

Due to some member schedule conflicts, we've decided to move the next couple of Regular Monthly meetings to the second Monday of the month. Our next meeting is slated for March 11th at 7:00pm. We'll probably be having it at Kelly's house again as we'll be actively involved in the MDRS Mission Control activities at that time. Check out our chapter's website for upfdated details.

Other upcoming events are our Mars Movie Night on Friday, February 15th at 7:00pm at Gerry's studio (check out our chapter's website for more details and a map. We'll be showing "Escape from Mars". The March Mars Movie Night will be Val Kilmer and Carrie-Anne Moss in the 2000 movie "RED PLANET". Date, location and show time have yet to be determined, but will probably be at the TMS-SD Mission Control Center.

Gerry suggested that we host a "Yuri's Night" in San Diego on April 12th, as part of the world space party celebrating Yuri Gagarin's first human flight into space. Other pro-space groups are celebrating it by hosting "Space Raves" or dance parties, dinner parties, star observation nights, scientific conferences, space and science museum tours, movie nights, and even "pin the tail on the comet" parties. Last year we celebrated Yuri's Night at the Acapulco Restaurant in Mira Mesa as part of our regular monthly meeting. Shannon suggested we hold it on a college campus. The Yuri's Night committee sent along a CD-ROM from last year, as well as a handful of stickers for the World Space Party. Anyone with suggestions for this year's involvement should contact Gerry as soon as possible.


Shannon brought along two desiccator chambers for use in Jonathan's Mars Low Pressure Atmospheric Greenhouse Chamber experiment, which he brought to the previous meeting for a show-&-tell. It's getting very modular.

Other "show & tell" items included a selection of merchandise from our Mars San Diego Web Store (sales have dropped off since Christmas) and Gerry's 3'x7' blueprints of the Voyager spacecraft. And, of course, the new San Diego MDRS Mission Control Center was the highlight of the evening.

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