The Mars Society - San Diego Chapter.
The Mars Society - Join Us!

to find blue hope
just scratch
the red surface

-- Bettina Davis
May 2002


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On Display at Alder Planetarium, Chicago through Summer

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Suggested Reading

Comic-Con International 2002 Convention

ConDor IX SciFi Convention

ConJecture SciFi Convention

ESA - Mars Express

Malin Space Science Systems

Mars Daily


NASA/JPL Mars Exploration

National Space Society CD

Open Space Exploration Initiative

Radio Free Mars

Ray Bradbury Online

Reuben H. Fleet Science Center

San Diego Astronomy Association


Space Daily

Spaceflight Now


X Prize Foundation


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

-- Konstantin Tsiolkovsky, 1895


TMS-SD met at Gerry's studio (Studio 106) on August 15th at 7:00pm. Gerry Williams, Jonathan Butler, Patrick Purcell, Andrew Salamon, Dave Rankin, Jesse Clark, Shannon Rupert-Robles, Gilbert Ikezaki, John Stone and Tim Sommer were present.


We started with the analysis of our Comic-Con outreach event, having had a display table in the truly massive Exhibitor's Hall for all four and a half days of the convention, plus running two 90-minute panels on Friday and Sunday respectively. Our estimates of people that we talked to at our table were between 400 to 600 total (based mostly on the number of flyers we handed out).

Our Friday panel on the San Diego Chapter's involvement in the Mars Desert Research Station project was the topic of the first panel, which drew in 104 people (not bad at all for a Friday at 12:30pm). Dave, Gerry, Jonathan, Shannon and John were the panelists.

Our Sunday morning panel, "Mars: Past, Present and Future" drew a near standing-room only crowd of 179 people at 11:30am. Panelists were John Carter McKnight, Kevin J. Anderson, Larry Niven, Mike Caplinger and Jim Benson, who were all given TMS-SD certificates of Appreciation and TMS-SD coffee mugs from our Mars San Diego Web Store.

For more details about our activities at Comic-Con, check out our Comic-Con 2002 Special Report.

We, surprisingly, had money in our treasury after reimbursing the membership's expenses from the con.

We decided to give TMS-SD Certificates of Appreciation to Garry Sassaman (Comic-Con's Director of Programming) and to Rich Loesch (for videotaping both panels). We'll be signing them at the September meeting.

All in all, Comic-Con was an excellent venue for us. At last count (which still isn't finished), Comic-Con drew over 66,000 people, and between our table and the two panels, we reached approximately 1,000 of those people.

We'll be doing it again next year, for sure.


Shannon, Jonathan and Jesse went to Boulder Colorado for the Fifth Annual Mars Society Convention. They gave us a day-by-day account of the scheduled events that they attended.

Some of the highlights include:

-- Jonathan and Shannon presented a paper at the Convention regarding the biology experiment they concocted for Shannon to perform at MDRS.

-- Shannon being offered a new vehicle by Ford Motor Company after her presentation of the Aonia Pressurized Rover used at the Mars Desert Research Station. Shannon was crew biologist during Crew Rotation #4 at the Hab, and her Nissan Pathfinder was pressed into service as an analog pressurized rover when the ATV rovers broke down. The Pressurized Rover also allowed Crew #4 to perform the first overnight mission at MDRS.

-- TMS-SD won an award for being the first chapter to volunteer for Mission Support duty during the 2002 Mars Desert Research Station. We operated Mission Support for four weeks during Crew #3 and #4. We are planning on providing another stint as Mission Support for the MDRS 2002-2003 field season, which begins in October.

For further information, take a look at The Mars Society 2002 Convention.


Gerry and Dave manned our usual table at the SDAA's "Stars in the Park" telescope night in Balboa Park. The weather was mostly overcast and there were few telescopes, but there was some stargazing going on between the clouds. Being a summer night, however, was great for our outreach effort. We talked to over 40 people, and we'd used the new table display we'd built for Comic-Con. Gerry had a video monitor there showing raw footage he'd shot at MDRS in March of an EVA. For more information, go to SDAA's "Stars in the Park".


TMS-SD will be attending the newly-formed ConJecture SciFi Convention in October (18th thru 20th). We'll be setting up a display table, as well as hosting a panel (probably a variation of the MDRS panel we did at Comic-Con). TMS-SD members are getting a special rate of $20.00 for all three days (instead of the $35.00) -- we'll be arranging the sign-up and discount at our September meeting.


We're looking for other public outreach activities in the San Diego area. If anyone knows of any science clubs (especially at high schools and colleges) or Mars-related events, we'd like to get involved. With our tabletop display and our PowerPoint presentations on MDR, The Mars Society and Mars exploration in general, it is becoming increasingly easy for us to take our show on the road. We're especially looking for "media friendly" events that we can have covered by the newspapers and television stations. One idea might be a Mars Society-sponsored model rocket launch event.

The Reuben H. Fleet Science Center in Balboa Park is planning a Robot event one weekend in October. TMS-SD has been asked to take part, as a lot of Mars exploration will be accomplished with robots in the immediate future. We're currently looking for local robot connections to help us come up with something for this event -- we'll be discussing this in more detail at our September meeting.

Also in October, the Miramar Air Show could be a good public outreach event (several other Mars Society chapters set up booths at other air shows to good effect). We're looking into this, however the date of the air show is the same weekend as ConJecture. In May, "Wings Over Gillespie" is another air show in El Cajon that we could participate in.

We discussed the increasing the political involvement aspect of our outreach activities. The Mars Society's "Operation Congress" is an example of sending congress notification of our support for Manned Mars Missions. H ere's what is recommended by Operation Congress: They "now request that every chapter start or continue letter writing campaigns, sending letters to their representatives, senators, and the president. Local chapter meetings are the first place to start. It is often the case that chapters spend a lot of time trying to figure out how to organize local letter writing campaigns, and never sign letters themselves. If you bring a laptop and a printer, you can customize these letters at the meeting. Each time you have a meeting, make sure to ask any new attendees to sign letters as well." We'll be discussing how to apply this locally at our September meeting.

Another novel suggestion for getting our chapter's name out there is to sponsor a "Removing litter on a two-mile stretch of roadside" under the Adopt-A-Highway program. This would be a group event that would occur several times a year, and we'd get our name on a street sign as the adopting party. Details can be found at: Adopt-A-Highway.


Our Mars San Diego Web Store has added some new merchandise, including more styles of mugs, hats and shirts. Check out some of the summer discounts, too. There are also more items planned (pending Gerry's time to create new artwork for them), including backpacks, bags and briefcases, wall clocks, license plate frames, posters and more.

The meeting adjourned at 9:15pm.

As usual, if anyone has any changes or addendum to these meeting minutes, please drop an e-mail to Gerry and he'll update them accordingly.

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