This month's meeting of The Mars Society - San
Diego was attended by James Roth, John Stone, Patrick Purcell, Jeff Berkwits, Gerry
Williams, Dave Rankin, Larry Imperiale, Tim Sommer, and Shannon Rupert Robles. Buddy the Mars
Dog was there, too. A new member, Bryan Kehr, also attended most of this over 3 hours long
OUTREACH IN THE PAST MONTH
Gerry attended a training session for
Project ASTRO as part of our outreach to the schools.
Our chapter and the Mars Society were profiled in three local print media: in Citybeat -
"Allure of the Red Planet
Beckons Local Enthusiasts", in Fahrenheit -
"My Grand Kids Went To Mars And All I Got Was A Lousey T-shirt", and in The North County
"Nearness of Mars has the Heavenly Set Excited". In addition, Gerry was interviewed by two
television stations, KFMB Channel 8 and KUSI Channel 9/51, during our appearance at Balboa Park
for Mars Opposition Night.
Mars Opposition Night was a smashing success for us. We were
at Balboa Park with our display table until past midnight. The interest in Mars carried over to
the regularly scheduled "STARS IN THE
PARK" on September 3rd. We were at the park until around 11pm that night due to the number
of people present.
Our next presentation is at the
Planetarium on the CSU Northridge campus on September 18th at 2pm. Denis Chang, John, Gerry
and Dave will go there to give the lecture. We are scheduled for a two-hour talk with questions
The next TMS-SD MARS MOVIE NIGHT -- will feature
"THE WIZARD OF MARS" (1964) on September 19th at 7pm at Gerry's
Studio 106. This movie stars John Carradine and is
a retelling of the Wizard of Oz, but in a different fictional location and with a much (!!)
Our next special upcoming event will be an appearance at a "Mars Party" on Friday, October 3rd
in the evening at the Santee Trolley Square. There is musical entertainment before dark. After
dark, the telescopes come out for a Mars viewing. Chapter members will be there with a display
table and a telescope or two.
That same weekend, Friday October 3rd to Sunday, October 5th, we will be at the science fiction
convention, CONJECTURE 2003. We will be presenting a
panel discussion advocating human exploration of Mars entitled, "Mars Needs Women ... and
Men." We'll talk about MDRS, why Mars is a good place for human colonization, and some of
the current plans for sending humans there. Join Gerry, John, Jeff and Dave on Saturday, October
4th at 5pm. Chapter members will be on other panels, notably, "Pigs in Space." Pigs is
a panel discussion on opening up space for making money. Hence, the moniker, as in capitalist
pigs. Come listen to John, Gerry and Dave on Saturday at 1:00 pm talk about bringing home the
bacon from outer space.
PROJECT STATUS REPORTS
Tim gave an update on the progress of building the Mars spacesuit. The suit is 50 percent
completed. The sewing machine is down at this point. The backpack is 50 percent completed
also. Tim is shooting to have the suit completed by November or December.
Patrick gave a status report on the the Rover construction. The chassis has 6 wheels on it
now and the base will be finished soon. Patrick is obtaining the parts for the imitation solar
panel. The camera will likely cost between $80 and $100.
Dave volunteered to report our scores to Tam on a regular basis for the Chapter Challenge. The
goal is to report bi-weekly. As of the meeting date we were tied with NorCal but we had a number
of activities that had not been reported.
Shannon has gotten our chapter access to MDRS for a weekend before this year's season begins.
We will be going to the habitat to clean it up for the start of the season, try and clear the
"Antarctica Pile", and do whatever else can be done to get the place ready before the
Engineering Crew comes in. Shannon, Gerry, Tim, and Dave are likely to be crew who go. We are
shooting to go the weekend of October 25-26.
Dave will be following up with a contact to Mark Lane at Palomar College. Lane does their
planetarium shows. Dave went to the planetarium's Mars show and talked to Lane about the
chapter. Dave will be doing a follow up about whether Lane would be interested in being a
panelist or speaker in any of our future events.
Gerry recently emailed the group seeking a volunteer to contact San Diego State. We discussed
this at the meeting and tabled the matter because nobody volunteered to make the contact.
Mira Costa College is listing us in their Speaker's Bureau.
We discussed the Mars Society's Political Outreach initiative and how to implement it. Derek
Shannon of the so-called "Mars Society of Southern California" has provided plenty of useful
information for this and is working very hard on implementing it. Derek is the Political
Coordinator for California and we hope to work with him on this outreach initiative.
Shannon shared her observations of the Mars Society's Conference held in Eugene, Oregon. The
conference was held in a hotel, which was more convenient than having it on a college campus.
300 people attended the conference. Big name attendees included Bill Hartmann, Elon Musk, Chris
McKay, and of course, Robert Zubrin. Chris gave his talk on reversible exploration of Mars,
which prompted, as they say in diplomatese, "frank dialog" on the merits of looking out for
the welfare of potential Martian microbes when humans go there. Elon Musk gave an inspirational
talk on his launch rocket project.
The significance of the conference for our chapter is that we got an award for political
outreach based on Jeff's getting the mayor of San Diego to issue a proclamation declaring Mars
Society Week earlier this year. The other significant thing to come out of the conference is
that Shannon is now in charge of science for the upcoming MDRS season.
Even more stories than this were told about the Mars Society Conference: the Extremeophiles'
concert, the seminars galore, the juicy politics. You had to be at the meeting to truly
appreciate them, so if you weren't at the meeting: O well. See you next month, perhaps?