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



Click to subscribe to

News & Messages


TMS-SD in the Media

San Diego
Red Planet Report





Main Home Page

3rd Season
NOW Active
December 20, 2003-
May 2004

4th Season Complete
July 2003!

Readies for Iceland
in 2004

2004 Proposed in the
Australian Outback

Chapter Council

Other Chapters

Mars Society
Operation Congress

to find blue hope
just scratch
the red surface

-- Bettina Davis
May 2002





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

-- Konstantin Tsiolkovsky, 1895


Attending: Jeff Berkwitz, Israel Lidsky, Patrick Purcell, Dave Rankin, James Roth, John Stone, Gerry Williams, Buddy the Mars Dog.

After the distribution of necessary provisions; popcorn, peanuts, snacks, and beverages, the meeting commenced.


Dec. 14 - The Japanese Space Agency announced that they were unable to safely place their Nozomi satellite into Mars orbit and so Nozomi will fly by Mars and orbit around the Sun.

Dec. 19 - Member Dave Rankin was featured on Ken Johanssen's "Two o'Clock Show" on KPQ 560 AM News-Talk Radio for 25 minutes regarding the Mars Society and Mars Exploration, both robotic and human. The station asked Dave to return sometime in the future.

Dec. 19 - Monthly Mars Movie Night: The 1950's era movie: "Rocket Ship X-M" was shown. The audience was delighted to see the crew casually stroll into the spaceship barely one minute before launch.

Dec. 20 - The Mars Desert Research Station was reactivated by Crew 20 with members of the San Diego Chapter serving as Mission Support.

Dec. 25 - European Space Agency's Mars Express satellite entered Mars orbit and detached the Beagle 2 lander which presumably landed on Mars.

Jan. 03 - Crew 21 assumes operations of the The Mars Desert Research Station with San Diego Chapter member Shannon Rupert commanding, and with members of the San Diego Chapter continuing to serve as Mission Support.

Jan. 03 - NASA's Mars Exploration Rover named Spirit‚ successfully lands on Mars in the Gusev Crater. After receiving the successful landing signal, the JPL control team resumes breathing.

Jan. 03 - San Diego Chapter members Dave, Gerry, Jeff and Patrick are interviewed on KFMB-TV Local 8 news appearing at the 5:00pm, 6:00pm and 11:00pm News. Video of activities at the MDRS were featured and the landing of Spirit‚ and the potential for human trips to Mars were discussed. Patrick's rover (under construction) made a brief appearance.

Jan. 05 - TMS-SD member Dave Rankin had another successful interview in-studio on KFMB-TV Local 8 appearing at the 7:00am Morning News. Topics discussed were water on and human missions to Mars.

Jan. 05 - KGTV-TV Channel 10 News website posted Local Science Society Simulates Living On Mars, based on the TV news report they taped at our MDRS Mission Support facility earlier in the day.

Jan. 05 - TMS-SD's MDRS Mission Support was featured in a live broadcast interview by Geni Cavitt for the KGTV-TV Channel 10 on the 6:30pm News. The interview took place at the San Diego Chapters Mission Support location and included commentary by Dave, Gerry, and Jeff. Marvin the Martian (courtesy of the WB) made a brief appearance.

Jan. 07 - The San Diego Astronomy Association (SDAA) hosted their "STARS IN THE PARK" public telescope viewing event outside the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center in Balboa Park from 7:00pm past 9:00pm. TMS-SD members were there for public outreach activities.

Jan. 07 - TMS-SD members Dave, Gerry, and Jeff were featured in a 10:00pm News segment on XETV Fox 6. The discussion centered around sending humans to Mars. Buddy the Mars Dog, AKA Ferret, made a brief appearance.

Jan. 10 - TMS-SD members Dave, Gerry, and Jeff were featured in a "A VISION OF THE FUTURE" News segment on XETV Fox 6 at 10:00pm. The discussion centered around sending humans to Mars.

Jan. 16 - TMS-SD member Gerry Williams and Michael Ravine (Advanced Projects Manager at Malin Space Science Systems) discussed Martian photography from orbital spacecraft, from the Mars Exploration Rovers, and at the Mars Society's Mars Desert Research Station in Utah on Shutterbug Magazine Radio with's The Foto Guys, Jack and Howard.


Jan. 17 - "Robot Eyes", a lecture at the Ruben H. Fleet Science Center. The San Diego Chapter had a display table and Patrick's rover.

Jan. 23 - Mars Movie Night this month will feature: "Destination Mars!"

Jan. 24 - NASA's Mars Exploration Rover #2 named Opportunity‚ is scheduled to land on Mars. Good luck to Opportunity and the JPL controllers.

Jan. 31 - MDRS crew 22 begins their rotation.

Feb. 02 - The San Diego Astronomy Association (SDAA) will host their "STARS IN THE PARK" public telescope viewing event outside the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center in Balboa Park. The setup is at 6:30pm, and the event runs from 7:00pm past 9:00pm (weather permitting). TMS-SD members will be there for public outreach activities from 6:30pm to 9:30pm.

Feb. 03 - The San Diego Chapter of the Mars Society enters into its fourth year as an organization.

Feb. 13 - The San Diego Chapter of the Mars Society will hold its monthly meeting.


Feb. 08 - The San Diego Chapter of the Mars Society has tentative plans to celebrate entering its fourth year with a dinner at Killer Pizza From Mars in Oceanside.

Feb. 21 - The San Diego Chapter of the Mars Society will give a lecture at the Ruben H. Fleet Science Center. The subject is yet to be determined. TMS-SD will also have a display table and Patrick's rover.

Feb. 27/29 - The San Diego Chapter of the Mars Society will have a fan table exhibit and will participate in yet to be determined panel discussions at the ConDor XI Sci-Fi Convention.

Mar. 20 - The San Diego Chapter of the Mars Society will give a "What's up on Mars" lecture at the Ruben H. Fleet Science Center, hopefully featuring folks from Malin Space Science Systems. TMS-SD will also have a display table, and Patrick's rover.

Apr. 12 - Discussions are underway on participating in the annual Yuri's Night - World Space Party celebration of Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin's historic flight into orbit.

Apr. 17 - The San Diego Chapter of the Mars Society will sponsor a lecture at the Ruben H. Fleet Science Center by Dr. Jeffery Bada of Scripps Institute. The subject is "Exploring for Life on Mars". TMS-SD will also have a display table, and Patrick's rover.

May. 15 - The San Diego Chapter of the Mars Society will sponsor a lecture at the Ruben H. Fleet Science Center Reuben H. Fleet Science Center by TMS-SD member Shannon Rupert-Robles. The subject is "NASA Mobile Agents". TMS-SD will also have a display table, and Patrick's rover.


Chapters Challenge: Dave Rankin reports that we have previously accumulated 57 posted points, as of 16 January 2004. We also have an additional 57 points not yet posted, for a grand total of 114 points.

Mars Suit Taskforce: Tim Sommers' seamstress is still working on the suit portion, some work remains to be done on the helmet, backpack, air hose assemblies.

Mars Rover RC Model: Patrick Purcell gave demonstration of the working rover and received several well deserved rounds of applause from the group for a job well done. Attendees practiced driving the Rover around the studio and later out in the parking lot where it lured one bystander into joining our meeting. Buddy cautiously eyed and smelled the Rover.

New Display Board: In progress.

Updated Flyers: Gerry passed around the latest versions for the group to proofread and comment on.

Political Outreach: Nothing to report this month.


Treasury and Finances: Patrick was reimbursed for some of his Rover materials expenditures.

Sally Ride Toy Challenge 2004: Gerry will investigate our participation in this activity.

"To Touch the Stars" is a musical celebration of space exploration CD. The possibility of purchasing 12 copies (to get a quantity discount) was discussed. Several said they would like to listen to the music before making a purchasing decision.

TMS-SDPR for the MER-B Rover: The second Mars Exploration Rover named Opportunity‚ a twin of Spirit‚ is due to land on 24 January in the Meridiani Planum on the side of Mars opposite to Spirit. Some discussion took place as to what PR opportunities this provided for our chapter. A comment was made that since Opportunity is #2, the public interest would not be as great as for Spirit.

James Roth Get Well: We were happy to see James attending the meeting, looking to be in good health and recovered from his bout with pneumonia. Way to go, James!

Library Organization: With increased contributions, the library has outgrown it's donated bookshelf. There is a need to organize and catalog books and media. There is also a need to set up a checkout/in procedure.

Other Venues: Discussion ensued about PR and Outreach events at Miramar College, Palomar College, Planetarium, SDSU Planetarium, Aerospace Museum, Speakers Bureaus, and local Libraries. No firm decisions were reached.

Mike Caplinger: We owe Mike and guest a fine dinner because he has been an excellent speaker at our ComiCon events. We were told that he lost his house to the wildfires. Gerry will approach him soon to check his availability for a feast.

Mars Globe: We discussed creating a Mars globe for ComiCon not an easy task since ComiCon will not allow any helium balloons in the exhibit hall. James Roth gave his estimate of how much time (hundreds of hours) it took him to create Mars globes.

Radio Transmissions: The possibility if partnering with Amateur Radio Clubs to provide equipment for listening to data signals transmitted by satellites in Mars orbit at our outreach events was discussed. John will investigate.

After again congratulating Patrick on his Rover, the meeting was adjourned.

- John Stone


Members in attendance:

Gerry Williams, Dave Rankin, James Roth, John Stone, Israel Lidsky, Patrick Purcell, Jeff Berkwits, and Buddy the Mars Dog.


Members arrived and became comfortable.

Dave was signed in as MDRS Mission Support CapCom for the MDRS Hab.

Members viewed a 3D DVD rendition of the Spirit/Odyssey.

Viewed coming attractions for Mars Movie Night.


All items in the agenda were covered.

This Last Month, TMS San Diegohad a huge media presence. Dave Rankin and Gerry Williams appeared in varied radio shows ranging from talkshows in Washington State to Shutterbug Radio. We had an estimated ten media spots in multiple media. Gerry placed copies of TV interviews for public download at. Total airtime, 23 minutes!

Gerry downloaded the full DVD version of Spirit/Opportunity from takeoff to rock-cutting for our chapter and for use in outreach events. This feat took around eighteen hours.

TMS San Diego took over Mission Support for MDRS this month. We weathered two crews (Crew 21 and Crew 22) and racked up many Chapters’ Challenge points. Many thanks to all those members who participated in Mission Support and who made home in the Hab. Good Job Crew 22 Commander Shannon!


Patrick Purcell revealed the completed remote control mockup of the Spirit Mars rover. This was met with loud applause and was proven highly successful (though steering seems faintly buggy) by getting a member of the public to sign on to our email list… during the test run in the parking lot. Great work Patrick, this addition should attract high interest at outreach events.


General monthly events covered.

RFSC Robot Eyes presentation will now include a TMS-SD outreach table. The Rover mockup will be tested.

Mars Movie Night will be featuring "Destination Mars!"

MER-B "Opportunity" lands on Mars on Sat 24 at around 9pm PST. We are awaiting notice from Mike Caplinger of Malin Space Center to confirm if seats are available for 1-4 members. Malin is hosting the Mission Control Communications for the MER-B. With such a large media presence in attendance, these seats are highly coveted by TMS-SD for many, many, many reasons.

MDRS continues with Crew 23.

TMS-SD begins its fourth year o operation on 03 February 2004.


Annual Dinner date is planned. Dates in consideration are 8, 24, 29 February. The date chosen is February 8th, the time to be announced later.

TMS-SD will have a table at RHFSC for an unknown event at 21 Feb. and for the "What’s up on Mars" on March 20, which we are sponsoring. We shall attempt to get someone from Malin to attend.

TMS-SD will have a fan table at ConDor XI, which is held from 27-29 February. The table is around 6 feet in length. We will have TMS-SD members on several panels.

12-04 is Yuri’s Night –World Space Party. Planning is needed at this event. Last year’s show-up was a dozen people.

Dr. Jeffrey Bada of NSCORT is presenting "Exploring for Evidence of life on Mars" at RHFSC Sat 17 April, sponsored by TMS-SD.

"NASA Mobile Agents" with TMS-SD member Shannon Rupert-Robles will be presented on Sat 15 May at RHFSC. It covers Robots and their software and how they interact with people.


Chapter’s Challenge Announced. TMS-SD now has 114 points.

Tim will no longer be able to continue on the Mars Suit Taskforce. The fabric is at the seamstress, so we need to work on the other hardware.

Patrick Purcell has completed the Mars Rover RC Model. It is a hit. Comes equipped with camera, and difficulty in turning in one direction. This hindrance is easily overcome with practice. Patrick was reimbursed $100 for construction materials etc.

The new display and website are not ready. It appears that the last month has been extraordinarily busy for the members involved.

New flyers have been made and printed in limited numbers (100) so that any mistakes can be corrected.

No new political outreach has been initiated. There will be an attempt to improve our media relations. They seem to like u


The TMS-SD treasury came to $246. After reimbursing Patrick, the Kitty now has a balance of $146.

The Sally Ride toy Challenge 2004 was discussed. Some members expressed interest in leading a group of children and teens in creating a new toy.

James Roth is well and in attendance.

The TMS-SD Library needs organization. This may be a simple cleanup to acquiring a larger bookcase.

A thank you dinner for Mike Caplinger is in the works. He has helped us largely and may be able to get us MER-B landing seats. It is proposed that we combine the thank you dinners into something really nice.

Ideas for a ComicCon display were being tossed around. There are certain restrictions placed upon our stand and we are trying to get around them.

Other banter commenced throughout with other miscellaneous ideas and bad jokes. The meeting ran into overtime due to rover testing, but we got "Ben" to sign onto out mailing list. The meeting began and ended well.

Good night, good day, and where is my martian?

- Israel Lidsky



Mars rotating
Sign the Mars Petition

Please e-mail us at

Post Office Box 12226
La Jolla, CA 92039-2226

Media inquiries, please contact:
Jeff Berkwits or
Gerry Williams at 619.723.3456
Requests concerning this Web site should be directed to the Webmaster.