The Mars Society - San Diego Chapter.
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to find blue hope
just scratch
the red surface

-- Bettina Davis
May 2002


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Suggested Reading

Comic-Con International 2002 Convention

ConDor IX SciFi Convention

ConJecture SciFi Convention

ESA - Mars Express

Exobiology at UCSD

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


think mars

X Prize Foundation


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

-- Konstantin Tsiolkovsky, 1895


This year's Comic-Con was a great success for us. The combination of an information table and two panel discussions enabled us to tell the story of Mars, The Mars Society, the Mars Analog Research Stations, and Mars Direct to several hundred people.

Regarding the people who came by the table, I was pleased at how well known the Mars Society is.

There was even a German who came by and talked about his country's press coverage of the Mars Desert Research Station. I was pleasantly surprised by three things:

How seriously people took what the Mars Society does, how few of them were coming in from the Richard Hoagland fringes of reality,

And the number of people who dropped by and said they had seen our panel last year and were hoping we'd be at Comic-Con again this year.

It was very satisfying to present the two panels at the Comic-Con and to see our audience attendance increase from last year, and with each talk this year. It was gratifying that there was such interest among the two audiences in the topics, especially since they were not filled with Mars Society members.

Some of the panelists seemed to mildly criticize the idea of going to Mars saying it's too expensive, it's too dangerous, there's no good reason to go at this time, there's no economic benefit, and we should concentrate on building an infrastructure in space before undertaking such a mission. None of the panelists seemed opposed to going to Mars eventually.

The criticism seemed to be that we're just not ready yet. I suppose the difference between us is that we in the Mars Society think it's about time we got ready, and that we could get ready soon if we made the effort.

Finally, regarding the authors, entrepreneurs, and scientists who agreed to speak on our panel for no compensation, it never ceases to amaze me what busy and successful people will do, if you just ask. Don't imagine for one minute that we'll stop asking!

See you next year at the Con.

--Dave Rankin

We approached The Mars Society - San Diego presence at the 2002 Comic-Com International popular art convention in a three-pronged manner:


First, we had a display table in the Exhibitors Hall from Wednesday's "Sneak Preview Night" through the close of the Con on Sunday at 5:00pm.

Our display was a 4'x8' backdrop of photographs set atop the table. The left wing of the backdrop was "Mars Today" with current images and information about the Red Planet. The Center section was for The Mars Society projects, such as Mars Direct, F-MARS, MDRS, EuroMARS, Mars Balloon, Pressurized Rover Project, and the Mars suits. The right wing of the backdrop told about the San Diego Chapter's involvement with MDRS and it's Mission Support, our meetings and our monthly Mars Movie Night. The table itself contained our new orange half-page double-sided flyers, our red Comic-Con Panel flyers, several books (including "A Case for Mars"), Mars globes, and merchandise from our Mars San Diego web store.

We'd pushed the table back against the wall and were able to talk with over 400 passersby and we passed out over 600 flyers.


On Friday, August 2, 2002 at 12:30pm to 2:00pm in Room 7B of the San Diego Convention Center, TMS-SD hosted a 90-minute discussion panel, "MARS ANALOG RESEARCH STATIONS (MARS)".

Dave Rankin moderated the panel and made introductions after a 12-minute PowerPoint p resentation that introduced The Mars Society and our San Diego Chapter.

Gerry Williams narrated a short 10-minue film he shot at MDRS and what's going on there.

Jonathan Butler talked about designing a biology experiment to be performed at the Hab.

Shannon Rupert-Robles also talked about the biology experiment as well as her two weeks as part of Crew #4 at the Hab.

John Stone discussed MDRS Mission Support, which opened up to the panel discussion.

Rich Loesch videotaped the panel for us again this year, and Gerry will edit the graphics into it and make VHS tapes available so it can be checked out from our chapter Library later in the year.

Comic-Con's official attendance count at our panel was 104 people.


On Sunday, August 4, 2002 at 11:00am to 12:30pm in Room 7B of the San Diego Convention Center, TMS-SD hosted another 90-minute discussion panel, "MARS: PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE". Dave Rankin moderated the panel and made introductions after an 8-minute PowerPoint presentation that introduced The Mars Society and our San Diego Chapter.

John Carter McKnight (who pens "The Spacefaring Web") lead off with a PowerPoint presentation of the Burroughs' American West approach to Mars.

"Climbing Olympus" author Kevin J. Anderson followed with how Mars (and the film "The War of the Worlds") ensnared him into being a sci-fi writer.

Larry Niven, well known sci-fi personality and author of "Rainbow Mars", took the center of our program and discussed different approaches how we can get into space and eventually to Mars.

Mars Orbital Camera (aboard the Mars Global Surveyor spacefraft) project scientist Dr. Mike Caplinger from Malin Space Science Systems gave us the state of Mars today.

And SpaceDev's founder, Jim Benson, explained his vision of how we can get into space and stay there.

Dave asked some questions to get the panel discussion going, and we ended with audience questions. Rich Loesch videotaped the panel for us again, and Gerry Williams will edit it into VHS tapes available from our chapter Library.

To show our appreciation to our panelists, we took them to lunch at the San Diego Yacht Club immediately after our presentation, and we gave them all a Certificate of Appreciation and a mug from our Mars San Diego web store.

Comic-Con's official attendance count during our panel was 179 people (next year we'll need a bigger room!).

--Gerry Williams

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