New Chapter Forms
The year 2001 heralded the beginning
of a new century,
a new millennium, and a new local chapter of the Mars
Society. The fledgling San Diego Chapter entered the
new year running, with active recruitment, outreach
and merchandise programs, our own website, online
store, and a motto: "Mars: It's Not Just For Robots."
The Chapter's first organizational meeting took
back in January of 2001 at a local restaurant. About
six people attended that first meeting.
Chapter membership has increased to about a dozen
current members. Drawing on the diverse talents of
our members, we have been busy in our first year
recruiting new members and promoting Mars exploration
in the San Diego area.
In June the Chapter hosted a panel discussion at
San Diego ComicCon before an audience of 83 humans and
2 Klingons. The panel included science-fiction author
Kim Stanley Robinson, noted astronomer and
science-fiction author Dr. William Hartmann,
exobiologist Dr. William Baity of the University of
California at San Diego, and spaceship designer and
Mars cartographer Dr. Michael Caplinger, Senior
Scientist at Malin Space Science Systems. The
discussion was well received by the audience, and
ComicCon has invited us to give another presentation
The Chapter has done outreach events at the Reuben
Fleet Science Center, including hosting an information
table and giving a short recruitment talk at a
NASA-sponsored lecture on the day Odyssey entered Mars
orbit. One of our ongoing outreach programs is to
have members present at the Science Center's monthly
astronomy lecture and telescope viewing event.
The Chapter also raises money and promotes the
Society by selling advertising merchandise, such as
imprinted t-shirts, sweatshirts, mugs, mousepads and
the like, through our website and online store. The
merchandise is adorned with a striking photograph of
Mars, the Chapter's website address, and motto.
Besides doing outreach and promotion, we also seek
educate ourselves about Mars and Mars exploration. We
recently toured Malin Space Science Systems, which
operates the Mars Orbital Camera (MOC) on Mars Global
Surveyor. MOC took a scheduled photograph of Mars
during our tour.
A permanent educational resource is the Chapter's
substantial circulating library of Mars-related books
donated by Robert Jacobs of Univelt Publishers. We
keep up with current Mars events through the Chapter's
Yahoo mail group. One of our members regularly copies
online articles about Mars to the mail group to keep
the entire Chapter informed of news about Mars. We
also meet and watch Mars documentaries together on
occasion. For fun, we put on a Mars Movie Night once
a month. Last month's selection was "Total Recall."
Next month's movie is "Robinson Crusoe on Mars."
Last, but not least, the Chapter has a goal of
directly assisting The Mars Society on its projects.
We recently volunteered to act as Mission Control for
the upcoming Mars Desert Research Station. All the
members are very excited that our Chapter has been
chosen to be Mission Control during the station's
second month of operation.
The San Diego Chapter can be contacted by email
MarsSocietySanDiego@yahoogroups.com, the Chapter's
mail group monitored daily by its members. Anybody
can join the mail group, which is located at
Chapter's website is located at
Chapter's online store is located at