Meeting This Week, Sunday, Feb 26!


Yes, it is time again!  Meeting this Sunday, February 26, at the Spaghetti Warehouse in Plano, off of rt 75 at 15th street, at 6:30pm.

Ken of the NSS will be there to give a 60 – 90 minute talk about space exploration – everything from near term to space based solar power and whatever.  He brings his own projector and so this promises to be a good show.

Tom brings us news of success with the student debating team arguing the issue of manned space exploration (I won’t tell all the details, but they have won an all expense paid trip to NYC, so they are doing mighty well!)  our dallas chapter has had the opportunity to help coach them on the next round as the argue for ‘The Case for Mars’.

Kris brings us more on the slow but still moving forward saga of publishing the past Mars convention papers, and the URC competition.

Also on our minds is the fateful 2013 NASA budget, which promises to knock back Mars exploration by years (that is a lot of extra spaghetti dinners till our last meeting – we’ll have that one while watching the first human set foot on Mars).  We really do need a call to arms on this one, and we can discuss what we have done and will do.  If you have already written your congressman or the President, please bring a printout of your letter to share with the group.

See you this Sunday.


January 2012 Minutes

Our January meeting was a great start to the New Year. There were nine persons in attendance. The conversation was lively and fun. Discussion topics included exciting plans for the upcoming year.

Mark was back from Florida after being one of the Tweetup VIP’s for the MSL launch. We were excited to hear Mark’s first-hand accounting of the MSL launch.

We were also excited to discuss April’s tour at MDRS. The crew’s agenda was to plan for a pilot Mars 101 course enabling first and second year college students to participate in planetary analog research (

We discussed the Orion spacecraft exhibit which was at the American Airlines center in Dallas in January. Several members from the Dallas Mars Society and National Space Society attended the event.

We shared good memories from the National Space Society Christmas party which was held at Carol’s house in December. Members had a great time at the party.

We discussed upcoming events which include below:

The National Space Society poetry contest on subject – Mars the Next Frontier:  Exploration and Settlement of Space.  Deadline for submission for the contest is July 31st 2012.

ConDFW Convention ( – February 17th – 19th 2012

ISDC 2012 ( – May 24th – 28th 2012

University Rover Challenge ( May 31st – June 2nd 2012

Frontiers of Flight Museum ( Moon Day – July 2012

15th Annual Mars Society Convention ( – August 3rd -5th 2012

We look forward to our guest speaker at our February meeting.  Ken Ruffin, president of the local NSS chapter, will give a talk on the future of space exploration.

November meeting summary


On November 25 we had our last regularly scheduled meeting for 2012, with seven members in attendance.  Mark could not make it, being still in Florida after seeing MSL launch as a Tweetup VIP, Dan and Mina were out for the holidays, and Kris was under the weather, but we still had a good turnout, including a surprise drop by of Judah and his wife.

Of course, the big news was the perfect launch of MSL the day before.  Curtis brought his laptop and we could all see again the launch and orbit of the biggest baddest probe ever sent to Mars.  243 days to go till it lands, but who’s counting!

Tom gave us a rundown on the History Channel’s ‘Crash Landing on Mars’ (its on YouTube) where Bob Z was interviewed, and Lucinda from National had a cameo as a stranded astronaut struggling to get to the return vehicle.  Never know what you will find on late night TV!

We discussed some of the conditions at the MDRS site regarding providing shelter for the URC competition, but we could not get an update on the editing and publishing status with Kris’s absence.

2011 has been a good year for our group, but we all did let the pace slow a bit
after the convention – naturally enough – but we need to step it back up in 2012!

Hope to see you all at Carol’s Christmas party, and we will start up our regular meetings again in the end of January, 2012.

If not, happy holidays and new year, and smooth landings!


Yes, another month has gone by…


Yes, another month has gone by.  Thanksgiving is upon us, Christmas and New Year’s is around the corner, and MSL is about to launch!

We will be having our regular monthly meeting this Sunday at 6:30 pm at the Spaghetti Warehouse in Plano, same as always, near rt 75 and 15th street.

Our meeting comes right after the scheduled liftoff of the MSL, scheduled for 9:02 AM central on Saturday, November 26.  After the delay from Friday I doubt we’ll be able to get any video of it, but we will have a member there as an eyewitness!  As you probably know, Mark S has been invited as part of the NASA tweetup to attend and witness the launch!!  Mark will not be back in time for a first hand accounting, but we’ll catch up with him and hear about it from him in time.  One of our own will be personally in attendance to see the most important launch regarding Mars since Viking!!  I’m sure it will be an awesome sight and we’ll get word back from Mark.

We can also discuss the progress regarding our editing and publishing the proceedings and papers from the last series of Mars Society conferences.  Progress has been slow of late as we head into the always busy holiday season, but stay tuned.  As we move into the new year we also need to start thinking about the initiatives we discussed regarding the University Rover Competition and the Moon Day for 2012.

I do need to apologize that I have not kept things moving as much as I had hoped and wanted. Looking back 2011 has been a great year for our group, highlighted by our hosting the 2011 convention, and 2012 looks to be an exciting year.

See you all Sunday!


Minutes from our August 2011 meeting

There were 8 persons in attendance at our meeting.  We welcomed Lucas who joined us as a guest.

The meeting opened with a discussion of upcoming events.  Events discussed included astronomy day Oct 22nd at the UTA planetarium and the upcoming Fencom convention which is scheduled in Dallas Sept 23rd-25th  We also talked about International Space Week Oct 4th -10th

We agreed to look into adding an upcoming events section to the chapter webpage.  We also talked about potential chapter activities which included science and technology related volunteer opportunities and  inviting guest speakers to our meetings.  During our upcoming Sept meeting, we planned to have chapter elections.

Quick Recap of our August 14th Meeting


I just wanted to give a quick recap of our August 14th meeting.  We had a relaxed celebration of the conference: it was great to just gather and enjoy each other’s company without the pressure of the convention planning, and to relish the memories of the 14th Annual Mars Society convention!   We had a brief awards ceremony for all those who worked on the convention.

And I do believe that we set an attendance record!  We had 14 or 15 folks (I wasn’t taking notes!), including Josh, a new prospective member who dropped in and regaled us with tales of arguing in front of the Supreme Court, no less (welcome Josh!).

It was great to see James H and family: we know that the long drive from Hillsboro on the busiest day of the week is a real sacrifice.

And thanks to Kris for arranging for the awards, they were very eye catching, and well earned by a great team!

With that, Juno is on its way to Jupiter, Opportunity has arrived at Endeavour Crater, and Curiosity is getting ready at the Cape, and it is getting late and I have to go…..

See you Sunday!


Convention Followup

The convention just finished and it was a great experience! The convention went smoothly, the speakers were great, and we met and made friends and engaged on many exciting topics and side discussions.

Talks covered topics ranging from the upcoming Mars Science Laboratory and proposed Geological Monitoring System (GEMS) Discovery mission, the latest from SpaceX and the Kepler mission, as well subjects as varied as power systems, navigation, and growing food on Mars.  Panel discussions and track talks led to many side discussions and exchange of new ideas.

On a more somber note, Robert Zubrin, president of the Mars Society, warned of the dire straights NASA’s manned space program faces given its current rudderless direction in today’s budget environment, and gave us all a call to action.

We had attendees from around the country as well as several from overseas, and got to meet old friends, make new ones, and meet many locals interesting in our chapter.  Thanks again to everyone in the local chapter and national whose efforts, dedication, time, and patience made this not only a success full, but fun experience!

See you on the 14th!


July 31 Meeting Postponed

After consulting folks I’ve decided to cancel our regular July 31 meeting.

Several folks will be unavailable or busy with last minute convention preparations, and it is really too close to the convention to be useful.

Instead, let’s get together on August 14 to relax and reflect and celebrate on our hosting of the convention.. same location and time (spaghetti warehouse, 6:30 pm, etc) as usual. See you at the convention!


Moon Day outreach a big success!


Just a quick note that the Moon Day outreach went swimmingly well. On July 16 the local chapter showed up in force at the Frontiers of Flight museum, and set up a table with our materials, a Mars globe kindly loaned to us by the NSS (thanks Curtis!) and our convention poster, as well as the cool signs that Tom had printed up.

Literally hundreds of space interested locals came up and we got a chance to meet and talk to many, as well as make what we hope and expect to be lasting contacts with like minded organizations like the Dallas Area Rocket Society, Fort Worth Astronomical Society, and of course, the Moon Society and Ken Murphy, whom we thank for his inviting us and the tireless work he put into organizing Moon day. We also took many notes of what the ‘competition’ were doing with their presentations and how to make our presentation and presence even better and more compelling next time (let’s not forget the black table cloths!)

The Moon Day was a great success, and we discussed having an even bigger presence next year. This would be a great time to organize the ‘Mars 101’ community outreach we thought of but were unable to bring to fruition at this year’s convention. Thanks to everyone, and see you at the Mars Society convention, now only DAYS away!!!!