October 2007 Meeting

We had quite a turnout! In addition to our guest speaker, Dr. Greg Jones, we also had another guest, Ryan Nurnberger.

Roger reported that we are positive in our accounts.

Dr. Jones spoke for about 30 minutes, using his own computer and projector.The group had lots of questions, and I think we all enjoyed the presentation!

Dan will post the meeting minutes (minus the details on the cash on hand) and agendas on the website, once April send them to him.

The Mars Society has suggested that clubs plan a Mars Phoenix Lander party on May 25, 2008. That’s perfect for us, since it falls on our regular meeting date! Derek will look into inviting DARS, Texas Astronomical Society, AIAA and other local groups to that particular meeting. We might be able to plan something special, like a Mars Underground showing.

The Science Channel will present Mars Rising over the next few weeks. Everyone is encuraged to watch it.

We decided to keep the business meeting as usual in January, and go to the planetarium at UNT earlier in the day to enjoy our guest speaker’s presentation there.

We also decided to keep our November 25 meeting, but not the December meeting.

Action Items:

* Add edited meeting minutes and agendas to our website

* Send Dan meeting minutes and agendas
* Coordinate with January guest speaker for planetarium presentation

* Contact DARS, TAS, AIAA about Mars Party in May

See you in November!

October Speaker

Please join the Mars Society this Sunday, October 28, at 6:30 pm for a special presentation: “Touring Mars On-line, Real-time, and in 3D for Educators and Students.”

Dr. Greg Jones will present a project started in 2003 that placed over 97% of Mars topography from NASA into an interactive on-line learning environment for use by educators and students connected to the Internet. The possibilities for bringing students into an immersive environment to discuss and participate in math and science are many.

Dr. Jones is currently an Assistant Professor at the University of North Texas teaching in the program of Computer Education and Cognitive Systems. His research interest is in expanding the way technology can be used to further the creation and distribution of knowledge and learning. His research focuses on the areas of emerging technologies for learning, which include visualization systems for education, virtual communities, telementoring, and multi-user 3D online learning environments (virtual environments). These technologies support learning by the distribution of interaction and feedback across both time and space via interactive forms of multimedia.

September 2007 Meeting

It was good to see everyone for our first meeting after the national Mars Conference! Kurt Chankaya sat in as master of ceremonies while Derek and April wait for April to burst.

Nine members showed up, including Denise Heiser and kids (Anna and John) while Jim was off to another conference.

The major discussion at this meeting was to discuss the conference, and our T-shirt situation, which it turns out is much better than we had originally feared.

For those who may not have heard yet, the conference was great: great speakers, beautiful accomodations and facilities, well organized, but unfortunately it was poorly attended: only 250 or so instead of the usual 350 to 400. The main culprit was suspected as being too late in the summer and over a holiday weakend. Well, lessons learned, and thanks to Maggie for holding another great conference! (Those who haven’t attended should consider trying it next year – it is worth it!). Next year’s conference will be at Boulder, and will be earlier in the summer: I heard it from Bob Z himself!

Due to the lower attendance our shirt sales were not as brisk as expected, but thanks to the great efforts of Roger and especially Mimi, who manned the table almost non-stop all conference long, we sold a bit over half, including the ones sold before the conference. We now have 41 left. The T-shirts did yield a profit. Combining that with the sales of buttons and bumper stickers, and Pam’s knick-knacks, our treasury reports a positive balance.
(special thanks to Pam and Mark for the donation of the artwork!)

As a result several motions were carried:
>Two T-shirts to be donated to Carol Johnson, and one to Bill Ledbetter, as thanks for all their support and teamwork in support of the Dallas Mars Society. Carol had offered to pay full price for the shirts, but we wanted to show our gratitude in this way.
>Ten shirts to be donated to Mars National as auction items for next year’s convention.
>the remaining 28 shirts to be sold at half price ($10) thru whatever means and venue (Fencon, e-bay, etc). We can discuss later if we want to offer them for sale at the next convention, since we will probably have our own 2008 shirts for sale then (it’s a tradition, now!)

Mimi mad a very interesting suggestion of having a ‘Mars Society outing’ to a local rocket launch – say a Dallas Area Rocket Society event or some such.

Curtis showed a quick DVD of a news item on the MER rovers. It was an interesting article, and now we know how the big TV works!

Only one action item: Roger and Curtis to coordinate so Curtis can help us sell the leftover T-shirts on e-bay (thanks for volunteering, Curtis!)

See you in October – remember, we have a guest speaker!

The July 07 Meeting

Another good turnout last Sunday night, with 12 members attending, including a rare but always appreciated appearance by Rev Heiser and family!

 We firmed up that we would bring T-Shirts to the Mars National convention again this year.  Last year they were very well recieved, so we will try with more shirts this year.  Mark offered a great design for the picture.  There was discussion on what the tag line should be.  the first was “Mars… Let’s Go Now”.  Another competing slogan was to make use of the 10 year point.  It was not put directly into words, but is expected to be something like “10 Years Gone, 10 Years to Go…  Mars in 10.”

Also discussed were plans to bring in speakers and have presentations at the meetings.  We will see what occurs.  Next month some of us will be travelling to the National convention, but two of our members are about to have a third so things even out.  Our best hopes for both the trip safety and the birth to come.

NASA Spacecraft Set to Study Mars’ Icy North Pole

Preparations are on track for the launch of a new NASA Mars lander early next month to search for subsurface water and potential life in the red planet’s arctic northern region.

Gearing up of the space agency’s Phoenix Mars mission comes as another mission stands down due to weather concerns. The launch of Dawn, a mission to explore two rocky objects in the solar system’s Asteroid Belt, has been pushed back to no earlier than September, at an additional estimated cost of $20 to $25 million.

If Phoenix launches as planned on Aug. 3, it will reach Mars on May 25, 2008. Once it reaches its target, the spacecraft will barrel directly into the Martian atmosphere and attempt the first soft-landing on the red planet since the NASA’s Viking missions more than 30 years ago.

Full Story

June Meeting Minutes

Our first post-ISDC meeting got us off to a strong start. Nine members came and we went over both our recent success at the NSS ISDC, and our future plans.

It was good to see so many of the regular members continuing on after the ISDC, but it was a bit disappointing that no new folks from our contacts at the NSS made a showing.

First, Derek led a review of the ISDC activities, successes, lessons learned, and disappointments. Thanks Mark for the CD’s of conference pictures! and thanks April for the surprise certificates of appreciation! And thanks to everyone for helping at the ISDC to make it a success!

Then April led us in a discussion of our future, post ISDC direction. While the ISDC has been the focus of our activities for much of the past year, there is still so much ahead of us to do – member drives, community outreach, congressional visits, and the swiftly upcoming Mars Society convention in Los Angeles.

In brief:

  • Remember that you must ‘opt-in’ to the Mars Society newsletter. Simply joining the Mars Society is not enough. The link is on the Mars Society home page
  • April volunteered to be the point of contact for community outreach.
  • Derek volunteered to be the point of contact for member outreach. We realized that though we made some promising contacts at the ISDC, we did not follow up.
  • Mimi volunteered to follow up on the ISDC contacts that expressed an interest in our Mars Society. This complements Derek’s work above
  • Kurt volunteered to be the congressional contact liaison. This turned out to be timely as the Mars Society is organizing a major ‘August recess blitz’ to meet with congressional members during the August recess. We need to act to head off language in the current appropriations that would forbid the new Space Exploration funding to be spent on humans to Mars, but instead restrict it to the Moon only. We must act to preserve the full Moon-Mars vision.
  • Kurt also volunteered to create a draft of goals / roadmap for our chapter for next month’s meeting.
  • Dan volunteered to update the website now that Greg is no longer here….
  • We agreed to make T-shirts for sale at the next Mars Society Convention in August/September.
    • April will contact Maggie and check to make sure no one else is supplying a conference T-shirt, and about selling from the main table. Since April and Derek will not go to the Conference (:-(( we’ll need to figure out how to cooperate with Maggie on manning the table and selling things.
    • Dan, April/Derek, (and Roger?) pledged $100 each for the T-short manufacture. (Ok guys, my notes are a bit fuzzy here – I have a $300 total pledge written down, but I can’t remember if it was $100 each from Derek and April, or $100 from Derek/April, and $100 from Roger…..can you guys help me out?)
    • Mark will bring printed artwork for the proposed T-shirt design to the next meeting.

Dallas Mars Society is Still Alive

The Dallas Mars Society is still alive, even though the website has not been updated lately. In May 2007, the group successfully ran the Moon-Mars track of the ISDC 2007 in Dallas, TX. The former webmaster (Greg = me) has moved from Dallas to Portland, OR and is unable to continue updating the site. I am trying to arm wrestle someone into taking this over. We have found the web is a useful mechanism for marketing and keeping the public informed of our activities.

In the meanwhile, meeting announcements are made on the Yahoo! Groups mailing list, which is active with 3-4 posts per month. Moreover, the list requires moderator-approved membership and is not open to the public, so you will not receive SPAM if you join. Please join:

Dallas Mars Society Mailing List

February 25, 2007 Monthly Meeting


We had another lively meeting last Sunday, with 13 in attendance. We welcome Larry, who was attracted to our meeting from the web site. Hope you enjoyed the meeting and come back again, Larry!

Derek had sent out a mass mailing to a variety of potential Mars speakers, inviting them to our track at the ISDC. A number have already responded positively. It looks like we have a good start at getting a number of quality Mars speakers for our track.

In another wrinkle, National NSS is attracting so many major, plenary caliber speakers that the plenary sessions may be expanded. This is contracting the number of track slots excessively – the number of track slots is now well under 20, a number that is way too low. This will be addressed and some better balance is expected.

Curtis showed his proposed advertising posters. These look very good, and we’ll acquire them in both 8X11 and 11X17 sizes to post in college campuses, etc.

Pam announced that her expansive run of Mars memorabilia is complete. We’ll have the best Mars knick-knack table ever! Kudos to Pam for her efforts and generosity for donating them.

After much discussion regarding bumper stickers, it was decided to authorize Mark to expend up to $150 of Mars Society funds to go and order a set of two-color and full color bumper stickers for sale at the convention.

Discussions began on our table displays. We’ll need sign-up and information sheets for the Mars Society, and a banner. Roger took the action item to check into getting these from national.

We then discussed T-shirts. While we sold a large number of T-shirts at the 9th Mars Society, we were without competition, selling the only ‘convention’ T-shirt. This will not be the case at the NSS ISDC, and caution was agreed on. We will probably make a number of
Mars Society/NSS ISDC themed T-shirts – Mark will think on potential designs.

Overall, our planning for the ISDC is coming along well.

On a sadder note, this was Greg’s Last meeting with us, with him moving to Portland in March. We thank Greg for his efforts in keeping the Mars flame alive these past years, and will miss his participation.

>Dan will put a blurb / link to the NSS ISDC on the Mars Society national home page
>Roger will attend the NSS planning meeting at the convention hotel with Brent from national NSS in order to assess the physical layout
>Roger will contact national Mars Society to get info sheet, membership sign-up, and banner design
>Mark will spend up to $150 to procure bumper stickers
>Mark will come up with some T-shirt ideas for the next meeting
>Kurt will forward to Mark some pictures of the MDRS / FMARS for above
>Kurt will attend the National NSS planning telecom while Derek and April are off on vacation….
See you all March 25th!