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.

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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!

November Meeting

This year the group has decided to hold the meeting in November. The meeting will be held on Sunday, November 26, 2006 at 6:30PM at Spaghetti Warehouse at Central Expressway and 15th Street in Plano. This is the weekend after Thanksgiving.

“On to Mars 3″

Call for papers from 2005 and 2006 Mars Society Conventions
Sept. 3, 2006
for further infomation about the Mars Society, visit our website at

The Mars Society members have presented close to 200 papers at the two most recent Mars Society Conventions in 2005 and 2006. We are planning to proceed to press on another book in the “On to Mars” series, and we want to encourage all who made presentations at the last two Conventions to submit a full paper for this planned publication.

Authors who are preparing their 2005 or 2006 Mars Convention paper for publication should follow the instructions for preparing their papers in the pdf
2006 Authors instructions here. An assignment of publishing rights to The Mars Society is included in the instructions and must be signed and mailed in.

Papers must be received by 31 October, 2006 to be considered for the planned “On to Mars 3” publication. Questions or clarifications can be addressed to