Meeting Minutes for June 2012


This is a (very delayed) set of minutes from our last meeting. We had seven people show up to our last meeting before Moon Day, and Tom put on a real show that once again got the kitchen help talking!

Tom brought 4 giant mats that, when put together, made a complete, giant sized map of Mars that we can lay out on the floor and actually drive our rover over. The Rover was also in good shape, in the almost final shape we would see it on Moon Day, and it really looks like the MSL (Tom really did an incredible job!). Dan and Mark also showcased their (at the time of the meeting) still under construction Mars crater to add to the Mars map that Tom made. The crater is about 4 – 5 feet in diameter, in two pieces for breakdown to travel, and a realistic 3-D challenge for our Moon Day Mars Rover drivers.

As we say yesterday, this all came together beautifully, and we had not only a great rover, but the only ‘environment’ for a rover to immerse itself into to driver around in.

Kurt and Kris gave a rundown on our activities at the University Rover Competition (URC), and gave a slideshow of pictures we took there. It was a great event, and we are looking forward to staying connected and helping URC 2013 be even bigger and better than before!

Kris also discussed the considerable progress she has made on formatting the scientific papers submitted from past conferences – with the trial software she found formatting was much easier than word and the sample results were very professional. Kris has since been asked to help out with formatting the conference program, but we look forward to picking up the paper publishing task again after the conference.

We discussed our preparations for the national convention, and we settled on the T-shirt design, with Mark’s beautiful MSL artwork, and, given the larger audience (we are expecting over 200 at this year’s convention) and nearby planetary society, we are leaning forward and ordering 60 t-shirts this year, instead of the 40 we ordered last year.

The final plans for our Moon Day table we finalized, which i will describe in a separate e-mail detailing our very successful Moon Day activities!

Thanks to everyone!


The Mars Underground Loses One of Its Founders

Mars Society Announcement

July 11, 2012

Tom Meyer, an important figure in the efforts over the last 40 years to make human exploration and settlement of Mars a reality, passed away June 27, 2012 after a long illness.

Tom was a founder of The Mars Underground and the lead organizer of the Case for Mars conferences and activities from 1983 to 1996 that helped to keep the dream alive of human Mars exploration during a long period that the American space program was dominated by the Space Shuttle and operations in Low Earth Orbit.

The Case for Mars conferences led directly to the founding of the Mars Society, and Tom was a founding member of that organization as well. As a conference and workshop organizer during the Case for Mars conference series period, Tom was known for his attention to detail and the individual attention he gave to every participant and their needs. He firmly believed that the Case for Mars should not advocate an ideology but should provide a neutral forum where all viewpoints could be expressed. He succeeded in instituting that belief.

Tom was devoted to hastening humanity’s expansion beyond Earth. He was an accomplished scientist whose work spanned many fields including geophysics, computer science, aerospace engineering and science policy. His diverse professional and academic interests included designing and building systems for In Situ Resource Utilization at Mars. An early advocate for Educational and Public Outreach aspects of Space missions, he helped develop the EPO website for the Stardust mission that returned samples from a comet. He was also web-master and an avid participant in the Deep Space Exploration Society of Boulder Colorado, a private group conducting radio astronomy research with a 60 ft parabolic radio dish antenna.

Even in the final terminal phases of Tom’s illness, he devoted his remaining energy to completing a study of a human Asteroid exploration mission (LeCompte, Meyer, Horsewood, McKay, and Durda. Early, Short-Duration, Near-Earth Asteroid Rendezvous Missions, Journal of Spacecraft and Rockets, 49, 4, 2012). Tom believed this mission could give humans early, deep-space interplanetary travel experience without posing extraordinary technical challenges and so would provide a precursor to human Mars exploration and beyond.

In many phases of his work during the past 27 years, Tom was ably assisted by his long time and devoted companion Keli McMillen. She has recently assumed leadership of the Boulder Center for Science and Policy, a nonprofit corporation founded by Tom, to carry his legacy into the future.

Tom was a sympathetic and attentive friend, always generous with his time. He touched many and his presence in The Mars Underground will be sorely missed.

[Prepared by the Mars Society]

The Mars Society