CNN’s John Zarrella to Join ‘Space & the Media’ Panel Discussion at Dallas Convention

Mars Society Announcement

June 11, 2011

CNN’s John Zarrella to Join “Space & the Media” Panel Discussion at Dallas Convention

John Zarrella, principal correspondent for CNN’s coverage of the U.S. space program, will participate in a panel discussion on “Space & the Media” during the Fourteenth Annual International Mars Society Convention in Dallas, Texas, August 4-7, 2011. The panel will focus on space journalism and the role it plays in shaping space policy, as well as public opinion.

Mr. Zarrella serves as CNN’s Miami correspondent, named to this position when the Miami bureau was established in December 1983. Responsible for CNN’s coverage of news in Florida and the Caribbean, Mr. Zarrella has covered events such as the space shuttle launches, the Mars Pathfinder mission and John Glenn’s 1998 return to space.

In addition, Mr. Zarrella has reported on every major hurricane to hit Florida and the Gulf region, most recently Katrina and Rita, the Pope’s visit to Cuba, the trial of ex-Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega and the Cuban and Haitian refugee crises.

Joining CNN in November 1981, Mr. Zarrella served as executive producer at CNN world headquarters in Atlanta where he was responsible for the overall look and content of all hard newscasts. Prior to that, Mr. Zarrella worked as executive producer at WJTV-TV in Miami and WBAL-TV in Baltimore. While working for WBAL-TV, the station was awarded an Edward R. Murrow Award for outstanding news operation.

Mr. Zarrella earned a Bachelor’s degree in English from St. Thomas University, formerly Biscayne College, where he helped establish the school’s journalism program.

Call for Papers & Registration

It is an anticipated that there will be dozens of speakers at the upcoming 2011 Mars Society Convention. If you would like to be one of them, please send an abstract of no more than 300 words to The deadline for abstracts is June 30, 2011. Talks on all matters (science, engineering, politics, economics, public policy, etc.) associated with the exploration and settlement of Mars will be considered.

Registration for the convention is now open at The Embassy Suites are offering a discounted rate of $119/night for single or double occupancy for Mars Society conference attendees. To book your room on-line, please visit: or call the hotel directly at 972-724-2600 and identify yourself as being with the Mars Society Convention. Rates are good for three days before and after the convention, based on availability.

Meeting Minutes for June 5, 2011


We had our May monthly meeting on last Sunday, June 5th – a week late due to the Memorial Day weekend. Still, we had some folks who had plans come up – sorry Curtis and Pam that you could not make it due to travel plans.

Still we had a good showing, with six in attendance. We talked about some space news, such as the official death of Spirit (RIP!), the return and retirement of Endeavor, and the choice of the GEMS project to be a finalist in the Discovery mission.

GEMS (GEological Monitoring Station) is an exciting proposed project aimed at understanding the deep interior of Mars. Landing on the surface of Mars with sensitive probes, it would obtain a much clearer understanding of the Martian interior. This project is one of three finalists for the next round of NASA Discovery missions, generally budgeted at around $425M. JPL’s Bruce Banerdt will receive $3M to develop the GEMS project further. The other Discovery proposals under consideration are a comet hopper and a proposal to sail on the lakes of Titan.

Closer to home, Mark described the ISDC in Huntsville. It sounded like we had a large number of flyers handed out!

We also discussed the needs of the upcoming conference. The speaker list is coming along nicely, and we have a solid and exciting line-up of plenary speakers. It was recently announced that our own Bishop Hesier will be a plenary speaker!

We discussed making our annual T-shirts, using the poster design, and how to line up local sponsors, publicity, AV equipment (does anyone have any room projectors we can borrow?), printers, etc.

Preparations for Bob Zubrin’s upcoming visit on the 16th of June are all in place, and we look forward to him addressing both the National Forensics league as well as the AIAA conference. Bob will be speaking about Mars Direct at the UT of Arlington Planetarium from 6:30 to 8:30. Free snacks will be served and Bob will be available for booksigning and questions as well. Let’s help with a great turnout!

And, let’s also sign up for the national convention, now only two months away!

See you Sunday, June 26!