Meeting Sun April 27, 2014


Same bat-time, same bat-place! (I bet I dated myself with that reference…)

6:30pm, Spaghetti Warehouse, Plano, 15th St and Rt 75, this Sunday night, April 27. This is the last meeting before the University Rover Competition, which looks to be a blowout year at full capacity.

Moon Day is coming up, and Tom is organizing our effort, but we will need an all hands on deck volunteer turnout!
The national convention is sooner than you think, and it is time to start consider how many will attend, do we want to share rides, and do we want to volunteer down there. I expect we will have a good showing!

T-shirt time is upon us again, and we need to decide vendors, price, quantity, and design.

Did anyone catch the lunar eclipse? We’ve had so much rain (!! – a good thing, overall) but this also was Mars Closest Approach and Mars Opposition – home future sweet home is the bright red star right above the moon. Better catch it before it fades away again for another 26 months!

MSL is doing some serious science, and getting ready for the ‘big push’ up the mountain in Gale Crater.

In other words, lot’s to talk and discuss….

Hope to see you all Sunday!


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!


Monthly Meeting this Sunday, June 24


With the last day of June falling on a Saturday, we have an early meeting this month. The next meeting will be on Sunday, June 24, 6:30 PM, Spaghetti Warehouse, in Plano, off of rt 75 and 15th street – same as always!

This is the last meeting before Moon day, so we will discuss the details of our preparations. The rover design is coming along well, and we look forward to hearing the latest from Tom on the preparations there. We are also building a Mars-scape for the rover to go over – this should have a lot of appeal to kids of all ages with our rover eye view remote control.

We will hear an update from Kris on the Mars papers, for which she has been making great progress. And we can give a report on the University Rover Competition, which was a great success and great fun. (stay tuned – we volunteered our group to help out with an event at next year’s URC!)

And of course, we need to plan in earnest for our annual T-shirt sales.

Speaking of getting close on the calendar, the national Mars Society Convention is coming soon – August 3-5 in Pasadena, CA. I hope for a good turnout from our Dallas area (especially for help at the T-shirt table!). Remember that MSL is going to land at 10:31PM local time (give or take) Sunday August 5th, so be sure to consider staying over a day so you can stay and experience the first signals from MSL together. Being right next to JPL just when MSL is landing, the speaker list is, no exaggerating, the best I have ever seen for the convention.

See you next Sunday,


Meeting This Sunday May 27th


Yes, time for another meeting, this Sunday, 6:30 PM, Spaghetti Warehouse, Plano, TX off of Rt 75 at the 15th street exit.

Mark and Tom have been working on getting a rover and camera for moon day, and we will have a demo this Sunday.  (Dan:  please if you don’t mind to bring your monitor to see if it will work with the camera).  Plans are coming together for a great presence at this year’s Moon Day!   And I hope to hear the latest regarding T-shirt designs, and any progress on our e-publishing efforts.

Kris and I are counting down to going to MDRS to help with the URC, and expect to have much to talk about when we return for our June meeting.  Note that our June meeting will be the LAST meeting before Moon day!!  Time flies!

Registration for the conventing is open, and we should have a great line up of speakers in JPL’s backyard.  MSL continues its flawless journey to the Red planet, so let’s hope it keeps up for the nail biting entry descent and landing this August!

And, of course, SpaceX did it!!! They launched Tuesday morning and are on their way to a hoped for (and i expect they will do it) docking with the Space Station Friday.  This is a very big moment for commercial space, space exploration, and our hopes for moving forward in space exploration.

See you all Sunday!


March Meeting Minutes

Yes, a bit late, but here are the March meeting minutes.

We had 8 in attendance, including Donna dropping in to give an update on the debate team’s progress. They sound like they are doing well and more than holding their own in the back and forth in the tough final written rounds. We should hear the results from the final oral arguments in NYC in the next meeting!

We were all saddened to hear of Roger Carr’s passing a few weeks ago, and the society chapter agreed to donate $200 of the chapter’s funds to the National Mars Society in his memory at the next convention. we will miss Roger in Pasadena.

We discussed preparations for a variety of upcoming events, including Tom’s search for a rover for moon day, possibly getting a Mars globe for our table, and Tom showed us some first class draft posters he made. This will draw attention to our table, and we can use it in other locations (like our monthly meetings!), outreach events, and the T-shirt table at the national convention!. We agreed to use $100 of chapter funds towards a display stand, with Tom agreeing to cover any charges above that (thanks Tom!).

Mark has been working with Tom to refine the poster image, and we hope to have a final version for the next meeting.

Other upcoming events include supporting the University Rover Challenge at MDRS in late May – it looks like Kurt and Kris are going to take the plunge and go – a first to MDRS for both of us. Kurt was gearing up for his annual talk to the gifted students program at SMU, and we discussed T-shirt designs.

We’ll hear progress on these fronts and more at next month’s meeting! We will gather together next week on Sunday, April 29 at the Spaghetti Warehouse on rt 75 and 15th street in Plano at 6:30. same time – same same place!

We hope to have a final version of our display poster, and discuss other preparations for our Moon Day display, such as a rover!

Also we should get a final report on the local debate team’s performance in the NYC finals from Tom.

Kris and Kurt have committed to going to support the annual University Rover Competition at the MDRS hab in Hanksville, Utah in late May (but after our May meeting).

Kurt will give a outbrief of the talk at the SMU gifted boys program for 7th graders (my talk on Mars – it went very well, and had over 60 students in one session).

We also need to start on T-shirt designs and orders in earnest….

Mars continues to be in the news, or rather the threat to the entire Mars exploration budget for the next several years. NASA looks to be trying to push any new starts in Mars exploration out to beyond 2018, but the fight continues in congress. I’m sure we’ll hear more from Bob at the convention. In the meantime MSL continues its travel to Mars flawlessly, and MAVEN – the next and last planned US Mars mission – an orbiter looking at Mars’s atmosphere, is preparing for a 2013 launch.

The sign up for the Pasadena conference is open – I hope we can have a big turnout to see MSL land! This will be the biggest Mars event for many a year – i am looking forward to savoring it.


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.

Mars Society Announces Dates/City for 2012 International Convention

Mars Society Logo 200x188

Mars Society Logo 200x188December 10, 2011 by The Mars Society

The Mars Society is pleased to announce that it will be convening its 15th Annual International Mars Society Convention on August 3 – 5, 2012 in Pasadena, California.

The dates were selected to coincide with the anticipated landing on the Red Planet of NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory rover, better known as Curiosity, sometime late in the night on August 5th.

More details about the next Mars Society convention, including the official itinerary, list of speakers and exact convention location will be made available in the near future.  Thank you, and we hope you’ll be able to join us this August!

On to Mars (with a stop-over in Pasadena)!

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!