The Mars Society Steering Committee held its bi-annual meeting in Austin, Texas on 1 February 2008. As we wrap up our 10th year we are looking to the future. The Steering Committee meeting was highly productive; results are highlighted below.
* We are beginning with a revamp of our by-laws to better reflect the direction we want to take. This revision will also provide a mechanism to empower our members to not only have a voice in the direction we take but also be able to have a vehicle to express their thoughts directly to the Steering Committee.
* A Treasurer and Secretary have been appointed for the term of one (1) year. Gary Fisher has accepted the post of Treasurer and Sara Spector has accepted the post of Secretary. The addition of these 2 officers will help to shore up some much needed support within the organization.
* The Executive Director Search Committee has narrowed down the candidates and we hope to have the position filled by early March.
* MDRS and FMARS seasons were also discussed and plans are in the works to make the upcoming seasons more robust with additional management support.
* The European members reported that they will soon have an update on EuroMars. Also Richard Heidmann, President of Planete Mars (French Mars Society) was invited to represent the Mars Society in a CNES (French Space Agency) workshop and in another ESA-DLR (German Space Agency) sponsored meeting about space exploration. Both CNES and ESA appear to be more interested by Mars science than by Moon science; the French science community being even clearer about that. This year in November the Ministerial Council will approve the plans for the next 3 to 4 years. They have to confirm Exo Mars (2013) and to approve technology programs for preparation of a Mars Sample Return mission and human exploration for Mars. Experts recommended that budget for exploration be raised to 1 billion per year.
* The University Rover Challenge (URC) will take place at MDRS 5-7 June 2008. Nine (9) teams have declared intent to complete including two (2) international teams.
* In the coming months we will also undertake an intense initiative to revitalize our chapters beginning with a ‘We want you back’ membership drive. Membership support and dues are crucial to carrying out our objectives, as well as to make ourselves counted in the public arena. We are working on more convenient membership renewal options. So if you’ve let your membership lapse you will soon be receiving information on renewing and becoming a supporting part of humans to Mars.
* The ‘Mars Project Challenge’ will be a contest to help determine our next big project. Watch for details in an upcoming newsletter and on the website with rules and how you can participate. Registration is now open for the 11th International Mars Society Convention. The Society goes back to its origin this year, holding the convention at the University Memorial Center, University of Colorado at Boulder, 14-17 August 2008. You can get information on how to register online, by mail or fax at: http://www.marssociety.org/portal/c/Conventions/2008/convention-2008-event. Hotel information should be finalized early next week. Check the website for details.
Your comments are always welcome; you can e-mail them to firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to hearing from you!