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NSS Mars Efforts

NSS press release

NSS: E-mail the White House

Enough talk. Now there is something we can DO!

The "Mars rock" and the "Space Summit" have given us a unique window of opportunity to remind the U.S. and the world that space is for people, not just robots.There are two very specific things we -- each and every one of us -- can do to get humans back into the solar system. And they won't take a lot of work. But they must be done:

1.E-mail the President to put humans back in the solar system space program.

2.Write or e-mail the Vice President to include NSS, as representing the public, in the December "Space Summit."The instructions are below; the future is in our hands.


Letter or E-Mail to the Vice President

It is vital that the National Space Society be at the White House's December "Space Summit" if the public concerned with the human future in space is to have a voice.Our leadership, including both Apollo astronaut Buzz Aldrin and space engineer Robert Zubrin, should both be there.

It is important that Vice President Al Gore, who is chairing the summit, be informed of the necessity of an NSS presence. Please send letters to Vice President Gore at Old Executive Office Building, 17th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, DC 20501, or E-mail to

The "Space Summit" needs to go beyond the narrow consideration of robotic Mars exploration to the beginning of a human Mars program by recommending "a Phase A study" to determine the lowest cost method of achieving that. A Phase A study would review alternative concepts and settle on a preferred mission architecture and give a reasonably reliable estimate of costs.

E-Mail to the President

The new National Space Policy released on September 20 no longer includes the Bush administration's goal of expanding "human presence and activity beyond Earth orbit into the solar system." Humans are losing their place in any real program that's heading for space.While the National Space Policy is a useful overview, we are concerned with its lack of vision. BETWEEN NOW AND DECEMBER 1, -- BEFORE THE WHITE HOUSE SPACE SUMMIT TAKES PLACE -- it is imperative that all pro-space citizens let President Clinton know of our disappointment with this turn of events.Please send an electronic or written letter to President Clinton as soon as you can. Use the following points to create your letter. Be firm, but be polite. Please limit your message to one screen or your letter to one page.

E-mail to: president@whitehouse.gov
Mail to: President Bill Clinton, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20500
Telephone: 202-456-1414

Among the points you may wish to include:

  • The President's advisors have fallen short in building bridges to the future by removing the fundamental goal of expanding the human presence into the solar system from the new National Space Policy and NASA's charter
  • President John Kennedy's science advisor opposed going to the Moon, but Kennedy went ahead anyway with a program that led to his, and the nation's, ultimate glory
  • Humans are essential to answering the new questions about Mars; to carry out a competent program of field exploration, we'll need the skills that only human explorers can provide -- intuition, perception, mobility
  • The US space program needs a central, motivating goal to give the American taxpayer an even better return on their space dollar than they've already been getting
  • A humans-to-Mars space program would inspire our youth to achievement in science and engineering -- a sound investment in intellectual capital, the true source of future wealth What We Want Clinton to Do:
  • Put vision back in the National Space Policy.
  • Put humans on equal footing with science and have the Space Summit's outcome support humans to Mars and a stable NASA budget to help get them there.

Other Info to Include:
Your personal view
Where you are from
Your gender and age (optional)
Your field of work

Help us track your efforts!
Please cc: e-mail to .
Copies of written letters should be sent to David Logsdon, Field Coordinator, National Space Society, 922 Pennsylvania Avenue, SE, Washington, DC 20003.

NSS Washington- Area Mars Events

National Space Society Members and Friends: It's a Mars Two-Fer!! Don't miss these two exciting events sponsored by the NSS!


WHEN: Wednesday, November 13, 1996, 9:00 am - 3:00 pm

WHERE: House of Representatives Science Committee Hearing Room
2318 Rayburn Office Building
Washington, DC

WHAT: An independent gathering of experts before a public audience to discuss the next steps for Mars as evolving from robotic exploration to humans.

This event will feature a wide-ranging discussion of the programmatic elements of sending humans to Mars, including precursor robotic missions. Major themes include:
Robotic Exploration -- the Next Steps
Humans to Mars -- Why?
Humans to Mars -- How?
Humans to Mars -- When?

COST: The forum is free and open to the public.

WHO: Among the featured speakers:

Dr. Scott Pace, space policy analyst, Space Forum Moderator
Dr. Geoffrey Briggs, Center for Mars Exploration, NASA Ames Research Center
Dr. Michael Griffin, Orbital Sciences Corporation
Mr. Kent Joosten, NASA Johnson Space Center
Hon. Harrison Schmitt, Apollo astronaut-geologist, former U.S. Senator
Dr. Gerald Soffen, Director of University Programs, Goddard Space Flight Center
Dr. Gordon Woodcock, Boeing (ret.)
Dr. Lowell Wood, physicist, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
Dr. S. Pete Worden, former Director, Science, Tech and Advanced Concepts, National Space Council
Dr. Robert Zubrin, Pioneer Rocketplane, author, "The Case for Mars"

LATEST INFO: http://www.nss.org/ or call 202-543-1900

(Sponsored by the Space Policy Institute, the National Space Society and The Planetary Society)

WHEN: Friday, November 22, 9:00 am - 5:00 pm

WHERE: Dorothy Betts Marvin Theater
George Washington University
800 21st Street, NW
Washington, DC

WHAT: A symposium about the cultural, intellectual, theological and policy implications of evidence of possible fossils of ancient life forms from Mars. It will provide an opportunity for the public to express itself about an appropriate response to the Mars meteorite findings prior to the White House summit. Topics addressed include an analysis of the meteorite findings, what steps to take to prove the findings valid, the implications of alien life, international interest and response, and how to put the findings in broad perspective.

WHO: Among the featured speakers:
Kathie Thomas-Keprta, Mars meteorite science team
Kim Stanley Robinson, author, "Red Mars, Green Mars" and "Blue Mars"
Father John Minogue, DePaul University
Richard Bernedzen, astrophysicist, American University
Roald Sagdeev, University of Maryland, former Director, Space Research Institute, Moscow
Robert Zubrin, Pioneer Rocketplane, author, "The Case for Mars"
Dan Goldin, NASA Administrator

COST: None. The forum is free and open to the public. Advance registration is required. Send name, organization, address, phone/fax/e-mail to or mail to: Space Policy Institute, George Washington University, Washington, DC 20052. Fax: 202-994-1639.

LATEST INFO: http://www.gwu.edu/~spi

NSS Letter-Writing Campaign

Do You Know Someone Famous? NSS Needs Signatures for Letter to Clinton

As part of our "On to Mars" campaign, NSS is producing an Open Letter in support of a human mission to Mars. The NSS is asking space activists to think about people in your sphere of influence whose name on our letter might help influence Clinton.

Please think about opinion leaders in your community -- elected officials, scientists, academics (college or university presidents and/or professors), business leaders, sports heroes, media personalities -- who might be recognizable to Clinton and who would agree to your request to lend their visibility to our message to the President. The NSS is already contacting astronauts, scientists and celebrities at the national level.

Here are points you can use to describe the "Open Letter" project to your potential recruit:

  • The National Space Society and space advocates are concerned. While President Clinton's newly updated National Space Policy is generally favorable, there is concern that there is no longer a long-term vision for human involvement in the U.S. space program.
  • It can be difficult to keep space issues in the spotlight, with all of the other pressing issues of today. It is important that space not become a lesser issue.
  • The stature that you have achieved through your work [or art] could, at this critical time of exciting discovery and new visions, help us to turn up the volume on space, if even for just a moment. Perhaps a moment is all it might take
  • Our goals are to submit the letter for consideration to trade publications such as Space News; to print the letter in the January/February issue of our bi-monthly magazine, Ad Astra, which reaches over 25,000 NSS members, industry representatives, policymakers and space advocates; and, finally, to deliver the letter to President Clinton prior to the White House Space Summit.
  • In signing the letter, the NSS confirms that the signature will be used only in conjunction with this project and will not be duplicated for use in any other NSS materiele. A copy of the final letter with all signatures will be sent to each signator.

Instructions for Obtaining and Sending Signatures:
Print out a copy of the Open Letter below
Review the points above and call or visit your potential "recruit"; fax them a copy of the letter if they'd prefer
Reassure them that the signature will be used for no other use than the letter
Ask them to sign using a black or blue felt-tipped pen
Please pick up the signature in person so that you have an original version
Fax the signature to the NSS at (202) 546-4189, ATTN: Open Letter Project
Signatures are due to NSS by December 1
Be sure to include an address or fax number of your signator so that NSS can send them a copy of the final letter

Questions? Contact Karen Rugg at NSS: 202-543-1900, ext. 177 or

Open letter from the National Space Society to President William J. Clinton

Thirty-five years ago your predecessor John F. Kennedy clearly established the United States as the world technology leader by sending the human race to the Moon.

This year serious evidence of past life on Mars has been unveiled. This may well be one of the single most important discoveries of this century. Robotic probes are a useful follow-up to this find, but only human hands, human eyes, and human minds operating on the Red Planet will ever be able to ferret out the full measure of the secrets that Mars has to offer.

Therefore, we, the undersigned, urge you, Mr. President, to immediately call for NASA to plan and implement a human mission to Mars which will be the beginning of a sustained program of human exploration and eventual settlement of the Red Planet.

The United States and its friends clearly have the ability to make such a program happen. We have the opportunity to open a New World to humanity; one full of wonders yet to be discovered and history yet to be made. It is time for the United States to lead human exploration yet again.

Signed by,

(signature; please use black or blue felt tip pen)

(please print name here; be sure to include middle initial)

(please print title, company and/or organization to be listed beneath signator's name)

Boston NSS October Lecture Summary

by Roxanne Warniers

"From the Garage to the Solar System"
Presented by Lynn Olson on October 3, 1996

Our October lecture was given by the Boston Chapter's Vice President - Lynn Olson. The talk was titled From the Garage to the Solar System: An Entrepreneurial Approach to Settling Space.

Space Costs
     Lynn began with the question - Is low cost space even possible? He compared IBM's billions spent in the 1960's to develop the mainframe 360 series, to the Jobs/Wozniak Apple computer - garage edition. A similar change of scale couldbe possible, with NASA and major space-related companies so focused now on low cost launch technology.
     Lynn reports that "Devices in space typically cost at least one hundred times [of a] terrestrial device performing same function", primarily due to launch costs and requirement for unattended operation. He cited several examples compiled by Bill Haynes, Los Angeles AIAA in their August 1992 newsletter:

Mountain climbing carabiners attach tether to ring: $5-20
Space EVA: $1090
Sortie Vehicles - Deep sea rover $1.8 million
Space rover $420 million
estimated cost for ground-based: $6.8 million
Hubble telescope $1.5 billion

     Besides the high cost of payload equipment, space venture is also inhibited by the high cost of launches, despite the lowering cost of propellant. Lynn concludes that "huge cost reductions in both payloads and launch are possible."

An Entrepreneurial Path
     Lynn prepared a phased business approach to low cost space ventures by pursuing first, sounding rockets, then a small low Earth Orbit (LEO) launch vehicle, proceed to a tether/electric propulsion transfer system to geosynchronous orbit, and finally breakout into the solar system. This approach has the benefits of:

  • First step small enough for "garage"
  • Each step develops technology for next phase
  • Each step self funding
  • Puts people into space - create spacefaring civilization

He went on to discuss each phase in detail, ending with missions to Mars, the Asteroids and beyond.

Companies pulling out of the "Garage"
     Lynn also discussed several companies currently working through the first two phases of his approach (sounding rockets and low earth orbit smallsat launch). These included:

  • Orbital Sciences Corp. with Pegasus and Taurus launch vehicles and X-34 liquid-fueled replacement
  • Microcosm - small launch vehicle called Scorpius carrying payloads and doing studies.
  • AeroAstro - a builder of small satellites, they are also working on a liquid fuel sounding rocket and will eventually have a launch vehicle.
  • Pioneer Rocketplane, founded by Robert Zubrin, is developing a winged space plane - fully reusable, with in-flight refueling.
  • EER Systems developed Consort sounding rocket series, now working on the Conestoga launch vehicle.
  • Coleman Research won the first prime contract with Army this year, by specializing in missile defense market.
  • Kistler has created a fully reusable sounding rocket; they hope to use RussianNK-33 engines.
  • Pacific Rocket Society and Reaction Research Society both operate at the hobbyist level and are trying for a 50-mile plus rocket. These groups are much like the computer clubs of the 1970's.

     Lynn concluded optimistically. Space industry today has many "garage"- starter companies making significant in-roads in low-cost payload and launch vehicle approaches. These companies are doing well by working the business side as well as the technical side of entrepreneurial enterprise.

Upcoming Boston NSS Events

Thursday, November 7, 1996

"Space Museums"
by Jeff Foust

Nearly a quarter-century has passed since the first era of the Space Age -- the period from Sputnik through the Apollo moon landings -- has come to a close. An entire generation of Americans has grown up without firsthand experience with this exciting era of American history. This makes the role played by space museums more important than ever, as they provide a key link between past space efforts and future space hopes. Jeff Foust will look at a number of space museums across the country, including the Kansas Cosmosphere, the National Air and Space Museum, the U.S. Air Force Museum, and the Smithsonian's 150th Anniversary Traveling Exhibition, to see how each museum is preserving our past space heritage. Many pictures of the museums and their exhibits will be shown.

Thursday, December 5, 1996

"The Case for Mars"
by Robert Zubrin

Thursday, January 9, 1997

"Challenger Centers"
by Bruce Matson

Philadelphia Area Space Alliance News

by Jay Haines

PASA meets regularly for a business luncheon and formal meeting from 1-3pm, the third Saturday of every month at Smart Alex Restaurant, Sheraton University City, 35th & Chestnut. 2 hours free parking with validation.
     Scheduled activities: November 22-24, Philcon; probable trip to Franklin Institute in Dec. (some free passes avaliable). Call Michelle for details.
     October 19th meeting: Hank Smith talked about PASA plans for presenting and exhibiting at Philcon in November. Jim Chestek and Don Cox's presentation will be Fri., Nov. 23rd, probably at 8 p.m. This will be one of nine science programming sessions at Philcon. Jay Haines talked about putting PASA on the WWW via LibertyNet, the WWW destination for Philadelphia-area information.
     Anyone who knows teachers who might be interested in having their students participate in ground-based control experiments related to the NSS-sponsored student experiments which will fly aboard the Columbia Space Shuttle (STS-80), probably in November or December, should contact Michelle.

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