Status Report

Mars Stations Ready to Launch

By SpaceRef Editor
December 6, 2003
Filed under , ,

Dear Society Member,

The “Year of Mars” is generating incredible excitement
across the globe — and it will soon culminate with
seven spacecraft simultaneously exploring the Red Planet.
This “Year of Mars” is coming to a head this January
when Spirit, the first of two Mars Exploration Rovers,
arrives at the Red Planet.

Indeed, we stand at a turning point in history…one
that could convince more citizens to demand intrepid
and visionary exploration from the world’s space programs
and encourage more young people to make careers in
the space sciences.

The Society’s MARS STATIONS program combines powerful
new software with a system of six extremely detailed
simulations of the surface of Mars, as well as six
rovers. Once they are completed, people in every
country, of every age and background will be able to
log onto the Internet and experience the challenges
faced by scientists and engineers when they are
exploring the Martian terrain.

But, we need your help to make it all happen!

This exciting program will make its debut in just a
short time at our upcoming Wild About Mars Weekend,
scheduled for January 3-4, which will bring thousands
of space enthusiasts together to celebrate the
“Year of Mars,” including Spirit’s touchdown on
the Red Planet.

To support this program now, go to:

If you respond right away with your generous gift of
$25 or more, we’ll place your name on a special plaque
to be mounted on our Carl Sagan MARS STATION at
Society headquarters.

We at The Planetary Society are the leading
advocates for Mars exploration — both robotic and
future manned missions. As NASA struggles to resume
human spaceflight, the Society is urging space
agencies to define a worthy purpose and set concrete
goals for the international space station and for the
eventual human exploration of Mars.

We don’t just talk about advocacy, we get out and
do it. We are the only space interest group ever to
be included on a Mars mission. Our Red Rover Goes
to Mars project involves students and the general
public in the NASA missions now approaching Mars.
Now, with this “Year of Mars,” we have an
unprecedented opportunity to make this vision of
a vibrant space policy a reality.

Our MARS STATIONS — with their prominent place
at our Wild About Mars celebration and on the
World Wide Web — will help us do just that.
Visitors will be able to see them up close, and
then, using our fantastic new software at nearby
computer terminals, actually operate the robotic
rovers in the new terrains…even as Spirit’s
live, real-time landing on the Red Planet is
being beamed to us on giant monitors nearby.

Thanks to the venue, the mass of attendees, and
the people around the world who will stop in to
“visit” and participate via the internet, we believe
the MARS STATIONS project could become a major
resource for people to learn about, become excited
about and participate in the exploration of worlds
beyond our own. This could even be the boost that
space agencies worldwide need to create a positive
and inspiring goal to explore another world.

The Mars missions encounters and our Wild About Mars
are just a few weeks away…a short time left to
complete, and pay for, a terrific load of work.

The reality is that even with our dedicated volunteers,
and the always-innovative ideas of the scientists
and engineers who advise us, there are substantial
costs here that simply can’t be avoided. Remember,
too, that these costs come on top of the ongoing costs
of all our programs: of SETI, Red Rover, extra-solar
planets, the Solar Sail, and many others.

Again, there has never before been a moment like this:
seven different spacecraft exploring a single alien
world at once! It will likely be a very long time
before it happens again.

Now, we can celebrate this unique moment by giving the
world’s citizenry more and better opportunities to
participate…by making the experience of exploring
other worlds available to all. Please help us accomplish
this. I’m asking you to send us your much-appreciated,
tax-deductible gift — for as generous an amount as
you can possibly afford — to make the MARS STATIONS
project, and Wild About Mars, a roaring success.

To help make this program happen donate at:


Louis Friedman

Executive Director

P.S. If you haven’t received it already, you will
probably be getting a letter about this project in
the mail. If you have already sent in your
donation we thank you.

SpaceRef staff editor.