Status Report

NSS Online Report Issue #17 / August 2001

By SpaceRef Editor
August 4, 2001
Filed under ,

Inside this issue:

  • DC-L5 Tapes First “Around Space” Television Program
  • Space and County Fairs: The fair is not just cows and chickens any more!
  • Lunar Reclamation Society Reaches Out on the Web
  • Congress Ponders the Question of Life in the Universe
  • Space-buff Volunteers Wanted as Solar System Ambassadors


by Donnie Lowther, President, DC-L5

The first episode of “Around Space”, a new television program
produced by NSSís DC-L5 Chapter, was taped on July 14. “Around Space” host,
Dr. Kent Miller, led a discussion on space tourism. The guests were Pat
Dasch, Executive Director of the National Space Society; Bob Haltermann,
Executive Director of the Space Travel & Tourism Division of the Space
Transportation Association; Ron Jones, Executive Director of the ShareSpace
Foundation; and via telephone from Japan, Dr. Patrick Collins, Professor of
Economics at Azabu University.

Areas discussed in the first episode of “Around Space” were: the
space shuttle flying with empty seats; how many people want to go to space
and how much would they be willing to pay; problem areas hindering the
development of space tourism; ways to open space up to the general public;
NASAís reaction to Dennis Tito’s trip to the International Space Station; the
potential economic impact of the space tourism industry; why people want to
go to space and what they want to do there; why we are not further along in
developing commercial space endeavors; bills presently before Congress that
would promote space development; and the next steps that need to be taken to
develop the space tourism industry.

The show will air on Fairfax Public Access Channel 10 the week of October 4-
10 in conjunction with World Space Week. Anyone desiring copies of the tape
should contact Donnie Lowther at:

Future show topics will include: Elaine Walker (BlueZia Productions)–
composer and singer of Filk (space) music; Inge Heyer (Space Telescope
Science Institute)-Journey Through the Universe with the Hubble Space
Telescope; and Fred Wulff (retired from NASA) talking about the early days of
space flight.

The fair is not just cows and chickens any more!

by Dale B. Grady (
Program Director and Vice President
New Frontier Society of Greater Rochester New York

At first glance the NSS working with a county fair might seem a
stretch. However, in our society today the nature of county fairs has begun
to change, at least in our larger metropolitan areas. Fairs in this country
have always had a large technology component. Traditionally it has been
technology of an agricultural nature. Today agriculture is going high tech
and getting ready to go to the stars. To that end, the Cornell Agriculture
Extension Program has provided us with a hydroponics exhibit and display
materials for space food. The tie-in is perfect and provides a strong link to
the agricultural community.

For the last four years the New Frontier Society of Greater Rochester
(, the regional chapter of the NSS in western New York,
has presented the Space Education Center at the Monroe County Fair
( We have established partnerships with a number of
organizations in the process. The most important partnership is with the
Monroe County Fair and Recreation Association, a non-profit non-governmental
educational organization that has staged the county fair here since 1823.
This is a long-lived stable community organization with a long tradition of
community service.

The Associations’ objective to “promote youth, agriculture,
horticulture and the mechanical arts and technology” fits well with what we
must do to discharge our mission. We are not going to the stars without our
farmers and it certainly takes a LOT of technology to get there.

This partnership has reached the point where our organizations are
tightly linked. I sit on their board of directors as treasurer. Several of
their staff and members are members of our NSS chapter.

The Fair will take place August 1-5 this year. Attendance is expected
to exceed last years’ totals (total attendees: 50,000 Space Ed. Ctr.:
30,000). This is great exposure and we have a fantastic opportunity to
reach the public. This year we will have:

Hubble Space Telescope Model
Opening the Space Frontier Exhibit
Boundaries of Flight & NASA Aeronautic Exhibit
TRMM Tropical Rain Forest Exhibit
NASA Space Sciences & Space Flight Exhibit
*Space Shuttle Orbiter 1/15 scale model (8 feet long)
*Saturn V 1/96 scale model
*TDRS communications satellite model
Astronauts of New York Exhibit
Apollo and the Moon Exhibit
NASA Centers Near You Exhibit
NSS exhibit
NASA ties to Rochester Exhibit
Frontiers – Historical and Space
Hydroponics and Space Food exhibit
Mercury Redstone 1/5 scale model and exhibit
The Orbital Theater with continuous NASA videos on a large screen
Multimedia center with Mars, ISS and solar system simulations
SETI Exhibit
Posters, 3-D viewers and T-shirts will be sold as fund raisers

* These are part of our NASA model restoration project assisting NASA to
return damaged models to exhibit quality. I will tell you more about this
next month.

In the next issue I will outline the process of creating our Space
Education Center and the additional partnerships we have forged to make this


Thirty-two years after the first explorers walked on its surface, our
understanding of the Moon has grown tremendously, but it remains the only
temporarily abandoned outpost on the final frontier. The Lunar Reclamation
Society (LRS), which serves as NSS chapter for Milwaukee and Southeastern
Wisconsin, is dedicated to “expanding the human economy through off-planet
resources” by promoting the development of technologies needed for Solar
System exploration and “the economic-environmental rationale of space/lunar
settlement.” In support of both the LRS and NSS mission of promoting “change
in social, technical, economic, and political conditions to advance the day
when people will live and work in space”, LRS has developed an impressive
presence on the World Wide Web.

The Lunar Reclamation Society web page,,
contains an extensive library of information relating to the scientific,
technical, economical, and political challenges associated with establishing
a permanent human presence on the Moon. A growing archive of material from
the LRS newsletter, “Moon Minersí Manifesto” (MMM), addresses the challenges
that will be faced by pioneers settling not only the Moon, but also Mars and
some of the major satellites of Jupiter and Saturn.

Providing even more detail is a series of “White Papers.” One of
these White Papers, “Steps to Civilian Lunar Home Rule Authority”, recently
earned the LRS web site a content award from The awarded paper
(, written by LRS Co-Founder and
President Peter Kokh, explores the issue of political authority over Lunar
settlements and suggests that increasing levels of autonomy be associated
with tangible goals of technical, economical, and social development.

LRS also uses the web site to provide information on past, present,
and future projects. This section may be of special interest to the leaders
of other chapters who are looking for interesting activities. Since LRS
welcomes members from around the country, not just Wisconsin, these projects
may also be of interest to individual space enthusiasts. Some of the current
LRS projects include providing speakers and organizing workshops on space-
related topics, developing information tables and displays for public events,
supporting the Oregon L5 Societyís Lunar Lavatube Locator project
(, and hosting a Space Chapters
Resources web site (


The Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics held a hearing July 12th
on “Life in the Universe,” assessing private and government-owned endeavors
to answer the question, “Are we alone?”. The four witnesses were Dr. Neil
Tyson, Hayden Planetarium, Dr. Ed Weiler, NASA Associate Administrator for
Space Science, Dr. Jack Farmer, NASA Astrobiology Institute at Arizona State
University, and Dr. Chris Chyba, SETI Institute. The hearing provided
leading members of the space research community the opportunity to describe
their search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI), biological life forms
such as microorganisms within the solar system, and Earth-like planets
orbiting other star systems.

Dr. Tyson reminded the committee of the widespread appeal of life
elsewhere in the universe, and stressed that “funding should match public
interest” for programs searching for life. Dr. Farmer spoke about
astrobiology and the Earth-based studies that are ongoing. Dr. Weiler
promised that although we have only found Jupiter-sized extrasolar planets as
yet, devices sensitive enough to see Earth-sized bodies would soon be in
use. The SETI Institute lost federal funding in the 1994 budget cuts, and
during his testimony Dr. Chyba emphasized he was “not suggesting earmarking
of government funds,” and that SETI research is peer-reviewed. During
questioning, the Ranking Minority Member, Bart Gordon of Tennessee, asked all
four witnesses for a definition of “intelligent” life versus life; for the
purposes of their searches, they responded, intelligent life is technical
intelligence (having the use of tools and the ability to change their
habitats). Chairman Dana Rohrabacher asked Dr. Weiler about the Next
Generation Space Telescope, which has a $20 million shortfall, and members of
the committee voiced an interest in providing these funds. More information
can be found at:


released by Media Relations Office, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA

Want to guide others on an armchair adventure to the moons of Jupiter
and the surface of Mars? NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena,
Calif., is inviting applications from space enthusiasts nationwide for the
Solar System Ambassador program. The program brings together motivated
volunteers from across the nation with top space scientists and engineers to
help tell the public about exciting solar system discoveries and future

Applications for year 2002 ambassadors will be accepted during the
month of September 2001. Final selections will be announced in December.

“We now have 206 ambassadors in 47 states, and they come from a
variety of backgrounds, from teachers to retirees to amateur astronomers,”
said JPL’s Kay Ferrari, coordinator of the program. The first session next
year focuses on Europa, a moon of Jupiter thought to have an ocean beneath
its icy crust. JPL’s Europa Orbiter mission is being planned to discover
whether such an ocean really exists.

The Solar System Ambassador program equips volunteers to arrange
public events such as lectures, star parties, community displays and library
appearances. Through these events, ambassadors share fresh findings about
planetary exploration and news about technology developments from the space
program that are used on Earth.

Ferrari said, “The ideal candidate is a space enthusiast who is
active in his or her community. Solar System Ambassadors agree to arrange,
conduct and report a minimum of four space-related events during their
calendar year of service and participate in training sessions via the
Internet.” Ambassadors may renew their applications during subsequent years
and will be accepted based upon their reporting and training records.

For more information about the Solar System Ambassadors program,
contact the coordinator, Kay Ferrari, at or (818)

Online information is available about the Solar System Ambassador program at and about Europa Orbiter at

SpaceRef staff editor.