Saturday, November 26, 2011

Mars, Rovers, The NorCal Chapter

Members of the NorCal Chapter attended for the second time in a row the Maker Faire event in San Mateo, California. Its an event which always brings together a large number of technology and tinkering enthusiasts and seasoned professionals who share a passion for making things. We had a presence together with our NASA Ames colleagues. The rover display attracted many visitors, and initiated a number of conversations revolving around rover hardware and software and the exploration of Mars, future missions on it, and the prospects of one day landing a human mission and building a settlement. For now, we fill our time in exploring different scenarios, mission configurations and software revision on Earth based Mars analogs.

Our chapter member Jon Cox gives a brief overview of the chapter and our current work in the video shot at the Maker Faire.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Meyerholz Elementary School Presentation

NorCal Mars Society members Jon Cox and Scott Davis presented the Sandstorm rover at Meyerholz Elementary School in San Jose on October 5th, 2011. Scott gave a presentation to an audience of third and fifth-grade students about the planet Mars and how astronauts may someday use robot rovers to assist them in exploring it. The students had been studying the solar system and were very excited about Mars. Sandstorm then drove out and greeted the students. The rover's camera view was projected on the screen for the students to see. Miss Peng's third-grade class was able to stay after the presentation and each student got a chance to operate the rover. Special thanks to Sylvia Leong for inviting us and helping organize the presentation.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Science Alliance Showcase

Members of the NorCal MS Chapter (Jon Cox, Scott Davis, Boris Debic) took part in the Science Alliance Showcase event at the Warm Springs elementary School in Freemont. It was a full day event with several in-class presentations and rover demonstrations finishing off with a "Why go to Mars?" (And why study engineering and science) lecture for students at the end of the day. After getting the rovers back with fresh data from the MDRS deployment in the Utah desert it was a fitting followup in our outreach activites program. Here's in Clyde Mann's own words:

"Our students had the opportunity to hear about and see the Norcal Mars Rover Project present throughout the day. The presentation was to over 800 students, cluminating in a big school assembly at the end of the day. I was fortunate to see parts of the final presentation. It was hot and sweaty in our multi-purpose room, yet Boris Debic singlehandedly kept the students illuminated and attentive by his fantastic sense of humor, and the idea that we are explorers and will always look for new frontiers. Celebrities, politicians (not statesmen), fortune 500 CEO’s, and Venture Capitalists don’t move me. What you brought to the students was truly inspiring. All I can say is that the next day, students with their eyes bulging out in excitement, could not stop talking about the presentation and loved the rovers."