From: Jan Wee <email@example.com>
Date: Wed, 09 Jul 1997 09:04:43 -0500
Dear discuss-lfm members, Have just returned from one of the most exciting experiences ever... being at Planetfest (Pasadena Convention Center) absorbing the intense emotions of the Pathfinder's safe landing (all broadcast live throughout the three days on a super-large screen), marveling at the tremendous images, and appreciating the presence of Tony Spear, Brian Muirhead, Donna Shirley, Matt Golembek, Rob Manning and others of the Mars Mission Team whom we all have come to know and admire. I suspected our discuss-lfm list would be very active over the past several days (sorry, I had little access or time to be online as I was sharing PTK via our Exhibit Booth on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday)! It was *great* to come home to a flurry of messages sharing the excitement, the frustrations of lack of coverage, the fun (Marilyn's special Mars celebration at her home in Virginia, still trying to find those Hot Wheels...), the new ideas on imaging activities...as always this forum is a hot spot of activity! Let me share a bit of what The Planetary Society's Planetfest was like... *picture this*: 1000's of space enthusiasts of all ages --- moms, dads, little children, big kids, life long learners of many years of age, lovers of space art, sci-fi literature authors, astronauts, NASA folks, Mars Mission team members, educators of all grade levels, engineers, scientists streaming in and out of the Pasadena Convention Center visiting exhibits, workshops for educators, children's activities, live coverage of all the action at JPL, Mars Mission team members breaking away from their very important work to come and share their joy, their commitment, love for the team & their life-long work, their need to share the science and engineering of the missions with the families, educators, and interested others; imagine if you can... hearing the clapping of 1000's of hands, the loud cheers, the chatter of the audience in the auditorium as the announcements were continuously made, as images unfolded before their site, and as Tony Spear choked with emotion shared the exuberance of the moment. The three days were filled with opportunities to be close to the Mars Mission team and others who have played a significant role in space exploration. Sessions by astronauts Buzz Aldrin and Storey Musgrave, authors like Kim Stanley Robinson, Zubrin, etc., workshops & discussions for educators & children led by tremendous talents like Sheri Klug (PTK Advocate from Idaho)and others; David Eggebrecht (Kenosha, WI) and Theresa Hall (LaCanada, CA, and PTK Project Director Geoff Haines-Stiles shared PTK on Friday and Saturday with educators. There were many exhibit booths including beautiful space art and artists demoing their style, a Red Rover demo booth, space-related software, meteorites on display, space ed project folks, the IMP team, organizations, etc, etc, etc. The Planetary Society put on a tremendous program for all three days! It was a great place to purchase momentos... T-shirts, pins, posters, decals, books as JPL, The Planetary Society, and others had a great supply of souvenirs. (Yes, I bought four T-shirts & several pins) The Mattel Hot Wheels Pathfinder and Rover toys were *no where to be found*. I did get a glimpse of a set as an early release of them were distributed to some of the educators attending a workshop at JPL. Word is they will be out in the stores in September! Also, heard that other toy companies are frantically designing more Mars-related toys as we speak!! The PTK booth was a very busy place... and lucky for us Margaretha Gebhart and her son Jackie were there from the moment the booth opened on Friday to help out for several hours (thanks, Peg and Jackie -- you were great!). PTK Advocates Theresa Hall and David Eggebrecht also spent time at the booth, as well as Tricia Dieck, (Arizona K-12 Mars Education Program), and NASA K-12 Internet Initiative/ Sharing NASA folks Marc Siegel, Linda Conrad, and Scott Coletti. (please forgive if I have forgotten someone!) Several of the folks on this list stopped by to say hello including Deb Regal, John Gallagher, Kathy Knight, Holly Lloyd, Gail Breslauer, and David Meyerhoff. It was also great to meet so many of the LA Unified School district teachers and educators of California. David M.'s students wrote and performed a play focusing on the Mars Missions and also constructed a beautiful (huge) mural that was on display! It was quite a grand site! (David, yes, I saw it! :-) What was truly gratifying is the very *high level* of interest there was from parents, homeschoolers, scientists, and engineers, grandparents and others in the mission of PTK. Time and time again folks remarked how exciting it must be for students and teachers to be connected to the real science of the Mars Missions via the telecasts, online resources, and teacher resources of PTK. Oh, and the Live From Mars posters were a real hit. I will not forget a darling little red-headed four year old boy who entered our raffle for a free poster. He returned several hours later with his big eyes and smiling face to say to me.... "did I win an LFM poster?" Well, you know OF COURSE he did!! The most exciting moment for me personally came >after< Planetfest... PTK Advocate and fellow Wisconsinite, David Eggebrecht, and I took a ride to NASA JPL off Interstate 213 in Pasadena on Monday morning. The site was awesome... news media satellite trucks lining the route (one after the other), cables streaming out of their trucks and snaking their way to the JPL auditorium where the Press Conferences are held, reporters with their Press ID's, security folks all over, vehicles streaming in and out, what a hub of activity. David and I were focused on our mission... find an escort who would take us on a 15 minute quick tour and get to the JPL store to pick up "treasures". We entered the visitor's center to find it extremely busy... made several contacts, and after 15 minutes, hit "paydirt" as we linked up with Donna Shirley's wonderful secretary who enabled us to enter the "golden gate" (to us it was golden) into the outside garden courtyard where the mock-ups of the Rover, air bags, etc are on display. You can imagine how many pictures David and I took. But, the BEST of all... Peter Smith, the Principal Investigator for the IMP (Imager for Mars Pathfinder) just walked out of the Press Conference into the courtyard... we introduced ourselves, shared our enthusiastic appreciation for the images, the sheer excitement of being there with him, and YES... took pictures of the three of us together. That picture will be a treasured momento!! Picture frame time!:-) We visited the JPL store..., they did not have any Hot Wheels Pathfinder toys or I would have emptied their supply for you folks! No Pathfinder pins... seems they have been HOT items... imagine that!! They do have some terrific T-shirts -- the Pathfiner and Global Surveyor shirts are great. Had to have one of each of those! I believe the JPL store has a web site (will post the URL later), so perhaps you can also purchase the items online! I already ordered two of the IMP shirts (thanks to Ken Edgett's previous posting about their new shirts). The team had them on display in their Exhibit booth and yes... they are cool!! Apologies for such a long post, but thought I would share a bit of my experiences. I wish you could have been at Planetfest and JPL. Truly a historic moment for me to cherish. Many emails with questions and comments to be addressed in the coming days. I promise to respond soon now that I am back and reconnected. Hope all of you can access our Live From Mars *Touchdown + 6* program today at 14:00-16:00EST with live uplinks from JPL, American Museum of Natural History in NY City, NASA's Classroom of the Future, Maryland Science Center, and Houston Museum of Natural Science! Don't forget that you can tap the Real Audio and CUSeeMe broadcasts via our Live From Mars Web site (see Live Video Link/ details under the Touchdown program description). One last thing.... you would like to **send your congratulations, Happy Landing cards, messages ** etc to the Mars Mission Team, I would be happy to collect all (both print and digital format) and send to Donna Shirley on your behalf. This reminds me of the great package that PTK educators put together for Astronomer Clyde Tombaugh (It was his 90th birthday! Clyde discovered Pluto's existence!!) during the Live From the Hubble Space Telescope project. Since many students are out of school right now we should continue collecting and sending packages during the fall! More on a structured/well-organized effort to do this later, but you are welcome to send your email CONGRATS to me and I will collate and send to the Mars Mission Team via Donna! :-) Best to all! Jan Wee, moderator (one very excited ex-educator!) PS: Barb, great cat story... I have to share with the Mars Mission team... they will love it! Even cats are enthralled!!