From: Jan Wee <>
Subject: Re-connected!
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

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 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!!