The National Space Society vision is people living and working in space

"NSS Capital Capsule" updated July 10, 1997


As part of the annual federal budget process, on June 25, the House Appropriations Subcommittee on VA-HUD-IA (Veterans Affairs - Housing and Urban Development - Independent Agencies) reviewed funding requests for the discretionary programs under its jurisdiction. NASA funding is included in the IA portion.

On July 8, the full House Appropriations Committee passed the VA-HUD-IA bill with no changes to the Subcommitee's report. There were no amendments offered that were directly related to NASA.

Among the agencies covered by the VA-HUD-IA appropriation, the VA, EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) and HUD received more money, with NASA's budget cut from current spending of $13.710 to a proposed $13.648 -- a $62 million reduction not counting inflation. However, the NASA appropriation is $148 million above the Administration's proposal of $13.5 billion. One hundred million would go to the US/Russian Cooperative Program to ensure the space station is not adversely affected by Russia's delay.

The NSS thanks activists who responded to our earlier alert calling for a stabilized budget. The many letters sent in by individuals and by NSS HQ contributed, we believe, to a better House outcome than we might have expected. The task, however, does become more difficult now as the bill comes before the full House and the Senate begins its review of VA-HUD-IA appropriations on Tuesday, July 15 (subcommittee review). The goal is to prevent any further erosion in proposed spending.

NSS HQ continues to alert key congressional members through detailed letters and faxes on the status of NASA funding, and the ramifications of any additional cuts.


This is all incredible information -- we hope you will read through this and use it in your discussions, presentations and recruiting efforts. We should all be proud of what has happened over the last week.


Thanks to the efforts of NSS On-line Manager Robert Pearlman, America Online SEO Manager Glenn Heinmiller and an incredibly dedicated (and now, sleep-deprived) group of volunteers, the NSS has staged a number of real coups for the Mars Pathfinder mission. Following are highlights of the on-line records we have met and surpassed, and for which we are receiving national and international media attention.

a) NSS's special "Mars Madness" section at, and our Space Exploration Online (SEO) section on America Online, were the FIRST on-line areas to post Mars images for downloading. NSS got there before NASA and even CNN Interactive. We were able to do this thanks to some satellite/technological/team maneuvering by on-line volunteers.

b) NSS's on-line areas (web and America Online) are now exclusive hosts to the only on-line quicktime VR movies available of the first panorama and now the new "monster" panorama/ This was made possible through the gift and help of an Apple Software Product Manager who came across us in a chat room and wanted to get involved!

c) On-line usage numbers as of Thursday, July 10

Before July 4:
5,000 Unique Accesses / 320,000 Hits Per Month

After July 4 (For The Five-Day Period From July 4 - July 9)
50,000 Unique Accesses / 4.5 Million Hits in just five days!!

Time That AOL Subscribers Spend In The NSS Space Area Each Day Has, Since July 1, Increased Tenfold (Approx. 800 Subscriber Hours Per Day To Over 9,000 Subscriber Hours Per Day)

The on-line activities have also generated an incredible amount of support from the on-line community, resulting in valuable links with other popular sites, free placement of "Mars Madness" banner ads, two very successful live events system-wide on America Online, electronic messages from around the world and more.

Mars Madness was featured on other websites, through both the use of banner ads and text-based links, including:

The Mars Pathfinder Mission Homepage ( (this site is mirrored by 25 other sites and we are listed on each one!)

"Join our friends at the National Space Society for "Mars Madness!"
Florida Today's Space Online (
(reprinted our "Mars Madness" press release on their site)
Lockheed Martin's Space Day (
"PATHFINDER ALERT!!!: This Friday, at approximately 10:02 AM Pacific Standard Time, Mars Pathfinder will touch down on the red planet's Ares Vallis flood plain, becoming the first craft from Earth to visit the Martian surface in over twenty years. Witness this historic event on-line at the National Space Society's Mars Madness Image Archive. Images from Pathfinder and the roving exploratory vehicle Sojourner should reach Earth around 4:15-5:00 PM PST."
MacWeek Magazine's Macintouch: July 7 (
The National Space Society has posted a QuickTime VR movie, created by product manager David Palermo, from the Martian Probe.
CNN Interactive (
'Perfect' day on Mars yields evidence of ancient floods: Multimedia Links listed the National Space Society's Quicktime VR
Apple Computer's Quicktime VR Website (
Website featured Mars Pathfinder QTVR coverage and included our listing.
Sample E-Mail Comments:
>Fantastic site. The best of the lot. Keep it up!
>In your suggested list of locations to hold a Mars Party you could
>surely include Internet cafes. There are many all around the globe. In
>fact we've had a whole family come to our cafe to do just that and they
>had a great time. Considering the fact that we have an ISDN line and
>many computers, plus a warm ambiance with music, good food and drinks
>it's a sure winner for a great time!!
>Just a short note to say thanks you for the time and effort to upload
>this page. You have done a great job here. The national news has not
>given the coverage that is needed for such spectacular success as this
>I have to congratulate you. I am a Planetary Society member and NSS member.
> But when the JPL website had not been updated I was amazed that you were
>ahead of the NASA people in their own program. I'm using this to sway some
>of our members of the astronomy club to join you over the Planetary Society.
>Congrats to all of us to keep the government going on the right course.
>All of us should be really living this up.
>How is it that you folks seem to have more and better info sooner than
>NASA and their world wide network of mirror sites????????


a) The NSS ran two AOL Live Events. The 7/7 AOL Live event with JPL's Donna Shirley hit 991 max simultaneous audience which, according to AOL Live, makes it number 90 in the AOL Live top 100. AOL Live does about 60-70 events per week. This is an exceptional number especially considering it was a non-primetime event. The July 3 event with author Kim Stanley Robinson pulled 160 simultaneous audience, again, a respectable figure due to holiday timing and a technical difficulty that prevented some members from attending.

b) SEO's Chat room was filled on 7/4 from 12 to 12 ET with 20-40 people most of the time. The room was maxed out at least once which means there were 50 plus an unknown number who couldn't get in. Chat room continues to be very busy.

3) Throughout the weekend, SEO volunteers were constantly scanning sites in search of accessible sites, sources for pictures etc. NSS actively managed the connections for the benefit of AOL members and did not just repeat content from another area.

Selected comments from AOL members:

I just want to share my excitement of this Whole Pathfinder and its coverage. I always "dreamed" of being involved with NASA since my single digit years. I attended "Robert H Goddard Junior High" in Queens NY. Haven't yet realized my "dream", but with technology getting more an more avail to the laymen...who knows!!! Now 38 yrs old, at least I live in Florida and only a couple + hrs from the cape.

My compliments to you and your establishment on your extreme timeliness. Not even CNN is as quick. Also your coverage on the NET seems to be considerably more comprehensive than JPL and all of the other great professors.

These are AOL areas that we know of which had special links to NSS related to Pathfinder activity:
AOL NEWS - linked to SEO from their Pathfinder news page.
AOL Live - links from their promos for our live events.
AOL Learning & Culture Channel- Main screen on 7/7.
Science and Nature page - One link to our Pathfinder page, and one link to our live event promos.
AOL United Kingdom- Learning Channel and Life Channel main screens.

Known special Partner links to us (Partners are other companies or organizations that supply content to AOL):
Astronomy Club
Science Fiction Forum
Smithsonian Online
Destination Florida
Radio Communications Forum
POWER gaming

AOL Promotions:
AOL Sign-off screen- promos for live events.
AOL Sign-on front screen promo on 7/7 (this means that every time someone signed on to AOL, they saw a promo for SEO's live event that night!)


Thursday, July 3, 1997:
Karen Rugg, CNN & Company re: Roswell, Mir, Pathfinder, Space Station
Bob Zubrin, Public Radio International, Minnesota Public Radio, Australian Broadcasting Corporation (Mars)
David Brandt, interviewed by former CNN reporter Charles Jayco at KMOX radio, St. Louis
Bob Zubrin interviewed by French daily newspaper: Liberacion

Friday, July 4:
CNN -- 10:30 a.m., "Journey to the Red Planet" -- Buzz Aldrin
CNN -- Live remotes from the NSS/Planet Hollywood image viewing party in Washington. Resulted in three live and one taped segments with Karen Rugg, Robert Pearlman, Carolyn Josephs and a Planet Hollywood guest in a NASA shirt!
Channel 9 (ABC), Washington, DC: Planet Hollywood event, brief interview with Rob Pearlman re: website
Channel 4 (NBC), Washington, DC: voice-over segment on Planet Hollywood event showing NSS banner
CNN and Discovery Channel (p.m.) -- Buzz Aldrin (in live and prerecorded segments)
Discovery Channel -- Bob Zubrin (in live segments throughout the night)

Saturday, July 5
Channel 9 (WUSA), DC: Karen Rugg

Sunday, July 6:
Good Morning America -- Bob Zubrin

Monday, July 7:
Karen Rugg, Knight-Ridder Newspapers

Tuesday, July 8:
Pat Dasch; radio interview, KIHT, St. Louis
Karen Rugg, Boston Globe "focus" section

Wednesday, July 9:
David Brandt, radio interview, MIX Radio, Twin Falls

Thursday, July 10:
David Brandt, CNN, sidebar to air in general news beginning 7am EDT on July 11
David Brandt, Houston Chronicle
Robert Pearlman, Voice of America Radio "Stateside" (re: web)

Friday, July 11:
Pat Dasch, CNN & Company, 11:30am EDT live
Robert Pearlman, CD100 Radio, Cleveland, Ohio (re: web)


Jim Spellman and Bob Gounley organized a fantastic display for the three days of the Planetary Society's Planetfest in Pasadena, July 4 - 6. Highlights from Jim's report include:

  • Many NSS chapter members, officers or board members -- past and present -- stopped by the booth to share memories and new ideas
  • Booth featured information from the NSS, participating chapters, as well as the WestMars Collaborative Project, Celestics, Inc. and the Space Frontier Foundation
  • A very popular attraction at the booth was the "Take a Piece of Mars" -- bite-sized Snickers and Milky Way candies from Mars Inc.
  • NSS's Bob Zubrin made several appearances at the booth
  • Media soundbites were grabbed with KCET, NBC, several local newspapers and the local Fox news affiliate
  • A good number of the estimated 20,000 attendees over the three days stopped by the booth and identified themselves as NSS members, appreciating the fact we had a presence at the event.
  • NSS friends including artist Pat Rawlings, "Inside Space" producer Dave Brody, SETI project scientist Jill Tarter, Space Explorers VP Craig Dickman -- all had nice things to say about our presence at the event.
  • Booth staffers signed up 31 new NSS members as part of our continuing "Campaign for the Future"

    Our sincere thanks to Jim, Bob and all from CSDC chapters who helped put this together. We look forward to reports from other chapters and NSS members who we know also conducted events over the weekend.

    About the "NSS Capital Capsule"
    The Capsule is a timely report of highlights from Capitol Hill hearings and other events involving space issues. Prepared by NSS staff or volunteers who attend in person, the Capsule provides NSS members and activists an "insider's" look into the thoughts of our national elected officials on space issues.

    The National Space Society is an independent space advocacy group headquartered in Washington, DC. Its 25,000 members and 95 chapters support the creation of a spacefaring civilization. For more information on the NSS and our future in space, visit

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Updated Sat, Jul 26, 2008 at 20:00:33
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