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TPSBAVN Newsletter
July 2004
Published 08.01.2004

TPSBAVN Website:

TPSBAVN Discussion Group: (please join)

Our Next Meeting

Will be September 12th, 1:30, at Barbara’s Menlo Park residence.

We welcome all TPS members to attend. For directions, please call Lonny or Chris Nye.

Thanks to Matt, Dave, Chris, Mandy, Lonny, Ron, Nancy, Suzy, Dorothy, and Tracy for attending the last TPSBAVN meeting.

Splashdown and AstroCon

These two events were not only fun for volunteers, but each was very successful in raising awareness of The Planetary Society’s mission.

We had 20 people volunteer their time to staff a booth at either AstroCon or Splashdown. Both booths were staffed a total of 91 hours! Many times by two or more volunteers. All those hours paid off. TPSBAVN gathered 36 new memberships! Vilia Zmuidzinas was very impressed. For those who didn’t get a chance to volunteer at either event, you missed reveling at the marvelous TPSBAVN booths. Each booth had a professional appearance with something to attract almost everyone. The USS Hornet’s booth had a solar sail model and 3D Mars poster. The AstroCon table had a Lego Mars Rover and 3D Mars poster as the main attractions. The Hornet museum is a “must see” if you live in the Bay Area. Regardless of your views on war, the sights, and stories onboard are all thrilling and inspiring. The ghost stories were a big hit with the kids too. History really comes alive here.

AstroCon and Splashdown pictures are posted on the TPSBAVN website ( ). Thanks to Cindy P. for sharing some of her AstroCon pictures.

All Splashdown and AstroCon volunteers received a Mars Panorama poster - thank you Vilia. So, if you did not receive one at the events, please pick one up at the next meeting.


This past week has been really busy for TPSBAVN with Splashdown ’04 and AstroCon 2004. Special acknowledgement goes to the following volunteers who really went above and beyond at each event:

  • Matt Lucking for coordinating all the volunteers. Matt even set up and tore down at both events. Matt also helped fill the gaps at both events, many days.
  • Suzy Chippindale for building the Lego Mars Rover (over 800 pieces).
  • Ron Peterson for filling many gaps at Splashdown and filling out the Volunteer Profile for the newsletter.
  • Vilia Zmuidzinas for supporting the Bay Area and sending terrific supplies in a hurry.

Thanks to Matt, Ron, Lonny, Todd, Nancy and her daughter, Cindy, Marty, Craig, Chris, Walt, Charlotte, Gene, Adrian, Julie, Noelle, Tracy, Dorothy, and Suzy for helping out at the event booths. I hope you all had a good time.

Thanks to Lou Fiedman for stopping by the TPSBAVN table at AstroCon and keeping Matt company on the ride from the Oakland Airport.

Volunteer Profile

This month we are trying something new with newsletter. It’s a volunteer profile. The goal is to highlight a TPSBAVN volunteer in an effort to learn a bit more about the people we volunteer with. This month Ron Peterson was chosen. Here is Ron’s profile:

Ron, thanks for taking the time to let other volunteers get to know you a little more. Feel free to answer the questions you want, how you want!

Q. What city do you reside in?
Pleasanton, CA

Q. How long have you lived in the Bay Area?
Since September 1979; almost 25 years.

Q. How long have you been a member of The Planetary Society?
Since about 1980, shortly after it was founded.

Q. How long have you been an active volunteer for TPSBAVN?
I attended my first TPSBAVN event in July of 1995.  It was “Space in the 21st Century:  A Panel Discussion”, held in Spangenberg Auditorium in Palo Alto.  The first e-mail I received from Lonny was sent in July of 1999; she had received my name from Corby Waste who was evidently the TPSBAVN webmaster then.  I received a couple of additional e-mails from Lonny, but the first newsletter that had my name in it was dated August 2001.  That’s when I must have started to get active in the group.

Q. What is your favorite memory of TPSBAVN?
The days at “Wild About Mars” in Pasadena.

Q. Where did you attend college or university?
I received my BS and MS degrees from the University of Illinois, in both Chicago and Urbana, Illinois.

Q. What is/was your occupation?
I was a physicist.  I have a Master’s degree in Physics from the University if Illinois. I studied the effects of nuclear weapons radiation on materials and structures.  I also used ultrasonic pulse techniques to measure certain properties of materials and to locate defects and damage in materials.

Q. When did you first become interested in Astronomy?
I can’t remember that far back.  I was always interested in physics and astronomy way back in the earliest days in elementary school.

Q. Is there an area of astronomy of specific interest to you (i.e. comets, asteroids, planets, moon)
I’m most interested in cosmology.

Q. What are some of your hobbies?
Reading science fiction, going to our condo in Hawaii, cruising.

Q. Is there anything else you’d like people to know about you?
My wife and I have been married 48 years; we have 6 kids and 4 grandkids. I’m active in several volunteer groups and professional societies.

TPSBAVN Websites of the month

Feel free to share any websites relevant to TPSBAVN. We’ll publish all the websites on the TPSBAVN Yahoo Groups page which is located here: .

The Lunar and Planetary Training Program is open to all members of the ALPO, beginner as well as the expert observer. The goal is to help make members proficient observers. The ALPO revolves around the submission of astronomical observations of members for the purposes of scientific research. Therefore, it is the responsibility of our organization to guide prospective contributors toward a productive and meaningful scientific observation.

Upcoming Events

We have three upcoming events. If you’d like to volunteer at any of these events please let Matt or Chris know.

Mingling Microbes

Location:          TBD
         Dates:               TBD (Fall 2004)
            Time:                TBD

W Foundation -

Location:          Unity Center in Novato
         Dates:               October 21-24
         Time:                10am - 7pm

Wonderfest -

            Location:          At both Stanford and U.C. Berkeley.
            Dates:               November 6-7
          Time:                9am – 5pm

Volunteer Feedback

If you have an idea or suggestion about anything related to the TPSBAVN, feel free to contact us and let us know.

See you at the next meeting,




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