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Menus Unlimited for Space Chapter Projects
Please DO SEND your suggestions for projects whether they fit the tentative outline(s) below or not!
FOREWORD: Projects can be the lifeforce that sustains chapters.
Well-chosen creative and exciting projects:
- absorb otherwise untapped energies and talents of members
- turn passive members into involved ones
- give members an extra incentive to attend meetings
- are a big recruiting plus in the ongoing search for new members
- some project guidelines
Chapters with "engaging" projects have a much better track record and survival rate than chapters who just "exist" as social outlets for members. Projects are the way Chapters become "Thriving Chapters".
The following Sections [PDF files] of the NSS Chapters Handbook has useful hints that will apply to Moon Society and Mars Society Chapters as wellSection 4 - PROJECTS
- Community Space Survey
- Library Exhibits
- Obtaining Display Materials
- Constructing Exhibits
- Slide Program
- Slide Programs
- Youth Organizations
- Science Fairs
- Special Events
- Chapter Library
- Special-interest Subgroups
- Technical Project
- The Arts
Identify the Right Project for Your Chapter
- Take an Inventory of the proven expertise, the unexercsed talents, previous experience &emdash; and especially the "interest-buttons" of all individual present chapter members
- Develop ideas for Project that match these "in house" resources
- Present these ideas to the Chapter for feedback
- NOTE: if you lack an essential or useful talent but are otherwise eager to take the plunge, use that needed talent or expertise as a hook to recruit new members who come so equipped. This is a much better strategy than doing a mediocre job by relying on a talent pool with "not quite enough depth.
NEW - Adapted from the Guidelines for Project Proposals of Mars Society of Canada
- Project proposals should meet certain requirements.
- Proposals should be evaluated for relevancy
- to your chapter mandate and stated mission
- technical merits
- viability of the project plan
- proficiency of the project participants
- potential for drawing in greater member participation
- Proposals must outline the project goals, strategies, tactics, and timeline of tasks, as well as project management and funding issues.
- Detailed specifications for technology development proposals are not necessary, though a general sense of your development plan would be welcome.
- Proposals that require only modest funding start-up support should have priority.
- If further fundraising is necessary, strategies for doing so should be specified in the project plan.
- Attempt to draw or sketch physical components to ferret out design problems
- Bounce your project ideas off others and ask them to be critical. Your project proposal might turn out to be half-baked, and in need of more work.
Your Project Options are Unlimited!
Joint Ventures (page 2)
Projects for At Large Chapters (page2)
Basic Chapter Function Projects
some of these are "one person doable"
- A Chapter Website - always a "work in progress" as you add on reports on projects, events, plans, etc.
- A Chapter Newsletter, or signing up with an existing coop service - if you commit to your own newsletter, or to making regular contributions to a coop newseletter, this becomes an ongoing project
- A Chapter Outreach Display System - from an "online kit"
- Putting together New Exhibits - from "online kits" - if you have imagination, you will always be working on more with which to educate and captivate the public, students, etc.
- Building up a repertoire of Downloaded Info Flyers
- Building up a Pantry of Ready-Made Outreach Tools
- Create an Annual Events Calendar and brainstorm how to address each opportunity. Opportunities come and go, so this is an effort in which you may often have to start from scratch with a fresh outlook.
- Create and Maintain an Attractive Chapter Scrapbook, both hardcopy and an Online version (if you have a web presence)
- A Chapter Presence at a local Sci-Fi "Con" - not the best recruiting ground, but a place to practice presentation talents and enlist expertise.
- Putting together a Guest Speaker Program - a good program boosts attendance and the chances of picking up new and active members
- A Chapter Media & Publicity effort
- Getting Chapter Speakers listed with local Speakers Bureaus - to boost your outreach effectiveness
- "Cultivating" a "good rapport" with local Congress People, without becoming unwelcome ("those space nut people")
- Build & Maintain a Chapter Phone Tree Alert System, not just for political action, but for event opportunities, editorial response, and other uses.
- Multiply your Chapter's Effectiveness well beyond your local community, by listing your various products, outreach exhibits, and successful projects on the Space Chapter HUB so that other space chapters can duplicate them or modify them for their own use.
Special Outreach Projects
- Start your own Model Rocket Launching activities if there are no preexisting clubs in your area on which to piggyback
- Start your own "Star & Planet Parties" if your area does not have an existing astronomy club offering such activities
- Start a Space/Sci-Fi Movie Reviewers Club to look at space and science fiction films - videotape your discussions for cable access TV - this will be less draining, and possibly more productive than starting a new Science Fiction Convention.
- Start a Modest Summer Space Camp for kids and add more and more activities and exhibits year after year
- Start a Media Watchdog Alert Tree - watching for news items, articles, editorials, and letters to editors - and then generate appropriate reinforcing or corrective responses. Watch for notices of local events and activities which offer a potential forum for discussion of space-related topics. Watch too for Book Signing events (Buzz Aldrin, Bob Zubrin, Ben Bova, etc.) Establish two-way lines of notification. Too often we find out about local opportunities after they have passed or gone stale.
- Start your own Space & Science Topics Speakers Bureau with a stable of speakers with ready presentations - and advertise it heavily, adding to your depth as you go. You may benefit from the networking with other speakers who sign up with the bureau.
- Spearhead a funding drive for a Local Planetarium if your area lacks one, and get involved in creation of exhibits and volunteer staffing.
- Work with local bookstores to create promotional events for the release of new fact or fiction works favorable to the promotion of the space frontier.
- Work with your local science supply store (or hobby store) to create special space focus promotional events - they will love the free advertising, and it will be a boost for you.
- Have an Events Committee which not only plans activities at "old standby" events but is ever on the outlook for fresh opportunities, for example at various trade and professional conventions. Try brainstorming Appropriate Seminars or Workshops for each. If your proposed program addition is accepted by the convention committee, make the most of it publicity-wise. To do this, you have to keep yourself informed of coming conventions as far in advance as possible, working through the local convention bureau, if your community has one.
- If your community has a number of space-related tourable sites, organize a public "space circuit tour". If it is successful, offer it annually as appropriate to demand.
- Do suggest additional outreach projects, especially those you have completed, or are planning to undertake
- Get involved with your local annual High School Science and Engineering Fair
- Sign up as judges
- Offer Prizes
- Go one better and advertise ahead of time what kind of projects or experiments you are looking for
- Put together a High/Middle School Essay, fiction, design, and/or art competition
- Get teachers involved - keep building a network of contacts
- Establish a suggested theme or themes
- allow entries outside those themes
- suggest optional themes that might better interest minorities
- Establish criteria (format, length, etc.) for each category
- Find judges (your chapter can supply one or more)
- Solicit prizes (helps build a resource network in your community. Germane prizes help reinforce talent and interest.)
- book store certificates
- arts & crafts store certificates
- science store certificates
- electronics store certificates
- software certificates
- event admissions
- travel to a museum, planetarium, etc. in a nearby city
- a ribbon or plaque
- Have a ceremony - piggyback it on a prescheduled event (science fiction convention, science fair, school open house, movie opening)
- Put together a "show album" of winning entries and honorable mentions in the various categories
- Get the competition and the results written up in the local newspaper(s)
- [More ambitious] - Involve college level students in, in a major design and engineering brainstorming effort. This can be for a local college or university, or, on a statewide, regional, or national level consist of a multi-school/department competition
- In one or more of the following areas (interdepartmental projects will generate wider backing)
- computer science
- Suggest where they might find sponsor backing for money and supplies and expertise - but let each team seek its own support
- Find overall sponsors to put up prizes, judges, and offer at large expertise
- Identify the timeline, and the piggyback or made-from-scratch opportunity to announce the results
- Write up the results, in detail, and make copies available to all participating schools
- Create New Educational Resources - If your chapter has the expertise
- New curricula items
- science books on space for kids
- Solar System science guidebooks (can be planet by planet) for teachers
- Space Puzzles, Games, Space Career role playing games
- Simple paper model kits - seek a publisher, if possible
- Put on a Summer Space Camp for kids in general, scouts, etc. - this is a project that needs lots of brainstorming.
- Work it in with summer school programs when possible
- Find sponsors, host site, partners with resources
- You'll need wind and rain shelters, restrooms, lunch facilities
- Easy transportation
- include model rocket launching, star & planet observing, etc.
- Put together a number of presentations suitable for young people and be aggressive about making this available to teachers who are always open to "special guests" to help liven their classrooms
- If there is a Space Business Roundtable or Space Grant Consortium in your state, offer to participate in and help expand their educational outreach activities.
- Provide educational Cable Access Videos to your local Community Access channel - either producing your own, or buying or renting copies of videos produced by other space chapters using availability information on the Space Chapter HUB.
- When the Discovery Channel or some other professional channel has a documentary on space, make this known through an "alert" network you have put together.
- If your local community college offers non-credit continuing education courses for the general public, put together a proposal to conduct a Space-Topic Seminar or Workshop or basic information course. Offer such workshops to interested high school students also. Seek sponsors (book stores, airlines, travel agencies, planetariums, museums, etc.)
- Space Resources
- Space Tourism
- Other topics
- Put together or cosponsor area Star Parties when the viewing is good for the Moon and/or one or more Planets.
- Put together a "Sidewalk Astronomy Kit" with a small telescope, a literature rack, a couple of small models or displays, and park yourself in a high traffic area on good weather nights when you are free on your own schedule.
- Put together Informational Brochures on the Moon and various Planets that treat them as future human frontiers, places with resources and advantages
- Design primers on Space Resources, Space Tourism, and other Space Frontier Topics for elected officials and their advisors; and for media science correspondents
- Do suggest additional educational projects, especially those you have completed, or are planning to undertake
Low-Tech Research & Demonstration Projects
- Space Frontier Appropriate Arts & Crafts Media development
- build a "Sabatier Reactor" on the plans of Zubrin or others to demonstrate production of various fuels and chemical feedstocks from Martian atmosphere (97% CO2, 3% N2, trace H20)
- Host an engineering school competition to build a "Marsmobile" - a vehicle that can run on bottled methane and bottled oxygen
- Put together design competitions to flush out options for various architectural needs
- outfitting inflatable structures
- modular architectural "languages"
- a pressurized intersettlement lunar passenger "coach"
- road side emergency flare shelters (to park under)
- road side signage systems which work in the lunar, Martian environments
- Put together "Business Plan Starter Kits" for those who would like to pioneer technologies for profitable terrestrial applications that are closely analogous to those needed on the space frontier - e.g. glass composites, dry body ceramics, sulfur-fiberglass composites, etc.
- Design a three-wheel Motorcycle chassis which will work well in the "rough, dusty, low gravity, same momentum" environment of the lunar surface and then modify it as a "superior" terrestrial dune buggy (conventionally powered)
- Design a compact "salad, soup, & herb" garden for a lunar or Martian homestead to supplement produce from settlement farms.
- Do suggest additional Low-Tech Research & Demonstration projects, especially those you have completed, or are planning to undertake
Community Resource Projects
- Library Wing Projects
- Planetarium Projects
- Museum Wing Projects
- Summer Space Camps
- Annual Science & Engineering Fairs & Expos
- A Science Supply store if there is none in your area
- Do suggest additional Community Resource projects, especially those you have completed, or are planning to undertake
Computer Software Projects
- Space Simulation Games & Exercises
- Create Fractional Gravity Sports Simulation Software - Create software that will allow sports inventors and choreographers to see the results of sports and/or dance motion in various levels of reduced (even zero) gravity and friction, while momentum remains unchanged. Users of this software will then be able to experiment with sport design to produce team sports, track and field events, ballet choreography and other activities that will not be just weird slow motion caricatures of existing terrestrial activities, but which will use the reduced gravity to advantage in designing sport and dance activities which will be visually exiting to watch, and fun to play or perform. Once the software exists, it could be published and annual design competitions held. Simulated sports events and dance forms tailor-made for the Moon, or Mars, or Ceres could fire the public imagination and make the Space Frontier that much more real and concrete for all of us, ourselves included. At stake may even be future revenue streams, e.g. Lunar Sports events televised live on the ABC Sunday afternoon Wide Wide Worlds of Sports; an evening with the Luna City Ballet Company, etc.
- Create Computer Date & Time Software that keeps the year, date, and time in various proposed Lunar and Martian calendar schemes.
- Do suggest additional Computer Software projects, especially those you have completed, or are planning to undertake
Small Business Enterprise Product Lines
Foreword: While Space Chapters as such are restricted to nonprofit activities per their charters with their parent Space Organizations, nothing prevents a subset of the people involved in a chapter, or other at large members of the parent organization from forming a legally separate for-profit enterprise to produce products that will promote knowledge about and interest in space. For this reason, we include this category here. Here are some of the limitless possibilities.
- Printed Calendars for the Moon, Mars, and other bodies - with artwork and corresponding Earth dates.
- Wallpaper Space Murals - there are only three Space Theme wallpaper murals now on the market: C384 Earthrise, C397 Saturn & Three Moons, C804 Shuttle in Orbit - all by Environmental Graphics, Inc., Hopkins, MN 55343, (612)-938-1300, <email@example.com> ($70-80 at discount home improvement warehouses). (Each comes in 8 pieces and are applied to a surface just like other wallpaper.) One can think of other potential sellers that would all help raise space awareness as well as provide backdrops for space chapter displays and conferences.
- Haughton Crater on Devon Island with the Mars Arctic Simulation Base
- A Mars Exploration Base
- A Lunar Outpost or Settlement
- The Interior of Copernicus Crater as seen from the rim
- A view of Valles Marineris from its rim
- A tourist ship skimming over Saturn's rings
- Galaxy, Starcloud, Nebula, and Cluster murals for wall or bedroom ceiling
- Artwork of Chesley Bonestell and other famous artists (with permission and royalties)
- Door sized murals - the Space Shuttle taking off (day or night)
- Space Hardware Model Kits - the limited offerings of Revell and Monogram leave much to be desired!
- Mir, its modules and panels, Progress freighter, Soyuz etc.
- The International Space Station - buy modules and add to keep pace with the Station's growth
- Generic modular space station kits - put modules together and design your own station, including proposed modules not incorporated in ISS or Mir - include modules that could make up tourist hotels
- Generic modular Lunar or Martian outpost kits - put together and design your own outpost
- Models of proposed heavy lifters, reusable rockets, cycling space ships, ships with artificial gravity
- Do suggest additional Small Business Enterprise product lines
College Level Projects for Student Chapters
Student Chapters are frequently, but not always, tied in with Engineering Departments. But if the Student Chapter is more broadly based, suitable projects could be undertaken in many fields
- Mechanical Engineering
- regolith moving equipment: bulldozers, conveyors, graders, etc.
- Automotive Engineering
- dust free bearings, low gravity suspensions, methane-oxygen engines, iron powder-oxygen engines
- magnetic no-contact no-lube bearings
- Electrical Engineering
- improving the aluminum-based system previously tried when copper was short
- non synthetic substitutes for wire and cable sheathing
- Chemical Engineering
- materials processing
- development of new (building, construction, and manufacturing) materials such as glass-glass composites, fiberglass-sulfur composites, etc.
- development of lubricants for both higher and lower temperature extremes
- ways to reuse mining tailings
- Mining Technology
- "Poor ore" mining technologies
- Microbial extraction of trace elements
- Computer software
- software to simulate dance and sports in reduced gravity with non-reduced momentum
- modeling of various industrial diversification pathways
- Alternatives to incarceration to keep antisocial pioneers productive
- Alternatives to full retirement to keep older pioneers productive
- Ways for children to fit into a frontier society in which everyone must be productive
- Study of perks and safety valves needed to maintain high morale in a "rough frontier" society
- Space Tourism
- Business administration
- Development of Venture Capital Funds
- Development of Business Plans to pre-develop technologies needed on the Space Frontier, here and now, for their potentially profitable terrestrial applications ["Spin-up"]
- Models for funding Startup space technology companies
- Arts & Crafts
- See L.A.A.M.P. for a number of ideas
- Development of Art Media using simulated lunar or Martian materials.
- Assembly of a Library (on DVD) of folk and past-frontier arts and crafts materials and methods to serve as inspiration for frontier artists and craftsmen who must also make-do with materials on hand
- Developing musical instruments that can be wholly fashioned from readily available lunar (and Martian) materials
- Experimental agriculture
- See the LUNAX experiments for inspiration
These are just a few off-the-top-of-the-head ideas for projects student chapters could undertake. The field is wide open. There must be many more possibilities, enough to keep student chapters around the world quite busy for decades.
Rocket science may get us to the frontier, but it will be the other sciences that enable us to stay there and thrive!