Monthly NSS of Phoenix Meeting for March

The March 18th meeting of the Phoenix Chapters of the National Space Society and the Moon Society will be at our usual time (11 am) and location at the Humanist Community Center in Mesa (627 W. Rio Salado Blvd (formerly 8th St.), Mesa, AZ, 85201). Our guest will be Rick Gutridge, President of TREC – Technical Research & Engineering Company. He will be demonstrating Voyager, an Advanced Spaceflight Laboratory flight simulator that his company builds. The simulator is the heart of a futuristic story-based learning environment designed to inspire students to pursue studies and careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math). Join us for this live demo this coming Saturday March 18th

February 2017 Meeting Summary

NSS Phoenix meeting summary February 18, 2017 submitted by Al Wendler

Chapter President Phyllis Redhair revealed her life-long fascination with the art of origami, beginning with a history of paper folding and continuing into her own obsession with creating origami dragons.  From there, her presentation segued into the uses of origami in science and specifically into the way in which paper-folding techniques have enabled the space program.

The presentation concluded with a viewing of the coincidentally just-aired PBS Nova episode titled “The Origami Revolution.” Watch here, You can also see the work of Robert J Lang here,  who not only creates amazing origami but who has applied technological tools to develop patterns complex projects.  YouTube also has numerous videos of origami in space and science applications.

January 2017 Meeting Summary

By Al Wendler

When I saw that the January meeting of NSS-Phx was going to be about Space Art I had no idea what to expect. As it turned out, our speaker, Simon Kregar, is not only a space artist, but also an advocate for the role of space art in education.

Simon began with an art history approach to the field. Prehistoric petroglyphs and cave paintings illustrate early man’s view of the universe from Earth. By the time of science fiction magazines, cover artists were letting their imaginations run wild. Gradually both the art and the science improved, although the role of imagination remains. Simon showed examples of works by pioneers in the field and how their artistic visions and techniques varied. He also shared images of his own work.

For more information about Simon and his works, go to For more about space art, go to the International Association of Astronomical Artists website at

January Meeting

We have a meeting planned for Sat. Jan. 21 at the Humanist Center in Tempe at 11 am. Our speaker will be space artist Simon Kregar. He will talk about space art in general and his work in particular. Should be interesting. We will also have elections for the chapter to select officers for the next two years.

December Holiday Party

We had a great turnout at the November meeting where we had a very cool demo of virtual reality technology. We also identified a slate of officers for the election coming up in January. Thanks to folks who offered to give this a shot.

Our next get together will be a Christmas Party at the home of Mike and Maura Mackowski on Friday evening, Dec. 16. The festivities will begin around 7:30 pm, and please let Mike know you are planning to attend by sending  him a note at michael dot mackowski at gmail (figure that out…).

More details to follow in an email. If you are not getting the meeting announcments via email, please let Mike know.

November 19 Meeting

The November 19 meeting of the Phoenix Chapters of the National Space Society and the Moon Society will be at our usual time (11 am) and location this Saturday at the Humanist Community Center in Mesa (627 W. Rio Salado Blvd (formerly 8th St.), Mesa, AZ, 85201). Our guest will be Dennis Bonilla (CTO, Variable Labs) and Jorge Calderon (Chief Software Architect, Variable Labs) will present Mars in Virtual Reality. Using images taken by the Mars Curiosity Rover, game developers were able to generate a 3D model of Mars which Dennis and Jorge share using the latest VR headsets. Experience the future of space data visualization this Saturday!

For more information on how 3D models can be generated from photographs taken on Mars, check out Dennis’ photogrammetry tutorial:

Variable Labs creates immersive Virtual Reality (VR) experiences to foster empathy, develop soft skills, and change behavior. Using interactive and cinematic technologies, Variable Labs deliver personalized education and training to individuals and organizations.

We also have an election coming up, and we need to select four officers for two year terms. Our by laws state that we need to have a slate by December 15 with the voting at the January meeting. So far we have candidates for President (Phyllis Bush) and Treasurer (Athena Roberts) and Greg Rucker has offered to serve as either Vice President or Secretary. So we are looking for one more person who wants to help shape the direction of this group.

As always, see the blog at for more information as well as interesting commentary.

See you Saturday!

Mike M.

Upcoming Events

We had a nice turnout and discussion at the September 17 meeting. Thanks to all who attended.
It appears that we will try a mix of traditional meetings at our usual location and visits to other groups’ events, particularly the many space-related lectures offered by ASU.

Next month we have been invited to participate in “LibraryCon”, a one-day sci fi event at the  Southeast Regional Library branch at the southeast corner of Greenfield and Guadalupe in Gilbert (

This will take the place of our monthly meeting, so drop by between noon and 4 pm for some public outreach. Mike will bring the astronaut cut out and some info displays and hands-on demos. See for details.

Additionally, there are these upcoming events:

  • Tue. Sept 20, 7 pm, Eugene Shoemaker lecture at ASU with Dr. Pete Worden (former head of NASA Ames)
  • Thur. Sept. 29, Discovery lecture at ASU, topic is deserts and climate change
  • Oct. 4 – 10 is World Space Week. We’ll be checking to see if Challenger Center or ASU is doing anything.
  • Fri. Oct. 14, iMAX space film at Deer Valley AMC theater. They are doing a space week promotion, so stay tuned for that
  • Thur. Oct. 20, Discovery lecture at ASU, Kipp Hodges, science as exploration
  • Thur. Nov. 17, Discovery lecture at ASU, geoscience research

For details on ASU’s New Discovery lectures, see:

ASU’s Center for Science and the Imagination sponsors a “Sci Fi TV Dinner” every month or so, featuring a film or TV episode, a free sack lunch, followed by a panel discussion on the showing by faculty members. See this link for dates (none announced at this time):

Stay tuned for more updates.

Mike Mackowski