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#1 2017-05-07 23:54:20

jburk
Webmaster
From: Seattle, WA
Registered: 2011-11-17
Posts: 86
Website

Ideas for NewMars.com / History Lesson

Hi all,

I am so glad these forums are going strong since I helped to restore them back in 2011.  Thank you all for your participation and making this a great destination for folks to "talk shop" about Mars exploration and settlement.  As Dr. Zubrin said to me back in 2011, "New Mars was once a great forum, and can be so again!".  We have definately proven him correct.

I have been working quietly for the last couple years on a couple of ideas to restore the main website NEWMARS.COM to... "something".  Would love to get your ideas as well.  It could be a place to host interesting articles, or have some type of "news index".  What do you think we could do with it?

Just to give you some background/context:
The Mars Society was founded in 1998.  Back then, NewMars.com was launched as the official magazine of the Mars Society.  You can see what it looked like here, which featured an article (not clickable now) that I wrote about the Seattle chapter's efforts to get the word out at a local science teacher convention.
https://web-beta.archive.org/web/199812 … ewmars.com

At the time the site "New Mars Journal" was maintained by Richard Wagner, an author and friend of Dr. Zubrin's.  It was kept up to date for the first couple, formative years of the Mars Society, but the last update to this incarnation of the site was done on 01/19/2000. 

Sadly, the site was dormant (& stale) for over a year until it was resurrected by Adrian Hon, who was an active member of the "Youth" chapter and based in the UK.  He reorganized the site from the "field journal" format into a more modern web discussion forum plus articles on the main page.  You can see the first snapshot of this site that the Wayback Machine saved here: https://web-beta.archive.org/web/200201 … ewmars.com

This version of NewMars continued for approximately six years until 2007.  Towards the end, there was no recent content so the site had a lot of whitespace, but the forums were still going strong.  Last snapshot here: https://web-beta.archive.org/web/200712 … ewmars.com

The website was revamped on 01/05/2008 with a simple "blog-style" homepage, but continuing the forums, and adding a "wiki".  This revision was underwhelming, as reviewed by longtime contibutor SpaceNut: "Nice to see a new front page, but what will it bring to the forum or cause that New Mars is all about?  MarsDrive has also done the same and while the numbers of people are slowly finding the site are increasing the needed support for the cause has not gone as well.  This new front page reminds me also of the spacepolitics site. It combines the news with those that are willing to comment on it rather than the old topic forum concept. Both ways have there pros and cons as I have sen from visiting both styles."

The homepage was not updated until 09/06/2008 with a post about a new Mars Society project headed by Tom Hills called Tempo^3.  You can read the details here: https://web-beta.archive.org/web/200902 … rs.com:80/ 

This was the last update before "The Great Crash".  In early 2011, the server that hosted the Mars Society website as well as the New Mars website & forums suffered a major server crash which brought everything offline for a period of months. 

I rejoined the Mars Society in July 2011 as Webmaster & IT Director and I immediately set about to improve the overall technical situation.  A previous volunteer had moved the Mars Society infrastructure to Google Apps, which I expanded and streamlined.  I worked with a great company called Dreamhost who donated free web space & infrastructure to the Mars Society.  Utilizing their help, I rearchitected all of the DNS/nameservices under the Mars Society domains including NewMars.com.  I also began helping the various Mars Society chapters, task forces, and projects to revise their websites.

Around this time, Dr. Zubrin uttered the quote mentioned above, and I got in contact with Josh Cryer, who had been the forums admin for several years (and continues to volunteer in this capacity to this day).  We setup & restored the data for the forums that you are using today.

Since that time in late 2011, Josh Cryer and other volunteers JoshNH4H and SpaceNut, as well as myself, have kept the dream alive and the forums going strong.  We are at almost two entire decades now of having a Mars Society presence on the web using this domain.  What will the next decades bring for NewMars.com?  We'd love to hear your input...


James Burk | Webmaster & IT Director | The Mars Society
jburk@marssociety.org  |  +1 (206) 601-7143

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#2 2017-05-08 07:35:13

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 10,012

Re: Ideas for NewMars.com / History Lesson

prior to 2007 we had topic round ups being done by user GraemeSkinner which did a great job of summarizing as well as filling in some of the topic material as this made a meandering topic become clear as to its intent and subject.

Last edited by SpaceNut (2017-05-08 07:37:33)

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#3 2017-06-15 21:39:45

jburk
Webmaster
From: Seattle, WA
Registered: 2011-11-17
Posts: 86
Website

Re: Ideas for NewMars.com / History Lesson

We just rolled out an update to the design of the main page of NewMars.com.

We have a young gentleman named Khan from the Internet Task Force to thank for putting this together.  He is a hard-working and skilled volunteer from the nation of Bangladesh, and has been helping us out with our various technical projects at The Mars Society.

Thanks Khan!


James Burk | Webmaster & IT Director | The Mars Society
jburk@marssociety.org  |  +1 (206) 601-7143

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#4 2017-06-16 18:12:30

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 2,275

Re: Ideas for NewMars.com / History Lesson

Do you want some constructive criticism? Probably not (nobody really does!)...

1. That little logo graphic definitely needs updating. I'd expect something more like National Geographic's images in 2017.

2. In terms of subject matter I feel you ought to go more for a Red Colony approach. Hollywood movies and NASA (yes we know they are useless!) seem a bit of a diversion for me.  Given where we are in 2017  think the focus needs to be on Space X and the practical issues of how we settle Mars.




jburk wrote:

We just rolled out an update to the design of the main page of NewMars.com.

We have a young gentleman named Khan from the Internet Task Force to thank for putting this together.  He is a hard-working and skilled volunteer from the nation of Bangladesh, and has been helping us out with our various technical projects at The Mars Society.

Thanks Khan!


Let's Go to Mars...Google on: Fast Track to Mars blogspot.com

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#5 2017-06-16 18:43:40

jburk
Webmaster
From: Seattle, WA
Registered: 2011-11-17
Posts: 86
Website

Re: Ideas for NewMars.com / History Lesson

Hi Louis,

I'm always eager to get feedback -- good or bad.

From your comments, it doesn't seem like you are very familiar with the Mars Society and what we do.  Our main site is MarsSociety.org.  We have many projects going, of which NewMars and these forums are only one of them.  The NewMars site we just rolled out is primarily designed to showcase Dr. Zubrin's writings which appear on other sites.  We'll be adding to it as time goes on.  I think you are referring to the Mars Society logo at the top of the NewMars page, correct?  Maybe we can make it a little bigger, but we've had the same logo since 1998 and it has become our brand at this point so we are likely not going to change it.

We are huge fans of SpaceX and Dr. Zubrin has had discussions with Elon & his team on many occasions.  We are actively researching how to settle Mars through our analogue research station program.  For more details on this, visit our sites MDRS and FMARS.  We are currently planning an expedition to the FMARS in July, and I am working with the Internet Task Force team to build out a new version of the FMARS website right now -- it should be done in a couple weeks or less.

Thanks,


James Burk | Webmaster & IT Director | The Mars Society
jburk@marssociety.org  |  +1 (206) 601-7143

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#6 2017-06-16 18:57:16

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 2,275

Re: Ideas for NewMars.com / History Lesson

1998? Quite...that's near enough 20 years ago. It's not a logo really, it's a graphic and it really dates anything that uses it in my opinion. True logos - much simpler forms of  imagery -  can last decades but graphics date v. quickly. If today's 20 year olds think "Hey that looks really cool" - well...all well and good, but I doubt it.

I am not here to criticise Mars Society activities. People  have to make their own judgements about these things. But personally, I prefer a v. focussed approach. I am sure you feel that's what you have, but it's not what I call focussed.

jburk wrote:

Hi Louis,

I'm always eager to get feedback -- good or bad.

From your comments, it doesn't seem like you are very familiar with the Mars Society and what we do.  Our main site is MarsSociety.org.  We have many projects going, of which NewMars and these forums are only one of them.  The NewMars site we just rolled out is primarily designed to showcase Dr. Zubrin's writings which appear on other sites.  We'll be adding to it as time goes on.  I think you are referring to the Mars Society logo at the top of the NewMars page, correct?  Maybe we can make it a little bigger, but we've had the same logo since 1998 and it has become our brand at this point so we are likely not going to change it.

We are huge fans of SpaceX and Dr. Zubrin has had discussions with Elon & his team on many occasions.  We are actively researching how to settle Mars through our analogue research station program.  For more details on this, visit our sites MDRS and FMARS.  We are currently planning an expedition to the FMARS in July, and I am working with the Internet Task Force team to build out a new version of the FMARS website right now -- it should be done in a couple weeks or less.

Thanks,


Let's Go to Mars...Google on: Fast Track to Mars blogspot.com

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#7 2017-06-16 19:39:29

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 10,012

Re: Ideas for NewMars.com / History Lesson

RedColony.com

spacer.gif

Yes at one time I was posting on that forum as well...It fell victim around the same time to a viral hack and has never recovered its forums, only the article content was saved....

Be careful that forum is still up and in a hacked status....

MarsDrive.net revived

?format=1500w

Again at the peak of work the forum and its website I was posting and working towards mars until it also went down as well to which its taken some time to get going again.

Both sites while different had a common purpose of getting man to mars one day and partnered with Mars Society and there efforts....

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