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Bootleg Postcards: Unofficial Biographies of Robotic Spacecraft, part 1
Bootleg Postcards: Unofficial Biographies of Robotic Spacecraft, part 1

Date: Tuesday, March 17, 2009
Time: 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM
Location: Beckman Institute Auditorium, Caltech
Speaker: Doug Ellison

Since the landings of Spirit and Opportunity in 2004 and the rapid web release of every image they take, an enthusiastic online community of amateur scientists has formed around the rovers and other robotic space missions. This community has developed tools, tricks, and techniques to make the most of every image and track the progress of our robotic envoys­creating mosaics and videos that have been referred to as “bootleg postcards.”

Space exploration aficionado Doug Ellison is a multimedia producer by day, and founding administrator of the well-respected ""
forum by night. Join us as he presents a history of the web-faring, space-data-sharing community, highlights some of its achievements, and explains why the new way to reach out . . .is to let people in.

Doug Ellison's passion is science communication. In particular, he has a unique perspective on the outreach activities of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the European Space Agency, and on the collective power of armchair enthusiasts from around the world who have reveled in the remarkable science returns from ventures such as the Mars Exploration Rover and Cassini missions.

As an ambassador for the amateur space imaging community, Mr. Ellison has given many lectures on the rovers and other Mars missions to schools, local astronomy societies, and the British Astronomical Association. He produced Rover Audio Updates with Jim Bell for The Planetary Society website, has presented to scientists at Cornell University and the Europlanet conference, has written for The Planetary Report, and has been interviewed on The Planetary Society’s Planetary Radio program and The Sky at Night BBC television series.

These events are free. All members of the Campus and JPL communities and retirees are welcome. Caltech personnel and guests can access von Karman Auditorium via the external gate. For more information about this event, please send email to, or call Michael Eastwood at 818-354-9273, or Eldar Noe at 818-393-0948.

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