Patreon Spotlight: Lander Level ($3)

February 12, 2018

This is the second in a series of blog posts to showcase our Patreon program. Last month, we went in to detail about the Orbiter Level of $1/month. I’ve set some ambitious goals for funding. I’d like to travel annually to cover events for listeners, like the Falcon Heavy launch last week. Perhaps more importantly, I’m committed to launching the WeMartians Travel Grant. If I’m serious about hitting these goals this year I need to ensure that the benefits of becoming a patron are clear. It occurs to me that I’ve only ever gone over the rewards at a cursory level. So, with this blog series I hope to change that.

Today I’d like to go over one of the highest value support levels: Lander. You’re a Lander-level patron if you contribute at least $3/month through Patreon. This reward level centers around a private, weekly podcast called Red Planet Review.

Why the Need for another Podcast?

I love the format of WeMartians and I think it furthers the podcast’s goals and fits within my schedule. Going deep in to interviews with guests is a great outlet for education and makes it easy to break down humanize complicated topics. But setting up and editing interviews takes a lot of work, which is why I only produce one episode every two to three weeks.

Three weeks is a long time to not be communicating with listeners! Two years in to the show, I find myself having to go over a lot of housekeeping and to catch up on news before each interview. I couldn’t very well just skip in to the next interview without talking about the most recent SpaceX accomplishment or the release of a perspective-changing science announcement. This began stretching my podcasts and cluttering them up. I needed a new way to be topical and communicate more frequently with listeners. Thus was born the Red Planet Review.

So what kinds of things do we cover in Red Planet Review?

The show focuses on Mars science, engineering developments, human spaceflight studies, important launches and spacecraft updates, rover mission progress and much much more. Here are some examples of what we cover!

Mars Science Papers

New papers on Mars science are being released all the time. From seismology to geomorphology, climate science and more, Mars is a place of constant discovery. Early in the show we broke down a discovery from the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory discussing how meteorites from Mars could tell us the abundance of water in its past. We discussed the exciting announcement from USGS of abundant sheets of pure water ice located on the slopes of Martian craters, sitting just below the surface. And we covered a study from Canada testing new life detection instruments that might one day fly on a Martian spacecraft.

In all cases we try to break down these stories into simple terms to help make them understandable, and to give you the context that makes them important and noteworthy.We think Mars science is really cool and deserves to be celebrated. Our show notes link back to articles and the papers themselves if you feel like learning more.

Mars Ice Sheets revealed. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UA/USGS

Engineering Developments

New technology will be essential to get to Mars. From propulsion to power, navigation and communication, we need continued investment into cutting edge tech to push further into space. On some of our past shows, we’ve explored a new technology from Michigan Tech that can extract water from gypsum. We broke down the introduction of NASA’s Kilopower project, a nuclear power source for the surface of the Moon or Mars. And we covered the contract signing by Sierra Nevada to develop a habitat prototype for the Deep Space Gateway.

Like we do with science, we’ll break down the importance of these developments and how they fit in to the overall goal of continuing to explore Mars. You’ll learn the challenges and obstacles and next steps for the technology.

Pledge on Patreon to get access to Red Planet Review

Human Spaceflight Studies

Robotic exploration of Mars is awesome, but we look forward to the day when people can travel there, too. We’ve got a long way to go, but it doesn’t mean we aren’t trying to figure it out now. We’ve talked about a study analyzing astronaut’s core body temperatures during long spaceflights. We also cover human spaceflight analogues, like the recent AMADEE-18 analogue going on right now in Oman.

An AMADEE-18 Astronaut performs an EVA. Credit: Austrian Space Forum

Rocket Launches and Spacecraft Updates

Mars launches and new spacecraft don’t happen often, but when they do we’re there to chronicle it. Whether it’s the static fire or launch of the Falcon Heavy rocket (which could have serious impact to Mars exploration), the delivery of Mars2020’s SuperCam, or the completion of the Mastcam-Z qualification model, we’ll keep you up to date.

Best of all, each week we summarize what the rovers Curiosity and Opportunity have been up to on the surface of Mars. We’ll talk about the rock targets the explore, the drives they make, and other updates to their instruments and strategy.

How can I listen?

Red Planet Review is released on Patreon, for supporters pledging $3+/month. The audio is accessed to your private RSS feed, so it will show up, along with any other WeMartians Bonus content you’re entitled to, in a second feed in your podcast player. It’s just like another podcast in your app! You can also listen directly on Patreon.com or through the Patreon app.

Wish you could hear one to try it out? No worries! We released the first episode in early January for free in the regular WeMartians feed. Listen on WeMartians.com or through your podcast app.

Pledge on Patreon to get access to Red Planet Review

Summary

The Red Planet Review is a high value benefit for our patrons. For roughly 75 cents an episode, you’ll stay up to date on everything happening with Mars exploration. Plus, your money goes to a greater cause as we gear up to launch the WeMartians Travel Grant which will help a student travel to a conference and share their work to explore Mars. We think that’s pretty cool. Thanks for your support!

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