Northern California Science Writers Association


Upcoming events

    • Wednesday, December 11, 2019
    • 6:00 PM - 10:00 PM
    • Tres Tequila Lounge, San Francisco

    NCSWA holiday dinner: AGU attendees welcome!

    When humans return to the moon – NASA is shooting for a 2024 lunar landing – and from there head to Mars, astronauts will be essential to the scientific research accomplished on the surface. Rovers can do wonders, but the human brain’s ability to synthesize information in a wildly new context has still got robots beat. Astronauts will study the resources available and help address profound questions, like whether life ever evolved on the Red Planet. Yet practical questions remain: How – in concrete terms – will people accomplish such tasks?

    Darlene Lim envisions how scientists will conduct research “off world”. That is, how astronaut-explorers can be supported by experts on Earth to conduct rigorous, publishable science under the most challenging of conditions. Her team’s findings go against prevailing wisdom: Despite it taking up to 40 minutes round trip to send communications between Earth and Mars, scientific experts on this planet will be able to guide scientific exploration on Mars while it’s happening. But the devil’s in the details – and there are a lot of them.

    Lim works in analog environments on Earth – extreme places that have key characteristics and challenges in common with specific deep-space destinations. A researcher at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley, she has spent over 20 years leading field research programs to remote destinations, from the Arctic to the Antarctic, in underwater environments, volcanic settings, deserts of all sorts and the deep sea.

    Lim will describe how, by conducting genuine scientific research under the conditions of a simulated mission to Mars, her team is designing the tools and protocols needed for the future of human space exploration, right here on Earth.


    6 pm No-host bar

    7:15 pm Dinner

    8:30 pm Door prizes and speaker


    Tres Tequila Lounge & Mexican Kitchen

    130 Townsend St. (at 2nd St.), San Francisco CA 94107 (map)

    (Two blocks from Caltrain, 0.9 miles from Montgomery St. BART station)

    We will enjoy the buffet menu at this popular Mexican restaurant in the burgeoning neighborhood just one block from AT&T Park.


    Grilled baby carrots & broccoli and mole

    Three-cheese blend & epazote empanadas

    Sauteed seasonal vegetable enchiladas with chipotle & guajillo salsa

    Braised beef with roasted tomatillo salsa

    Slow-roasted pork rubbed with chile de árbol

    Smoky chile ancho-marinated chicken

    Housemade corn tortillas, Mexican rice, seasonal beans

    Dessert sampler with Mexican chocolate cake and churros with caramel sauce


    Members plus one guest: $26 / Students: $16 / Non-members: $45

Past events

Thursday, October 17, 2019 Hunger and Thirst: How Our Brain Responds
Friday, October 04, 2019 Big Sur Campout
Wednesday, July 10, 2019 Catastrophic wildfires and the fate of the West
Saturday, June 15, 2019 Kayaking Big Break Regional Shoreline
Sunday, April 14, 2019 Earth Day: Volunteer to restore Codornices Creek
Tuesday, March 12, 2019 NCSWA Spring Dinner: MEDICAL EXAMS: THERE’S AN APP FOR THAT
Saturday, January 19, 2019 Tour of St. George’s Spirits
Monday, December 03, 2018 NCSWA Holiday Dinner: What do ant colonies, the immune system and spam filters have in common?
Saturday, October 06, 2018 Insects and plants at UC Davis
Sunday, August 19, 2018 San Francisco Rocks
Monday, July 16, 2018 The fate of California’s wildlife in a changing climate
Saturday, April 21, 2018 Sutter Buttes hike
Tuesday, April 10, 2018 NCSWA Spring Dinner: Hacking Cells to Create Tomorrow's Medicines
Saturday, March 17, 2018 NCSWA Workshop — Career Planning for Science Writers: How to get from where you are to where you want to be
Sunday, March 04, 2018 NCSWA Field Trip — Oro Loma ecotone slope
Tuesday, December 05, 2017 NCSWA Holiday Dinner: Ancient DNA--A Path Toward De-Extinction?
Wednesday, June 21, 2017 Little darlin’ ... There goes the sun: August's total solar eclipse
Saturday, April 29, 2017 NCSWA Workshop: Smartphone Photography
Saturday, April 22, 2017 NCSWA March for Science Meetup
Tuesday, March 14, 2017 When itch becomes a pain: the biology of touch
Saturday, March 04, 2017 Show and Tell: How to build stories with scenes and voice
Tuesday, December 13, 2016 California's redwoods in a changing climate
Sunday, October 30, 2016 Tour of Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve
Saturday, October 08, 2016 NCSWA Workshop: Smartphone Photography
Tuesday, October 04, 2016 A Giant Step for Robots
Saturday, August 27, 2016 Walking Tour: Berkeley Rocks!
Thursday, August 04, 2016 The see-through brain
Saturday, April 23, 2016 NCSWA Workshop: Narrative Structure: Choosing the best way to tell your story
Tuesday, April 19, 2016 Open Board Meeting
Tuesday, April 12, 2016 Stiff, Spook, Bonk and More: Science Meets Humor
Saturday, February 27, 2016 Marine Mammal Center & Point Bonita Lighthouse
Saturday, February 20, 2016 NCSWA WORKSHOP: The Art of the Science Essay
Wednesday, December 16, 2015 Pluto’s “Spinning Top” Moons and other Discoveries
Thursday, October 08, 2015 NCSWA Movie Night: The Martian
Thursday, October 01, 2015 Your Aging Cells: The Fast Track to Disease?
Saturday, September 19, 2015 NCSWA Data Scraping and Visualization Workshop
Tuesday, July 07, 2015 How CRISPR gene editing is changing our world
Friday, June 26, 2015 NCSWA weekend at Hastings Reserve, June 26-28
Wednesday, December 17, 2014 Proof: the Science of Booze
Tuesday, October 07, 2014 How scary is Ebola?
Saturday, May 24, 2014 Underground tour of Black Diamond Mines
Thursday, April 03, 2014 Daniela Kaufer - Stress & the Brain
Wednesday, December 11, 2013 Holiday dinner: Chasing volcanoes
Thursday, September 26, 2013 NCSWA Night at the Exploratorium
Friday, August 16, 2013 Camping trip to Sagehen reserve in the Sierra Nevada
Friday, May 03, 2013 How to Be a Science Writer
Wednesday, April 17, 2013 Spring Dinner: Hydraulic Fracturing, with Stanford's Mark Zoback
Saturday, January 12, 2013 NCSWA Data Journalism Workshop
Wednesday, December 05, 2012 NCSWA Holiday Dinner: Nerds on Wall Street (REGISTRATION CLOSED)
Thursday, October 11, 2012 NCSWA Fall Event: Cyber Crime (REGISTRATION CLOSED)
Tuesday, August 28, 2012 NCSWA Movie Night
Friday, August 24, 2012 Overnight trip to North Coast’s Angelo Reserve (FULL)
Saturday, July 14, 2012 Special tour of Buckminster Fuller exhibit (SOLD OUT)
Thursday, May 17, 2012 Spring dinner with Atul Butte
Wednesday, March 21, 2012 Resetting the Aging Clock
Wednesday, December 07, 2011 Intimate Aerials: Photography using Kite-Lofted Cameras
Tuesday, October 04, 2011 GAMING SCIENCE: Video Games and Scientific Research – Who’s in the Lead?
Monday, July 11, 2011 SETI: If We're Not Alone, How Will We Find Out?
Thursday, March 10, 2011 Building the brain in silicon
Saturday, February 26, 2011 Hike the "minor peaks" of San Francisco
Saturday, January 22, 2011 Hike the Pinnacles with a ranger
Wednesday, December 15, 2010 Math whiz and Las Vegas card counting veteran Paul Stepahin
Saturday, November 20, 2010 Digital Photography Workshop
Thursday, October 07, 2010 Oil Spills and Microbes: Can Mother Nature Take a Punch?
Saturday, August 21, 2010 NCSWA Point Reyes Kayak Camping
Tuesday, May 18, 2010 David Relman & the Micro World of Endo-Ecology
Thursday, April 01, 2010 Dinner with Stephen Palumbi
Wednesday, December 16, 2009 Holiday Dinner with Science Comedian Brian Malow
Wednesday, October 07, 2009 Let’s Get Really Small: A Report on Nanotechnology from Someone Ahead of the Forefront
Tuesday, June 09, 2009 The Hunt for Planets Like Earth
Saturday, April 25, 2009 WORKSHOP: New Directions in Science Writing
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