Tuesday, July 20, 1999

Space.com's launch at Mars 2112

Space.com—Launching into new territories on National Space.com day, 30 years after the first landing on the Moon.

I suppose there are several significant reasons why having the Space.com launch party at Mars 2112 on Tuesday, July 20 was appropriate. First of all – theme, and second, the date. You can’t launch a website devoted to “all things Space” and not have it in a spacy-related venue! Right?! Second, thirty years to the day, the Space.com site launched on the anniversary of Neil Armstrong’s historic first step on the moon. Even Mayor Guiliani got into the action and named July 20th Space.com day! Wow.

Walking into the Mars 2112 was a real treat for tired eyes that have stared at a monitor 18 hours a day. Bright, twitching, lightning flash lights surrounded you as you walked down a translucent lit walkway Mars-ian terrain corridor. Once through this jarring jolt I walked through more dark red lit passageways till I was spit out into a large dark room with boulder-like walls, monitors with aliens making news announcements, Aliens walking around and a whole Space-age Flintstone-ish decor. Martian-martinis precariously balanced between guests fingers and round trays of hors d’oeuvres offered other nourishment. Waiters walked around and offered freeze-dried ice cream, jello shots and Reese Pieces candies. Jim Ledbetter (NY Bureau Chief of “The Industry Standard”) and I chatted a bit about these disturbing odd past two weeks.

The effervescent Richard Laemer popped over and offered commentary while Lou Dobbs made some remarks in front of the spacious screen in front of the room with moving Space and Mars landscape images. He introduced me to Meredith Halpern (dir. of communications) and we laughed at Sally Ride’s comment that she’s “happy to be a part of a successful launch,” in reference to the actual shuttle launch that was scheduled to occur today. Ms. Ride is the company’s EVP of strategic planning andember of the Board of Directors. Space.com president Rich Zahradnik and Astronaut Colonel Tom Stafford also spoke and then it was on to meet the other guests. There were a great group of youngish-looking hipsters and a large group of media. Richard explained they wanted this party not to be a big schmooze-fest and invited media they felt really cared about the Internet and the industry. Sounded good to me! ;)

I met and spoke with Jonathan Halpern, assistant US attorney, and Amy Cortese, VP-Director of content at Wit Capital. Allison Weiss of Monarch PR and Forbes’ Silvia Sansoni (senior reporter) and staff writer Caroline Waxler were there, checking out this space scene as well. NY Times assistant to the Technology Editor Stephen Miller was there and just before I jetted home I stopped by and said hello to Mr. Space.com himself, Lou Dobbs. As I congratulated him on his jump into “cyber”SPACE I noticed the glow-in-the-dark-Alien-space.com-bubble-pen he wore around his neck on a multi-colored ribbon. Using the same sort of pen, I jotted down some notes and thought how adorable this sight was: Lou Dobbs, with an alien pen around his neck, in Mars 2112, as he’s embarking on a new journey. Good luck! :)