James E. Tillman
Activities; Reverse Chronological Order
Links are indicated by BOLD, ITALICIZED TEXT


Mathematics, science and logical thought processes are the foundation of engineering, science and technology.

A thorough understanding of their fundamentals and interrelationships is essential if a nation is to improve, or even maintain its position in today's globally competitive environment.

Without this understanding, there is little potential for both an informed government, capable of offering reasonable legislative choices, and an educated electorate, capable of understanding the choices and making the wise decisions necessary to ensure a productive and secure future. ( J. E. Tillman )

   Live from Earth and Mars
Science, Technology, Education Partnerships


The primary LFEM - STEP educational goals are to continuing bringing K-12 students into our current and future Mars missions, helping them develop the humanitarian and scientific foundation necessary to create a safe, secure and prosperous climate, whether on Earth or Mars.

It includes collaboratively installing research quality weather stations at schools, the continued development of our "Temperature of Earth and Mars", TEM, education module, and combining these with participation in Mission Operations to collaboratively develop and apply these components. They will be able to compare their school obeservations with other students worldwide and Martian observations from the past Viking data and our MetNet Climate Landers described below. Students will use the same type temperature sensors we used on the Viking and Pathfinder Mars missions, exploring the sensor properties and limitations, and investigating their school environment. In some locations, they may be able to improve the validation and accuracy of techniques I developed that estimate key atmospheric boundary layer parameters solely from Temperature measurements1. These  resources describe some of the science, public service and educational outreach activities of Jim Tillman and his colleagues, especially Martian, over the past 35 years, and for the comming decades.

   MetNet , (Metlander)
Martian Meteorology Network program

MetNet Mission

MetNet (MetLander: is the same program), is a Finnish - Russian - LFEM-STEP program, led by Ari-Matti Harri of the Finnish Meteorology Institute, that will place an Atmospheric Science Climate lander Network on Mars, beginning with a Precursor mission as early as 2009. This began with the incorporation of Tillman's "Climate Lander" strategy in the International Mars Exploration Working Group's Mars Exploration Strategy as described below and published in "Towards Mars" ; these are described in the IMEWG section below. Prototype developments began in 2001 and a launch in Earth's atmosphere will test reentry techniques. Participation in this program (by Tillman and his collaborators) is described in the "Mars MetNet" Memorandum of Understanding with FMI. MetNet was introduced to the Mars community at the June 22, 23 2003 IMEWG meeting at Cocoa Beach, Florida by Ari-Matti Harri, the Program leader.

A detailed view of the MetNet breadboard is shown here.

As an invited Co-Investigator in the French, Finnish, German, ..., US NetLander** Mission to Mars, Jim Tillman provided engineering, operations and science contributions to the development of the program and proposal during month long trips to Europe in 1997, 1998, 2000 and 2001. As a part of his participation, he negotiated an agreement allowing him to develop an educational outreach program with contributing student participants throughout the world. ( Tillman has been supported by a gift from Jeremy and Linda Jaech)

International Mars Exploration Working Group

While working on the NetLander Phase A development and review in Helsinki during January-February and October-November 2000, Tillman accepted an invitation from Professor Risto Pellinen, Director of the Geophysics Division of the Finnish Meteorology Institute and Chairman of the International Mars Exploration Working Group, IMEWG, to: 1) become a Finnish Delegate to IMEWG, 2) help develop The IMEWG "Mars Exploration Strategy", which incorporated his Mars "Climate Lander" strategy, as published in "Towards Mars", and 3) participate in the "Planning and implementation of the public outreach activity in the framework of the ATMIS instrument onboard the Netlander Mission."(MetNet now replaces NetLander.). Through these collaborations, as in the past, students will be able to take an even more active role in the MetNet mission than in his past Mars Mission activities.

Come Together Washington

Mars Exhibit

Mars: Aeronautics/Astronautics and Atmospheric Sciences Exhibit

Department of Aeronautics/Astronautics
left table and images above

Department of Atmospheric Sciences
right table and posters 
MetNet, "Meteorology Network" 
Viking FC#3 lander

Date: Thu, 21 Oct 2004 14:01:56 -0700
From: Adam Bruckner <bruckner@aa.washington.edu>
To: Jim Tillman <mars@atmos.washington.edu>

Most of the positive comments were from unidentified attendees of the event. ....

The most significant plaudit came from Ed Lazowska of CSE (former chair of that department). He said that there was a "buzz" at the event about our Mars exhibit being the best one. He told me this twice in person and once via e-mail (which you received, too). Dean Denton also praised our exhibit. The Viking Lander and the Metlander that Ari-Matti sent were what made our exhibit so attractive and interesting to everyone.

People were fascinated by the fact that the Metlander (MetNet), would be going to Mars in a few years.

Viking Flight Spare Lander
Loaned to the Museum of Flight 20 July, 2006

The 30th anniversary of Viking Lander 1's Landing on Mars
formerly a

University of Washington Exhibit

(Photo courtesy of James G. Tillman.)

The Viking Lander Flight Spare Capsule # 3, was formerly an exhibit in the University of Washington's Electrical Engineering Department courtesy of Professor Howard Chizeck, former Chair of Electrical Engineering, and  Professor Adam Bruckner, Chair of Aeronautics/Astronautics. It was loaned to the Museum of Flight and has been updated, described and installed there in an excellent new exhibit.  The exhibit was opened to the public  by a panel of Martian's on 22 July, 2006 after a 30th anniversary event on 20 July, 2006, the 30'th anniversary of Viking 1's landing on Mars. We had planned to land on the US Bicentennial July 4, 1976, but the Martian surface was a bit inhospitable at out primary landing site!

 Chris Vancil led and Dr. Eckart Schmidt helped restore the lander, and Dr. Schmidt acquired the model engines and tank. Prof Bruckner, Chair & Aero/Astro Department students also played a prominent role in the restoration. Rachel Tillman designed the exhibit while John Schulz created it. This is the only "Flight lander body" left on Earth and if completed would be at the Viking Lander 1 site; the other landers on Earth are all test landers. As a former Viking Lander Meteorology Team member, Jim saved the FC# 3 lander body, destined to be molten scrap, due to the insistence of his daughter Rachel. The LFEM - STEP program and participation are described at this site. Tillman was responsible for pioneering low cost Mars Mission Operations at UW, enabling his and the NASA JPL staff to more than double the life of Viking Lander 1 on Mars.

This exhibit is also described in the 2003 Electrical Engineering Kaleidoscope, EEK. Please feel free to contact us via e-mail at lfemstep@atmos.washington.edu or phone1 regarding your interest in participating in the LFEM - STEP program.

   K-12 School Programs
School Research Weather Stations
Mars MetNet --
Atmospheric Sciences Experiments


Weather Program goals and accomplishments
Initial station, network, and infrastructure
Tillman supported by a gift from
Jeremy and Linda Jaech

"Temperature on Earth and Mars"
Educational Module
Jim Tillman and Mike Howard

Supported by a gift from Jeremy and Linda Jaech


Although you can't yet take a classroom of students to Mars, you can use the weather data collected during the Pathfinder and Viking missions, now available on the Web, to offer students the opportunity to explore the environment on and near the surface of Mars. By conducting schoolyard investigations similar to those done during the Pathfinder and Viking missions, students can compare their own data about the weather on Earth to those collected by scientists who studied the weather on Mars, and with students in other schools throughout the world. This elementary school curriculum includes lessons that incorporate both classroom and Web-based components.

By gathering, recording, representing, and interpreting quantifiable weather data from both schoolyard investigations and from the Web, students will engage in inquiry science that follows the process and content standards suggested by both the National Research Council National Science Education Standards, and the Washington State Essential Academic Learning Requirements in Science. Both the NRC Standards and the Washington State EALR suggest that elementary students:

Local meteorological conditions are often influenced, or determined by: events at times and locations far removed, varying micro environmental conditions, and the complex processes involved in waters change of state. Consequently, understanding local measurements can often be quite complicated even for the research scientist. For these lessons, we have chosen to study temperature under conditions that minimize some of this complexity. For example, the relationship of the temperature of the air mass to its history, as determined by the "weather", is left to others. Temperature is moderately easy to measure, and appears time and again throughout all levels of science and human interaction with the environment. In this context these lessons strive to help the student discover some of the primary variables in "fair" experiments, thereby helping them develop their intuitive understanding and then a deeper understanding. Other lessons, exercises, experiments will be added and referenced.

In a larger context, one goal is for students to learn how to examine a technology, its application, and understand some of its limitations. Temperature measurement, along with the fundamentally intertwined temperature-energy relationships, have been chosen for their familiarity, fundamental importance to innumerable topics such as global warming and human comfort, and to everyday experience.

Students checking out Thermocouple Electronic, boxes, voltmeters, and, sensors before use by the observation groups. The TE boxes are the small grey boxes, and the thermocouples are the wires protruding vertically from the yellow connector plugged into the box. A 9 volt battery is taped to the top of the box with yellow or silver tape.

Students making measurements. The Thermocouple Electronic box is between students on the grass. Right student, has the voltmeter and is reading themperatures for the left student who is recording the data.


This Thermocouple Electronics Temperature sensor PC board was produced by Tillman's Colleagues in the Risoe, Danish National Laboratories Atmospheric Sciences Department , and provided to the UW Atmospheric Sciences Dept. They were used to produce PC boards that were fabricated into stand alone temperature systems by volunteer Bob Blaisdell, a long time collaborator of Mike Howard; Bob was a major participant in the TEM classroom activities and contributor to their success. We especially thank Analog Devices for their donation of the AD595 Thermocouple electronics chips.

The below item was prepared as a thank you note to the students of Mike Howard's Spectrum Class, which included 4th and 5th graders, where Mike and I were piloting Temperature of Earth and Mars Module for the second year. The last assignment, June 2001, was for the students to critique the course. Their comments and our experience will be used to revise the module.

Jim Tillman and Mike Howard Thank
(Student Name)

for your cooperation and effort in piloting this educational module. Our goals were for you to learn fundamental characteristics and limitations of sensors used in sophisticated air temperature measurements on Mars and in research programs on Earth. After discovering the differing speeds of response and sensitivity to errors caused by solar radiation, you had the opportunity to make specific measurements outside and then explore the surroundings. By examining the fast, multi level measurements made by our Campbell data logger, and comparing them to your results, you gained insights into natural atmospheric variability and some of the difficulties in making accurate, Representative measurements, both essential requirements for Climate Warming studies. Your performance was excellent and we were able to learn how to better construct and present these materials.

Many of your questions about the outdoor observations, such as why does hot air rise, why does it get colder as you move upward from the surface during day, and others are typically tackled in much higher grades.     We will have to work hard to develop other experiments that will help you understand these processes.

These modules are being developed in conjunction with my participating in the MetNet Mission to Mars. I hope some of you will participate in that mission with me. More information can be found at http://www.atmos.washington.edu/~mars/#metnet

Again, Mr. Howard and I thank you for your patience, suggestions, and excellent ideas and I hope that some of you will become atmospheric scientists. Have a great summer!


Manned Mars & K-8 Education Proposal
National Commission on Space
J. E. Tillman
Stanford University

Nov. 20, 1985

This proposal resulted from being told in 1984 by two US entities at the Case For Mars II conference, that the USSR was testing Nerva class thermonuclear propulsion systems; they were obviously preparing a Manned Mars Mission. At that time (had not the USSR foundered), due to these and other information/sources, it seemed likely that the USSR would at least try a manned flyby by the early to mid 1990's, long before it appeared the US would even resume discussing manned programs. (The US thermonuclear propulsion technology was developed and tested in the US in the late 50's and early 60's, and then cancelled; I was familiar with it by working with a participant. As best I remember Nerva ran at > 1 Billion watts for 23 minutes.)
As a consequence, I proposed the below program to the National Commission on Space in 1985, visited and briefed NASA Administrator Beggs (since NASA was not aware of the USSR development) and wrote a letter to President Reagan.

I recounted these relevations to Sagdeev in 1996
during the Q&A portion of his keynote presentation at our 20th Viking Anniversary, and asked when the USSR was planning to execute a Manned Mars mission. His reply was that Gorbachev proposed a joint mission to Mars during his visit with President Reagan, see below. (Sagdeev was Gorbachyev's head of Space Sciences, and other Space activities.)

Tillman's above proposal, especially its education emphasis, was featured on "Space: The Seattle Story",  a one hour, prime time special on the Seattle CBS station, 13 April, 1985. This was a lead in to the CBS four part presentation of Mitchner's book "Space" which began the following day, Sunday.

Gorbachev to Ask U.S.-Soviet Mars Trip in Talks


May 22, 1988

Mikhail S. Gorbachev will ask President Reagan to approve a joint United States-Soviet unmanned flight to Mars during their summit meeting in Moscow next week, according to an interview with the Soviet leader that appears in The Washington Post for Sunday.

Mikhail S. Gorbachev will ask President Reagan to approve a joint United States-Soviet unmanned flight to Mars during their summit meeting in Moscow next week, according to an interview with the Soviet leader that appears in The Washington Post for Sunday.

Mr. Gorbachev also said he hoped to be able to complete an agreement on reducing strategic, or intercontinental, nuclear weapons before Mr. Reagan leaves office next year. But Mr. Gorbachev offered no new proposals to advance slow-moving negotiations in Geneva and dismissed a suggestion, made informally by the United States, that some disputes be set aside so that an agreement could be signed soon.


Exceptional employees
From former high school, undergraduate and graduate students to Atmospheric scientists; major contributors to my Mars programs.

New 2001

Dr. Donald R. Sandstrom, Technical Fellow, Boeing, (just retired), and former professor of Physics, joins LFEM - STEP as a volunteer. He has extensive recent experience in "mathematics and computing technology", engineering and software, as well as Mars Geophysical Surveyor, Mars Environmental Survey, and Planetary Instrument Design and Development Programs. His contributions the program will be extremely valuable due to his experience and interests in both the education and MetNet and NetLander Mars components.



Presentations, technical reports and data sets


Copyright J E Tillman and others. Please contact J E Tillman for permission to use other than links to unmodified versions of these resources. 

1 Tillman, J. E., The Indirect Determination of Stability, Heat and Momentum Fluxes in the Atmospheric Boundary Layer from Simple Scalar Variables During Dry Unstable Conditions, J. App. Meteor, Vol. 11, pp. 783-792, 1972.

James E. Tillman
Research Professor
Department of Atmospheric Sciences
Box 351640
University of Washington
Seattle, WA, 98195-1640
(206) 543-4586

20 October, 2007