Patreon Spotlight: Orbiter Level ($1)

January 15, 2018

Patreon LogoAs we head in to the 3rd year of the Podcast & second of its Patreon campaign, I’ve set some ambitious goals for funding. I’d like to travel annually to cover events for listeners. 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 in to detail about the most accessible support level: Orbiter. You’re an Orbiter-level patron if you contribute $1 a month to the show through Patreon. Orbiter-level rewards centre around bonus audio content. We produced nearly six hours of content in 2017.

Extended Interview Content

Most of our shows are interviews with scientists, engineers and communicators in the space industry. While I do prepare questions for guests ahead of time to give them time to prepare, these conversations can sometimes organically go to new places I didn’t expect. This of course can create situations where there is just too much audio to fit into an episode! While this means some stuff gets cut from the main feed, for Orbiter-level patrons this becomes additional content. In other situations, I will sometimes prepare questions specifically for Patrons with the intention of never putting in the main feed.

I really like these bonus pieces because they are opportunities to explore ideas that are slightly outside the main stream of the podcast. For example, for Episode 19: Dome Sweet Dome, I was able to spend another 10 minutes asking Jeffrey and Kelsey what it was like as architects to work at NASA for a short period. It was really fun to hear the perspectives from people not normally connected with space.

For episode 23 I was able to ask Frances Butcher about her work helping select a landing site for the ExoMars rover. In episode 24, Leonard David told us the story of the Mars Underground, giving us a fascinating look into the precursors to today’s Mars Society. Lori Fenton gave us insights into dunes on other worlds besides Mars after our interview for episode 32.

For episode 26, we have three pieces of bonus content. Since this was more of an interwoven story about the Pathfinder Mission, I cut most of the audio from our interviews. Full conversations from Brian Muirhead, Donna Shirley and Matt Golombek were provided to Patrons!

Finally, for episode 33 (which covered Lockheed Martin’s Mars Base Camp), I tried something different. Instead of bonus interview content, I went through Lockheed’s White Paper on the architecture and provided some of my own insights into its design.

Support the WeMartians Podcast at the Orbiter Level ($1)

“Off the Cuff” Series

NASA's SLS Rocket ascending to spaceAnother form of bonus content you’ll get as a Orbiter-level patron is my haphazard Off the Cuff series. Off the Cuff is irregular in its release because they are spontaneous monologues that I have based on news that happens or thoughts I fall in to. These pieces are generally around 20-40 minutes, which means they’re podcasts in their own right. I don’t script these (but I do prepare notes) which means it’s a little more raw and visceral than the polished episodes you’re used to hearing in the main feed.

NASA's Mars 2020 Rover RenderingWe published seven Off the Cuff episodes in 2017. I discussed NASA exploring putting crew on EM1 and the announced Deep Space Gateway plan. We talked about the future of the robotic Mars Exploration Program and the new Sample Return Architecture. I discussed the cancellation of SpaceX’s Red Dragon and why it wasn’t such bad news. At right at the end of the year, we tackled the tough question of whether or not SLS should be cancelled.

Event Audio

Jake with past guest and fellow Martian Tanya Harrison at the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference. They are showing off their respective space T-Shirts. Jake has a United Federation of Planets shirt while Tanya is wearing a Caturday shirt.In March of last year, I travelled to Houston to attend the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference. I produced episode 21 with the audio I acquired there, but there was more where that came from. Orbiter-level patrons got three 10-15 minute audio updates through the event and one video update as well where I covered the history of LPSC. This gave me an opportunity to share at a more granular level what was happening at the conference. It was a lot of fun.

Many ways to listen

All of the bonus audio produced for Patrons is accessible in many different ways. You can listen in your browser by logging in to the Patreon site and navigating to the individual posts. Set your email preferences to be notified when new content is posted, too.

Alternatively, download the Patreon App to view the posts and listen right on your phone. Enable push notifications to be notified of new posts.

The best way to listen is perhaps through your own private RSS Feed. Manually add the feed to your podcast player along with the main WeMartians Podcast feed. This way, you can get the content in the same place. The feed is customized to your reward level so you’ll get the content you pay for.


The Orbiter-level is a great, accessible way to support the show and also get a lot of great content. For the price of a movie ticket once a year, you get six hours of space content. Plus, your money helps send me to events and eventually support a student! Hopefully a student who will work to discover Mars’ secrets or send people to deep space. That’s pretty cool.

Support the WeMartians Podcast at the Orbiter Level ($1)

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