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Connect with Mars experts:

Mars Polar Lander and Deep Space 2

Live from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory Design Hub
We would like to thank the folks at JPL
for their enormous enthusiasm and support of these events!
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Projected Schedule of Events

Date Duration Medium Content
Nov30-Dec17, 1999 N/A Chat: Archive Join in an asynchronous Chat with experts and scientists from just before touchdown through the following two weeks of activities on the surface of Mars. Brief answers to questions will be provided.
Dec 3, 1999 2 hours G2 Video Webcast Join a Live Webcast from Jet Propulsion Laboratory where Mars scientists will be on hand to discuss the landing as it is happening.
Dec 3 2 hours G2 Audio Webcast Following the Live Webcast from JPL, scientists and experts were online to answer questions in a live audio only webcast.

Participating Mars experts

  • Tom Rivellini: Chief Eng. Mars Sample Return Rover
  • Steve Saunders: Solar Sys. Exploration Chief Scientist
  • Robert Anderson: Mars Scientist
  • Chuck Acton: Mars Science Software Eng.
Dec 4 4 hours G2 Audio Webcast Scientists and experts were online to answer questions in a live audio only webcast.
Dec 5 4 hours G2 Audio Webcast Scientists and experts will be online to answer questions in a live audio only webcast.
Dec 3-6 Various G2 Webcasts Journey to the Planetary Society's Planetfest, a Mars landing celebration from Pasadena, California. The schedule includes lectures and the first sounds ever from Mars.
Dec 9 2 hours G2 Video Webcast Mars Spacecraft Mission controllers for NASA's Mars Polar Lander acknowledge that they hold out very little hope of communicating with the spacecraft, but they vow to learn from the experience and continue exploring the red planet. Saying that the flight team "played its last ace," project manager Richard Cook of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory explained that the December 7 attempt to get the Mars Polar Lander to talk to Earth via NASA's currently orbiting Mars Global Surveyor failed. Cook said the team will continue trying to communicate with the lander for another two weeks or so, but that expectations for success are remote. Nonetheless, Cook praised the flight team for its heroic attempts to contact the spacecraft. The next communication attempt will take place late in the afternoon of December 7 (Pacific Time), when a 150-foot antenna at Stanford University, CA, will listen for a signal from the lander's UHF antenna. We will talk to Mars Scientists about this attempt and the rest of the story.

Participating Mars experts

  • Richard Cook: Mars Polar Lander project manager
  • Mary Urquhart: Deep Space 2 science team
  • John McKinney: Deep Space Network Telecommunications and Mission Services manager
  • Lynn Lowry: Mars 2001 project engineer
  • Sue Smrekar: Deep Space 2 project scientist
  • Bob Easter: Mars Surveyor Program Plans and Requirements
  • Justin Maki: Mars Polar Lander science team
For News and Information:

The following Websites contain Mars related information which may be of interest:

LAUNCHED: Jan 3, 1999
LANDS: Dec 3, 1999
On October 30, the spacecraft fired its thrusters for 12 seconds to fine-tune its path for arrival at the Martian south pole on December 3.

LANDING SITE! A strip of gentle, rolling plains near the Martian south pole will serve as a welcome mat when NASA's Mars Polar Lander touches down on the red planet on December 3. NASA Headquarters and the Mars Polar Lander Team announced that the coordinates (76S, 195W) define the target landing site for mankind's next mission to Martian surface.

Spacecraft Dimensions 1.06 meters (3.5 feet) tall by 3.6 meters (12 feet) wide. Spacecraft Weight Total: 576 kg (1,270 pounds) Lander: 290 kg (639 pounds) Propellant: 64 kg (141 pounds) Cruise Stage: 82 kg (181 pounds) Aeroshell & Heat Sheild: 140 kg (309 pounds)

Photo-Realistic Terrain Modeling The objective of this project is to provide the MVACS science and operation teams with improved visualization of their remote worksites. The teams will be provided with a photo-realistic topographic model of the surface and will have the ability to process stereo imagery from the Surface Stereo Imager (SSI) into photo-realistic topographical models of the terrain at the landing site. These models consist of accurate, three-dimensional terrain reconstructions registered with the source imagery. The microprobes are piggybacking to Mars on board the 1998 Mars Polar Lander Spacecraft which was launched on a McDonnell Douglas Med-Lite (Delta II 7425 configuration) in January, 1999.

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