PART 1: What are Those Mars Team Members
up to, Anyway?
WHAT ARE THOSE MARS TEAM MEMBERS UP TO, ANYWAY?
You may have noticed that Mars team journal entries and WebChats have slowed down a bit during the past couple of months. Well they have, and for good reason! These folks have been working around the clock in preparation for Pathfinders July 4 landing on Mars! Weve arranged to do several phone interviews with Mars team members during the next critical weeks. The interviews will be taped, transcribed and shared via the updates-lfm list and on Live From Mars Web site for your reading pleasure! Expect to see two new journal updates early next week by Mark Adler, Mars Exploration Program Architect and Greg Wilson, planetary geologist. In addition, you can expect a series of WebChats in July.
IN SEARCH OF MARVELOUS MARS FACTOIDS
In past Live From... telecasts, Passport To Knowledge included brief Marvelous Mars segments that highlighted interesting, curious and intriguing "factoids" about the Red Planet. Plans for the July 6 and 9 two-hour, live telecasts are underway and PTK staff would like to tap your creativity and perhaps give you/your students an opportunity to suggest Marvelous Mars factoids for these programs (and be credited on the telecast). If you have a suggestion that is quick, snappy and appealing to kids (ages 8-14 target audience), send your Marvelous Mars factoid to: email@example.com for consideration. Include your full name, school, location, grade level/subject. Keep in mind the Marvelous Mars factoids used in past programs (11/19/96 and 4/24/97) and those that are especially appealing to kids! Here are a few samples from the 4/24/97 program. A factoid could pose a question: "The Pathfinder arrives on Mars July 4, 1997, but there is a month that might be even more appropriate. Do you know which month and why?" Other factoids point out interesting contrasts and similarities... "The highest temperature ever recorded on Mars = 17 degrees Celsius or about 63 degrees F. The lowest temperature = minus 143 degrees Celsius or minus 225 degrees F. A Martian year = 687 Earth days but a Martian day is very similar to Earth's at 24 hours and 37 minutes." Put those thinking caps on! We look forward to hearing from you!
ON THE ROAD TO PLANETFEST
Excitement is building as the Pathfinder spacecraft maneuvers toward its goal of landing on Mars on July 4. Passport to Knowledge will be on hand to bring you virtually to "where the action is" -- on location at NASAs Jet Propulsion Laboratory, at The Planetary Society's PlanetFest celebration/convention, and national museums (American Museum of Natural History in NY and more) and select uplink sites -- on July 6 and 9 with two, two-hour long *live* programs scheduled for 14:00-16:00 EST on NASA-TV and PBS Telstar 402. (See earlier updates-lfm for Important Broadcast Information detailing the satellite coordinates and key information, or contact firstname.lastname@example.org for a copy!) Passport to Knowledge would like to poll this forum to find out if you will be in attendance at PlanetFest or at workshops sponsored by JPL during the first weeks of July. If you are planning to be on hand, please send a note with your name, email address and relevant contact and background information (your position, school, location). to email@example.com and copy firstname.lastname@example.org For more details about PlanetFest check out The Planetary Society's Web site at: http://planetary.org/hot-top-planetfest.html
Mars Pathfinder Weekly Status Report
[Editor's note: This status report was prepared by the Flight Operations Manager, Mars Pathfinder Project, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory.] 6 June 1997 The spacecraft remains in good health and is currently about 148 million kilometers from Earth (14 million km from Mars). The total flight time since launch is now 182 days, and we have 28 days until Mars arrival. The flight team completed uploading the final flight software patch to the spacecraft on June 5-6. The patch corrects a number of problems in the Entry, Descent, and Landing control software. The total volume of the patch was approximately 400 Kbytes. The decision was made to delay using the new software until after Operational Readiness Test #7 (ORT #7) because it will be a good final regression test. The spacecraft will begin using the new software on June 16. Completed two mini-ORTs which tested our petal move and low gain antenna contingency plans for Sol 1. All flight sequences for pre-entry and surface operations have now been completed (except for some minor tweaks to the backup mission load), and will be loaded on the spacecraft on June 18. We have also completed all preparations for the mission dress rehearsal (ORT #7), which will start on June 9. Completed a detailed review of Public Outreach plans involving project, program office, and JPL Public Information Office personnel. No major issues or concerns exist, and the detailed implementation activities are proceeding well. For further information, please visit our website at http://mpfwww.jpl.nasa.gov.
Mars Global Surveyor Flight Status Report
[Editor's note: This status report was prepared by the Office of the Flight Operations Manager, Mars Surveyor Operations Project, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory.] 6 June 1997 Two weeks after recovery from safe mode and the restoration of standard operations, the Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft continues to perform excellently as it cruises toward an encounter with the Red Planet later this summer. Currently, Surveyor is operating in a quiet state with no major activity sequences programmed in the onboard computer. The flight team will transmit the next major sequence load toward the end of the month. On Tuesday of this week, the flight team sent a few commands to Surveyor that activated gyroscope #2 for a period of one hour. Several weeks ago, this gyro was automatically powered down when its usage of electrical current exceeded a preset limit. Although gyros help the spacecraft keep track of its pointing orientation in space, there was no loss of control because Surveyor's #1 and #3 gyros seamlessly assumed the function of the powered down unit. During the one hour of operation, the amount of electrical current sent by gyro #2 was well below the level that would have resulted in an automatic power down. Although the gyro is functional, the project management has decided to leave it powered off. Flight software code is being developed that will autonomously activate gyro #2 in the unlikely event that an anomalous condition precludes the usage of either the #1 or #3 gyro. This new software will be transmitted to Surveyor in a few weeks. The only other notable activity this week occurred late Thursday. That evening, the flight team transmitted a short series of commands to Surveyor that modified the onboard software. These minor changes will ensure that the infinite-loop condition that resulted in safe mode entry will never happen again. After a mission-elapsed time of 211 days from launch, Surveyor is 137.88 million kilometers from the Earth, 24.04 million kilometers from Mars, and is moving in an orbit around the Sun with a velocity of 22.57 kilometers per second. This orbit will intercept Mars 97 days from now, slightly after 6:00 p.m. PDT. on September 11th (01:00 UTC, September 12). All systems continue to be in excellent condition.
SUBSCRIBING & UNSUBSCRIBING: HOW TO DO IT!
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