PART 1: Register Now for Last Two August
REGISTER NOW FOR LAST TWO AUGUST CHATS
Monday, August 18, 10 a.m., Pacific Daylight, Mike Mellon Mike is a planetary geologist. His work focuses primarily on studying martian geology and climate, including, as a central link between these two, water. In his work, Mike investigates where water on Mars could be located and what geologic evidence can tell us about the planetwide distribution of water. Mike also studies how water is related to the martian climate and how the climate changes over time. Be sure to read Mike's bio before his chat at: http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/mars/team Monday, August 25, 10 a.m., Pacific Daylight, Bridget Landry Bridget is the deputy uplink systems engineer for Mars Pathfinder. What this really means is that she teaches the computers on the ground to speak the same language as the spacecraft. She has taken a very complex, but general computer program and made it understand all the commands that Pathfinder knows. To find out more about Bridget and her interesting life, be sure to read her bio and journals at: http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/mars/team To participate in the WebChats, RSVP at least 24 hours in advance to reserve a space for yourself. Send RSVP to: firstname.lastname@example.org You will receive confirmation of your registration and a password to enter the chat room. If the chat rooms are full by the time you register, you can still participate by watching the chat from the Observe Room at: http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/mars/events/interact.html
PATHFINDER PRESS CONFERENCE ARCHIVE ONLINE
Would you like to know when the next Mars Pathfinder press conference is scheduled? Are you interested in viewing past press conferences? Look no further! Your online source for Pathfinder press conference information is: http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/mars/video/news To view the conferences you will need RealPlayer or RealAudio installed on your computer. RealPlayer is available free of charge from Progressive Networks at: http://www.real.com/ The next Pathfinder press conference is scheduled for August 27 at 10 a.m., Pacific Daylight Time.
GEARING UP FOR NEW SCHOOL YEAR
Live From Mars will continue until December 1997; after that we expect the project to change names and continue with a focus on Mars and its ongoing exploration. Shuttle Team Online will continue with a new International Space Station component. This project will be available throughout the school year. Women of NASA provides an opportunity to meet some of NASA's women via scheduled live WebChats. Also available is an archive of biographies of NASA's diverse scientific and technical women, and online and offline resources for teachers who are trying to deal with the issue of gender equity in their teaching. This project is designed to encourage female involvement in math and science careers via role models within NASA. Women of NASA will be available throughout the '97-'98 school year (October 97 to May 98). To register for project updates and receive the schedule for WebChats, send email to: email@example.com In the message body, write only these words: subscribe updates-won More info is on the web at http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/women NeurOn is a new project that will be available during most of the school year (exact dates to be determined). This project will focus on the NeuroLab space shuttle mission that will study the brain. NeurOn will include a television component airing on PBS stations in 40 states. Aero Design Team Online will be about NASA's aeronautics program. We hope the project will include a television component. This project is currently planned for the fall only. Additional details will be provided TO this mail list later or on the Web at http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/interactive
QUEST PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT TO AIR
A NASA Quest Public Service Announcement (PSA) has been created for distribution to TV stations around the country. The narrative and selected pictures from this 30-second video are available for viewing at http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/common/psa. If you have the capability to use RealPlayer Plus 4.0, you can view the entire contents of the PSA. You are encouraged to contact your local TV networks and inquire about interest in airing the PSA. Suggestions on what to say to a network media person are also included in the above URL. Videotapes have already been sent to TV stations in New York, Pennsylvania, North Dakota and California.
MARS PATHFINDER MISSION STATUS
Mars Pathfinder Results Generating New Picture of Mars as Mission Moves Into Extended Operations [Editor's note: This status report was prepared by the Office of the Flight Operations Manager, Mars Pathfinder Project, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory.] August 8, 1997 NASA's Mars Pathfinder spacecraft -- a novel mission to send an inexpensive lander and roving prospector to the surface of Mars - has concluded its primary mission, fulfilling all of its objectives and returning a wealth of new information about the red planet. The robotic lander, which continues to explore an ancient outflow channel in Mars' northern hemisphere, completed its milestone 30-day mission Aug. 3, capturing far more data on the atmosphere, weather and geology of Mars than scientists expected. In all, Pathfinder returned 1.2 gigabits (1.2 billion bits) of data and 9669 tantalizing pictures of the Martian landscape. The mission has been followed with great interest via the World Wide Web. Twenty Pathfinder mirror sites, constructed by JPL Web engineer Kirk Goodall and managed by Pathfinder Webmaster David Dubov, recorded 565,902,373 hits worldwide during the period of July 1 - August 4. The highest volume of hits in one day occurred on July 8, when a record 47 million hits were logged, which is more than twice the volume of hits received on any one day during the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta. "The data returned by the Sagan Memorial Station and Sojourner has been nothing short of spectacular, and it will help provide a scientific basis for future Mars missions, including a sample return, for years to come," said Dr. Wesley Huntress, NASA associate administrator for space science. "The Pathfinder team's 'can do' attitude not only was critical to overcoming several complex technical challenges during development and cruise, but has carried through the uncharted territory of operating a solar-powered lander and mobile rover on the surface of a planet millions of miles from Earth." "This mission demonstrated a reliable and low-cost system for placing science payloads on the surface of Mars," said Brian Muirhead, Mars Pathfinder project manager at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. "We've validated NASA's commitment to low-cost planetary exploration, shown the usefulness of sending microrovers to explore Mars, and obtained significant science data to help understand the structure and meteorology of the Martian atmosphere, and to understand the composition of the Martian rocks and soil." A new portrait of the Martian environment has begun to emerge in the 30 days since Pathfinder and its small, 10.5-kilogram (23-pound) rover began to record weather patterns, atmospheric opacity and the chemical composition of rocks washed down into the Ares Vallis flood plain. The rover's alpha proton X-ray spectrometer, led by Principal Investigator Dr. Rudolph Rieder, was responsible for making the first in-situ measurements of rocks near the landing site. "We are seeing much more differentiation of volcanics than we expected to see," said Dr. Matthew Golombek, Mars Pathfinder project scientist at JPL. "The high silica content of one of the rocks we've measured suggests that there was more crustal activity - heating and recycling of materials -- early in Mars' history than we thought." Similarly, atmospheric-surface interactions, measured by a meteorology package onboard the lander, are confirming some conditions observed by the Viking landers 21 years ago, while raising questions about other aspects of the planet's global system of transporting volatiles such as water vapor, clouds and dust, said Science Team Leader Dr. Timothy Schofield. The meteorology mast on the lander has observed a rapid drop-off in temperatures just a few feet above the surface, and one detailed 24-hour measurement set revealed temperature fluctuations of 30-40 degrees Fahrenheit in a matter of minutes. In addition, sweeping, color panoramas of the Martian landscape, created by the Imager for Mars Pathfinder (IMP) team and Principal Investigator Peter Smith, are revealing clear evidence that the surface of Mars has been altered by winds and flowing water. The rover's performance has easily surpassed its designers' minimum expectations. Engineers designed the roving vehicle's electronics, battery power and hazard avoidance features to see it through at least a week of safe roving, not knowing beforehand what conditions it might encounter on Mars. After 30 days, the rover is still healthy and has clocked 52 meters (171 feet) distance, circumnavigated the lander and taken 384 spectacular views of rocks and the lander. "Sojourner's capabilities to detect hazards and then act on its own to overcome those hazards has been remarkable," said Dr. Jacob Matijevic, Sojourner project manager. "The technology experiments we have been able to perform with the rover's wheels have given us composition of the Martian soil, as well as rocks around the landing site. Sojourner's durability in this frigid, hostile environment is also showing us that we are on the right track to building smarter, even more durable rovers for future missions." Pathfinder's primary objective was to demonstrate a low-cost way of delivering an instrumented lander and free-ranging rover to the surface of the red planet. Landers and rovers of the future will share the heritage of spacecraft designs and technologies tested in this "pathfinding" mission. Part of NASA's Discovery program of low-cost planetary missions with highly focused science goals, the spacecraft used an innovative method of directly entering the Martian atmosphere. Assisted by an 11-meter (36-foot) diameter parachute, the spacecraft descended to the surface of Mars and landed, using airbags to cushion the impact. This novel method of diving into the Martian atmosphere worked like a charm. "Every event during the entry, descent and landing (EDL) went almost perfectly," said Richard Cook, Pathfinder mission manager. "The sequences were executed right on time and well within our margins." Pathfinder landed right on the money, within 20 kilometers (13 miles) of the targeted landing site. The landing site coordinates in Ares Vallis were later identified as 19.33 degrees north latitude, 33.55 degrees west longitude. The spacecraft's terminal velocity as it parachuted to the ground was higher than expected, said Rob Manning, Pathfinder flight system chief engineer. "Interestingly, we estimated our descent on the parachute at about 60 meters per second (134 miles per hour). Software controlling the retro rockets recorded Pathfinder's speed at about 61.5 meters per second (140 miles per hour) at the time the RAD (rocket-assisted deceleration) rockets fired." Pathfinder's performance in the Martian atmosphere will be of great value to Mars Global Surveyor, which will aerobrake through the Martian atmosphere to circularize its orbit when it reaches Mars on Sept. 11. The Pathfinder navigation team, led by Peter Kallemyn of JPL, estimated horizontal wind velocities in the upper atmosphere, which accelerated the spacecraft's descent velocity by about 13 meters per second (20 to 25 miles per hour). After being suspended from a 20-meter (65-foot) bridle and firing its retro rockets, a 5.8-meter (19-foot) diameter cluster of airbags softened Pathfinder's landing, marking the first time this airbag technique has been used. The spacecraft hit the ground at a speed of about 18 meters per second (40 miles per hour) and bounced about 16 times across the landscape before coming to a halt. The airbag seems to have performed perfectly and sustained little or no damage. To top it off, the spacecraft even landed on its base petal, consequently allowing its thumb-sized antenna to communicate the successful landing to a jubilant team on Earth only three minutes after touch down. Science data from the surface of Mars will continue to be collected and transmitted to Earth, then analyzed by scientists, as Pathfinder enters its extended mission. The lander was placed in a two-day hibernation period to recharge its battery after the conclusion of the primary mission, and the flight team will begin to power the lander battery off each Martian night now to conserve energy. The rover's batteries remain in good condition, but are not rechargeable. For further information, please visit our website at http://mpfwww.jpl.nasa.gov
SUBSCRIBING & UNSUBSCRIBING: HOW TO DO IT!
If this is your first message from the updates-lfm list, welcome! To catch up on back issues, please visit the following Internet URL: http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/mars/updates To subscribe to the updates-lfm mailing list (where this message came from), send a message to: firstname.lastname@example.org In the message body, write these words: subscribe updates-lfm CONVERSELY... To remove your name from the updates-lfm mailing list, send a message to: email@example.com In the message body, write these words: unsubscribe updates-lfm If you have Web access, please visit our "continuous construction" site at http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/mars