PART 1: Weather Worlds: Two New Activities
to Start Now!
WEATHER WORLDS: TWO NEW ACTIVITIES TO START NOW!
Two new exciting projects are awaiting you and your students in Weather Worlds. Designed for a wide range of classrooms at varying levels of sophistication and with varying amounts of time for participation, Weather Worlds offers a challenge--students must decide what key weather measurements they think are most important to gather here on Earth, and then how to obtain them, by designing, building and/or acquiring instruments to collect these data. As part of this process, students will also have to figure out protocols or procedures about how and when to gather data. For example, is it enough to gather temperatures just at noon? Do you also need night-time lows? If you want maximum and minimum temperatures, how should you go about securing these? As another example: Pathfinder's temperature sensors are set at three different heights above the Martian surface. Would such measurements be relevant on Earth? Students are not limited to instruments paralleling those on Pathfinder; they are encouraged to start from scratch and come up with their best ideas. Temperature, wind, pressure, humidity, hours of daylight, cloud cover-- these are all areas that students might consider. The idea behind Weather Worlds is to give students the feel of real world science. Not only will they be gathering data in ways parallel to what Pathfinder is doing on Mars, they'll also be using the Internet to debate plans with their peers, something that NASA scientists also have to do. A detailed summary of the tasks and a timeline can be found at: http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/mars/events/weatherworlds.html
SIGN UP FOR "AMERICA GOES BACK TO SCHOOL" WEBCHATS
During the week of September 29 - October 3, join in a series of WebChats with NASA scientists and engineers as they talk about their exciting jobs and careers. Chat with some of the folks who work at NASA: an astrophycist, a research engineer who specializes in space walks, engineers who manage the Pathfinder spacecraft on Mars, astronauts who fly in the shuttle, people who build out-of-this-world aircraft and scientists who study our changing planet and how we contribute to the changes. To view the online biographies of the scientists and engineers, to see the chat schedule and to register for a chat go to: http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/school97/index.html
CHARLES WHETSEL CHAT FULL--OBSERVE ROOM OPEN
The September 23 chat with Charles Whetsel filled up almost immediately. Thank you to everyone for your quick responses! Your passwords are "in the mail"! For those of you still interested in participating, please join us in the Observe Room, which can be found at: http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/mars/events/interact.html All you have to do is click on "To observe the chat..." No RSVP or password are needed.
TWO NEW LFM BROADCASTS COMING YOUR WAY
Live From Mars continues to track NASA's two current missions to Mars, allowing students, for the first time ever, to follow planetary spacecraft from prelaunch through landing. LFM includes two new upcoming broadcasts. "Destination Mars" Tuesday, October 30, 1997 1 p.m. Eastern This program reprises highlights of the programs presented during the 1996-97 school year and provides an update on the highly successful July 4, 1997, landing of Mars Pathfinder on the Red Planet, and the first months spent on Mars by the micro-rover, Sojourner, (named by a high-school student for 19th century abolitionist Sojourner Truth). For new teachers and students "Destination Mars" provides a comprehensive introduction to Mars and why we study it, the character and purposes of NASA's two missions, and behind-the-scenes vignettes of the men and women who fly the missions. NASA's second Mars spacecraft, Global Surveyor, an orbiter rather than a lander, arrived successfully at the Red Planet on September 11, 1997, and the program will showcase some of the earliest images and data returned. "Today on Mars" Tuesday, November 13, 1997 1 p.m. Eastern With the very latest images and the first analyses of scientific data from Mars Global Surveyor, and more "ground truth" from the Pathfinder lander, this program provides a kind of weathercast from the alien planet that in many ways is most like Earth. The daily cycle of ice, frosts, clouds, and dust storms will be followed through computer-enhanced images from the lander, and compared and contrasted to Earth. The program will also feature results from the WEATHER WORLDS online collaborative activity in which students will gather local weather data and report it online, to compare and contrast their findings with NASA's results from Mars! Also featured will be hands-on activities that simulate the work of instruments on NASA's spacecraft, and interaction between students and the researchers who operate the actual "tools." Through Sojourner's robot eyes we'll see virtual reality sequences that track the first-ever rover on Mars as it travels around the planet. Real-time interactions allow students to question NASA's scientists about the latest findings and to hear about the future of interplanetary exploration. Broadcast details will be announced here in the next few weeks.
MARS GLOBAL SURVEYOR FLIGHT STATUS
[Editor's note: This status report was prepared by the Office of the Flight Operations Manager, Mars Surveyor Operations Project, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory.] Thursday, 18 September 1997 At 8:03 a.m. PDT this morning, the flight team commanded Surveyor's tiny rocket thrusters to fire for 20 seconds. This burn occurred at the high point of the spacecraft's fourth orbit around Mars and slowed Surveyor by 1.79 m.p.h. (0.799 meters per second). The maneuver lowered the low point of Surveyor's orbit from its current value of 93 miles (150 km) down to 79.5 miles (128 km). The spacecraft is currently falling back toward Mars and will reach this new low point Friday morning at 6:29 a.m. PDT. At that time, Surveyor will make its second aerobraking pass by skimming through the upper part of the Martian atmosphere. Surveyor's atmospheric scientists expect the spacecraft to encounter slightly more air resistance on Friday than during the first atmospheric pass which occurred on Wednesday. The reason is that the orbit's low point will lie 13.5 miles (21.7 km) deeper into the Martian atmosphere than before. However, the flight team still expects that Friday's atmospheric pass will have little effect on lowering the high point of the spacecraft's orbit. Over the next week, the flight team will continue to lower the low point of the orbit deeper into the atmosphere on an orbit by orbit basis. In about one week, the altitude of the atmospheric pass will be deep enough to slow the spacecraft by an appreciable amount on every orbit. At that time, the high point of Surveyor's orbit will begin to shrink by noticeable amounts. After a mission elapsed time of 315 days from launch, Surveyor is 161.31 million miles (259.60 million kilometers) from the Earth and in an orbit around Mars with a period of just under 45 hours. The spacecraft is currently executing the P4 command sequence, and all systems continue to be in excellent condition.
SUBSCRIBING & UNSUBSCRIBING: HOW TO DO IT!
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