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UPDATE # 1 - August 3, 1996

PART 1: Welcome to the project
PART 2: Why you got this mail message
PART 3: Status of the spacecraft


Welcome to "Live From Mars",
a project developed by the Passport to Knowledge team.

Over the next year, you will receive a unique perspective on NASA's robot missions to Mars. Through this maillist, you will receive regular Field Journals from the men and women who are responsible for flying two spacecraft (Mars Global Surveyor and Mars Pathfinder) to the red planet. You will hear from the space researchers preparing for the exciting new knowledge which will be gained from the Martian missions. Also, a variety of other Mars-workers not directly connected to the two missions will share their perspectives. These behind-the-scenes reports will a glimpse of the day-to-day activities required, including the broad diversity of skills needed as we enter an unprecedented decade of Mars exploration. Live From Mars (LFM) includes several live television programs. The first two are scheduled for November 19, 1996 and April 24, 1997 to encourage them to carry the programs). As well, a detailed Teacher's Guide will be available in about one month. This document will detail a variety of hands-on science activities designed to integrate with the online and television resources. More information about this teachers guide will be shared here over the next few weeks, including availability information.

A dedicated online archive is rapidly coming together. It includes the complete collection of Field Journals, biographies of Mars people, an image gallery, a collection of classroom projects and much more. This "continuous construction" Web site will be found at http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/mars and is expected to be made public in one month.

As LFM evolves, special activities will be scheduled. For example, we'll conduct a collaborative activity about designing instrument packages to analyze local environments. After some classroom work, students will debate their ideas and determine a standardized package. Then these packages will be used to make actual measurements which will be shared globally. A series of special WebChat and CU-SeeMe sessions with Mars folks will be scheduled. As details emerge they will be announced on this updates-lfm mailing list.

Presently, we plan to publish these email updates about twice per month. The frequency will increase as the school year starts and the missions get closer to launching in November.

Throughout the Live From Mars project, our team will be interested in receiving your ideas and feedback. Send any comments to Jan Wee (janw@quest.arc.nasa.gov) or to Marc Siegel (marc@quest.arc.nasa.gov).

We hope that Live From Mars will prove to be an exciting learning resource for you and your students.

Thanks for your interest,
Marc


WHY YOU GOT THIS MAIL MESSAGE

Many of the people who got this message directly signed up for the updates-lfm maillist. So for those people, this note is a celebration of how things can work as intended.

For all the others, your name was taken from the LIVE FROM THE HUBBLE SPACE TELESCOPE list. I figured that if you were interested in that project, there was a very good chance that you'd be interested in Live From Mars. If that assumption doesn't apply to you, please accept my sincere apologies for this unwanted mail message. And also please unsubscribe from the list to avoid more unwanted messages. The most direct way to unsubscribe is to send an email to:

    listmanager@quest.arc.nasa.gov
In the message body, write only these words:
    unsubscribe updates-lfm


STATUS OF THE SPACECRAFT

Here is some information on the status of the two spacecraft. The reports below are about three months old now. Future messages will provide more current information. These messages come from an online journal called Martian Chronicles which is produced by the Mars Outreach Office at the Jet Propulsion Lab (JPL) in Pasadena, CA. The Web URL is: http://mpfntas.jpl.nasa.gov/MARTIANCHRONICLE/

Mars Pathfinder Status
Tony Spear

May 1, 1996
The fully assembled Mars Pathfinder flight system has just successfully completed an "acoustic vibration" test which uses sound waves to simulate the launch environment. It is also being readied for what is called a thermal/vacuum test: we put the flight system into a large 25 foot chamber and pump the air out of the chamber to simulate the vacuum of space in cruise, while shining infrared lights on the flight system to simulate the intense sunlight in interplanetary space.

After this test, we put the flight system into its surface configuration with the lander open and the rover off the lander, communicating with the lander through its radio link. We again pump down the chamber, but this time to Mars surface atmospheric pressure and cycle the flight system through hot and cold temperatures to simulate Mars day and night cycles.

Before, during and after each of these cruise and surface environmental tests, we do system electrical testing of the flight system to ensure the proper operation of all the systems. After all of this, in August, we partially disassemble the flight system to ship it to the Eastern Test Range in Florida for launch preparations.

All is going well for launch on December 2, 1996!

Mars Global Surveyor Status
Glenn E. Cunningham

May 1, 1996
All activities of the Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) project are moving along well toward launch in early November.

The spacecraft assembly is nearly complete at the Lockheed Martin facility in Denver, Colorado, and has the spacecraft has begun its first fully integrated system electrical testing. All but two of the science instruments have been installed, and the remaining ones are due in May.

As is the case with many spacecraft, the mass of the assembled hardware always seems to be a little more than is predicted by the design documents. Such is the case with the MGS spacecraft. A considerable effort has been applied by the project team over the last few months to reduce the spacecraft mass and to find ways to change the mission plan to be able to accept a little heavier spacecraft and still be able to meet mission objectives. After all the studies were complete, and the mass of the all the spacecraft assemblies had been reassessed, we agreed on a 1060-kg upper limit total launch mass and slipped the opening of the launch period one day to open on November 6th. Some of the spacecraft's thermal blankets are the only remaining items yet to be weighed, but all indications are good that the mass limit will be met.

The end-to-end tests that assure compatibility between the flight operations system (which will be responsible for "flying" or controlling the spacecraft after launch) and the spacecraft itself are now underway, and the results are looking good.

The two remaining science instruments, the Thermal Emission Spectrometer and the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter, suffered minor setbacks during their final acceptance testing, and both required some reworking before final testing and delivery. The required rework is underway and is progressing well.



To subscribe to the updates-lfm mailing list (where this message came from), send a message to:

    listmanager@quest.arc.nasa.gov
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:
    listmanager@quest.arc.nasa.gov
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. This site will remain fairly sparse until early September


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