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UPDATE # 18 - January 23, 1997

PART 1: Upcoming WebChat
PART 2: Mars Expert to Appear on Kids' TV Show
PART 3: Next LFM Broadcast
PART 4: Student Stumpers
PART 5: Help From Other Teachers
PART 6: Meeting LFM Teachers & Staff
PART 7: Mars Global Surveyor Flight Status


UPCOMING WEBCHAT

***Tuesday, January 28, 9 a.m., PST*** Next week's Live From Mars chat will feature Anita Dodson, a graphics communicator (also known as a graphic artist or graphic designer). Anita figures out the best way to put words, images and colors together so that it grabs your attention and sends a specific message. She does this by designing and producing brochures, flyers, mission decals, posters, presentations, exhibits, articles and even pages on the World Wide Web. She especially enjoys being creative and trying new things. Weekly WebChats offer an opportunity for your students to virtually meet the people on the front lines of the Mars exploration adventure. This includes the entire spectrum of people that it takes to make the Mars team work-- from scientists, engineers and programmers to data librarians, photographers and graphics communicators. Teachers have reported that the chats really enliven students' enthusiasm. To best prepare, please have your students read Anita's biography before the WebChat: http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/mars/team/dodson.html To join in the fun, point your Web browser to http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/mars/events/interact.html to follow the links to the *moderated* chatroom for experts. If you plan to participate in this event, please RSVP to Andrea by sending a brief email note to andream@quest.arc.nasa.gov telling her that you plan to join the session. This RSVP is very important, as it will allow us to ensure that the chatroom does not become overly crowded.


MARS EXPERT TO APPEAR ON CBS KIDS' SHOW

LFM expert and WebChat guest Mary Urquhart will appear on a nationally broadcast CBS television show called "News for Kids" on Saturday morning February 1. Teachers, be sure to tape this segment for your students! Many of your kids "talked" with Mary during her January 15 WebChat. Mary is also featured on "The Team" page of the LFM Web site at: http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/mars/team/urquhart.html


NEXT LFM BROADCAST

NASA-TV plans to broadcast the next Live From Mars broadcast, "Cruising Between the Planets," on April 24 from 1-2 p.m., EST. If you depend on your local PBS station you should check your local listings or call your local station for coverage information.


STUDENT STUMPERS: KID-CENTERED CHALLENGE QUESTIONS
http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/mars/kids/stumpers.html Here is an easy activity that you could do with your students tomorrow! You may remember Challenge Questions, the series of puzzles we asked in the fall. They'll be back in March, before our live TV program. But for now, a great series of student-centered questions has risen to the top. Student Stumpers challenge kids to make riddles for other kids to solve. Whether students create a question or email the author with a proposed answer, Student Stumpers can be a terrific way for students to meet like-minded kids all over the world. This activity includes safe email tips for students and teachers. Real examples include Taylor, who queries: > Can Mars be viewed from Earth with the naked eye? > When is the best time to look for it? Or Thabet from Egypt, who asks a really hard one: > Within a couple of million of years, Mars the Red Planet might have another name, maybe the 5th ringed planet in the Solar System or the "asteroid-like" planet. Why will it be called these uncommon names? Please consider involving your students in the Student Stumper festival happening now.
HELP FROM OTHER TEACHERS
http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/mars/news/mentors.html A favorite part of Live From Mars is meeting the wonderful teachers who are doing this project. Many people who are currently active in LFM have done similar projects here before. They know the ropes and have learned how to make these projects work in real classrooms. So if you are a bit confused or feeling alone or struggling to make LFM work, please consider our Live From Mars mentors. Their friendly experience can help you over the hump. As well, we welcome additional LFM mentor volunteers. Please visit the LFM mentors' page for more details.
OTHER WAYS TO MEET TEACHERS & LFM STAFF

Live From Mars is special because of the connections that form between people. Not only connections between students and NASA experts, but bonds between teachers and LFM staff. If you are not a part of these conversations, you may be missing something of great value. Not only can other teachers help you figure out things, they can be a sounding board for your brainstorms. As well, the LFM team is easily influenced. Your ideas may sway the entire direction of the project (as past history demonstrates). There are two different ways to participate: chats and discuss-lfm. Every week, two, hourly chats are scheduled. Each Thursday at either noon or 3:00 p.m., Pacific (schedule alternates), folks gather in the chatroom for an hour. Also, each Wednesday at 11:00 a.m. Pacific, a special home-school forum is hosted by master home schooler Gayle Remisch, from London, Ontario, Canada. For more info, see the WebChat section of http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/mars/events/interact.html In addition, discuss-lfm offers teachers an opportunity to send more composed messages. Last month, LFM people contributed over 120 gems in the vigorous discussion. Many people channel this information directly to their mailboxes. If 200+ messages are too many for you, an option exists for a digest. The digest sends just one daily message with all of the day's traffic gathered together. To participate, send an email message to: listmanager@quest.arc.nasa.gov In the message body, choose one of the lines below to send: subscribe discuss-lfm subscribe discuss-digest-lfm If you prefer, you may also take part in the discuss-lfm group via the Web. In that case, point your browser to: http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/mars/discuss-lfm-lwgate.html Please do consider joining us. You may learn a bit and make some new friends.


[Editor's note: This status report on the Mars Global Surveyor mission was prepared by the Office of the Flight Operations Manager, Mars Surveyor Operations, Jet Propulsion Laboratory.] MARS GLOBAL SURVEYOR FLIGHT STATUS REPORT Friday, 17 January 1997 On Monday of this week, Surveyor's flight team activated the Mars Orbiter Camera in preparation for four days of star imaging. Once per afternoon from Tuesday through Friday, the spacecraft turned to point the camera at a cluster of stars called the Pleiades. Over the course of one hour on each imaging day, the camera observed stars within the cluster in order to perform focus checks. Communications with the spacecraft during star imaging was not possible because the star-pointed orientation resulted in pointing the high-gain antenna away from the Earth. Consequently, all of the data from the camera were stored on Surveyor's solid-state recorders. These data were transmitted back to Earth approximately three hours after the conclusion of each day's imaging. The daily playback of camera data required 49 minutes. During that time, Surveyor transmitted 250 megabits of data at a downlink rate of 85,333 bits per second. Next week, the onboard flight computer will activate heaters in the camera that will bake the epoxy structure of the camera to remove residual moisture. A set of four more star images will be taken after the bakeout period ends in late March. The star images taken this week will serve as a reference to assess the focusing capability of the camera after the bakeout. Other activities this week included a two-hour radio-science calibration that occurred late in the evening on Wednesday. This test involved using the spacecraft's ultra-stable oscillator to control the frequency or "tone" of Surveyor's radio transmissions to the Earth. Normally, the spacecraft listens to a signal transmitted from the Earth as a reference to set the tone of the signal transmitted to Earth. The oscillator functions as an electronic clock that can precisely control the tone of Surveyor's signal without listening to the Earth- based reference signal. Future tests of the oscillator will occur approximately every other week until the spacecraft reaches Mars. These tests are important because a stable radio signal as controlled by the oscillator will be critical toward the collection of scientific data at Mars. After a mission elapsed time of 71 days from launch, Surveyor is 16.05 million kilometers from the Earth, 136.00 million kilometers from Mars, and is moving in an orbit around the Sun with a velocity of 30.85 kilometers per second. This orbit will intercept Mars on September 12, 1997. All systems on the spacecraft continue to be in excellent condition.
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: 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
credits
 
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