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UPDATE # 3 - September 26, 1996

PART 1: Teacher's Guide: Table of Content
PART 2: A trip to see the Mars spacecraft


TEACHER'S GUIDE: TABLE OF CONTENTS

Here is what you've been waiting for!  The first bits of the
Live From Mars Teacher's Guide.  Below are the Table of Contents.
Over the next two weeks, the details will be filled in online at
our Web site 
(http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/mars/teachers/tg).
But for now, at
least you can get a sense of what lessons we've decided to include and
leave out.

LFM Table of Contents

Introductory Articles
* Project Notes
* Letter of welcome from the Project Director and Executive Producer
* Video, Online and Print: a Guide to the integrated multimedia
  components, with specific examples (e.g. Field Journals, etc.) keyed
  to an overview of the project
* Teacher-to-Teacher: Live From Mars as an unique opportunity.
  How to implement the project over 2 school years, and/or adapt it
  to local circumstances
* NASA's Mars missions timeline, and the Live From Mars
  implementation timeline (graphic) Suggestions for correlations
  between fixed mission dates (e.g. launch, landing, etc.), fixed
  project dates (the live videos) and other project activities

Opening Activities: Project Objectives/Program 1
* Activity A-1 -Mars Mission Logbooks: an assessment tool for
  students and teachers A way for students to record and reflect
  on their learning experience
* Activity A-2 - Constructing a "History of Mars Exploration"
  timeline - the past is prolog...
* Activity A-3 - Become a member of the Live From Mars Mission
  Team: an introduction to the men and women of the Mars Global
  Surveyor (MGS) and Mars Pathfinder (MPF) project, their roles, and
  an invitation to students to "imagine" themselves into the project
* Activity A-4 - Mission Planning: Earth/Mars Comparisons with a
  Student Worksheet exploring "Same and Different" features of the
  two planets
* Activity A-5 - Mission Planning: Geology and Areology: My state,
  nation and Mars

Program 1 "COUNTDOWN" Description
* Activity 1.1 Rocket Science 101, with Student Worksheets;
  Experiments with balloon rockets
* Activity 1.2 Mapping the Topography of Unknown Surfaces:
  a simulation of how MGS's laser altimeter will be used to create
  a global topographic map of Mars
* Activity 1.3 Follow the Water -- Investigations with stream tables,
  with Student Worksheet.  Hands-on experiments to explore the
  processes which led to channels on Mars most likely made by
  running water

Program 2 "CRUISING BETWEEN THE PLANETS" Description
* Activity 2.1 Observing Mars in the Night Sky
  Sidebar: MarsWatch '97, The "Opposition Opportunity"
  Building a model (out of students) to demonstrate Mars' retrograde
  motion, and how to enlist local astronomers during the Spring 1997
  "opposition" (closest approach of Mars to Earth.)
* Activity 2.2 Building Rovers out of Junk
  Experiments with designs for planetary rovers
* Activity 2.3 Reading the Shapes of Volcanoes on Earth and Mars
  How slope angles can tell us about plate tectonics, and the past
  history of volcanoes

Program 3 "TOUCHDOWN" Description
* Activity 3.1 The Incredible Light Bulb-Egg Drop Challenge
  sidebar: Pathfinder, the Incredible Bouncing Spacecraft
  Engineering to protect a fragile "Descent Module"
 * Activity 3.2 Creating Craters, with Student Worksheet
  Students experiment with mass, velocity and size of impact bodies,
  to simulate craters seen on Earth, the Moon, and Mars
* Activity 3.3 Detecting Magnetic Materials in "Martian Soil"
  An activity to provide context for one of MPF's experiments

Program 4 "WITH PATHFINDER TO MARS" Description
A note on how to use this taped program to begin the ongoing project
with new students in the new school year: Activities are drawn from
Programs 1 - 3.

Program 5 "TODAY ON MARS" Description
* Activity 5.1 Using Heat Radiation to Characterize a Planet's Surface
  5.1.A, B Inside and Outside Lab Worksheets
  An activity to provide context for one of MGS's experiments, the
  Thermal Emission Spectrometer
* Activity 5.2 "And here's today's weather on Mars... "
  How to access and use the live weather data that will be coming
  down from MPF, and the first data from MGS
* Activity 5.3 Sun, Shadows, Surface Structure... and the Face on Mars
  Building and lighting models to show how to interpret novel landforms

Wrap-Up Activities
* Activity B-1 Been there, Done that... Where Next?
  Selecting sites for upcoming missions: synthesizing project
  learning to date, and projecting forward
* Activity B-2 The Case for Mars: flags, philosophy, the future...
* Activity B-3 Assessing the project, and providing feedback

Other useful information
* Getting the most out of the Online Components
* Multimedia Resources and Recommendations: books, video,
  CD-ROMs, etc.
* Glossary, Vocabulary and Key Concepts
* Science Standards and Themes Matrix, correlating Activities to
  the National Standards, and indicating interdisciplinary connections

Co-packaged materials
* Student Worksheets
* Copy masters of graphics required for the Activities
* A note on Assessment, and EDC's pre-paid registration postcard
* the Live From Mars poster
* MGS and MPF Fact Sheets (NASA)
* MPF brochure (NASA)


[Editor's note: Mike teaches near the Kennedy Space Center and he's
very engaged in the Live From Mars project. Recently he accompanied
LFM Executive Director Geoff Haines-Stiles and TV Producer Richard Dowling
on a scouting trip to Kennedy to plan for the upcoming television program]

A TRIP TO SEE THE MARS SPACECRAFT
Mike Deane


September 26, 1996
Yesterday, September 25th, I went to the Kennedy Space Center for some
special discussions regarding the November 19th Live From Mars telecast.

I went to both PHSF where the Mars Global Surveyor is being processed and
to SAEF-2 where the Mars Pathfinder is being processed.

I was able to stand outside the clean room in the viewing area behind a
large pane of glass and see the technicians attaching the last pieces of
the thermal blanket to the Mars Global Surveyor.  While viewing this
spectacular spacecraft, Geoff Haines-Stiles was interviewing (with Sony
Camcorder in hand) the project director for the mission.  Glen Cunningham
is very confident about the integrity of all the flight, communications,
and science components on this craft.

MGS is a beautiful bronze-gold color, mostly because of the
thermal/reflective blanket that covers everything except thrusters, solar
panels, scientific remote sensing devices, and antennas.  The most
prominent features, even folded up and not in position for use, are the
two solar panel arrays on either side of the craft.  One panel was already
permanently installed on one side of the craft; on the other side the last
thermal blanket attachments were being done. The second solar array
attachment will mark the final component to be attached and final
preparations of the spacecraft for launch and flight will begin.  These
solar arrays look like black venetian blinds.  I looked for a cord on
either side to pull and get the "blinds" to fold together so I could get a
look inside.  A look at the other side soon revealed to me the futility of
this daydream; underneath, everything has already been covered with the
protective coating of the thermal/reflective blanket.  The second most
prominent feature was the high-gain parabolic antenna for microwave
transmission. This antenna is roughly half the size of the solar panels
in their folded up launch configuration.  Inside the PHSF, a huge round
contraption that look like a giant floor fan stood next to the this end of
the spacecraft near the parabolic antenna.  This huge bass drum-like
contraption is placed over the parabolic antenna and the scientists can
power up the antenna and make it fully functional inside the building.
Apparently, anyone in the stream of microwaves emitted from this antenna
would be shriveled up like a hot-dog cooked on high in the microwave for 3
minutes (try it!  even the sounds this makes should add to a full
appreciation of the need for this giant microwave absorbing "drum"). The
third most prominent feature is a small white tube (looks like PVC!) that
contains a helical antenna for radio signal to be used by amateur radio
clubs here on Earth.  The many thrusters are easily seen, but other
science instruments are well tucked away at this point.  It is beautiful.

A very real concern about this mission is the use of "aerobraking" to
slowly drop down into the atmosphere of Mars.  In the past the method of
reducing altitude was by brute force, slowing the spacecraft's forward
velocity with reverse firings of thrusters. The Mars Global Surveyor Team
has tried to save weight (which we know is all critical to launch
considerations and cost) by eliminating the need for the extra fuel,
rocket motors, fuel lines, etc. to do this brute force maneuver.  Instead,
they intend to use the spacecraft's non-aerodynamic shape to create
friction in the atmosphere of Mars and have the interaction between the
spacecraft and the Martian "air" to slow the craft down very, very slowly
and over a very long period of time (at least 130 days of slowing
down!!!).  When the Mars Global Surveyor makes its maneuver to insert
itself into an orbit around Mars it will be high above the Martian
atmosphere and one orbit of Mars will take 48 hours.  After the
"aerobraking" maneuver has been successful the spacecraft will orbit Mars
every 90 minutes.  Keep in mind that all other maneuvers are quick short,
even momentary, activities and this is a 130 day constant activity.  Once
in the 90-minute orbit, complete 100% mapping of Mars will occur every
seven days!!!  What are some concerns about this "aerobraking"?  No one
knows where the uppermost portion of the Mars atmosphere actually begins.
In fact, the threshold between a Martian atmosphere and space may not be
static - it may vary widely from season to season and year to year.  No
one knows what atmospheric pressure will be encounter at the upper- and
mid-ranges of the Martian atmosphere.  This entire maneuver depends on the
Martian "air", precisely one of the characteristics of Mars about which
very little is known.

The closest I got to the Pathfinder/Sojourner was to stand outside
SAEF-2 where it is currently being processed.  However, I met John Spear,
the project director of Mars Pathfinder. I watched a team of about eight
bunny-suit clad workers busily working on the spacecraft via a video feed
into his office.  Again, John is very confident about this mission.  His
greatest concerns have been to constantly solve problems of fitting
everything into this tiny spacecraft.  This is clearly an engineering
marvel!  The "clover leaves" were drawn together when I saw my view of the
craft.  But, Geoff Haines-Stiles and Richard Dowling entered the clean
room area on Tuesday, September 24th and witnessed this spacecraft from
mere inches away with the "clover leaves" open and the entire inside of
the craft in full view.  I will add that in a folded up position as I saw
it, I thought the craft looked like a giant dinosaur egg.  It is white on
the outside and is about the size of a typical kitchen stove.

Well, I need to set off to work for now.  There is much more I can
report on and I will when I get the chance.

Mike



      

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