PART 1: March 11 Web Chat With Rich Hogen,
MARCH 11 WEB CHAT WITH RICH HOGEN, MGS OPERATIONS
If you haven't already done so, be sure to sign up to chat with Rich Hogen, this Wednesday, March 11, 11 a.m., PST. Rich is known as one of the Mars Global Surveyor ACEs, at Lockheed Martin Astronautics in Denver, CO. Be sure to read Rich's bio at: http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/mars/team/hogen.html to find out what it takes to be an ACE! To register for the chat go to: http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/chat/prj_lfm/rhogenchat/
CHECK OUT REDESIGN OF MTO TEAM PAGE
The Mars Team Online Team page has been reorganized by mission to make it easier for you to see who's doing what and for which Mars mission. Be sure to check it out and the addition of several new key team members at: http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/mars/team/index.html A handful of new players will be added this week. Stay tuned...
NEWEST MTO PARTICIPANT: JIM BELL, ASTRONOMER
This week's latest addition to the MTO Team page is astronomer Jim Bell from Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. Jim's specialty is planetary science. He does research on the planets, moons, asteroids and comets, using images and other data from telescopes and NASA spacecraft. But his "real" specialty is Mars where he spends a lot of time wondering what the surface is like, what happened to all that water, and what new knowledge do we need about Mars before we can set foot there in the next century? Read Jim's biography at: http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/mars/team/bell.html and introduce your kids to someone worth looking up to: "Ever since I was a kid I have loved astronomy and the stars and planets. My parents helped me buy a nice "real" telescope when I was a teenager, and I got hooked on astronomy even more. Seems like I've always been looking up!"
SEND YOUR NAME TO MARS!
NASA is inviting kids (of all ages!) to send their names to Mars as part of the Mars Polar Lander mission! On December 3, 1999, the MPL will enter the Martian atmosphere traveling at hypersonic speed. Its parachute will open and it will rendezvous with the Red Planet within 500 miles of the Martian south pole. You can be a part of this historic event by going to the Web site listed below and filling out a form where your name will be recorded for the CD-ROM to be included in the payload of the Mars Polar Lander. You can even print out a certificate with your name on it! To have your name sent to Mars go to: http://spacekids.hq.nasa.gov/mars/home.htm
JOIN THE SPACE DAY '98 CELEBRATION!
Mark your calendars now for NASA's annual Space Day celebration on May 21. In the words of NASA administrator Dan Goldin, "Our goal is to inspire the children of the world to reach for the stars." Space Day 1998 will feature some exciting new events, including a live eight-hour Web "cybercast" from the Mall in Washington, DC. To tune in, just point your browser to www.spaceday.com/cyberspaceday.
LEARNING TECHNOLOGIES CHANNEL MARCH SCHEDULE
March is a month full of learning adventure! Be sure to tune in at: http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/ltc/schedule.html Tuesday, March 10: * Tour of the Space Station * 10:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m. Pacific (1:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m. Eastern) * Attend this live tour of the Space Station mockup and training facility at Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. Afterwards join in a Web chat with your tour guide. Tuesday, March 17: * U.S. Department of Education Satellite Town Meeting * 5:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. Pacific (8:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. Eastern) * The March town meeting focuses on: "Think College Early: Preparing Academically and Financially" Wednesday, March 18: * Brain Awareness Week Event * 10:00 a.m. - 11:00 p.m. Pacific (1:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m. Eastern) * In celebration of Brain Awareness Month, Neuron Lab Online presents a live lecture and classroom activities on the brain. Friday, March 20: * Astrobiology Lecture and Chat:" The Universe In Your Neighborhood" * 10:00 a.m. - 11:00 p.m. Pacific (1:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m. Eastern) * This fun and informative lecture will explore our living universe. Learn how things in the universe are accessible from your own backyard. Ongoing Events Young Astronauts One: * Every Tuesday and Thursday *12:00 p.m. - 12:30 p.m. Pacific (3:00 - 3:30 p.m. Eastern.) This series will continue through May 29, 1998. * This course will introduce students to the structure and nature of the universe including units on flight rocketry, spacecraft and space stations. The program will feature guest appearances by astronauts and scientists. Young Astronauts Two * Every Monday and Wednesday * 11:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. Pacific (2:00 - 2:30 p.m. Eastern.) This series will continue through May 29, 1998. * This course will continue the space themes introduced in Young Astronauts One, with more emphasis on the Earth. Students will discover how humans affect our planet and how science and technology are used to monitor and improve our quality of life. The program will feature guest appearances by astronauts and scientists.
MARS GLOBAL SURVEYOR FLIGHT STATUS REPORT
[Editor's note: This flight status report was prepared by the Office of the Flight Operations Manager, Mars Surveyor Operations Project, Jet Propulsion Laboratory.] February 20, 1998 For the second consecutive month, conditions in the Martian atmosphere have remained calm, and aerobraking progress continues to proceed at a slightly faster than normal pace. As of today, Surveyor is completing one revolution around Mars every 15.7 hours. This orbit period is 93 minutes shorter than that predicted for this time prior to the winter holidays last year. The ability of the flight team to maintain the current level of aerobraking progress will depend on continued cooperation from the Martian atmosphere. Dr. Richard Zurek of the atmospheric advisory group reports that data from Surveyor's instruments indicate a slowly increasing amount of dust in the Martian air over the last month. Consequently, the flight team will continue to remain cautious because dust storms have a great potential to slow aerobraking progress. Historically, most global dust storms tend to occur during summer in the southern hemisphere on Mars. Although summer on the Red Planet began on February 7, there is no indication at this time of the onset of another major dust storm similar to the one experienced over the Thanksgiving weekend in 1997. In other news this week, the flight team sent commands to the spacecraft on Wednesday to power off the Mars Orbiter Camera and Thermal Emission Spectrometer science instruments. The reason for this decision is that aerobraking operations and associated activities consume the majority of time during a single orbit. With the time of revolution around Mars shrinking orbit by orbit, there is no longer enough time to conduct both aerobraking and science operations. Despite the power off of the science instruments, the radio science team continues to collect data. This collection is made possible by the fact that the spacecraft currently passes behind Mars on every orbit as seen from the Earth. During this time, communications with the Earth is lost because Mars blocks the radio signal from the spacecraft. However, just before Surveyor enters this occultation zone, the radio signal passes through the thin Martian atmosphere on its way to Earth. An analysis of the distortion of the signal's strength and tone as it fades enables the radio science team to determine the atmospheric properties at specific locations on Mars. Science data collection by all of the instruments will resume in late March when the period of revolution around Mars has shrunk to 11.6 hours. At that time, aerobraking will be temporarily suspended by raising the low point of the orbit out of the atmosphere. This plan will allow for a concentrated period of science data collection during the spring and summer months of this year. Aerobraking will resume in September, and Surveyor will reach its Mars mapping orbit in late March or early April 1999. After a mission elapsed time of 470 days from launch, Surveyor is 213.04 million miles (342.86 million kilometers) from the Earth and in an orbit around Mars with a high point of 14,566 miles (23,442 km), a low point of 73.8 miles (118.8 km), and a period of 15.7 hours. The spacecraft is currently executing the P140 command sequence, and all systems continue to perform as expected. The next status report will be released on Friday, March 13.
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