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UPDATE # 67 - March 8, 1998

PART 1: March 11 Web Chat With Rich Hogen, MGS Operation
PART 2: Check out Reorganization of MTO Team Page
PART 3: Newest MTO Participant: Jim Bell, Astronomer
PART 4: Send Your Name to Mars!
PART 5: Join the Space Day '98 Celebration!
PART 6: Learning Technologies Channel March Schedule
PART 7: Mars Global Surveyor Update
PART 8: Subscribing & Unsubscribing: How to do it


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:
to find out what it takes to be an ACE! 

To register for the chat go to:


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:
A handful of new players will be added this week. Stay tuned...


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!"


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:


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.


March is a month full of learning adventure! Be sure to tune in at: 

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

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.


[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

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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