Wednesday, May 6, 12:00 p.m.-1:00 p.m. Pacific Time: Rich Hogen, Operations, Mars Global Surveyor (MGS): Rich liked participating in his first chat so much that now he's back for more! As an aerospace engineer, Rich is one of several people on the MGS Spacecraft Operations Team at Lockheed Martin Astronautics in Denver, Colorado. One of his responsibilities involves whole-spacecraft and mission operational analysis ("Systems Engineering", or SYS) and another involves Real-Time Operations (RTO). RTO is all about working with NASA JPL's Deep Space Network (DSN) to properly send commands to the spacecraft and make sure good data is received from the spacecraft. Read Rich's biography at: http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/mars/team/hogen.html Hurry and sign up for this chat at: http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/mars/events/interact.html
NEW MARS TEAM BIO
Cesar Sepulveda, Optical Engineer: As the lead optics engineer for the Mars 2001 rover, Cesar experiments with the best cameras around. As a kid, his experiments sometimes got him in trouble! "I always liked math and science and astronomy, and delighted my classmates with some experiment or other which I had running under my desk. My teachers certainly did not like the competition for attention, so I would sometimes get sent to the principal's office." Read the rest of Cesar's bio at: http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/mars/team/sepulveda.html You can find all of the Mars Team bios at: http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/mars/team/
MORE STUDENT WORK
Check out the new photos of Neme Alperstein's 5th grade students from Public School 56 as they proudly display their models of Martian colonies: http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/mars/kids/work.html That link takes you to the Student Gallery, full of student artwork, projects, poems, and songs about Mars.
MARS GLOBAL SURVEYOR MISSION STATUS
[Editor's note: This flight status report was prepared by the Office of the Flight Operations Manager, Mars Surveyor Operations Project, Jet Propulsion Laboratory.] April 10, 1998 The Mars Global Surveyor operations team is gearing up to begin imaging a second set of specifically targeted geologic features on Mars, after completing the first set of images last week and successfully capturing the so-called "Face on Mars." At the direction of NASA Administrator Daniel Goldin, the flight team has developed a schedule of new targets. On Tuesday, April 14, Global Surveyor will image a second portion of the Cydonia region known as "The City." This area of Cydonia contains geological features that have been referred to as "mounds," a "city square," "pyramids" and "the fortress." The spacecraft's high-resolution camera will use the "city square" portion of this geologic formation as the target point. The image will be posted on JPL's Mars news site at http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/marsnews, on the Mars Global Surveyor project home page at http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov, and on NASA's Planetary Photojournal site at http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov as soon as it is available. This is expected to be by about mid- evening Pacific time on Tuesday, April 14. Last week's attempts to image the landing sites of the Viking 1, Viking 2 and Mars Pathfinder landers were unsuccessful. Global Surveyor will make new attempts to image the Viking sites on two consecutive orbits on Sunday, April 12. On Monday, April 13, the spacecraft will image the Mars Pathfinder landing site, using refined coordinates obtained during the first attempt. Winter weather in the northern hemisphere of Mars was a significant factor in preventing a view of the landing sites during the first series of attempts. The site of the Viking Lander 1 in Chryse Planitia, for instance, was covered with a thick cloud layer, which reduced but did not eliminate surface visibility. However, data showed that the spacecraft's pointing was off just enough to miss that target. The spacecraft was able to target the Viking 2 lander site in Utopia Planitia, which is farther north and on the other side of Mars from Viking 1. However, this area was heavily overcast with clouds and haze which reduced surface visibility by 70 to 80 percent and rendered the image unusable. The spacecraft missed the Mars Pathfinder site due to the inaccuracy of landing site coordinates. The project team estimates that Global Surveyor has about a 30 to 50 percent of imaging each target on a given attempt, due to navigation uncertainties and spacecraft performance. A third and final set of high-resolution imaging of the Viking, Pathfinder and Cydonia regions will be attempted on April 21-23. April 24, 1998 The Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft has completed the last of three attempts to image the Cydonia region of Mars, the two Viking lander sites and the Mars Pathfinder landing site. Global Surveyor captured the final image of Cydonia as the spacecraft passed over the area at a distance of about 392 kilometers (244 miles). The images contain additional portions of "The City," a locale sporting a variety of geological features sometimes identified as "mounds," the "city square," the "pyramid" and the "fortress." This area, photographed more than 20 years ago by the Viking orbiters, has been of public interest because it is adjacent to the so-called "Face on Mars." The images are posted on JPL's Mars news site at http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/marsnews, on the Mars Global Surveyor project home page at http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov, and on NASA's Planetary Photojournal site at http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov The spacecraft also captured the Mars Pathfinder landing site in Ares Vallis after missing it during the first two imaging opportunities. The data strips are being processed and the exact location of the lander is being determined. A low resolution image of the site will be available by the end of the day. Raw data indicated that the lander was not visible due to a thick haze, although familiar landmarks close to the landing site, such as Twin Peaks, were visible. The Viking 1 lander in Chryse Planitia was not identified in images of that site, possibly due to imprecise coordinates used to locate the landing site. Winter weather in the northern hemisphere and heavy cloud cover prevented a view of the Viking 2 lander in Utopia Planitia, as had been the case in the first two sets of images. Mars Global Surveyor is currently in a fixed 11.5-hour orbit around Mars, coming as close as 170 kilometers (106 miles) during each looping orbit. The spacecraft will be gathering science data during most of its five-month pause in aerobraking. Further imaging of the Cydonia region and Viking/Pathfinder landing sites will not be feasible during the remainder of the aerobraking hiatus, however. Mars will shortly pass behind the Sun from Earth's point of view, degrading communications with the orbiter. After that, lighting conditions will not be favorable for imaging Cydonia or the Viking/Pathfinder landing sites. In September, the spacecraft will resume aerobraking to lower and circularize its orbit for the start of the mapping mission in March 1999.
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