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UPDATE #71 - May 4, 1998

PART 1: Upcoming webchat
PART 2: New Mars Team bio
PART 3: More student work
PART 4: Mars Global Surveyor mission status
PART 5: Subscribing & Unsubscribing: How to do it


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:

Hurry and sign up for this chat at:


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:


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:

That link takes you to the Student Gallery, full of student artwork,
projects, poems, and songs about Mars.


[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 

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 

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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