From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Jan Wee)
Subject: I SAW THE MARS GLOBAL SURVEYOR!!!
Date: Thu, 26 Sep 1996 08:06:29 -0500
Dear discuss-lfm, I am taking the liberty of passing along Passport to Knowledge Advocate Michael Deane's interesting description of the his visit to Kennedy Space Center so *all* educators on discuss-lfm can also benefit. The discuss-lfm forum is beginning to expand to include many educators (not just the PTK Advocates who attended our three day workshop in Washington, DC this summer and now serve as key contacts/lead educators for PTK). I would like to formally welcome you to our discussion forum and encourage you to introduce yourselves. We would like to get to know you and develop a sense of community! The Live From Mars electronic field trip project is just beginning to "gear up" online and rest assured this forum will play a valuable role in answering your questions about implementing the project, exchanging teaching strategies and resources, assisting each other with the challenges of implementing effective use of leading-edge technologies, and providing support and guidance. If you have never been involved with Passport to Knowledge projects before, this is a great place to ask questions and share ideas. We have many veteran PTK educators on hand, plus our PTK project staff who will be contributing as well. The Teacher's Guide and our Multimedia Kit for Live From Mars will become available soon --early October shipping. Orders are being taken now. If you do not have an order form and are in need of one, please let me know. I will email it to you. The best place (after discuss-lfm) to get acquainted with the PTK projects is via the World Wide Web at.... http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/interactive and browse through our archives of past projects, Live From Antarctica (Dec.'94-Jan.'95), Live From the Stratosphere (Oct.-Nov, '95), and Live From the Hubble Space Telescope (Nov.'95-April'96). You will have a good sense of what electronic field trips and the related activities/possibilities are after spending some time visiting these past projects. But, if you still have have questions or concerns, you are welcome to post questions here in the discuss-lfm forum or send e-mail directly to me. The PTK Staff is working hard to finalize the Teacher's Guide and will be more visible online in the coming days/weeks. We are enjoying the flurry of activity online. We do plan to share the Teacher's Guide online (at our web site) in the weeks ahead. This will give everyone a chance to see the specific activities associated with each of our live telecasts, as well as opening and closing activities. We know you are anxious to get started and this will facilitate your efforts. For now, enjoy reading Michael Deane's inside scoop on the Mars Global Surveyor and Pathfinder... Jan Wee, Education Outreach Coordinator Passport to Knowledge ---------------------------------------------------------------- >Return-Path: <email@example.com> >X-Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org >Date: Thu, 26 Sep 1996 06:00:06 -0500 >To: email@example.com >From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Michael Deane) >Subject: I SAW THE MARS GLOBAL SURVEYOR!!! >Sender: email@example.com >Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org (Michael Deane) > >HELLO EVERYONE! A special hello to Marc Siegel! > >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 veiwing this >spectacular spacecraft, Geoff Haines-Stiles was interviwing (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. > >It 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 and 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, but the other side revealed to me the futility of this >daydream, underneath everything has already been covered with the >protective coating of the thermal/relective blanket. The second most >prominent feature was the high-gain parabolic antenna for micro-wave >transmission. This antenna is roughly half the size of the solar panels >intheir 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 >contruction 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 micro-waves emitted from this antenna >would be shrivelled up like a hotdog 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 "air braking" 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 all 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. Once the "air braking" maneuver, keep in mind all >other maneuvers are quick short, even momentary, activities and this is a >130 day constant actvity, has been successful the spacecraft will orbit >Mars every 90 minutes. Complete 100% mapping of Mars will occur every >seven days!!! What are some concerns about this "air breaking"? 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 claen room >area on Tuesday, September 24th witnessed this spacecraft from mere inches >away with the "clover leaves" open and the entire inside of the craft in >full view. I'll differ description of this spacecraft to Geoff. However, >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 si much more I can >report on and I will when I get the chance. > >Mike > > > > >