Marswatch update; July 13, 1997

From: (Jim Bell) (by way of Jan Wee <>)
Subject: Marswatch update; July 13, 1997
Date: Mon, 14 Jul 1997 08:46:18 -0500

Dear discuss-lfm members,

The latest Marswatch Newsletter HOT OFF THE PRESS...

Jan Wee, Moderator

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                       July 13, 1997
                      Circulation: 1563!

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Friends of Mars,

What a Week! Unless you've been living under a rock on Mars, you 
know that the Pathfinder mission has been wildly successful. All of
the complex entry, descent, and landing operations performed flawlessly
and the landing site is a geologist's dream.

Let me extend an official apology to everyone on the subscription list
for not being able to keep the information about Marswatch flowing these
past few weeks. Scientists and engineers involved in this project
are awash in data, and we are struggling to stay afloat so that we can
make sure the lander and rover make the best possible measurements
before the end of the nominal mission on August 4. After August 4, the
mission will go into a much more "relaxed" extended mission, for perhaps
up to a year, and at that time I hope that we will be able to restart
more frequent Marswatch newsletters.

For now, please indulge yourselves with all of the amazing Mars atmospheric,
geologic, and compositional information being posted on the JPL Pathfinder
WWW site (and all of its mirror sites; see
Current_Events/Mars_Pathfinder/Mirror_Sites/ for a list of them). In
particular, you can learn about the way the latest groundbased and Hubble
Space Telescope (HST) measurements of Mars are being used to help interpret
the Pathfinder data, and vice versa. This issue will also be one of the
subjects discussed at the NASA Mars Pathfinder news conference this coming
Tuesday, July 15.

Supporting HST measurements will continue during the Pathfinder mission,
so if you are able to continue observing Mars during this time, please upload 
any images or other information that you are able to obtain to the Marswatch 
ftp archive at:

The user name is "anonymous". Your email address is your password.

I should also add that the support received from amateur and professional
observers during the last week before landing was wonderful; the dust
storm in Valles Marineris, which is apparently still churning according
to the latest HST images, did not influence the landing or surface
operations (yet!), although there is some controversy as to how much of
the dustiness observed in the Pathfinder images is related to that
storm some 600 km to the southwest. It would be most prudent to keep
monitoring this storm, plus any other Mars atmospheric dust or clouds
events, so that the Pathfinder measurements can be interpreted in a
global context.

Thanks for your patience and continued supporting observations during this 
extremely busy and exciting time!

--Jim Bell
Marswatch Newsletter Editor

Jim Bell
Cornell University
Department of Astronomy
Center for Radiophysics and Space Research
424 Space Sciences Building
Ithaca, NY 14853-6801
phone: 607-255-5911
fax: 607-255-9002