From: Geoffrey Haines-Stiles <>
Date: Fri, 12 Sep 1997 04:42:42 -0400

[Written after following Global Surveyor's Orbit Insertion live via Real
Audio and Video: that seemed to go well, though at 04:30 Eastern Friday the
JPL Web site has little new news, and we're hoping for the best for the
coming weeks, months and years!]


A New (School) Year's Welcome to... LIVE FROM MARS

Dear Educators, 

On behalf of Passport to Knowledge and the NASA Quest Project, we'd like
to welcome both newcomers and returning teachers to a new school year and
a new chance to experience LIVE FROM MARS. Our project has demonstrated
that it's flexible enough to be successfully implemented over the coming
months whether you and your students have never participated before and
don't know exactly what an "electronic field trip" might be, or whether
you've logged hundreds of thousands of "Passport Miles" by traveling with
us to Antarctica, up into the stratosphere, out to Neptune and Pluto, or
began your exploration of Mars with us in the last school year. We invite
you to spend a few minutes to find out what's new, what's been working for
educators like you, and a few ideas about how to participate.

Most important and exciting was this summer's incredibly successful
landing of NASA's Pathfinder spacecraft on Mars, and this fall's arrival
of the Global Surveyor orbiter. Just about everyone, teachers and students
alike, witnessed the TV newscasts and front page stories on Pathfinder's
July 4 landing, the amazing color images and the travels of Sojourner, the
first robotic rover to explore another planet. Kids and adults followed
along with amusement and delight as scientists nicknamed the rocks they
were exploring "Barnacle Bill" and "Yogi." 

Perhaps what's most exciting about the LIVE FROM MARS project is that it
gives you and your students many different ways to interact with the people
who were front page news this summer, and who will continue to explore Mars.
It also takes you behind the scenes at NASA to witness the inside story of
scientific research, and relates the exploration of Mars to many of the
scientific principles you'll want to cover in class, whatever grade you

An integrated multimedia project, LFM is supported in part by both NASA
and the National Science Foundation, and directed by Passport to Knowledge,
an independent producer of prime time educational television and
instructional materials. LFM offers live TV and tapes, online materials and
opportunities, and hands-on activities. LFM is very flexible and we suggest
a "menu" of ways to participate below.

Two, 60-minute TV programs will be broadcast this fall on NASA-TV and on
participating PBS stations. "Destination Mars," to air October 30, will
background both missions, introduce Mars as perhaps the most exciting
planet to visit in our solar system, and summarize Pathfinder's summer
success and the findings of the first months on Mars. 

"Today on Mars," to air November 13, will feature the arrival of Mars
Global Surveyor and its first results. It will showcase a national online
student collaboration to gather weather data from sites across North
America and compare and contrast it with a "weathercast" from Mars! 

Both programs will contain student interaction with members of NASA's Mars
teams, demonstrations of how students have worked with hands-on science
projects simulating aspects of the missions, and suggestions for how to
get the most out of the project's online components.

You're just a few clicks away from exploring an abundance of resources.
Take the GUIDED TOUR. BIOGRAPHIES and JOURNALS bring your students closer
to the men and women of these challenging missions than is possible in any
textbook. These first-person, behind the scenes research diaries reveal what
it's like to work at NASA through revealing and memorable anecdotes.

The PHOTO GALLERY provides images of spacecraft and Mars, both from the
1976 Viking missions and the current Pathfinder and Surveyor explorations.

Soon to be added is a GUIDED TOUR OF ARES VALLIS. Imagine yourself on Mars
with Pathfinder (the ultimate field trip!), guided by insights by NASA's
brightest and best. Sound neat? That's something only our LIVE FROM MARS
site can offer, using Real Audio and Video to let Matt and Ron and Joy (see
how close LFM can make you feel?) speak directly to you and your students!

Also new, and coming soon, "MARS CONCENTRATION" and "RED PLANET SLIDERS,"
two sets of interactive online puzzlers that will challenge your visual
memory and
knowledge of Mars, using some of Pathfinder's latest images.

Lastly, debuting 9/16, there's WEATHER WORLDS. In this online collaborative
activity, students are challenged to brainstorm what low-cost instruments it
would take to record weather near their schools, and to compare and contrast
their results with what Pathfinder has been discovering on Mars.

If you're interested and you've not already done so, subscribe to one or
more of the e-mail lists. For all the latest news we offer a weekly online
newsletter: to subscribe send e-mail to:
and in the message field write only
subscribe updates-lfm

And there's another way for teachers to find support from fellow teachers:
in the TEACHERS' LOUNGE section of the Web site check out "Fellow Teachers
Can Help" to find out how you can interact with some of America's most
innovative and most enthusiastic teachers, who've signed up to mentor peers
via the Internet!

One hallmark of every Passport to Knowledge (PTK) project is an original
Teacher's Guide, supported by a poster, student worksheets, and other
instructional materials ($20, including postage.) A multimedia kit including
the Guide, a teacher orientation video, additional posters, a set of slides,
and the "Mars Navigator" CD-ROM is also available ($99.00.) To find out how
to order, check the LFM Web site (, or call
the toll-free Hotline (1-800-626-LIVE) or contact PTK at 908.598.0949.

How Much Time Should You Invest? A Menu of Options...
Evaluation has shown that there are many different ways to use PTK
projects successfully. Since this is an electronic field trip, you can
think about the options as "Economy" or "First Class" travel packages. 
Take the GUIDED TOUR of the Web site. Be sure to access WHAT'S NEW for the
latest from NASA's Mars missions. Stop by the MARS TEAM pages with
biographies and journals. In FEATURED EVENTS note the "WebChat" schedule,
your opportunity to interact directly with NASA experts. Look at the KIDS'
CORNER; your students could be featured here in the months ahead! Go to
the TEACHERS' LOUNGE and review the online version of the Teacher's Guide
and the Multimedia Kit. Visit the VIDEO section and check out the schedule
for upcoming broadcasts. Do some hands-on activities, and watch the programs!

"First Class"
Of course, do all the Economy options, but also order the videos from
1996-97. Order the Multimedia Kit and review the Teacher Resource Video
for background and ideas for implementation. Participate in WEATHER WORLDS.
Stage several hands-on activities. Watch the Fall 97 videos, and be sure to
gather assessment data: we're sure you'll be amazed at how much your
students have been learning (and we'd like to hear reactions from from you
and from them!)

You'll soon learn what works best for your and your students and you'll be able
to build on the successes of the year before -- shared by fellow teachers in
the "discuss" archives. And it won't be over soon. NASA plans to launch
missons to Mars about every two years, so you'll have "Real Science, Real
Time" to share with new groups of students in the years ahead... and you'll
all be master teachers! Knowledge about Mars and NASA's missions will be
"cached" in your brain, so your teaching will be both better and easier! 

Whatever level of involvement you choose, we wish you luck in the months ahead. 
So, on behalf of NASA, the National Science Foundation, Passport to
Knowledge and NASA's Quest Project,
Onward and Upward, to Mars and Beyond...

Geoff Haines-Stiles
Project Director, Passport to Knowledge and the Live From... specials

Sandy Dueck
Project Manager, NASA Quest Project

Geoff Haines-Stiles
Project Director, PASSPORT TO KNOWLEDGE & the LIVE FROM... specials
"electronic field trips to scientific frontiers"
Real Science, Real Scientists, Real Locations, Real Time
vox: 973.656.9403 * fax: 973.656.9813 * mobile: 908.305.7061
alt. e-mail:
Antarctica... Stratosphere... Hubble... Mars... and more