Live From Mars was active July 1996-December 1997.

NASA Mission Objectives

NASA defines its science and engineering objectives for the two 1996 Mars missions as follows:

Mars Global Surveyer

  1. to enhance the global understanding of the geology and climate of Mars by characterizing the planet's surface and geological processes...monitoring global weather and the thermal structure of the atmosphere...monitoring surface features, polar caps, polar energy balance, atmospheric dust, and clouds over a seasonal cycle.

  2. provide multiple years of in-orbit communications relay capability for Mars lander and atmospheric vehicles from any nation interested in participating in international Mars exploration, and

  3. support planning for future missions with measurements that could impact landing site selection.
Surveyor's instruments include the Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC), the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA), Thermal Emission Spectrometer (TES), as well as a magnetometer, electron reflectometer, a radio relay for the Russian and other Mars missions, and a radio science experiment. Adapted from the Mars Global Surveyor fact sheet co-packaged with this Guide, and available on-line at:

Mars Pathfinder

Mars Pathfinder's mission is described as: "...primarily an engineering demonstration of key technologies and concepts for eventual use in future missions to Mars employing scientific landers. Pathfinder also delivers science instruments to the surface of Mars to investigate the structure of the Martian atmosphere, surface meteorology, surface geology, form, structure and elemental composition of Martian rocks and soil. In addition a free-ranging surface rover is deployed to conduct technology experiments and to serve as an instrument deploying mechanism."

Pathfinder's key science instruments are the atmospheric Structure Instrument/Meteorology Experiment (ASI/MET), the Imager for Mars Pathfinder, or IMP, (both aboard the lander) and an Alpha-Proton X-Ray Spectrometer (APXS) on the Sojourner rover. Adapted from the Mars Pathfinder "A New Trail to the Red Planet" co-packaged with this Guide, and available on-line at:

Passport to Knowledge goals for Live from Mars

  1. to provide students with an engaging, informative learning experience as they "travel" to Mars--via interactive TV and the Internet--alongside NASA's spacecraft

  2. to provide teachers with and easy-to-use suite of integrated multimedia "tools" with which to bring the science and engineering of the Mars missions to life for students

  3. to provide teachers with materials and learning experiences which embody the National Science Standards, and show science as inquiry, personal and social perspective, and in the context of the history of earth and space science

  4. to present the wide range of interdisciplinary skills and diverse careers required to support cutting-edge science

  5. to connect students at nation-wide sites directly with NASA and other researchers, who will provide first-person perspectives on up-to-date science content

  6. to provide interactive and collaborative opportunities which motivate students to function as active scientific thinkers, and which validate their participation

  7. to document significant student outcomes facilitated by Live from Mars