Live From Mars was active July 1996-December 1997.
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July 24, 1997
I'm so jealous! Some of our team members were invited to visit the sets of Star Trek: Voyager and ST: Deep Space Nine! And I can't TELL you how disappointed that I had to work and wasn't able to go! They were taken all over the sets, and when our team was introduced, the cast and crew gave them a standing ovation! Afterwards, several of the actors asked to have their pictures taken with Pathfinder folks. Quite a reversal of the usual situation! They even got to spend a lot of time talking with Rick Berman, the producer. From all I heard, a wonderful time was had by all.
I think Pathfinder and all the Star Trek shows can be seen as somewhat similar phenomena. There's a positive feel to both, a valuing of intelligence and competence, as well as a drive to do things not just "faster, better, cheaper," but RIGHT.
The same sort of feeling occurred when Levarr Burton (who played Geordie La Forge on ST: The Next Generation) was here at JPL some months before landing, working on a documentary of Pathfinder. He was surprised by how excited many of our folks were to meet him. He said, "You guys do this for real! I'm just an actor!" But in an environment of cop shows, doctor shows, and sitcoms, the Star Trek series were some of the only ones to have scientists and engineers as positive characters. I know that meant a lot to me, and others have said the same.