Live From Mars was active July 1996-December 1997.

UPDATE # 38 - June 12, 1997

PART 1: What are Those Mars Team Members up to, Anyway?
PART 2: In Search of Marvelous Mars Factoids
PART 3: On the Road to PlanetFest
PART 4: Mars Pathfinder Weekly Status
PART 5: Mars Global Surveyor Flight Status
PART 6: Subscribing & Unsubscribing: How to do it!


You may have noticed that Mars team journal entries and WebChats have
slowed down a bit during the past couple of months. Well they have, and
for good reason! These folks have been working around the clock in
preparation for Pathfinders July 4 landing on Mars! We've arranged to do
several phone interviews with Mars team members during the next critical
weeks. The interviews will be taped, transcribed and shared via the
updates-lfm list and on Live From Mars Web site for your reading pleasure!
Expect to see two new journal updates early next week by Mark Adler, Mars
Exploration Program Architect and Greg Wilson, planetary geologist.

In addition, you can expect a series of WebChats in July.


In past Live From... telecasts, Passport To Knowledge included brief
Marvelous Mars segments that highlighted interesting, curious and
intriguing "factoids" about the Red Planet.

Plans for the July 6 and 9 two-hour, live telecasts are underway and PTK
staff would like to tap your creativity and perhaps give you/your students
an opportunity to suggest Marvelous Mars factoids for these programs (and
be credited on the telecast).

If you have a suggestion that is quick, snappy and appealing to kids (ages
8-14 target audience), send your Marvelous Mars factoid to: for consideration. Include your full name,
school, location, grade level/subject.

Keep in mind the Marvelous Mars factoids used in past programs (11/19/96
and 4/24/97) and those that are especially appealing to kids! Here are a
few samples from the 4/24/97 program.

A factoid could pose a question:
"The Pathfinder arrives on Mars July 4, 1997, but there is a month that
might be even more appropriate. Do you know which month and why?"

Other factoids point out interesting contrasts and similarities...
"The highest temperature ever recorded on Mars = 17 degrees Celsius or
about 63 degrees F. The lowest temperature = minus 143 degrees Celsius or
minus 225 degrees F.

A Martian year = 687 Earth days but a Martian day is very similar to
Earth's at 24 hours and 37 minutes."

Put those thinking caps on! We look forward to hearing from you!


Excitement is building as the Pathfinder spacecraft maneuvers toward its
goal of landing on Mars on July 4. Passport to Knowledge will be on hand
to bring you virtually to "where the action is" -- on location at NASAs
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, at The Planetary Society's PlanetFest
celebration/convention, and national museums (American Museum of Natural
History in NY and more) and select uplink sites -- on July 6 and 9 with
two, two-hour long *live* programs scheduled for 14:00-16:00 EST on
NASA-TV and PBS Telstar 402.

Passport to Knowledge would like to poll this forum to find out if you
will be in attendance at PlanetFest or at workshops sponsored by JPL
during the first weeks of July. If you are planning to be on hand, please
send a note with your name, email address and relevant contact and
background information (your position, school, location). to

For more details about PlanetFest check out The Planetary Society's
Web site at:

Mars Pathfinder Weekly Status Report

[Editor's note: This status report was prepared by the Flight Operations
Manager, Mars Pathfinder Project, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory.]

6 June 1997

The spacecraft remains in good health and is currently about 148 million
kilometers from Earth (14 million km from Mars). The total flight time
since launch is now 182 days, and we have 28 days until Mars arrival.

The flight team completed uploading the final flight software patch to the
spacecraft on June 5-6. The patch corrects a number of problems in the
Entry, Descent, and Landing control software. The total volume of the
patch was approximately 400 Kbytes. The decision was made to delay using
the new software until after Operational Readiness Test #7 (ORT #7)
because it will be a good final regression test. The spacecraft will begin
using the new software on June 16.

Completed two mini-ORTs which tested our petal move and low gain antenna
contingency plans for Sol 1. All flight sequences for pre-entry and
surface operations have now been completed (except for some minor tweaks
to the backup mission load), and will be loaded on the spacecraft on June
18. We have also completed all preparations for the mission dress
rehearsal (ORT #7), which will start on June 9.

Completed a detailed review of Public Outreach plans involving project,
program office, and JPL Public Information Office personnel. No major
issues or concerns exist, and the detailed implementation activities are
proceeding well.

For further information, please visit our website at

Mars Global Surveyor Flight Status Report

[Editor's note: This status report was prepared by the Office of the
Flight Operations Manager, Mars Surveyor Operations Project, NASA Jet
Propulsion Laboratory.]

6 June 1997

Two weeks after recovery from safe mode and the restoration of standard
operations, the Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft continues to perform
excellently as it cruises toward an encounter with the Red Planet later
this summer. Currently, Surveyor is operating in a quiet state with no
major activity sequences programmed in the onboard computer. The flight
team will transmit the next major sequence load toward the end of the

On Tuesday of this week, the flight team sent a few commands to Surveyor
that activated gyroscope #2 for a period of one hour. Several weeks ago,
this gyro was automatically powered down when its usage of electrical
current exceeded a preset limit. Although gyros help the spacecraft keep
track of its pointing orientation in space, there was no loss of control
because Surveyor's #1 and #3 gyros seamlessly assumed the function of the
powered down unit.

During the one hour of operation, the amount of electrical current sent by
gyro #2 was well below the level that would have resulted in an automatic
power down. Although the gyro is functional, the project management has
decided to leave it powered off. Flight software code is being developed
that will autonomously activate gyro #2 in the unlikely event that an
anomalous condition precludes the usage of either the #1 or #3 gyro. This
new software will be transmitted to Surveyor in a few weeks.

The only other notable activity this week occurred late Thursday. That
evening, the flight team transmitted a short series of commands to
Surveyor that modified the onboard software. These minor changes will
ensure that the infinite-loop condition that resulted in safe mode entry
will never happen again.

After a mission-elapsed time of 211 days from launch, Surveyor is 137.88
million kilometers from the Earth, 24.04 million kilometers from Mars, and
is moving in an orbit around the Sun with a velocity of 22.57 kilometers
per second. This orbit will intercept Mars 97 days from now, slightly
after 6:00 p.m. PDT. on September 11th (01:00 UTC, September 12). All
systems continue to be in excellent condition.


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