Live From Mars was active July 1996-December 1997.

UPDATE # 55 - October 2, 1997

PART 1: Weather Worlds Web Form Available Friday
PART 2: Mars Press Briefings Scheduled
PART 3: Next WebChat Scheduled for...
PART 4: Mars Pathfinder Mission Status
PART 5: Subscribing & Unsubscribing: How to do it!


By Friday morning, October 3, the Weather Worlds Web form that is now due
October 10 (originally due Oct. 3), will be available at:
Scroll down to the "Summary of Tasks" section where you will see a link to
the newly created Web form under the second paragraph.

Apologies for not giving you the URL directly to the form, but at press
time (which is early this week due to having K-12 booth duty at the
Children's Interactive Expo in San Francisco today), the form and link are
still being created. However, both will be available by Friday. Be sure to
fill them out and return them ASAP!


Scientists from the Mars Global Surveyor mission will discuss initial
results from their investigations in a news briefing on Thursday, October
2 at 9 a.m., PST.

Members of the Pathfinder science team will participate in a news briefing
on Wednesday, October 8 at 10 a.m., PST. Pathfinder's lander and rover are
currently active in the "extended mission" phase.

If you miss the press briefings you'll still be able to catch them on the
Internet by going to:
Here you will find an archive of past Mars Pathfinder press conferences.


Mark your calendars for Thursday, October 9 at 9 a.m., PST when Dan
Johnston will join us for another exciting WebChat! Dan is the trajectory
and aerobraking design analyst on the Global Surveyor Operations Project,
which is part of the Navigation Team. He will be able to fill us in on the
aerobraking techniques and procedures and if they're working.

Please have your kids prepare for the chat by reading Dan's bio BEFORE the
By doing this, the kids will be less likely to ask questions that they can
find answers to in Dan's bio. This will allow Dan to answer more
questions, more thoroughly.

To participate in the WebChat, RSVP at least 24 hours in advance to
reserve a space for yourself. Send RSVP to: You
will receive confirmation of your registration and a password to enter the
chat room. If the chat rooms are full by the time you register, you can
still participate by watching the chat from the Observe Room at:


[Editor's note: This status report was prepared by the Public Information
Office, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory.]

October 1, 1997

After experiencing difficulties in communicating with the Mars Pathfinder
spacecraft for the past three days, the operations team was able to
reestablish a brief two-way communications session Tuesday using the
lander's auxiliary transmitter. Receipt of this beacon signal indicated
that the spacecraft is still operational.

The team began having communications problems with the spacecraft on
Saturday, Sept. 27. These problems could be related to degradation of the
spacecraft's battery. The last successful data transmission cycle from
Pathfinder was completed at 3:23 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time on Sept. 27,
which was Sol 83 of the mission.

No signal was received from the spacecraft on the next Martian day, Sol
84, which began in the evening of Sept. 27. The team's transmission
session began at 11:15 p.m. PDT. The lack of a signal, at that time, was
thought to be caused by a possible computer reset incident, ground system
problem or low condition. A reset or a low voltage condition, caused by
the aging of the battery, would cause the spacecraft sequence to
automatically stop and not execute its planned communication with Earth.

The team attempted to communicate with the spacecraft again on Sept. 29
(Sol 85) and Sept. 30 (Sol 86) with no success.

Tonight, on Sol 88 of the mission, the team will use the auxiliary
transmitter again to attempt to acquire engineering data that will help
them assess the cause of the communications problem. Meanwhile, the rover,
which receives its instructions from Earth via the lander, is currently
running a contingency program which has instructed it to stand still
rather than begin its trek around the lander.

The team will repeat these activities on subsequent days and attempt to
receive telemetry that will give them more information about the health of
the lander and rover.

If Pathfinder operations do not return to normal tonight, a Mars
Pathfinder team representative will provide an update on the situation at
the beginning of the planned Mars Global Surveyor science news briefing at
9 a.m. PDT on Thursday, Oct. 2.


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