Live From Mars was active July 1996-December 1997.
PART 1: WebChat Schedule
PART 2: Planet Explorer Toolkit Update
PART 3: Mars Global Surveyor Flight Status
Wed. February 5, 9-10 a.m., PST, Phil Christensen: Phil is a planetary geologist and a professor at Arizona State University. He uses satellite images to study the surface of planets in the solar system. Phil currently has an instrument on the Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft called a Thermal Emission Spectrometer. Read more about Phil in his biography: http://passporttoknowledge.com/lfm/team Tues. February 11, 10-11 a.m., PST, Mike Mellon: Water on Mars has attracted a great deal of interest from scientists. Mike's work focuses primarily on studying martian geology and climate, and as a link between these two, water. Mike is investigating where water on Mars could be located. Check out Mike's biography at: http://passporttoknowledge.com/lfm/team Wed. February 19, 9-10 a.m., PST, Mike Malin: Mike designed and built three camera systems to be flown to Mars on planetary spacecraft over the next four years. One system is currently onboard the Mars Global Surveyor. Mike is responsible for the camera systems from beginning to end--from coming up with the idea and building the cameras, to taking the photographs and distributing the images to scientists and you! Go to Mike's very interesting bio at: http://passporttoknowledge.com/lfm/team Wed. February 26, 9-10 a.m., PST, Jim Murphy: As a meteorologist and researcher, Jim's work consists of developing computer models of the martian atmosphere, as well as analyzing data from past spacecraft missions to Mars and participating in upcoming missions to Mars. Jim's current plans are to study the weather data sent back by the Mars Pathfinder from the surface of Mars. Read more about Jim in his biography at: http://passporttoknowledge.com/lfm/team If you plan to participate, please RSVP for each event to Andrea by sending a brief Email note to firstname.lastname@example.org. This RSVP is very important, as it will allow us to ensure that the chatroom does not become too crowded.
PLANET EXPLORER TOOLKIT UPDATE
The Planet Explorer Toolkit (P.E.T.) debate has seen lots of activity during the month of January. Over 100+ postings from participants have been exchanged in the past three weeks. Classes are tackling each major category of tools and sharing their thoughts on their top three in each category. The newly revised schedule (which gives us more time to reach our goal of consensus on the "universal best Toolkit") is as follows. January 16-24: Reach agreement on weather-related tools January 27-31: Reach agreement on imaging instruments February 3-7: Reach agreement on items from kits and navigation tools February 10-12: Reach agreement on collection tools and storage devices and containers February 13-14: Reach agreement on guide books and data storage tools February 17-19: Reach agreement on illumination and communication tools February 19-21: Reach agreement on protection/safety, other useful tools, and miscellaneous tools February 24-28: Review proposed toolkit for needs/gaps, excessive costs, problems, and revise as needed. Reach consensus by Feb. 28. We have already decided that the top three weather tools to be included in the toolkit are a thermometer, barometer and anemometer. Dr. Sanjay Limaye, planetary scientist from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, keeps us on the right track with informed insights and key questions that provoke class discussion. If you would like to learn more about the P.E.T. activity, visit the Live From Mars web site at http://passporttoknowledge.com/lfm and select the Special Events link.
MARS GLOBAL SURVEYOR STATUS [Editor's note: This status report on the Mars Global Surveyor mission was prepared by the Office of the Flight Operations Manager, Mars Surveyor Operations Project, Jet Propulsion Laboratory.] Friday, 24 January 1997 At 1:00 p.m. on Wednesday, Surveyor's flight computer activated a 53-Watt heater in the Mars Orbiter Camera that will bake the instrument's epoxy structure with the goal of removing residual moisture. Without a bakeout period, the moisture in the camera's tube-like structure will leak into space at a slow rate and cause its length to gradually change. As a consequence, this tiny, slow-rate change in the structure's length would result in a gradual shift in the focus of the camera. The goal of the 14-day bakeout period is to remove all of the moisture at once and stabilize the focus of the camera. Later in the afternoon on Wednesday, the flight team commanded Surveyor to perform the first of three solar array "wiggle tests" that occurred this week. Once per day on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, the gimbal joint holding the -Y panel to the spacecraft was commanded to "wiggle" the panel back and forth several times over a period of 84 seconds. During the tests, the -Y panel inner hinge moved by 8 degrees before returning to its pre-test position. Similar to the five "wiggle tests" performed in December, the Wednesday test was performed with the solar panels in the normal orientation used during the cruise phase of the mission. On Thursday and Friday, the tests were performed with the solar panels rotated into a position representative of that used during an engine firing and aerobraking, respectively. The flight team examined telemetry transmitted back to Earth to study the nature of the vibrations in the spacecraft that resulted from the "wiggling." The data will provide valuable insight into determining the best method to clear the broken damper arm that is wedged in the hinge joint holding the panel to the spacecraft. This wedged condition is keeping the -Y panel 20.5 degrees from its proper position. One option under study is to combine a "wiggle test" with a small firing of Surveyor's main rocket engine. The idea is that the wiggling will move the solar panel and allow the rocket engine to provide the force needed to dislodge the damper arm from the hinge joint. However, no decision has been made at this time. After a mission-elapsed time of 78 days from launch, Surveyor is 17.52 million kilometers from the Earth, 125.97 million kilometers from Mars, and is moving in an orbit around the Sun with a velocity of 30.35 kilometers per second. This orbit will intercept Mars on September 12, 1997. All systems on the spacecraft continue to be in excellent condition.
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