Live From Mars was active July 1996-December 1997.

PART 1: Answering the Challenge
PART 2: Early May WebChat Schedule
PART 3: Accessing LFM Broadcasts: Programs 1 &
PART 4: Mars Team Journal: Behind the Screens
PART 5: Mars Pathfinder Weekly Status
PART 6: Subscribing & Unsubscribing: How to do it!


Last week, in CQ #6: COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS, we asked: What five features
make Mars most like Earth? And, what five features make Mars most unlike

Students have come up with some new points of comparison between Earth and
Mars, but these are some of the more obvious and acceptable answers:

- atmosphere: though Mars' is much thinner than Earths
- weather: Mars has frost, clouds, but in the current epoch no
- channels that seem to have been carved by running water
- Grand Canyon and Vallis Marineris
- Earthquakes and Marsquakes
- impact craters
- volcanoes
- night and day
- fossil evidence of past life (this will only be accepted if students say
it's "definite" for Earth, "possible" for Mars, reflecting continuing
scientific debate about what the features in ALH 84001
really mean!). See below, Different!!!

- liquid water
- plate tectonics: though there are Marsquakes, the mighty volcanoes show
that the crust has sat over long-lived lava hot spots, rather than riding
over them, and forming features like the chain of islands we know as
- no ozone layer on Mars protecting the surface
- no large, surface life (plants/animals) on Mars compared to Earth
- Mars' day and year are longer than Earth's
- Vallis Marineris was formed by rifting, not carved by a river, as was
the Grand Canyon
- fossil evidence of past life (but this will only be accepted if
students say it's "definite" for Earth, "possible" for Mars, reflecting
continuing scientific debate about what the features in ALH 84001
really mean!) See above, Alike!!!
- no students participating in Live From Earth

A list of answers from all students who submitted them will be
posted on the Live From Mars Web site soon.

This is the last Challenge Question in this series.


Tuesday, May 6, 10-11 a.m., Pacific: Pete Kallemeyn.
Pete is the navigation team leader for the Mars Pathfinder spacecraft. He
is responsible for determining where Pathfinder is, predicting where it
will go in the near future, and determining the means to correct the path
in order for us to reach the surface of Mars on July 4. Please prepare for
the WebChat by having your students read Petes bio at:

Thursday, May 15, 9-10 a.m., Pacific: Phil Christensen.
Phil is the principal investigator for the Thermal Emission Spectrometer
instrument onboard the Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft. In addition, Phil
is also a professor at Arizona State University where he works as a
planetary geologist. He enjoys teaching courses on the solar system, the
geology of Mars, and the use of satellite images and data to study
planetary surfaces. Please prepare for the WebChat by having your students
read Phils bio at: http://quest/lfm/team/christensen.html


If you missed the recent live telecast of Program 2, "Cruising Between the
Planets" (aired April 24), you may still access the program via NASA-TV on
May 6 and May 22, as part of the Education File Schedule that airs several
times on each of these dates. LFM Program 1, "Countdown," also airs again
May 5 and 21. See schedule below for more information and for satellite

May 5 & 21

Live From Mars Program 1 "Countdown"
(rebroadcast of live performance)
Level: Grades 5-12 (57:30)
"Countdown" introduces a new series of "Passport to Knowledge" electronic
field trips. Live From Mars Program I takes students behind closed doors
at Cape Canaveral to see NASA's Pathfinder spacecraft close-up, just days
before its successful early December launch, and invites students and
teachers to follow Pathfinder and Mars Global Surveyor online via the
Internet and with hands-on discovery activities throughout the next two
school years.

May 6 & 22

Live From Mars Program 2: "Cruising Between the Planets"
Level: Grades K-12 (60:00)
Behind the scenes at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, lead center for
planetary exploration. How rocket fuel, momentum, gravity and ingenuity
get spacecraft from Earth to Mars. Mars Pathfinder's and Global Surveyor's
progress to date. Portraits of the men and women who control the missions.
Building and testing the robotic rover, Sojourner. Highlights of hands-on
student activities including the LFM Planet Explorer Toolkit; the Egg Drop
Challenge; and Red Rover, Red Rover.

The NASA TV satellite coordinates are:
GE-2, Transponder 9C at 85 degrees West longitude, vertical polarization,
with a frequency of 3880 Mhz, and audio of 6.8 Mhz.

2-3 pm, 5-6 pm, 8-9 pm, 11 pm-12 am, 2-3 am, Eastern.
NASA TV may preempt scheduled programming for live agency events.

Videotapes Also Available
If you do not have access to NASA-TV you may order a copy of each of the
Live From Mars programs on VHS videotape for $19.95 (includes shipping and
handling). Send a check, money order, or school purchase order made out to
Passport to Knowledge and send along with your full mailing address to:

Passport to Knowledge
P.O. Box 1502
Summit, NJ 07902-1502

You may fax school purchase orders to: 973-656-9813. Remember to indicate
which program you wish to order: "Countdown" or "Cruising Between the
Planets," or both.

MARS TEAM JOURNAL: Behind the Screens

by Geoff Haines-Stiles

[Editor's note: Geoff is the project director of Passport to Knowledge and
the Live From... television specials.]

April 30, 1997

We hope you were able to view LFM 102, "Cruising Between the Planets,"
live on your local PBS station or NASA-TV. What you couldnt see was the
"scene behind the screens," both at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL)
and in classrooms around the country. So we thought you might be
interested in a few word pictures from here and there.

We caught the Mars Pathfinder team at the best and worst of times. They
were right in the middle of their "S.N.O.R.T.," Surface Nominal Operations
Readiness Test, simulating the first week on Mars, and they were taking it
very seriously! Though the Lander and Sojourner were only a closed room
away, the scientists and engineers spoke, obsessed and brainstormed as if
they had truly landed on Mars. And the folks who set up the simulation had
served up an especially difficult challenge. First, Pathfinder landed
"nose-down" and had to right itself, and then they arranged things so that
one ramp led down at an angle greater than what's safe for Sojourner and
that the other would open right onto a sand dune that looked dangerous for
other reasons. So, what to do?

They heatedly debated late at night and early into the morning -- the same
shifts they'll be working this coming July -- what did each picture mean,
was it safe to deploy the rover, how to jiggle the petals to make the
slope safe to roll down? There were more than 75 people from JPL and
universities across the nation, all dedicated, all excited, all working
hard to solve the problems.

(By the way, it was great to see Carol Stoker and Mike Sims, experts on
virtual reality from NASA Ames, who'd been part of our 1993 pilot project,
Live From Other Worlds, in which the Mars Exploration Program's Donna
Shirley had also been a guest. It's a small universe!)

Into the middle of this focused maelstrom came all of us, a large TV crew
from PTK's east coast home base, Mississippi and Los Angeles. There were
lighting directors, camera people and satellite uplink experts. During one
production meeting, Rob Manning and Brian Muirhead looked around the wide
circle of people taking notes, checking times and problem-solving and
murmured, "Looks just like a mission." And in some ways it was, especially
the tension of "launching" live at 13:00 hours Eastern, and making all the
planning pay off during an hour of hectic activity.

Viewing the program, and indeed looking at the whole Live From Mars
project, what we hope you saw and see are the many parallels between what
students have done or can do in class or home, and what NASA researchers
and engineers do to build and fly missions. The many teacher-submitted
scenes we aired during Program 2 -- of students driving rovers, building
and deploying the "Planet Explorer Toolkit" or simulating Pathfinder's
airbag-cushioned landing with eggs, balloons and parachutes -- demonstrate
that this kind of learning experience brings students much closer to the
real-world challenges and excitement of actually doing science than past
approaches. We hope you are seeing beneficial results in student
attitudes, skills and content knowledge.

We're also pleased to tell you that the scientists and engineers on the
other end of this interaction also admire and appreciate what you and your
students are doing. We hope you'll keep on sharing verbal reports, photos,
videos and press clips with LFM so we can document the many different
activities you've been up to.

Lastly, and most importantly, we want to thank all the Mars Pathfinder
Team, as well as those Mars Global Surveyor folks who helped us (Wayne
Lee, Pat Esposito, Glenn Cunningham), for welcoming us to JPL and showing
us around at a very busy time.

Thanks to Donna Shirley, Brian Muirhead, Rob Manning and all the others
who appeared on camera and behind the scenes: Richard Cook, Babette
Montana and Tony Spear. We wish you well, in the last few months before
you arrive at Mars, just as we salute you educators and students in the
last weeks of this school year.

We hope you've enjoyed Live From Mars, and will find ways to connect with
us via TV and online this summer and that you'll bring new students back
to the project in the 1997-98 school year.


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

April 25, 1997

The spacecraft remains in good health and is currently about 88 million
kilometers from Earth. Major activities performed this week included a
regularly scheduled attitude turn to maintain Earth point. We also
transitioned to the Late Cruise mission phase and switched in the fourth
and final solar panel quadrant. The total flight time since launch is now
142 days, and we have 71 days until Mars arrival.

We successfully completed a week-long surface Operational Readiness Test.
The purpose of this test was to train team members on operational
processes and procedures and verify nominal surface operations plans.
Although we had some early difficulties deploying the rover, the test was
a great learning experience and an overall success. We did discover
several issues with our tools and processes that we will correct prior to
ORT #6 (scheduled for May 19).

For more information, please visit our website at


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