Live From Mars was active July 1996-December 1997.
JUNE 6 DEADLINE FOR MARS LANDING DAY WORKSHOP
An educators workshop focusing on Mars, the Mars Pathfinder mission and NASA's plans for future Mars missions will be held July 2-3 at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, CA. The workshop will be designed for K-12th grade teachers who are interested in learning more about the red planet and who wish to be in the hub of activities leading up to the successful landing on July 4 of NASA's Mars Pathfinder spacecraft. The California Institute of Technology operates JPL, which is the home of the Mars Pathfinder mission and NASA's decade-long program of robotic exploration of Mars. Those wishing to attend must complete an electronic application form available on the World Wide Web athttp://mpfwww.jpl.nasa.gov/mpf/education/applic.html
and return it by June 6. Letters of interest also may be faxed to Cheick Diarra, fax 818-393-2902, or mailed to Cheick at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, 4800 Oak Grove Drive, Mail Stop T1129, Pasadena, Calif., 91109. E-mail submissions may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. All letters must be received no later than 5 p.m. PDT June 6. The educators conference will begin the evening of Wednesday, July 2, with an informal barbecue and get-acquainted session taking place from 6 p.m. - 9 p.m. on the Caltech campus. Scientists and members of the Mars Exploration Program at JPL will offer a program of presentations on Mars exploration and other space exploration missions coming up from 9 a.m. - noon on Thursday, July 3. Participants will be introduced to a variety of ideas for incorporating hands-on classroom learning activities during the afternoon. A weekend of activities also will be taking place in Pasadena July 3-6 called Planetfest '97, which is sponsored by the Planetary Society. The festival will allow the public a rare chance to follow NASA Television programming of Pathfinder's historic landing on Mars and follow the beginning of rover activities on the surface of the planet. The Caltech conference registration fee is $25.00. Teachers interested in attending The Planetary Society Planetfest '97 activities in addition to the conference will be eligible to receive the discounted $20.00 three-day pass to the Planetfest activities. Caltech is located at 1200 E. California Blvd. in Pasadena. For further information about the educators conference, contact Cheick Diarra at (818) 354-5428 or Cathy Davis at email@example.com
In planning our Mars WebChat schedule for the summer months we realized that the traditional best days and hours during the school year may be different now that its summer. If you are interested in continuing to participate in chats during the summer please let us know your best days and times. Send an email message to: firstname.lastname@example.org
June 4 & 20: Live From Mars Program I "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. NOTE: On June 20 the 2:00 p.m. broadcast will be preempted by the STS 94 Mission Overview/Crew News Conference. June 23: Live From Mars Program II: "Cruising Between the Planets" Level: Grades K-12, 60:00 Behind the scenes at NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab, 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. Note: 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. Broadcast times: 2-3 p.m., 5-6 p.m., 8-9 p.m., 11 p.m.-12 am, 2-3 am. All times Eastern. NASA TV may preempt scheduled programming for live agency events.
Note: The satellite coordinates listed in the Live From Mars Teacher's Guide do not apply to the summer broadcasts. Sunday, July 6, 1997, 14:00-16:00 EST: GE-2, C-Band, 85 degrees West, Transponder (channel) 21, vertical polarity, frequency of 4120 Mhz, and Audio 6.2 & 6.8 NASA-TV: GE-2, Transponder 9C at 85 degrees West longitude, vertical polarization, with a frequency of 3880 Mhz, and Audio 6.8 Mhz. PBS: Telstar 402 R, 7 Lower, 89 degrees West, Frequency 11895 Vertical, 6.2 & 6.8 Audio. Wednesday, July 9, 1997, 14:00-16:00 EST: GE-2, C-Band, 85 degrees West, Transponder (channel) 21, vertical polarity, frequency of 4120 Mhz, and Audio 6.2 & 6.8 NASA-TV: GE-2, Transponder 9C at 85 degrees West longitude, vertical polarization, with a frequency of 3880 Mhz, and Audio 6.8 Mhz. ** PBS: Telstar 402 R, 7 Lower, 89 degrees West, Frequency 11895 Vertical, 6.2 & 6.8 Audio NASA-TV transmission may be preempted by Mission updates. ** On Tape Delay; exact time to be announced.
[Editor's note: This status report was prepared by the Flight Operations Manager, Mars Pathfinder Project, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory.] May 30, 1997 The spacecraft remains in good health and is currently about 140 million kilometers from Earth (17 million km from Mars). Major spacecraft activities performed this week included a turn to maintain Earth point attitude and starting battery charge (see below). The total flight time since launch is now 175 days, and we have 35 days until Mars arrival. The most significant project activity completed this week was to begin charging the flight battery. Approximately 22 amp-hours of capacity has been taken out of the battery since installation, and the objective of charging was to replace as much as possible. Degradation of the total battery capacity has occurred over the six months since launch, but a total capacity of at least 40 amp-hours should still be possible (compared to a prelaunch capacity of 56 amp-hours). A total of 7 amp-hours has been added after two days of charging, so we are already above the 40 amp-hour level. The flight team is currently assessing whether additional charging is warranted. Completed updates to the final flight software load. We are currently performing a final set of regression tests prior to patching the software next week. Deep Space Network personnel corrected the final open ranging data accuracy problem which has been a concern for the last several months. This problem involved larger than expected range jitter in the data acquired at Goldstone. The problem is related to a faulty board in the Sequential Ranging Assembly. All ranging data acquired for the project now meets the prelaunch accuracy specifications. For more information, visit our website athttp://mpfwww.jpl.nasa.gov
[Editor's note: This status report was prepared by the Office of the Flight Operations Manager, Mars Surveyor Operations Project, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory.] May 27, 1997 Shortly after 9:00 p.m. PDT last Saturday, operators staffing the Goldstone antenna complex in the Mojave desert announced that they had locked up on a signal transmitted from Surveyor at a data rate of 2000 bits per second. This milestone marked the transition out of safe-mode and back to normal operating conditions. Since early in the month, Surveyor's safe-mode orientation had limited the maximum data transmission rate to 250 bits per second or less. The spacecraft automatically entered safe-mode on the morning on May 7 when the onboard computer encountered an infinite loop in flight software. Entry into safe mode placed Surveyor in a configuration that guaranteed adequate power, thermal, and communications margins. This mode is intended to be a benign operating state favorable for diagnostic and recovery activities if an unexpected event occurs in one or more of the spacecraft's systems. Recovery operations involved a multistep process that began on Friday. First, the flight team sent a series of instructions to Surveyor's backup flight computer. These instructions initialized the backup computer to begin using its normal flight software rather than the limited software set utilized in safe mode. Then, the flight team commanded the backup computer to control the spacecraft while performing the same software initialization procedure on the Surveyor's primary computer. The next step required reestablishing the spacecraft's ability to point at targets in space. In safe mode, the flight computer assumes that its ability to find and point at targets other than the Sun has been compromised. Restoration of pointing capability involved commanding the spacecraft to rotate in a cone-shaped pattern around the Sun for several hours. This action allowed Surveyor's star scanner to lock-up on distant guide stars in space. The spacecraft determines its orientation in space by using these stars as reference points. Pointing capability was restored early Saturday evening. At that time, the flight team commanded Surveyor to rotate from its safe-mode, Sun-pointed orientation to an Earth-pointed orientation. Aiming the spacecraft's antenna directly at the Earth enabled Surveyor to begin transmitting data using any one of its standard rates of 2000 bits per second or faster. Early next week, the flight team will transmit modifications to Surveyor's flight software to prevent the infinite-loop condition from occurring again. Surveyor would have been stable in safing for an indefinite period of time even if no corrective action had been taken. However, the flight team worked on restoring standard operations as quickly as possible because normal command sequences, such as those that control science calibration activities, are prohibited from executing in safe mode. After a mission elapsed time of 201 days from launch, Surveyor is 124.64 million kilometers from the Earth, 27.15 million kilometers from Mars, and is moving in an orbit around the Sun with a velocity of 22.89 kilometers per second. This orbit will intercept Mars 107 days from now, slightly after 6:00 p.m. PDT on September 11 (01:00 UTC, September 12). All systems continue to be in excellent condition.
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