Live From Mars was active July 1996-December 1997.
PART 1: Teacher's Guide is here
PART 2: Live chats with NASA folk; a NetDay96 celebration
PART 3: Connecting with other teachers
PART 4: News about the spacecraft
TEACHER'S GUIDE IS HERE
Hooray for the hardworking PTK Teacher's Guide team. After weeks of non-stop work (literally!), the Teacher's Guide is completed and at the printer. If you've ordered a physical copy (see http://passporttoknowledge.com/lfm/teachers/materials.html), expect it soon. The shipping date is Saturday, October 12. For those who can't wait, or who prefer their Teacher's Guides free and online, wander to http://passporttoknowledge.com/lfm/teachers/tg Over the next days and weeks, you'll see this area fill in with the complete guide. By the end of the month, there will be an Adobe Acrobat version of the document available online; this version will preserve ALL of the formatting from the original. As my grandfather Sol says: "ENJOY!"
In many places, this coming Saturday (October 12) is a time for volunteers to materialize at schools around the United States and install network cabling. This wonderful ritual is called NetDay. In support of the activity, NASA is organizing a full day of content to go with all of the connectivity. The idea is to help the NetDay folks get a glimpse of how schools bust down walls to connect with exciting resources. Called "NetDay & Beyond", it features three separate tracks: 1) chats with network experts to help resolve connectivity issues 2) a stream of K-12 Internet videos, including a PTK summary tape 3) chats with experts, discussing neato, space and environmental topics From 11 AM - noon (Pacific), the focus will be on Live From Mars. We'll have a few bright-eyed NASA folks sharing their insights about the planet and our upcoming missions there. A few lively PTK teachers would sure help show the nation and world why networks are so vital for schools. Please consider joining us. To learn more, visit the "NetDay & Beyond" pages at http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/netday96 or go straight to the chat rooms at: http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/netday96/rooms/class.html
CONNECTING WITH OTHER TEACHERS
A big part of Live From Mars is the connections that form between people. Not only connections between students and NASA experts, but bonds between teachers and with LFM staff. If you are not a part of these conversations, you may be missing something of great value. Not only can other teachers help you figure out things, they can be a sounding board for your brainstorms. As well, the LFM team is easily influenced. Your ideas may sway the entire direction of the project (as past history demonstrates). There are two different ways to participate: chats and discuss-lfm Every week, two hourly chats are regularly scheduled. Each Thursday at either noon or 3:00 PM Pacific (schedule alternates), folks gather in the chatroom for an hour. Also, each Wednesday at 11:00 AM Pacific, a special homeschool forum is hosted by master homeschooler Gayle Remisch, from London, Ontario, Canada. For more info, see the WebChat section of http://passporttoknowledge.com/lfm/events/interact.html In addition, discuss-lfm offers teachers an opportunity to send more composed messages. Last month, LFM people contributed over 175 gems in the vigorous discussion. Many people channel this information direct to their mailboxes. If 175 messages is too many for you (it is for me), an option exists for a digest. The digest sends just one daily message with all of the day's traffic gathered together. To participate, send an email message to: In the message body, choose one of the lines below to send subscribe discuss-lfm subscribe discuss-digest-lfm If you prefer, you may also take part in the discuss-lfm group via the Web. In that case, point your browser to: http://passporttoknowledge.com/lfm/discuss-lfm-lwgate.html
As of today (October 9), the Mars Global Surveyor is 28 days from its first try at launching, while the Mars Pathfinder is 55 days away. The key thing to understand at this stage is that all of the project folks are going batty trying to do all of the things that need doing. So it is very difficult to obtain up-to-date information. In this news vacuum, we'll share some reports about the various tests that have been happening over the past months. Mars Pathfinder Anthony Spear, Mars Pathfinder Projet Manager Over the summer, The Flight Operations Team wrapped up the final phases of development of their operating system used to monitor and control the flight system in cruise to Mars, Entry/Descent/Landing and for surface operations. They have participated in tests, controlling the flight system test sequence with their operations sequences planned for flight use. Also they have received and analyzed telemetry data on their work stations including rover data and lander and rover camera imaging. These are rather realistic "dress rehearsals" for the real thing when they take over right after launch. Mars Global Surveyor Status Glenn E. Cunningham, MGS Project Manager The Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft completed its solar thermal vacuum testing which is a major milestone in preparing the spacecraft for launch. In this two-week-long test, the spacecraft was placed in a large vacuum chamber that represents the environment that the spacecraft encounters in deep space. The chamber has a simulated solar source, targets that represent Mars, and very cold walls that represent the cold of deep space. During this test, all the thermal environments that the spacecraft experiences during its mission are tested, and compared to the thermal design requirements and thermal models. The MGS came through this test better than any spacecraft I can remember. Then the final preparations were made to ship the spacecraft from its assembly location at Lockheed Martin Astronautics in Denver, Colorado, to its launch site. The spacecraft was flown to Cape Canaveral, Florida, in a C-17 aircraft in mid-August. At the "Cape", the spacecraft was tested to assure that it survived shipment without problems. [The items in this list were planned in August. I suspect that many items here are already completed] Also, a final checkout with the Deep Space Tracking network will be made, the propellants will be loaded, and the final weight and center of gravity will be determined. Then, it will be attached to the third stage of the launch vehicle and both will be transported to the launch pad to be mated with the first and second stages of the Delta II that will already be there waiting. In the mean time, everything is being made ready to control the spacecraft after its November launch. All of the software that will be used process and display spacecraft telemetry data, send commands to the spacecraft, navigate the spacecraft, and analyze the spacecraft's performance was delivered in its launch ready form on the first of July. The small teams of engineers and scientists that will provide the mission controlling functions have begun the process of training to use the procedures that will be employed after launch. The various stages of the launch vehicle are already at the "Cape" undergoing their readiness testing. We are have been involved in a series of checkpoints or reviews to assure the project managers that everything is ready for launch. These reviews include the remote (from JPL) science centers where the payload instruments will be controlled, the readiness to ship the spacecraft, the readiness of the launch site to receive the spacecraft, and the readiness of all aspects of the flight operations system. Several reviews after the spacecraft is at the launch site will assure that the launch vehicle is ready to receive the spacecraft, and finally, in early November, that all systems are go for launch! Everyone on Mars Global Surveyor is very pleased with the way the spacecraft testing has progressed with out significant problems, and with how well the flight operations and ground data system preparations have been completed on schedule.
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