Live From Mars was active July 1996-December 1997.

PART 1: Status of Mars Global Surveyor
PART 2: Upcoming WebChat
PART 3: Accessing the upcoming television program
PART 4: Planet Exploration Toolkit (PET) update
PART 5: Challenge Question #3: observing Mars moons
PART 6: Challenge Question #4: windstorms on Mars
PART 7: Seeing great sites while taping for LFM
PART 8: Outline of the television program


By now, you probably know that the Mars Global Surveyor had a
beautiful liftoff on November 7. This was one day late; the first
launch opportunity on November 6 was scrubbed due to high winds in
the upper atmosphere.

After the successful launch, Deep Space Network acquisition went
normally and spacecraft telemetry is being analyzed. All systems
are working well, however there is an indication that the -Y inner
solar array panel has not deployed fully. It is about 18 degrees short
of full deployment. Efforts are underway to play back the data that
were recorded during the deployment and further planning will take
place when these data are evaluated. The solar arrays are providing
plenty of power and the partial deployment presents no near-term
threat to either the spacecraft or the mission.


Weekly WebChats offer an opportunity for your students to virtually
meet the people on the front lines of the Mars exploration adventure.
Teachers have reported that the chats really enliven students'

As testimony to this, Linda Hamilton from Hunters Woods
Elementary School in Reston, VA reports:
   The fifth and sixth grade boys have just left the science room
   after the live chat. They were absolutely thrilled! I was
   moved almost to tears when they left the computer station and
   came over to where I was instructing the 1st and 2nd graders
   wanting to know if the little ones had any special questions to
   ask!!!  They then proceeded to explain all that they were learning!

Upcoming chats
Thursday, November 14 from 8-9 AM Pacific (11AM - noon Eastern)
Dan Johnston is a trajectory and aerobraking design analyst for the
Mars Global Surveyor project.

Wednesday, November 20 from 8-9 AM Pacific (11AM - noon Eastern)
Jack Farmer is an exobiologist, so he is interested in the search for
life outside of Earth. His background is in paleontology (fossils) and
geology (rocks).

To get in on this fun, point your Web browser to
and follow the
links to the chat room for experts. If you plan to participate in this
event, please RSVP to Andrea by sending a brief email note to telling her which sessions you plan to
join. This RSVP is very important, since it will allow us to ensure
that the chatroom does not become too crowded.

To best prepare, please have your students read the biographies of
these folks before the WebChat session.


On November 19 from 1-2 PM Eastern, the first Live From Mars
television program will be aired. There are several ways for you to
"tune in."

First, check with your local PBS station to see if and when they'll
broadcast the program (some stations show the programs on tape
delay rather then live). We have a listing of PBS stations and their
air time online (, but
because PBS affiliates are so independent, this listing may not be
100% accurate. So consider contacting the Education Programming
Director at your local PBS station for complete details.

In addition, the program will be carried live over NASA TV. Some
cable systems carry NASA TV. If not, and you have access to a
satellite dish, NASA-TV can be found on Spacenet 2 (69 degrees
West, C-band, transponder 5, channel 9, horizontal polarization,
frequency, 3880 Megahertz, audio on 6.8 Mhz.).

If that fails, NASA CORE will have a videotape available about
one week after the air date. The tape will sell for $16.00 plus
shipping to US sites. Contact NASA CORE directly for more
information; their phone is (216) 774-1051, extension 293 or 294.

We will also be broadcasting the program over the Internet using
Real Audio (sound only), CU-SeeMe and MBONE. Additional details
will be shared via this list shortly.

Also, after the program we will be hosting a 90-minute WebChat
party for students to connect with one another directly. That event
will begin immediately after the program ends in LFM's unmoderated
chat room at
We are also considering a CU-SeeMe party to facilitate classrooms
connecting using CU-SeeMe for network videoconferencing. If you are
interested in that option, please send a brief note to and indicate your interest. Please include
"LFM CU-SeeME" in the subject.


By now, hopefully your classrooms are working on the PET activity. For newcomers, PET provides an opportunity to collaborate with classes around the US and the globe though special classroom activities accompanied with online student interactions. PET is designed to enhance and enrich student understanding of key scientific and technical concepts relating to NASA's two upcoming Mars Missions. In a nutshell, the activity has students design their own Planetary Explorer Toolkit, debate its merits online, haggle over which class designed the *best PET,* interact with experts on-line during the process, then together come to consensus on a uniform toolkit. Then classrooms will use this uniform toolkit to go out and collect real data about their own corner of the Planet Earth, share that information with the global community, and become data super-sleuths. For more information about the PET activity, please take a gander at this Web page:

If your class is participating in the PET, we'd like to hear from you.
Please send a brief note to Jan Wee ( to let
her know your class is involved. In the note, include your grade level
and approximately how many students are involved. It would be most
helpful if the words "PET REGISTRATION" appeared in the subject of
your message.

When Live From Mars introduced the Planet Explorer Toolkit we said that
this online collaborative activity was first suggested in a phone
conversation between Mars Pathfinder Project Scientist Matt Golombek
and the PTK team. Now we're delighted to have a few thoughts directly from
Matt about what exactly Pathfinder is designed to do. Matt's a geologist
(note how quick he is to defend rocks from being dull!) but your students
should be able to see from his comments how mission GOALS determine the
kinds of instruments (or TOOLS) placed on board the spacecraft. Perhaps
your students can think about whether they've gone through a similar set
decisions to determine what they think is most distinctive and
characteristic about the site they will likely document, and whether
they've been considering the right tools for the job.

On Pathfinder Instruments and What Will be Learned
Matt Golombek
Mars Pathfinder Project Scientist

In the broadest sense Pathfinder is effectively the "ground truth" for the
remote sensing data sets that Mars Global Surveyor and the Russian Mars
'96 orbiters will obtain. Imagine flying over Kansas and seeing
agricultural fields. In order to truly know what those fields are really
like, you would need to go down to the surface and look at them up close.
Pathfinder does just that: it goes down to the surface to determine what
the remote sensing is trying to tell us about the area, providing close up
images of an area on a scale of hundreds of meters (about the size of a
football field) to see what Mars is really made of. In addition, as it
descends through the Martian atmosphere, the spacecraft measures the
pressure and temperature of the atmosphere to understand how the
atmosphere varies with height, and after landing it takes regular
meteorology measurements (providing a weather report from Mars).

If you were to land on Mars, what would you do to learn something about
the place where you had settled down? Probably the first thing we'd do if
we went there in person is to look around using our eyes. The Lander has
an imaging system (the IMP, or Imager for Mars Pathfinder) to look at what
the spacecraft has landed on to tell us down here on Earth about the part
of Mars where we are. It is a stereo imaging system so that we can judge
depth just like with our own eyes and it can see in many different colors,
again just like with our own eyes. As a result, after landing on Mars we
get to look around at the landing site in color and stereo to see what is

What do we think will be there? We don't know for sure (if we knew we
would not be exploring or discovering something new). Nevertheless, we are
likely to find rocks. Rocks are not dull assortments of silica, oxygen,
iron, magnesium and calcium. These elements are put together into minerals
in a wide variety of ways and geologists can tell from the presence of
minerals in rocks specifically how the rock formed and what the
environment was in which the rock formed in. How do geologists down here
on Earth do this? By examining rocks up close and looking at the color,
textures and material making up the rock; and sometimes also using a hand
lens to identify particular minerals that are present from their size,
shape, color and mineral cleavage (or how they split under pressure of
some kind.)

Up there on Mars, if all goes well, you can think of the Pathfinder rover
as a two-foot geologist. It has wheels to allow it to roll over to rocks
that look interesting, and examine them up close. In addition, it carries
an instrument (the APXS -- see online for a full description of this!)
that determines the elements present in whatever it is placed up against.
By placing this instrument up against rocks and imaging those rocks up
close, geologists hope to determine the type of rock and the minerals that
its made of. From this, geologists can also tell something about the
circumstances about when and where they formed.

With these capabilities in mind, scientists decided to land Pathfinder at
the mouth of a giant catastrophic outflow channel that drains down from
ancient heavily cratered terrain. The idea was to use the flood that
carved this channel as a device which should have deposited a variety of
rocks within range of our Sojourner rover for examination. By examining
the rocks from the channel we have the opportunity to discover what the
early environment on Mars was like (was it warmer and wetter?). This is of
particular interest recently because of the recent interest in possible
evidence of past life in ancient meteorites believed to have come from
Mars. In order for life to have existed on Mars, liquid water must have
been present. By examining rocks at the landing site, Pathfinder should be
able to provide geologists on Earth with enough information to determine
if they were deposited in liquid water and thus its prevalence early on in
Martian history.


Last week we asked:
Mars has two moons: Deimos and Phobos. If you stood on the surface
of Mars and looked up into the night sky, you would see Deimos
slowly travel from east to west across the sky while Phobos would
be slowly traveling from west to east. In other words, the two
Martian moons travel in opposite directions across the Martian sky.
Yet both moons actually orbit Mars in the same direction.

Explain this apparent paradox.

ANSWER from Bill Gutsch:
The closer a satellite (natural or artificial) is to the planet it orbits,
the faster it travels around that planet. Both Martian moons travel around
Mars from west to east. Deimos, however, is sufficiently far from Mars
(like the Earth's moon is from Earth) that it travels around the planet
slower than Mars rotates on its axis. Thus, to an observer on the surface
of Mars, Deimos appears to be "left behind in the sky" and appears to move
from east to west. Phobos, on the other hand, is much closer and actually
orbits around Mars faster than Mars rotates on its axis. Thus, to an
observer on the surface, Phobos appears to "leave the observer behind" and
so appears to move from west to east. Thus, from the surface of Mars, the
two moons are seen to travel in opposite directions.

NOTE: This a good brain teaser in relative motion. Students and
teachers may wish to use models of Mars and its moons to help see the
situation better.

A listing of the students who submitted answers to this Challenge
Question will appear on the LFM Web site shortly.


Here is a new puzzler for this week:

Sometimes, the winds on Mars can blow at hundreds of miles per
hour and kick up giant dust storms that blanket the entire planet.
Yet, if you stood on the surface of Mars at one of these times, you
would probably not be blown over.

You are invited to send original student answers to us. We will list
the names of these folks online and token prizes will be given out to
a small number of the students with the best answers. Send your
answers to Jan Wee at Please include the
words "CHALLENGE QUESTION" in the subject of the email.

[Editor's note: Mike teaches near the Kennedy Space Center and he's
very engaged in the Live From Mars project. His students will be part
of the November 19 television program. Here are some reports about
Mike's activities]

Mike Dean

October 15, 1996
Seven middle schoolers from McNair Magnet School went to
the Launch Pad of the Pathfinder mission to Mars. They
witnessed the erecting of the first stage of the Delta rocket.
It was a beautiful sunny day and the film crew, directed by
Rick Derman, did a great job helping the kids be wonderfully
relaxed for the speaking parts they recorded during the
erecting process.

We were escorted by two Air Force officers into the pad
area. By "into the pad area," I mean we were within 100
feet of the crew putting the first stage up and hundreds
of feet inside the security fence. The two Air Force
officers had never been inside this restricted area and
were just as excited as we were. The rocket, lying
horizontal on a trailer, is rolled in between two large
steel towers. Then a fitting is placed on the topmost
portion of the rocket stage. This fitting has two steel
cables attached to it. Each cable goes to one of the
towers. Then the towers move along a train-type track
toward the rocket on the trailer. A winch on each tower
draws the cable in and the combination of the towers
moving parallel toward the rocket and drawing in of the
cable causes the rocket to be pulled erect. Once upright,
the rocket stands exactly in the center between the two
towers. The complete erecting of stage one for the
Pathfinder mission to Mars took less than 30 minutes!

Then the students moved around the parallel towers to
another vantage point. From here they could see this
parallel tower structure with the rocket attached move
to the actual launch pad and tower approximately 100 feet
away. The whole structure moves along the train-type
tracks to the martite-covered steel launch pad (and access
tower). Martite is a silicon-based substance painted
onto the launch pad (about 3/4 inch thick). Martite
absorbs the heat of the rocket blast on take-off and
keeps the steel from going through enormous stress of
expanding and contracting during launch.

This was the principal filming opportunity for this
group of kids.

We then left this site to go to the Cape Canaveral Air
Station Air Force Space History Museum. We saw the
Mercury Redstone and the Mercury Atlas rockets that put
the Mercury astronauts in space. They stood in the place
that the launches actually took place.

We saw the firing rooms for the Mercury launches. These
original firing rooms have windows facing the rocket
that are less than 200 feet from the rocket. Today the
firing rooms are typically at least 1 and 1/4 miles away.

The kids did some play acting in the firing rooms and the
day's filming was over.

We all had a great time and we look forward to seeing the
fruits of our labor on November 19th.

October 16, 1996
Seven kids from the McNair Magnet School went to the
Kennedy Space Center to participate in some more filming
for the "COUNTDOWN" show on November 19th.

The day's filming began in a meadow directly across from
the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB). The VAB was off
limits to us this day because the solid rocket boosters
were being mated to the Space Shuttle that day. We did
some environmentally sensitive filming for awhile. We
saw a bottle-nose dolphin and a 12-foot alligator in the
tidal basin. The Kennedy Space Center has more species
of birds per square mile than any other location in the
world. This place is a birdwatcher's paradise. The
kids had enormous fun doing various "extrapolations"
and comparisons between the life on Earth and the
possibilities of life on Mars. Rick Derman, a film
director from New York City, is fantastic with the kids!

Then, from the beautiful meadow near the canals, lakes,
and basins of KSC we moved out to Space Shuttle Launch Pad
39B. The kids did some filming down in the flame trench
of the pad. Huge pipes funnel water down underneath the
Shuttle. This is a must-see scene in the upcoming show!

Next the kids went to the "crawler," the giant transport vehicle
that takes the Space Shuttle out to the launch pad.

Another great day of filming!

November 7, 1996
Hello from the "COUNTDOWN" kids of McNair Magnet School
in Cocoa, FL. We saw the MGS take off today from the VIP
viewing area. "Whoa!!!!!," as the kids said.

Six middle school kids were filmed for the PTK Nov. 19
show while witnessing the launch of the MGS. We saw the
rocket lift off the ground, clear the tower, and then
lean over toward the east (radically) and then power off
away from us across the Atlantic Ocean. Beautiful!


Geoff Haines-Stiles

November 8, 1996
Of course the BIG news is that Mars Global Surveyor launched
successfully Thursday: we're sure you've seen footage in the news,
but what your students may be interested to know is that the first
LIVE FROM MARS program (to "launch" November 19) will show some
Florida students who made it to the Cape, as the eyes and ears of
students across the States. You'll be able to meet some of them
on-camera as they give all of us a Kids' Eye tour during the program.

To help you as educators set the scene for viewers of the live or
taped program, we're sharing the first "rundown" with you today.
Soon will come script for the documentary sequences to help you
establish an anticipatory "set" for viewing the program. Things are
heating up, on and off Earth, and we'll keep fingers crossed for our
own successful "launch" in just under 2 weeks!

Annotated Outline as of 11-5-96

Kennedy Space Center/Cape Canaveral (aka KSC)
2 sites:
1) SAEF 2
(a) SAEF 2 (where Pathfinder sits on stage 3 of the rocket)
Inside and outside the clean room: CAMILLE MOODY as host: 1 hand-
held camera: 1 high remote on scaffolding
(b) outside the clean room (seen thru window/glass door): TONY
SPEAR, Mars Pathfinder Project Manager
1 hand-held camera
2) close to Pad 17 (from where MGS and MPF launch)
WAYNE LEE (no host/ess)
1 tripod camera: NEED STAGE MANAGER TO CUE!

INSIDE RAIN COVER = Mission Director Center, with remote cameras
trained on pad 17

WORCESTER, MA (former home of Robert H. Goddard)
South High School (or TBD)
host = NEIL TYSON (director, Hayden Planetarium, AMNH)


VTR / 00:15
Live from Mars is made possible by the National Science
Foundation, NASA and PBS Teacher Resource Services

1.1     TEASE: Mars Global Surveyor countdown and launch (01:45)
VTR / 01:30 / CAMILLE v.o. and live as needed
5...4...3...2...1.... the beginning of a new era of Mars Exploration

1.2     CAMILLE voice over scenes at SAEF 2
this uses ONLY the remote camera inside the room, NOT CM on
camera until 1.5
TONY introduced, with Pathfinder and 3rd stage over shoulder

1.3     NEIL in Worcester, intro kids and MATT
NEIL throws to WAYNE

1.4     WAYNE @ Pad 17

CAMILLE on camera beside TONY

2.0     SHOW OPEN (02:05)
VTR / 00:20 SOT

VTR / 00:30 / CAMILLE v.o.
walking towards and into SAEF 2... lots of industrial pipes, warning
signs, etc. "KEEP OUT!"

VTR / 00:30 / CAMILLE v.o.
getting dressed in bunny boots, mask, air-shower, etc

5.0     KID'S EYE TOUR OF KSC (06:05)
VTR / 03:00 / CAMILLE bridging v.o. as needed
from the classic shot of the VAB, the old Explorer 1 launch pad, the
Shuttle flame pits, Pad 17 during the erection of the MPF Delta
rocket, etc. Narrated v.o. and on camera by Michael Deane's students
from McNair Magnet School

SPEAR (09:05)
VTR / 03:00
CAMILLE (face behind mask) gives live guided tour of the clean
room... 10 times cleaner than Viking... positive air flow... spacecraft
"ER"... and asks TONY (who's outside) "what's this... that... " and he
directs her around
CAMILLE throws to VTR: what's all this for?

7.0     WHY MARS? (12:35)
VTR / 03:30 / NEIL v.o.
the lure and lore of Mars... early telescope views... Lowell and Mars
mania... Mariner, Viking results... volcanoes, valleys, channels... the
question of water and of life (past, present, future?)

LIVE / 00:45
This is a piece of Mars... something like this... ALH 84001, but we
don't know quite where it came from... so we have to go back... which
is where MATT comes in...

LIVE & VTR / 06:00
LIVE Q&A Worcester
LIVE Q&A from kids at KSC
LIVE e-mail questions relayed by kids at KSC
VTR pre-taped VIDEO questions

9.0     ROBERT H. GODDARD (21:50)
VTR / 02:30
A kid's eye tour of Worcester and how RHG advanced rocketry:
student on tape throw to...

10.0    WAYNE AT PAD 17 (22:50)
LIVE / 01:00
Behind me is... and it's designed to...

11.0    GETTING TO MARS (24:50)
VTR / 03:00 / NEIL v.o.
graphics and animation from the MPF and MGS mission films: the
specifics of "our" missions...

12.0    WAYNE LEE Q&A (30:50)
LIVE & VTR / 06:00
LIVE Q&A Worcester
LIVE Q&A from kids at KSC
LIVE e-mail questions relayed by kids at KSC
VTR pre-taped VIDEO questions

13.0    MGS LAUNCH (31:50)
VTR / 02:00 / CAMILLE v.o.
this is how it began... scenes from Nov 6 (or soon after!)... GLENN
CUNNINGHAM in the Mission Director's seat... kids from McNair watch
ng to be like December 2,
1996... and every 26 months for the coming decade!

VTR / 02:00

15.0    TONY SPEAR Q&A: KSC SAEF 2 (39:50)
LIVE & VTR / 06:00
CAMILLE leads to
LIVE Q&A Worcester
LIVE Q&A from kids at KSC
LIVE e-mail questions relayed by kids at KSC
VTR pre-taped VIDEO questions

VTR / 01:30 / CAMILLE v.o.

17.0    "FOLLOW THE WATER" (44:20)
VTR / 03:00 / NEIL v.o.
stream table activity from the LFM Guide brought to life by North
High School students from Worcester, showing how water can sculpt
the characteristic patterns seen on Mars

18.0    MATT Q&A: WORCESTER (50:20)
LIVE & VTR / 06:00
NEIL leads to...
LIVE Q&A Worcester
LIVE Q&A from kids at KSC
LIVE e-mail questions relayed by kids at KSC
VTR pre-taped VIDEO questions

etc. (51:20)
LFM housekeeping

20.0    "BYES" (52:20)
LIVE / 01:00

21.0 END CREDITS (53:20)
VTR / 01:00

VTR / 00:15

TRT must equal NO MORE than 59:30!!!

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