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Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the developer, PASSPORT TO KNOWLEDGE, and do not necessarily reflect those of the National Science Foundation.

To MARS with MER - Interact


As the name indicates, INTERACT is the primary way for students, teachers, parents, the general public and informal science educators at museums and planetariums to find out all the latest about "To MARS with MER, communicate with each other, peer-to-peer, and work together on exciting online collaborative projects. (Also check out GET INVOLVED! for ways in which - depending on where you live - you can make trips to traveling exhibits created by P2K's partner, the Space Science Institute, or participate in special local events, beginning in September 2003, in some of America's largest cities.)

The 2-year "To MARS with MER" project will offer a total of 6 hours of broadcast video.

Broadcast TV programs

Three "daytime" programs are designed for young people and their caregivers in schools, science centers, or at home. Each features live interaction, via video and online, with NASA researchers and others involved in the Mars Exploration Rovers mission. Appearing on participating PBS stations (check local listings) and NASA-TV (subject to pre-emption for late-breaking agency events.)

aired Thursday, May 1, 2003

Program Description
In 1997 NASA's Mars Pathfinder spacecraft touched down, and half a billion visitors rushed to check out related websites. In January 2004, 2 new rovers--much larger and more sophisticated--will land. But the adventure is already under way, with launches due in June and July 2003.

Videotapes may be ordered directly from P2K.

aired Saturday, January 17, 2004

Program Description
Just days after the first touchdown, but with enough time for the "Spirit" rover to have rolled off the lander and taken spectacular new images, FIRST LOOK aired live and interactive from the Houston Museum of Natural Science, TX, and NASA JPL, Pasadena, CA. Young visitors and their families interacted live with mission scientists about the latest pictures and information. Viewers anywhere across America sent questions via e-mail, and received instant answers from NASA researchers and Mars experts. "Spirit's" risky landing is given a sports-style "play-by-play", and the upcoming January 25 landing of the second rover, "Opportunity", is previewed.

Videotapes may be ordered directly from P2K.

aired Saturday, May 1, 2004

Program Description
"Mission success" for the SPIRIT rover came on April 5, 2004, with operation on Mars for "90 sols", as a martian day is known. Success for its twin, OPPORTUNITY, will arrive in late April, 90 sols after its landing on January 25. But, already, the two rovers have succeeded in revolutionizing our understanding of Mars, and their achievements have energized the entire American space program.

Videotapes may be ordered directly from P2K.

Prime Time
Three "prime time" programs, associated with key mission milestones such as launch, landing and the completion of surface operations, are designed for general audiences, old and young. Appearing on participating PBS stations (check local listings).

first aired Fall 2003 (still airing on NASA TV)

Program Description
BOUNCING TO MARS goes behind the scenes to tell the story of their design and development, in the words of the diverse team of men and women who brought the robots to life. Shaped both by the "up" of the success of the 1997 "Pathfinder" spacecraft with its small "Sojourner" rover, and also by the "down" of the failure of the two 1998 Mars missions, the Mars Exploration Rovers project has been a battle against time, technical challenges, and budget.

Videotapes may be ordered directly from P2K.

Appearing on PBS stations. Check local listings.

Program Description
After landing in January 2004, NASA’s Mars Exploration Rovers, named Spirit and Opportunity, continued to operate on the Red Planet throughout 2005, many times longer than their designers and builders had initially promised. WHAT WENT RIGHT goes behind the scenes to present, in the candid words of the men and women who made it happen, why one of the most challenging missions of the entire space age succeeded, when so many other national endeavors have fallen short.

Appearing on PBS stations. Check local listings.

Program Description
Are we alone in the Universe? Is there life beyond Earth? Now we have a way to begin answering such questions. Modern science replaces speculation, hunches, and belief, with hypotheses, experiment, and evidence.

ON-AIR, which operates during and for one hour after each "To MARS with MER" broadcast, allows anyone, anywhere to send questions to researchers studying Mars and working on the Mars Exploration Rovers mission, and to get back individual answers in real-time on the day of the broadcasts. We've also provided some tips for how to make the most of this unique learning opportunity.

PASSPORT TO KNOWLEDGE is very grateful to Steve Squyres, Don Banfield, Diane Bollen, and Pam Smith at Cornell University, Steve Collins, Jose Guzman, David E. Herman, Ramiro Perez, Mark Maimone, Mark Powell and Randy Lindemann at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Steve Ruff, Laura Mehall, Trevor Graff, Amy Knudson, Tim Glotch, and Alice Baldridge at the Arizona State University Mars Space Flight Facility for generously contributing their time and knowledge to support this unique service.


PASSPORT TO KNOWLEDGE is very grateful to Steve Collins, Attitude Control, Rob Landis, Systems Engineer, Eddie Tunstel, Senior Robotics Engineer, Terry Wysocky, System Engineer Senior, Todd Barber, Propulsion Engineer, Paulo Souza, PDL Mossbauer, Mike Pauken, Thermal Engineer, Sheri Klug, Mars Space Flight Facility, Arizona State University, Janice Bishop, SETI Institute P.I., NASA Ames Research Center, Diane Bollen, Education and Outreach Coordinator, Cornell University for generously contributing their time and knowledge to support this unique service.


PASSPORT TO KNOWLEDGE is very grateful to Mark Adler, Morten Bo Madsen, Virginia Ford, Todd Barber and Eric Rice from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory; Patrick Whelley, Amy Knudson, Steve Ruff, and Laura Mehall from Arizona State University; Jascha Sohl-Dickstein from Cornell University; and Shih-Han Chen, Maciej Hermanowicz, and Courtney Dressing from the JPL Student Astronauts for generously contributing their time and knowledge to support this unique service.


In addition to carriage by participating PBS stations (check local listings) "To MARS with MER" programs will be carried by NASA-TV, either live or on tape delay. Check this P2K site for the next month's broadcast schedule, or go directly to NASA TV's website.

Video Streaming
The "To MARS with MER" programs are also accessible as streaming video over the web, courtesy of NASA's Classroom of the Future. Soon after the broadcasts, the programs are also archived. Check back to this site, about 15 minutes in advance of each live broadcast, to link in to the video stream. (Many other sites also stream NASA-TV: we suggest you verify the working of your hardware and software in advance, especially if you plan to screen the program with groups of additional viewers.)

URL Post
To find out more about the people, places and processes you'll see in the videos, use URL POST which provides links to additional resources, directly related to the program. This allows you to combine the immediacy and drama of broadcast video with the depth of additional information available online.


Past Broadcasts
This program originated live from JPL just a week after 2001 Mars Odyssey went successfully into orbit around Mars. Mission manager Roger Gibbs gave a personal account of Mars Orbit Insertion, and introduced key members of the mission. Vicky Hamilton (then from Arizona State, and now at the University of Hawaii) and John Callas (also one of the science managers on the Mars Exploration Rovers mission) previewed what Odyssey would be able to discover in coming months. JPL's David Seidel used hands-on activities to explain how Earth and Mars compared in size and position in the solar system.

Broadcast live from ASU's "Mars Student Imaging Facility" this program literally revealed images "live" from Mars! Phil Christensen and colleagues gave viewers Earth's first chance to see "this just in" images from the THEMIS infrared sensor on board Odyssey. Gamma Ray Spectrometer scientist, Bill Boynton, spoke about how Odyssey had already discovered great amounts of water ice, buried under the surface. His colleague, Bill Feldman, used marbles and jars of water to explain how the GRS worked. Heather Enos, also from the University of Arizona, Tucson, GRS team, explained how gamma rays are a form of light, and how they reveal completely new aspects of Mars. ASU MSIP staffers Paige Valderamma and Keith Watt also invited student viewers to participate in the Student Imaging Project, and we saw what the very first class of Student Investigators had done.

This 1996-1997 project included 8 hours of broadcast television, 6 live and interactive, following NASA's Pathfinder and Mars Global Surveyor missions all the way from Earth to the Red Planet. Check the archive version of the LIVE FROM MARS site for a Teacher's Guide with simple but effective hands-on Activities, links to summaries of what both missions discovered (or, in the case of MGS, what it's still discovering!) and lots more.

INTERACT-it's one of P2K's most unique collection of opportunities, and we hope you'll dive right in and... interact!