Who You Will See
Host: Bill Nye
Orlando Figueroa, head of NASA's Solar System Exploration division
Matt Golombek, from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, who helped select the two landing sites
Shonte Wright, a thermal engineer responsible for keeping the rovers warm and alive on Mars
Randall Lindemann, lead engineer for the rovers' mobility systems, and a graduate of Washington University in St. Louis
Zoe Learner, a member of the dynamic, young science team, though still a grad. student at Cornell
Eric De Jong, an imaging specialist from JPL, whose lab. helps create the 3-D landscapes and animations that make Mars seem so real, and
Dave Lavery, an expert on robotics at NASA HQ, responsible for present and future technologies enabling the exploration of the solar system.
"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.
OPPORTUNITY has analyzed bedrock in great detail with a powerful suite of science instruments and proven its landing site in Meridiani Planum was once the shore of a salty ocean. SPIRIT has also found evidence of water in Gusev Crater, believed to have once been an ancient lake. Both rovers have demonstrated NASA's technological capability to build, launch, land and successfully operate rovers on a planet millions of miles away, and were cited in the Bush Administration's new space exploration initiative to the "Moon, Mars and Beyond."
Now, in a program originating live at the St. Louis Science Center, key mission scientists and engineers explain the findings, present some of the amazing pictures, and look to the future. Bill Nye hosts NEW VIEWS with guests:
The program originates in the Science Center's McDonnell Planetarium with a live audience of youngsters, teachers and informal science educators from St. Louis and around the nation, and includes several dynamic video sequences including the latest and best images from Mars.
NEW VIEWS will...
...explore the evidence for water, and relate the findings to the question of whether Mars was once a habitable environment
...describe the "Marscapes" encountered to date, and use animations to travel along with SPIRIT and OPPORTUNITY en route to Bonneville Crater and Endurance Crater
...explain how the robots' systems have enabled them to survive on Mars, and how their package of scientific instruments have helped them function as "robotic field geologists", and
...show how this rover mission relates to future orbiters, landers and still more powerful rovers being readied to visit Mars in the coming decade.
NEW VIEWS and the ongoing "To Mars with MER" series are made possible, in part, by NSF and NASA, and other public and private partners.