LIFTOFF: Mission to Mars

Mars Overview
Dr. Walter Kiefer
Explained to Liftoff 2000 participants that at present, Mars has a cold, tenuous atmosphere, but the atmosphere must have been warmer and much denser earlier in its hisory. What caused this change? Mars is also orbited by two small moons, possibly captured asteroids. The surface of Mars is also cut by numerous faults, including a canyon system that would extend across the continental U.S. In his talk, he showed how NASA scientists used imagery to decipher the geologic history of these regions of Mars. He discussed the relationship betweem these surface features and processes in the interior of Mars.

Ridges, Craters and Valleys

Mars GeologyI: The "Dao" of Mars: Geology and History of the Dao Vallis Area
Dr. Allan Trieman

Dr. Trieman helped to explain how scientists and engineers plan furure missions to Mars. He showed how steps must be taken tomake sure the mission is a success. He is searching for the answers to questions like . . . What do we know about this planet where rivers flowed, volcanos erupted, and lakes and seas may once have harbored life? What happened to make Mars the cold, dry desert world of today? What can this tell us about the future of our planet? We investigate the mysteries of the Red Planet with the scientists and engineers at the forefront of Mars are facing in their research exploration.

Mars Pathfinder Mission and Science Results
M.P. Golombek

Of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Caltech, Pasadena, CA described the Pathfinder mission to Mars. The mission operated on Mars for 3 months and returned 2.3 Gbits of New data, including over 16,500 lander and 550 rover images, 16 chemical analyses of rocks and soil, and 8.5 million individual temperature, pressure and wind measurements. This mission captured the imagination of the public, garnered front page headlines during the first week, and became the largest internet event in history at the time.

Paul Raeburn and Matt Golombek have recently published
Uncovering The Secrets Of The Red Planet, Mars
Matt signed our copies of the book and showed us how to use
the 3-D glasses that are included in the book.

Life on Mars: What and Where?
Dr. Frances Westall

Dr. Westall discussed the possibility of extraterrestrial bacteria in the form of fossils. The problem with minerally replaced bacteria with non biological structures having bacterial morphology was addressed. She explained the characteristics of the fossil as namely, size, shape, cell wall texture, association, and colony formation, as an overview. Examples were shown of fossilized bacteria from Early Archaean through to the Recent which were used to illustrate the various modes of preservation and the morphology of fossil bacteria.

Planetary EVA Suit Development
Dr. Dean Eppler

Dr. Eppler's task is to develop an EVA Suit for Mars Astronauts. The suit would have to be used for setting up a base to good old-fashioned field geology. In order to fulfill these activities, EVA suits for Mars exploration will need to support a 500 day Mars stay, be easy to maintain, fit a variety of crew members, and have sufficient mobility to easily tackle a variety of mission tasks. Although development has not yet started on an advanced planetary EVA system, Dr. Eppler is using a variety of experimental suits to bound the requirements "space" for any new planetary surface suits.

Mars Mission Planning
Dr. Robert Herrick

workshop participants received some background material on advantages and disadvantages of human exploration. An overview of possible future exploration approaches for Mars will be presented. Participants then divided into teams and designed a broad exploration program for the planet Mars. The exercise gave teachers a feeling of how exploration programs are designed to satisfy scientific goals and budgetary constraints.

The workshop is outstanding! Sign up for next year and find out!

Links for students and teachers


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These pages authored and maintained by Judy Lee.
Revised: June 10, 2005 . Copyright 1998
CRPC GirlTECH. All rights reserved.