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. Current Events:

Pictures From Recent New England Mars Society Events!

Sean Sullivan has posted a great series of pictures from two recent New England Mars Society events- the Space Exploration merit badge day with the Boy Scouts and the Lego Mars truck in Boston. Click here to see the entire page of pictures!

And here's a page of pictures put up by one of the scout troops!

For more information about these or other events and how you can get involved with the Mars Society, contact mars@mit.edu or visit our website: http://web.mit.edu/mars/.


Mars Odyssey Passes Halfway Point to Mars!

At 8:30 a.m. Pacific time today, NASA's 2001 Mars Odyssey spacecraft passed the halfway point on its journey to Mars. It has been 100 days since Odyssey's launch and 100 days remain until it arrives at the red planet.

"Odyssey is now closer to Mars than Earth. The spacecraft is healthy and all systems are looking good," said David A. Spencer, the Odyssey mission manager at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. "Planning for Mars approach and orbit insertion in October is our primary focus right now."

The navigation team reports the spacecraft is right on course. To date, the Deep Space Network has taken 11 separate measurements using the so-called delta differential one-way range measurement, a technique that uses two ground stations to determine the angular position of the spacecraft relative to the known position of a quasar. The measurements provide the navigation team with an additional source of information, adding confidence to their estimates of the Odyssey flight path.

Today, Odyssey is 45.8 million kilometers (about 28.5 million miles) from Earth and 30 million kilometers (about 19 million miles) from Mars, traveling at a velocity of 26 kilometers per second (58,000 miles per hour) relative to the Sun.

Click here for more information about the spacecraft and its mission.


Hubble Captures Best View Of Mars Ever Obtained From Earth!

Frosty white water ice clouds and swirling orange dust storms above a vivid rusty landscape reveal Mars as a dynamic planet in this sharpest view ever obtained by an Earth-based telescope. The Earth-orbiting Hubble telescope snapped this picture on June 26, when Mars was approximately 43 million miles (68 million km) >from Earth -- its closest approach to our planet since 1988. Hubble can see details as small as 10 miles (16 km) across. Especially striking is the large amount of seasonal dust storm activity seen in this image. One large storm system is churning high above the northern polar cap [top of image], and a smaller dust storm cloud can be seen nearby. Another large dust storm is spilling out of the giant Hellas impact basin in the Southern Hemisphere [lower right].

Image Credit: NASA and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA) Acknowledgment: J. Bell (Cornell U.), P. James (U. Toledo), M. Wolff (Space Science Institute), A. Lubenow (STScI), J. Neubert (MIT/Cornell).

To read and see more, please click on http://heritage.stsci.edu and http://oposite.stsci.edu/pubinfo/pr/2001/24


Scientists Target Mars Rover Landing Site!

Leading Mars experts have gathered through January 25 at the NASA Ames Research Center to start picking landing locales on the Red Planet for two rovers in 2004.

The scene is a standing room only auditorium filled with top Mars scientists at the first landing-site workshop for the Mars Exploration Rovers.

Reminiscent of the Viking lander missions of the 1970s, the identical robotic rovers are to be individually hurled toward the fourth planet during May-July 2003, touching down in January and February 2004. The entire effort, including rocket rides, totals $688.5 million, with some 300 people now engaged in turning drawings and viewgraphs into flyable hardware.

The Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California is managing the Mars Exploration Rovers effort.

Scientists have begun pouring over photographs, topographic maps and other data, culling roughly 175 different Mars locations -- each prime real estate when it comes to unraveling the early and present-day conditions on that distant world.

But one landing site is clearly an early, hands-down, eye-catching favorite -- Sinus Meridiani, near the Martian equator -- is wowing scientists. Within that area is a 217-mile by 466-mile (350-kilometer by 750-kilometer) zone- a large region thought to be rich in a gray crystalline deposit called hematite.

Hematite is often tied to iron-rich water. This deposit may have precipitated from a standing body of water on Mars that existed for thousands to hundreds of thousands of years or longer.

And where there once was water, there could have been life.

Click here for full details.

Or Click here for the Athena Rover web page at Cornell.


Sign the Mars Petition!

Show your support for the human exploration of Mars by signing the Mars Petition!

Our target is 1 million names by November 2000, so we need your help. You are welcome to pass this e-mail on to friends, colleagues and family. The petition has already been featured on CNN's web site (cnn.com).


The Mars Petition

The time has come for humanity to journey to Mars.

Humanity yearns for a challenge, one that will let us exercise the limitless potential, now dormant, that lies waiting within ourselves. The prospects facing our generation have never been greater; with world peace, unprecedented economic growth, and extraordinary technological innovation, we find ourselves at the threshold of a new millennium of opportunity. The human exploration of Mars will be our generation's crowning achievement.

We must go for the knowledge of Mars. Finding evidence of life on Mars would demonstrate that the origin of life is not unique to the Earth, and, by implication, reveal a universe that is filled with life and most likely intelligence as well. This would be the most important scientific enlightenment since Copernicus' discoveries.

We must also go for the knowledge of Earth. Mars, the planet most like Earth, is believed to have had a wet climate and can help us understand the impact of climactic change on our home world. The knowledge we gain could be key to our survival.

We call upon the leaders of the world to commit to the immediate human exploration of Mars. It is our wish that, in the spirit of history's greatest explorers, the first humans will set foot on Mars by 2015, with the ultimate goal of developing a sustained presence. We urge our leaders to have the vision to provide for the citizens they represent a future without limits, one that matches our potential and our country's greatness, and is worthy of the dreams of our children.

Believing therefore that the exploration and settlement of Mars represent the greatest human endeavor of our time, I add my signature to the Mars Petition.


Sign the Mars Petition at http://thinkmars.net/petition.html.


The purpose of the Mars Society is:

To further the goal of the exploration and settlement of the Red Planet. This will be done by:

  • Broad public outreach to instill the vision of pioneering Mars.
  • Support of ever more aggressive government funded Mars exploration programs around the world.
  • Conducting Mars exploration on a private basis.

Starting small, with hitchhiker payloads on government funded missions, we intend to use the credibility that such activity will engender to mobilize larger resources that will enable stand-alone private robotic missions and ultimately human exploration.


You can read our founding declaration by clicking here.


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Copyright 1999 - 2001 New England Mars Society. All rights reserved.
This page was last updated July 17th, 2001.