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Virgil I. "Gus"
The New Hampshire Chapter of the Mars Society would like to express its condolences to the family and friends of the seven Columbia astronauts:
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 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.
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:
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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