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The Martian Chronicles
Issue 8, Winter 2001




Mars Q&A


Mars Q&A
Q: What type of planet is Mars?

A: Mars is part of the inner Solar System, and therefore is a solid planet. Its composition and structure are similar to that of the Earth. Some notable differences are that it is less dense than the Earth, its interior is much cooler than Earthís, and it is half the size of the Earth. - Margarita M.

 

2001 Mars Odyssey

2001 Mars Odyssey
Q: Are the Lander Instruments of Mars Surveyor 2001 Lander able to take readings and analyze distant rocks, boulders, and soil?

A: The Mars Odyssey 2001 Mission has only an orbiter. The instruments onboard are: Thermal Emission Imaging System (THEMIS) for mapping the mineralogy and morphology of the Martian surface; Gamma Ray Spectrometer (GRS) for global mapping of the elemental composition of the surface; and Mars Radiation Environment Experiment (MARIE) for characterizing aspects of the near-space radiation environment as related to the radiation-related risk to human explorers. For more info, visit http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/2001/instruments/index.html. - Vesna Nikolic

 


Q: How would tethers be used on a human Mars mission? Is there a good chance they will be used?

A: The Mars Direct mission plan includes the use of a spinning tether system, hundreds of meters long, to provide artificial gravity in interplanetary space with the empty rocket stage as a counterweight for the manned habitat. However, NASA has some grievances with the tetherís deployment - one experimental tether broke while being deployed from the Space Shuttle - so all current mission plans search for medical countermeasures to zero-gravity effects rather than using artificial gravity. However, further experiment could validate this concept. - Richard Reifsnyder

 

Mars 2003 Rover

Mars 2003 Rover
Q: Is there a Mossbauer Spectrometer on the Lander of the 2001 Mission?

A: I believe the lander you are talking about is 2003 mission. Here is the list of instruments the rovers will have: Pancam camera, Mini-TES infrared spectrometer that will survey the scene around the rover and look for the most interesting rocks and soils; Microscopic Imager, Moessbauer spectrometers and the APXS spectrometers that can be placed against these rock and soil to get their composition; Rock Abrasion Tool (a.k.a the RAT) for scraping away the outer layers of a rock to see what lies beneath. For more info, visit http://athena.cornell.edu/. - Vesna Nikolic


Ask a Mars question and it will be answered in the next issue of The Martian Chronicles!
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