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John Bluck
Dec. 1, 1999
NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA
650/604-5026 or 604-9000
jbluck@mail.arc.nasa.gov

RELEASE 99-78AR
NOTE TO EDITORS AND NEWS DIRECTORS:
You are invited to interview Ames scientists and cover Mars Polar Lander spacecraft Internet "webcasts" Friday, Dec. 3, 3:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. PST. The spacecraft is scheduled to land on Mars on Friday afternoon. Reporters are also invited to Ames on Saturday, Dec. 4, 11 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. to interview scientists when an audio-only Mars Polar Lander webcast will take place.

To reach Ames, take the Moffett Field exit from Highway 101, drive east to the Moffett main gate, and report to the guard. Please arrive early enough to allow transit time to building N240. After passing through the gate, turn left on the first street, Arnold, Ave. Enter Bush traffic circle, and go half way around; turn right on DeFrance Ave. Go two blocks, and turn right on Warner. At the end of the block, turn left onto McCord Ave. Go part way down the block, and turn right into building N240's parking lot. Go to conference room 107A in building N240. Only U.S. media representatives who are U.S. citizens or have green cards with valid press pass credentials and picture ID will be admitted to Ames.

MARS EXPERTS TO ANSWER QUESTIONS DURING INTERNET WEBCASTS

People worldwide can use the Internet to interact live with scientists at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), Pasadena, CA, about the Mars Polar Lander spacecraft scheduled to land near the Martian south polar region on Fri., Dec. 3.

Following the landing, scientists expect to receive a radio signal from the spacecraft at 12:37 p.m. PST at the Deep Space Network, Goldstone, CA. The signal will take about 20 minutes to reach Earth.

"What's unique about this Internet opportunity is that people from around the globe can chat on line with Mars scientists about the mission, both when the spacecraft lands and afterward," said Sandy Dueck of the NASA Quest project based at NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA.

Sometime during the mission, a microphone aboard the lander may gather sounds from the planet's surface. The audience will be able to hear Martian sounds via the Internet, if all goes well with that experiment. The Planetary Society, Pasadena, CA, is a private, nonprofit organization that is sponsoring the Mars Microphone instrument.

The live Mars Internet events will include web chats and webcasts during which scientists will discuss Mars and answer Internet audience questions as the mission unfolds from Dec. 3 to Dec 5. Other Internet events are slated for Dec. 9. Webcasts enable the Internet audience to watch live video, listen to sound and interact in real-time with experts participating in the programs.

JPL scientists scheduled to appear in the webcasts include: Solar System Exploration Chief Scientist Dr. Stephen Saunders, Mars Scientist Dr. Robert Anderson, Mars Science Software Engineer Charles Acton and Chief Engineer for the Mars Sample Return Rover Tom Rivellini.

Educators can reach NASA Quest's Learning Technologies Channel on the Internet at: http://quest.arc.nasa.gov

NASA Quest webcasts also provide opportunities for educators from all over the world to bring space science content to the classroom through Internet technology. Webcasts are just one of many Internet offerings from NASA Quest. Other on line, interactive projects connect students with NASA employees and are designed to inspire young people to pursue careers in high technology.

The Mars Polar Lander Quest schedule of events is listed on the web at:

http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/ltc/mars/polar.html

Internet "webcasts" are scheduled for Friday, Dec. 3, 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. PST (video and audio); and 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. (audio only). Audio-only Mars Polar Lander webcasts are also scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 4, and Sunday, Dec. 5, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. both days.


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