TES NEWS, Volume 4, Number 2, May 1995

Repeatability is Key: Mars Pathfinder Wind Socks Being Calibrated at NASA Ames

Dr. Robert Sullivan of Arizona State University reported in mid-April that calibration of the wind socks for Mars Pathfinder is going well out at NASA's Ames Research Center near San Francisco, CA. Sullivan is a postdoctoral research assistant at ASU. He and ASU colleague Dr. Greg Wilson have been working hard this month to test 10 flight-quality wind socks that were manufactured at ASU. Three of the 10 will be delivered to NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory in early May to be put on Mars Pathfinder. "We expect to ruin some of the 10 wind socks," said Sullivan. One of the socks was put in the Mars Wind Tunnel, administered by Dr. Ronald Greeley of ASU, for 5 days with thick clouds of dust blowing over it. "The dust threw off the calibration," Sullivan said, but added that this is something good to know before we get to Mars. Sullivan and Wilson are photographing the wind socks while blowing air at martian pressures through the tunnel. Repeated runs will help calibrate the wind socks so that the team will be able to determine wind speed when the socks are flapping in the martian breeze in July 1997.

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Article by K.S. Edgett, April 1995