TES News

August 1995, Volume 4, No. 3

Thermal Emission Spectrometer Project Mars Global Surveyor Space Flight Facility Department of Geology, Arizona State University Box 871404, Tempe, Arizona 85287-1404, U.S.A.

Celebrating 30 Years of Spacecraft Missions to Mars As 1996, 1998 Mars Missions Take Shape

The Summer of 1995 has been a very exciting time for Mars science and exploration. The coincidental release of the "Apollo 13" film in theaters and the Atlantis-Mir docking in late June - early July contributed to the excitement. The Atlantis-Mir mission was the first in a series of dockings between the U.S. space shuttle and the Russian space station, and signals the beginning of cooperative flights that will build and operate the International Space Station starting in 1997. Someday, efforts such as Atlantis-Mir and the courage displayed by the Apollo 13 crew may lead humans to Mars.

Until people go (perhaps as soon as 2019, the 50th anniversary of the first Moon landing), we have robotic explorers we can send to the Red Planet. This summer, exciting progress was made toward readying the new Mars missions-- Mars Global Surveyor and Mars Pathfinder for 1996 launch, and the Mars Surveyor orbiter and lander for 1998-99 launch. In July, NASA celebrated 30 years of robotic exploration of Mars. On July 14, 1965, Mariner 4 became the first spacecraft to reach Mars. As it flew by, it took 22 pictures which showed that Mars had craters instead of canals. Mariner 4 also found that the martian atmosphere has a pressure of about 5 to 10 millibars-- more than 100 times thinner than Earth's atmosphere.

Other exciting Mars news this summer-- in July NASA chose a name for Mars Pathfinder's microrover (click here for story) and selected one of the instruments to go on the 1998 Mars Surveyor orbiter (click here for story). Also in this summer--- Mars Global Surveyor and it's Thermal Emission Spectrometer (TES), an ASU project, have continued on track for their November 1996 launch (click here for story), and the University of Arizona IMP camera for Mars Pathfinder is now complete and undergoing testing in Tucson (click here for story).


Edited by: K.S. Edgett

Original Text: 3 August 1995

Hypertext: 3 September 1995

TES News is published quarterly by the 
Arizona Mars K-12 Education Program.  
It is also available on the World Wide Web 
at  http://tes.asu.edu/tesnews_info.html. 
Printing supported by NASA Grants NAGW 943, 
NAGW 3923 and JPL Contracts 960112, 960235.