TES News

December 1995, Volume 4, No. 4

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.
Table of Contents follows lead article...

T-Minus One Year and Counting

An International Fleet Preparing for Mars Invasion!

Less than one year from now, three spacecraft should be on their way to the Red Planet. This will be the largest invasion of Mars since the mid-1970's. The three spacecraft actually become eight when they reach our ruddy neighbor.

Mars Global Surveyor is scheduled to launch first, around November 3, 1996, from Florida, U.S.A. It is followed by Russia's Mars 96, which takes off mid-November 1996, from Kazakhstan. Mars 96 consists of 1 orbiter, 2 landers, and 2 penetrators-- thus it turns into 5 spacecraft when it reaches Mars. Each of the Mars 96 vehicles carries experiments from other European and North American countries.

Mars Pathfinder launches last, around December 5, 1996, but it will be the first to reach Mars on July 4, 1997. Mars Pathfinder is on an express flight, straight from Florida to Ares Vallis, Mars. Mars Pathfinder carries the microrover, Sojourner, thereby becoming 2 spacecraft when it is on the martian surface! Mars Global Surveyor will reach Mars in September 1997; Mars 96 arrives in December 1997.

An era of intense Mars exploration is just getting underway. Recently, NASA announced the science teams that will work on two additional U.S. spacecraft slated for December 1998 and January 1999 launch. One of these will be a lander that arrives in December 1999, just on time for the big New Year's celebration at the end of the millenium. NASA says that Russia might contribute instruments to the 1998/99 missions, plus additional small U.S. instruments, appropriately called "New Millenium" projects, might ride along with the 1998/99 spacecraft. Also in 1998, Japan plans to launch Planet B toward Mars; plus, for 2001, 2003, and 2005, the U.S. and international partners are planning additional spacecraft for the Red Planet. NASA Administrator Dan Goldin has recently been talking about possible human flights to Mars by 2018.

Continuing in the tradition of Percival Lowell, who built his Flagstaff observatory a century ago to observe the Red Planet, Arizona continues to attract Mars scientists and engineers who build and utilize instruments for the upcoming Mars missions. In 1997, things actually manufactured in our state will be in orbit and on the surface of Mars. Stick with TES News as we continue to bring you the latest about the Mars Global Surveyor Thermal Emission Spectrometer (TES), the Arizona Mars K-12 Program, and Arizona's other Mars connections. ---K.S. Edgett, editor.

In This Issue:

Edited by: K.S. Edgett

Original Text: 29 November 1995

Hypertext Version: 17 December 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 JPL Contract 960235.