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OPPORTUNITY TO SEE MARS ROVER LAUNCH AND PARTY WITH THE RED PLANET THIS SATURDAY, JUNE 28 AT MIDNIGHT!

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  • Erich Landstrom
    CONTACT: Erich Landstrom, NASA JPL Solar System Educator Cell #561.601.7755 Email: landstrom@yahoo.com FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE JUNE 26, 2003 OPPORTUNITY TO SEE
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 26, 2003
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      CONTACT: Erich Landstrom, NASA JPL Solar System
      Educator
      Cell #561.601.7755
      Email: landstrom@...

      FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE JUNE 26, 2003

      OPPORTUNITY TO SEE MARS ROVER LAUNCH AND PARTY WITH
      THE RED PLANET THIS SATURDAY, JUNE 28 AT MIDNIGHT!

      Mars has an ambassador on Earth in Florida. His name
      is Robert Gass, and Rob invites you to party in Jetty
      Park on the space coast of the sunshine state this
      Saturday, to see the historic launch of the next
      spacecraft bound for the red planet.

      The event includes:
      - Games & prizes
      - Live and lively lectures by project scientists
      - Countdown and status reports throughout the night
      - Displays and literature
      - A location as close to the rocket as you can get
      (even the VIP�s are not closer!)
      - View the launch with the people who built the
      spacecraft

      The second of twin Mars Exploration Rovers is targeted
      to thunder into the midnight sky on Saturday, June
      28th. The rover mission will lift off from Cape
      Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., onboard a Delta II
      launch vehicle. The first launch time for Opportunity,
      the second rover, is June 28 at 11:56 pm EDT (8:56 PM
      Pacific time), the second time is at 12:37 am June 29
      EDT. Ambassador Robert Gass will continue his
      tradition of hosting a launchday public event at Jetty
      Park, outside Cape Canaveral, affording excellent
      views of the launch and telling those who attend the
      pre-dawn event all about the mission and its goals.
      Gates open at 9:00 pm and admission is free. However,
      the park will charge a $3.00 per car entrance fee.
      Space is limited so it is recommended that partiers
      come early!

      Gass, an accountant, volunteers his time as a solar
      system ambassador for NASA�s Jet Propulsion
      Laboratory. Like most of other ambassadors, Gass, of
      Fort Lauderdale, Fla., was an astronomy buff who
      enjoyed sharing his enthusiasm even before learning
      about this program. "I had been looking for new ways
      to reach people," Gass said. "Before, people said,
      'Who is this guy? He's an accountant.' Now, the
      affiliation with JPL helps. I talk with the mission
      scientists. I've had training sessions." NASA's Jet
      Propulsion Laboratory, in Pasadena, Calif., helps
      train solar system ambassadors and solar system
      educators learn about missions such as the twin rovers
      Spirit and Opportunity, to Mars; Cassini, to Saturn;
      and Stardust and Deep Impact, to comets. The
      ambassadors and educators participate in
      teleconferences and Internet chats directly with
      scientists and engineers working on the missions. They
      also receive materials such as brochures, posters,
      color slides and videos to help them excite other
      people about the wonders of the solar system. But
      whereas the ambassadors commit to arranging at least
      four public outreach projects during the year, the
      educators focus on �teaching the teachers,� offering
      at least three workshops to 100 science teachers
      during the year. Ambassador projects range from
      library talks to original theater productions;
      educator workshops range from egg-drop simulations of
      Mars landings to cooking up comets in the classroom.

      Gass wants to fill the park with 12,000 people. VIPs
      include the entire Athena science team from Cornell
      University including Mars Exploration Rover, a hefty
      helping of NASA brass from HQ in DC, and a possible
      appearance by a certain �Science Guy.�

      Entertainment at the launch party includes telescope
      viewing of Mars, broadcast of NASA TV feed, two game
      shows with prizes furnished by Boeing, and three live
      and lively talks. The games include �Let's make a
      Martian Deal,� and �Guess Your Martian Weight.� The
      first talk will be on Mars, the second will be on the
      MER mission and spacecraft, and the last will be on
      Athena science package on the rovers.

      This event is being brought to Florida by the NASA Jet
      Propulsion Laboratory�s Solar System Ambassadors
      Program with support from Boeing and Cornell
      University.

      Jetty Park is at Port Canaveral, on the Atlantic Ocean
      just south of the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station
      border. Both expendable launch vehicle and space
      shuttle liftoffs can be viewed from here. The park is
      open all day year-round. Prices for admittance are $3
      and up. The park typically closes at 9 p.m. but
      adjusts its hours to accommodate launch viewing. Call
      (321) 783-7111 for directions.

      The NASA robotic geologist named Opportunity began its
      seven-month journey to Mars will reach Mars on Jan.
      25, 2004. Opportunity will roam a landing area on Mars
      that bears evidence of a wet history. The rover will
      examine rocks and soil for clues to whether the site
      may have been a hospitable place for life.
      Opportunity's twin, Spirit, launched on June 10th and
      will be targeted to a separate site with different
      signs of a watery past.


      =====
      Erich Landstrom, NASA JPL Solar System Educator
      Solar System Educators Program http://www.ssep.org
      [Hands-on teacher training workshops sharing NASA's
      missions of research, discovery and exploration!]

      Science fiction & science fact stranger than fiction.
      Listen Monday mornings on http://www.SCIFIOVERDRIVE.com

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