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  • tkreevesjr
    Course of Mars Lander corrected for December landing
    Message 1 of 3540 , Oct 31 7:37 PM
      Course of Mars Lander corrected for December
      <br><a href=http://cnn.com/TECH/space/9910/30/mars.lander/index.html target=new>http://cnn.com/TECH/space/9910/30/mars.lander/index.html</a><br><br>October 30, 1999<br>Web posted at: 5:00 p.m. EDT (2100
      GMT)<br><br>PASADENA, California (CNN) -- NASA engineers say they
      successfully performed a critical course correction Saturday
      that should send the Mars Polar Lander spacecraft to a
      desired landing zone near the planet's south pole in
      December. <br><br>A 12-second thruster burst successfully
      shifted the course of the 1,200-pound Lander during the
      1:28 p.m. EDT maneuver. <br><br>"Preliminary
      indications are it went well," said Mary Beth Murrill,
      spokesperson for the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena,
      California. <br><br>"The spacecraft performed as it was
      supposed to." Engineers will watch navigational data over
      the next few hours to confirm their initial
      conclusion, she said. <br><br>Saturday's trajectory
      correction maneuver was the fourth since the Lander blasted
      off on January 3 from Cape Canaveral, Florida.
      Another such maneuver is scheduled for November 30, days
      before a planned December 3 landing. <br><br>Sister ship
      was Climate Orbiter <br><br>The lander's sister ship,
      the $125-million Mars Climate Orbiter, was lost as it
      entered the orbit of Mars in September. Mission managers
      say the cause of the mishap was confusion over the
      type of units used to measure the strength of thruster
      firings. <br><br>While JPL engineers assumed they were
      using metric measurements (Newtons), engineers at
      Lockheed Martin Astronautics in Denver, the prime
      contractor for the mission, were feeding them data in
      English units (pounds). <br><br>The problem has been
      corrected for the Mars Polar Lander, space engineers said.
      <br><br>The lander's projected landing site is located near
      the northern edge of the south pole's layered
      terrain. <br><br>Mission scientists and engineers opted on
      Tuesday not to redirect the craft to a backup landing
      site, which had been considered after high-resolution
      images showed the primary site was rougher than
      originally anticipated. <br><br>"At the scale of the lander,
      even something like a table could represent an
      obstacle," said Richard Zurek, project manager for the Mars
      Polar Lander. <br><br>"Something that is a meter up
      here and down here can give you problems when you are
      landing on three legs." <br><br>While the polar lander
      has a radar altimeter and rocket thrusters to guide
      and slow the craft before landing, they can't guide
      it away from potential hazards. <br><br>Landing on a
      steep slope could be catastrophic. It could leave the
      orbiter intact but listing, placing it in a bad position
      for six solar panels to capture the sun's energy and
      convert it into power. <br><br>Yet the same features that
      pose the greatest landing hazards have also enticed
      scientists. Alternating light and dark bands beneath the
      surface of the south pole appear to be deposits of ice
      and dust. Scientists think the layers could offer
      clues about the climate history of Mars, like growth
      rings on a tree. <br><br>Craft can analyze chemical
      composition of soil <br>Should the craft land near a steep
      hill or cliff, it could document some exposed
      layering. Equipped with a shovel and small furnace, the
      lander will dig into the Martian surface and heat the
      soil to analyze the chemical composition. <br><br>The
      lander is also equipped with three cameras. One will
      capture its descent to the surface. Another will offer
      stereoscopic panoramas. The third, located on the wrist of the
      shovel arm, will show scientists close-ups of Martian
      soil. <br><br>The lander is scheduled to conduct a
      60-day mission, but it could transmit data for up to 90
      days if the conditions are right.
    • jefftibb
      The SEDS site has a short list of Messier Marathon locations where people will congregate to count the Messier Objects. If you would like to join a
      Message 3540 of 3540 , Mar 13, 2002
        The SEDS site has a short list of Messier
        Marathon locations where people will congregate to count
        the Messier Objects.<br><br>If you would like to join
        a group and do it check out this
        site:<br><br><a href=http://seds.lpl.arizona.edu/messier/xtra/marathon/mm2002.html target=new>http://seds.lpl.arizona.edu/messier/xtra/marathon/mm2002.html</a><br><br>Many will be happening this weekend.
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