PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICE
JET PROPULSION LABORATORY
CALIFORNIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY
NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION
PASADENA, CALIF. 91109. TELEPHONE (818) 354-5011
Contact: Diane AinsworthNov. 6, 1997
SCIENCE TEAM AND INSTRUMENTS SELECTED FOR MARS SURVEYOR 2001
Two robotic spacecraft scheduled for launch in mid-2001 to
orbit and land on Mars will carry a descent camera, a
multispectral imager, and a robotic rover capable of traversing
tens of miles across the red planet's rocky highlands.
The Mars Surveyor 2001 missions will follow two other
robotic Mars missions to be launched in late 1998 and early 1999.
All are part of NASA's long-term, systematic exploration of Mars
in which two missions are launched to the planet approximately
every 26 months.
"The Mars 2001 missions will be a major step forward in
advancing our understanding of Mars and preparing to return
samples," said Dr. Carl Pilcher, acting director for NASA's Solar
System Exploration program. "When we combine the information
from the 2001 missions with information from Mars Pathfinder,
Mars Global Surveyor, and the missions we will launch to Mars in
1998 and 1999, we will have an excellent understanding of the
planet as a whole, and we'll be well on the way toward
investigating the most fascinating and scientifically intriguing
surface sites in detail."
NASA's Office of Space Science has selected the following
investigations for the Mars 2001 Orbiter, due for launch in March
of that year, and the Mars 2001 Lander/Rover, due for launch in
* The Mars 2001 Thermal Emission Imaging System (THEMIS)
the mineralogy and morphology of the Martian surface using a high
resolution camera and a thermal infrared imaging spectrometer.
Dr. Phil Christensen from Arizona State University in Tempe is
the principal investigator for THEMIS.
* The Mars 2001 Lander will carry a small, advanced
technology rover capable of traveling several tens of miles across the
Martian highlands. The rover will be slightly larger than the
Pathfinder Sojourner rover and will be designed to go farther
(100 km vs. 100 m for Sojourner) and to last longer (1 year vs. 7
days for Sojourner). The rover will carry a payload called
Athena, which is an integrated suite of instruments which will
conduct in-situ scientific analyses of surface materials. It
also will be able to collect and analyze core samples for later
return to Earth by a future robotic mission. Dr. Steven Squyres
from Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, is the principal
investigator for Athena.
* The 2001 Lander also will carry an imager to take pictures
ofthe surrounding terrain during the lander's rocket-assisted
descent to the surface. The descent imaging camera will provide
images of the landing site for geologic analyses, and will aid
planning for initial operations and traverses by the Athena
rover. Dr. Michael Malin of Malin Space Science Systems Inc. in
San Diego, CA, is the team leader for the Descent Imager science
team and Dr. Ken Herkenhoff of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory
(JPL), Pasadena, CA is a team member.
These investigations were selected from of a total of 39
proposals submitted to NASA in August 1997 in response to
Anouncement of Opportunity (AO) -97-OSS-04, "Mars Surveyor
Program 2001 Orbiter, Lander, Rover Missions: Science
Investigations and Characterization of Environments," issued in
The 2001 Orbiter will be the first to use the atmosphere of
Mars to slow down and directly capture a spacecraft into orbit in
one step, using a technique called aerocapture.
The Orbiter also will carry the Gamma Ray Spectrometer
(GRS), the last of the remaining Mars Observer science
investigations. The GRS will achieve global mapping of the
elemental composition of the surface and the abundance of
hydrogen in the shallow subsurface.
The AO also solicited soil, dust, and radiation
investigations for the Mars 2001 mission. NASA's Office of Life
and Microgravity Sciences and Applications will announce its
decisions for these investigations at a later date.
An integrated team consisting of the Jet Propulsion
Laboratory and Lockheed Martin Astronautics, Denver, CO, will
develop the missions, led by JPL.
Both of the 2001 missions are part of an ongoing NASA series
of robotic Mars exploration spacecraft that began with the
launches of the Mars Global Surveyor orbiter and the Mars
Pathfinder lander in November and December 1996, respectively.