MEDIA RELATIONS OFFICE
JET PROPULSION LABORATORY
CALIFORNIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY
NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION
PASADENA, CALIF. 91109 TELEPHONE (818) 354-5011
Contact: John G. Watson
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEDecember 4, 1998
NASA ANNOUNCES CONTEST TO NAME DEEP SPACE 2'S TWO MICROPROBES
NASA has announced the start of a contest to name its Deep
Space 2 mission's two microprobes, scheduled to be launched next
month on journey to Mars.
"Just as Mars Pathfinder's Sojourner rover received its name
through a contest, we would like to invite the public to become
involved in helping to name Deep Space 2's twin probes," said
Project Manager Sarah Gavit of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
"What better way to involve school children and parents alike in
this exciting, one-of-a-kind mission?"
Deep Space 2, launching with the Mars Polar Lander on
January 3, will send its two microprobes to impact and penetrate
the surface of Mars in December 1999. Each of its two entry
systems consists of a basketball-sized aeroshell with a softball-
sized probe inside. Released from the cruise stage of the Mars
Polar Lander, the probes will dive toward the surface of Mars.
Upon impact, the forebody of each probe will bury itself up to
about one meter (three feet) underground, while the aftbody
remains on the surface to transmit data through the orbiting Mars
Global Surveyor spacecraft back to Earth.
Unlike any spacecraft before, the Deep Space 2 probes will
smash into the planet at speeds of up to 200 meters per second
(400 miles per hour). The mission's main purpose is to flight-
test new technologies to enable future science missions --
demonstrating innovative approaches to entering a planet's
atmosphere, surviving a crash-impact and penetrating below a
planet's surface. As a secondary goal, the probes will search for
water ice under Mars' surface.
Participants in the probe naming contest can choose either
two people from history, mythology or fiction (not living) or two
places or things that are in some way associated with each other,
or a combination. Their choices should be accompanied by a short
written composition of up to 100 words explaining why their
entries would make good names for the miniature probes.
"The names should symbolize our exploration of the universe,
embodying the spirit of risk-taking pioneers breaking barriers,"
explained Gavit. Complete details, along with on-line entry
forms and further information about Deep Space 2, are available
at http://nmp.jpl.nasa.gov/ds2/ .
The deadline is April 30, 1999, and winners will be
announced the following November. Finalists will receive one copy
each of a Deep Space 2 poster signed by the project team.
JPL is a division of the California Institute of Technology,