MEDIA RELATIONS OFFICE
JET PROPULSION LABORATORY
CALIFORNIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY
NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION
PASADENA, CALIFORNIA 91109. TELEPHONE (818) 354-5011
Contact: Mary HardinOctober 20, 1999
"RETURN TO MARS": NEXT MARS LANDING SUBJECT OF PUBLIC TALKS
The next NASA spacecraft to land on Mars will be the subject
of a pair of free public lectures on Thursday, October 21, at Jet
Propulsion Laboratory's von Karman Auditorium, and Friday,
October 22 at the Pasadena City College Forum, both at 7 p.m.
Seating is limited and on a first-come, first-served basis.
Lecturers Dr. Richard Zurek, project scientist for the Mars
Polar Lander, and Dr. Suzanne Smrekar, project scientist for the
Deep Space 2 microprobes, will present "Return to Mars."
Mars Polar Lander will touch down on December 3 near the
south pole of Mars and use a robot arm to scoop up soil samples
that will be tested by scientific instruments onboard. The lander
is looking for evidence of water that would help scientists
understand the current and ancient climate on Mars. The lander
also carries two microprobes that have been piggybacking on the
spacecraft during its flight to the red planet. Shortly before
Mars Polar Lander sets down, the two Deep Space 2 microprobes
will be jettisoned from the lander. They will punch into the
Martian soil to a depth of about a meter (about one yard) to test
new technologies and look for water.
JPL manages the Mars Polar Lander and the Deep Space 2
missions for NASA's Office of Space Science, Washington, D.C.
JPL is a division of the California Institute of Technology,
For more information, call (818) 354-5011 or visit