Montage of our solar system

NASA's Deep Space 1, the next solar system mission to be managed by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, is the focus of two free public lectures this month. The first takes place on Thursday, August 20, at 7 p.m. in JPL's von Karman Auditorium, and the second follows on Friday, August 21, at 7 p.m. in the Forum at Pasadena City College. Reservations are not necessary, and parking is free.

Deep Space 1 is the first flight of NASA's New Millennium Program, all of whose deep space and Earth-orbiting missions are designed to test new technologies so that they can be confidently used on science missions of the 21st century.

The low-cost, high-risk Deep Space 1 mission will validate such new technologies as an ion propulsion engine similar to those described in futuristic science fiction works. The engine is one of 12 innovative technologies to be tested during the mission, scheduled to be launched October 15 from Cape Canaveral, Florida.

Most of the validation of Deep Space 1's technologies occurs within two months of launch. After that the diminutive spacecraft, reaching just 1.5 meters (4.9 feet) in height, will continue testing its two new science instruments while flying by a near-Earth asteroid, 1992 KD, in July 1999. The instruments will send back visible images and infrared and ultraviolet spectral images while the spacecraft flies closer to an asteroid than has ever been attempted before, perhaps as low as 5 kilometers (three miles).

Deep Space 1 Chief Mission Engineer Dr. Marc Rayman will present the illustrated talk. Rayman, whose doctorate in physics is from the University of Colorado, combined his technical training with his lifelong study of space exploration by joining the JPL staff in 1986. In 1994, he helped initiate the New Millennium Program; he has served in his current Deep Space 1 role since 1995 and will assume the title of deputy mission manager after launch.

An overview of the Deep Space 1 mission is available on the Internet at . Rayman's entertaining New Millennium Program facts can be found at , an educational site for children developed by JPL in collaboration with the International Technology Education Association.

JPL is a division of the California Institute of Technology. This lecture is part of the monthly von Karman Lecture Series, sponsored by the JPL Media Relations Office. A web site about the series is located at . Information is also available by calling (818) 354-5011.

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