JPL: Mars Polar Lander Update

Brian D Williams (
Wed, 1 Dec 1999 07:26:50 -0800 (PST)

The Adler Planetarium of Chicago will have special events from 1pm till 9pm for the Mars Polar Landing this Friday Dec 3rd, including live video feeds from NASA, and a host of programs for the kids.

I will be assisting, representing the Mars Society... all extropians invited.


Member, Extropy Institute, Life Extension Foundation,
National Rifle Association,, 1.800.672.3888 Mars Society,
Ameritech Data Center Chicago, IL, Local 134 I.B.E.W


               Mars Polar Lander Mission Status
                       November 30, 1999

     Flight controllers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, 
Pasadena, Calif., report that the Mars Polar Lander spacecraft is in excellent health as it prepares for its arrival at the red planet on Friday.

This morning at about 10 a.m. Pacific time, the spacecraft performed a fourth scheduled maneuver to adjust its flight path. The lander fired its small thrusters for 12.6 seconds to adjust its speed by about 0.06 meters per second (about 1 mile per hour). The lander is currently traveling at a speed of 19,300 kilometers per hour (12,000 miles per hour).

"The current estimates show that we are right on target," said Dr. Sam Thurman, flight operations manager for the lander at JPL. "The navigation team says we are very close to the target point for atmospheric entry on Friday. A large team has been working since Thanksgiving, doing everything that's necessary to get us on the proper flight path for a good entry position."

When the spacecraft arrives at Mars, it must enter the atmosphere through a corridor that is 10 kilometers (6 miles) wide and 40 kilometers (25 miles) long and begins about 125 kilometers (78 miles) above the surface.

Early Friday morning, the team will evaluate whether they need to perform an additional maneuver to fine-tune the landing. If needed, this final maneuver would take place on December 3, at 5:30 a.m. Pacific time, about six hours prior to entry into the Martian atmosphere.

Later today, the flight team will start the master sequence on the spacecraft that begins the countdown for the entry, decent, and landing activities. The lander is currently 3.5 million kilometers (about 2 million miles) from Mars, and is scheduled to land on Friday, December 3, shortly after noon Pacific time.

Mars Polar Lander is part of a series of missions in a longterm program of Mars exploration managed by JPL for NASA's Office of Space Science, Washington, D.C. JPL's industrial partner is Lockheed Martin Astronautics, Denver, Colo. JPL is a division of the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, Calif.