MEDIA RELATIONS OFFICE
JET PROPULSION LABORATORY
CALIFORNIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY
NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION
PASADENA, CALIF. 91109. TELEPHONE (818) 354-5011
NOTE TO EDITORSMarch 9, 1998
FLIGHT TEAM MAKES FINAL ATTEMPT TO CONTACT PATHFINDER LANDER
The Mars Pathfinder flight team will make its final attempt
to contact the spacecraft tomorrow using NASA's Deep Space
Network 34-meter antenna at Goldstone, CA.
Media are invited into the Pathfinder control room to view
the communications attempt and interview project representatives.
The tracking pass will begin at 10 a.m. Pacific time and conclude
at 1:45 p.m.
Project representative Ben Toyashima will be the "ace," or
primary flight controller, listening for a signal from the
spacecraft. One-way light time from Earth to Mars is currently
19 minutes, 30 seconds, so a two-way signal could be received in
about 40 minutes. If no signal is detected within the first hour
of the pass, Toyashima will send a set of commands to activate
the spacecraft's thumbnail-size auxiliary transmitter, located on
the top of the lander's base petal. Although the flight team is
not optimistic that a signal will be received, they would see a
brief blip on the computer monitor if the spacecraft is still
Mars Pathfinder fell silent on Sept. 27, 1997, which was the
83rd day of surface operations, after having nearly tripled its
design lifetime of 30 days.
Media planning to attend the communications session are
asked to contact the JPL Media Relations Office at (818) 354-5011
to prearrange their visit.