PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICE
JET PROPULSION LABORATORY
CALIFORNIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY
NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION
PASADENA, CALIF. 91109. TELEPHONE (818) 354-5011
Contact: Diane Ainsworth
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEFebruary 26, 1997
INTERDISCIPLINARY TEAMS CHOSEN FOR MARS PATHFINDER MISSION
Thirteen participating scientists and a six-member team of
experts dedicated to studying the atmosphere and weather on Mars
will enhance the scope of scientific investigations as new
members of NASA's Mars Pathfinder mission.
The scientists, selected from about 60 proposals submitted
to NASA in response to an announcement of opportunity, will
augment the existing science teams, direct new investigations not
covered by the present teams, and perform interdisciplinary
investigations using one or more instruments onboard the lander
"The purpose of the Participating Scientist Program is to
allow the expansion of existing principal investigator teams as
they enter the active period of mission operations, data
collection, analysis and archival activities," said Dr. Matthew
Golombek, Pathfinder project scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion
Laboratory. "These newcomers have a variety of interdisciplinary
interests and areas of expertise that will augment our first
direct studies of Mars in more than 20 years."
Mars Pathfinder, launched from Cape Canaveral, FL, on Dec.
4, 1996, is currently en route to the red planet and scheduled to
land in an ancient flood basin called Ares Vallis on Independence
Day. The lander carries a small rover that will roll off and
explore its surroundings, and science instruments that will
measure the composition of surface materials in a landing area
that is hundreds of square meters in size. Direct measurements on
the ground will establish what scientists call "ground truth," or
validation of geologic features that will be studied from space
by a companion orbiter, known as Mars Global Surveyor, and future
Pathfinder's science instruments include a stereo imager
called IMP, or Imager for Mars Pathfinder, mounted on an
extendible mast on the lander, with 12 spectral filters for each
"eye," an alpha proton X-ray spectrometer on the rover, and an
atmospheric structure instrument and meteorology package. In
addition, the rover carries forward stereo cameras and a rear
color camera and performs a variety of technology and mobility
experiments so that future rovers may be developed to more
effectively navigate the surface.
Using these instruments, the newly selected investigators
will carry out a variety of studies along with the existing
imaging and spectrometry teams to understand more about the
composition of the Martian surface, the structure of the Martian
atmosphere and prevailing weather patterns on this planetary
The science and technology investigations will be used to
- Mars surface morphology and geology at the scale of
centimeters and meters, such as soils, rocks and hills, as
well as their size and distributions on the surface.
- The composition and mineralogy of rocks, soil and surface
materials using the spectral filters of the lander imager
and the alpha proton X-ray spectrometer measurements.
- Basic soil mechanics and the magnetic properties of
Martian dust. Soil mechanics such as cohesion, angles of
internal friction and slippage will be determined by the
rover. A series of magnets placed on the spacecraft will be
imaged to determine the magnetic properties of dust that
adheres to the wheels.
- The structure of the Martian atmosphere will be measured
during entry and descent to understand variations in
temperature, pressure and density with respect to altitude.
After landing, a meteorology package will tell scientists
about the weather on Mars. Imaging wind socks will show the
wind profile up to a meter above the surface. Imaging the
atmosphere will determine aerosol characteristics, such as
size and shape of airborne dust and water vapor abundance.
Tracking of lander telemetry signals will allow
measurements of Pathfinder's location in space and the
location of the pole of Mars. After a few months of
tracking, scientists will be able to infer the interior
structure of the planet and whether Mars possesses a
In addition to the 13 new science members, six atmospheric
scientists will become part of the Facility Instrument Science
Team, which was selected to conduct instrument investigations to
optimize operations and the science return from Pathfinder's
Atmospheric Structure Instrument/Meteorology Package (ASI/MET)
experiment. They will conduct the initial scientific analyses of
data and produce calibrated, referenced data that can be used by
the entire scientific community.
A complete list of selected scientists from all over the
United States and Europe, including the names of their
investigations and the scientists' home institutions, follows.
Additional information about the Pathfinder mission is available
on the World Wide Web at http://mpfwww.jpl.nasa.gov/.
The Jet Propulsion Laboratory manages the Mars Pathfinder
mission for NASA's Office of Space Science, Washington, D.C.
Participating Scientists Program
Rock and boulder populations study, M. Malin, Malin Space
Science Systems, Inc., San Diego, CA.
Mars Pathfinder wind sock experiment: Characterization of
aeolian processes at the landing site, R. Sullivan, Arizona State
Normative mineralogy of Mars Pathfinder rocks, H.
McSween, University of Tennessee, Knoxville.
Mineralogy of the Mars Pathfinder landing site, J. Bell,
Cornell University, Ithaca, NY.
Rover science and exploration, H. J. Moore, US
Geological Survey, Menlo Park, CA.
Geological implications of the Pathfinder magnetic
experiments, R. Hargraves, Princeton University, Princeton,
Tracking Pathfinder to study Martian interior and
climate, W. Folkner, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory,
Geologic investigations using lander imager photographs
of Phobos and Deimos, S. Murchie, Applied Physics Laboratory,
Virtual reality on Mars Pathfinder, C. Stoker, NASA Ames
Research Center, Mountain View, CA.
Mars Pathfinder: Photogrammetric characterization of the
landing site and
geoscientific evaluation of imaging data, R. Jaumann, DLR
Institute for Planetary Exploration, Berlin, Germany.
Investigation of Mars atmosphere structure, A. Seiff,
NASA Ames Research Center, Mountain View, CA.
Comparison between Mars and Earth atmospheric surface
boundary layers, S. Larsen, Risoe National Laboratory, Roskilde,
Mars atmosphere thermal tidal studies, R. Haberle, NASA
Ames Research Center, Mountain View, CA.
Atmospheric Structure Instrument/Meteorology Package (ASI/MET)
Facility Instrument Science Team
Meteorological variability in the Martian subtropics, J.
Barnes, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR.
An investigation of the structure of the upper atmosphere
of Mars, J.T. Schofield, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory,
Pathfinder ASI/MET thermal balance experiment, D. Crisp,
NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA.
Studies of the Martian boundary layer: Heat and momentum
fluxes, G. Wilson, Arizona State University, Tempe.
Reduction and analysis of Mars Pathfinder atmospheric
J. Magalhaes, NASA Ames Research Center, Mountain View, CA.
Diurnal variations in Mars Pathfinder meteorology data,
J. Murphy, NASA Ames Research Center, Mountain View, CA.
Primary Pathfinder Science Teams
Drs. Peter Smith, principal investigator, and co-
investigators D. Britt, L. Soose, R. Singer and M.
Tomasko, University of Arizona, Tucson; R. Greeley,
Arizona State University, Tempe, who provided the wind
socks; H.E. Keller, Max Planck Institute for Aeronomie,
Germany, who provided the charged couple device and
associated electronics; F. Gliem, Technical University of
Braunchweig, Germany, who provided the image compression
software; J.M. Knudsen, University of Copenhagen,
Denmark, who provided the magnets; and L. Soderblom, U.S.
Geological Survey, Flagstaff, AZ.
Alpha Proton X-Ray Spectrometer Team:
Drs. Rudolf Rieder, principal investigator, and co-
investigator H. Waenke, both of the Max Planck Institute
for Chemistry, Germany; and co-investigator T. Economou,
University of Chicago, who is providing the x-ray portion
of the instrument.