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Douglas Isbell

NASA Headquarters, Washington, DC December 7, 1998


(Phone: 202/358-1547)

George H. Diller
Kennedy Space Center, FL
(Phone: 407/867-2468)

Frank O'Donnell
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA
(Phone: 818/354-5011)

RELEASE: N98-70

LAUNCH OF ONE MARS MISSION AND RESULTS FROM ANOTHER


FEATURED THIS WEEK

The first of two upcoming launches of NASA's 1998 Mars


Surveyor missions, and exciting scientific findings from the
Agency's current Mars mission will be featured this week on NASA
Television.

NASA's Mars Climate Orbiter spacecraft is scheduled for


launch aboard a Boeing Delta 2 launch vehicle on Thursday,
December 10.

The day before this launch, on December 9, the lead scientist


for the camera aboard the NASA spacecraft currently in orbit
around the red planet, Mars Global Surveyor, will discuss the Top
10 images returned to Earth so far by that mission, including
several new releases.

Today and tomorrow, the NASA TV Video File will feature


replays of the first three-dimensional visualizations of the north
pole of Mars, based on data from the laser altimeter aboard the
Global Surveyor, released Sunday, December 6, at the American
Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco. These data have
enabled scientists to estimate the volume of its water ice cap
with unprecedented precision, and to study its surface variations
and the heights of clouds in the region for the first time.

The Mars Climate Orbiter has two launch opportunities on


December 10.
The target is the first opportunity at 1:56:38 p.m. EST. A second
opportunity at 3:02:23 p.m. EST is available if necessary.
Liftoff will occur from Pad A at Launch Complex 17 on Cape
Canaveral Air Station, FL.

When it first arrives at the red planet, Mars Climate Orbiter


will be used primarily to support its companion Mars Polar Lander
spacecraft, planned for launch on Jan. 3, 1999. After that, the
Climate Orbiter's instruments will monitor the Martian atmosphere
and image
the planet's surface on a daily basis for one Martian year, the
equivalent of two Earth years. During this time, the spacecraft
will observe the circulation of atmospheric dust and water vapor,
as well as characterize seasonal changes on the surface.

A prelaunch news conference is scheduled for Wednesday,


December 9, at 11 a. m. EST in the NASA Kennedy Space Center (KSC)
News Center auditorium and will be carried live on NASA TV.
Following this briefing, the NASA TV Video File at Noon EST will
feature animation and video footage of the Mars Climate Orbiter
mission and the images from the press briefing to follow.

This 12:30 p.m. EST press briefing at KSC will feature the
Top 10 images of Mars returned by the camera aboard Global
Surveyor. Participants in this briefing will be Dr. Michael
Malin, Principal Investigator for the camera, from Malin Space
Science Systems, San Diego, and Joe Boyce, 1998 Mars Surveyor
Program Scientist at NASA Headquarters in Washington.

Those media without permanent accreditation who wish to cover


the launch of Mars Climate Orbiter, including the prelaunch news
conference, should send a letter of request to the NASA KSC News
Center on news organization letterhead. It should include name
and Social Security number or passport number. Letters should be
faxed to 407/867-2692.

NASA Television is available on GE-2, transponder 9C,


located at 85 degrees West longitude, with vertical polarization.
Frequency is 3880.0 megahertz, with audio on 6.8 megahertz.

STS-88 mission events may preclude live TV coverage of some


Mars Climate Orbiter launch activities; in that case, launch
footage will be replayed as soon as mission events allow. Audio
only of Mars Climate Orbiter events will also be available on the
"V" circuits, which may be dialed directly at 407/867-1260,
407/867-7135, 407/867-4003, 407/867-4920.
The NASA KSC codaphone will carry Mars Climate Orbiter prelaunch
status reports beginning on Monday, December 7, and may be dialed
at 407/867-2525

-end-