SETI bioastro: FW: NASA Marks 30th Anniversary of Mars Viking Mission

From: LARRY KLAES (ljk4_at_msn.com)
Date: Fri Jul 14 2006 - 19:59:07 PDT

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    >From: "NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory" <info_at_jpl.nasa.gov>
    >Reply-To: <info_at_jpl.nasa.gov>
    >Subject: NASA Marks 30th Anniversary of Mars Viking Mission
    >Date: Fri, 14 Jul 2006 16:30:15 -0700
    >
    >Guy Webster 818-354-6278
    >Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.
    >
    >Dwayne Brown/Erica Hupp 202-358-1726/1237
    >NASA Headquarters, Washington
    >
    >Marny Skora 757-864-3315
    >Langley Research Center, Hampton, Va.
    >
    >News Release: 2006-091 July
    >14, 2006
    >
    >NASA Marks 30th Anniversary of Mars Viking Mission
    >
    >Thirty years after the first successful landing on Mars by NASA's Viking
    >spacecraft, the
    >ambitious mission continues to evoke pride and enthusiasm for future space
    >exploration.
    >
    >NASA's Viking 1 and 2 missions to Mars, each consisting of an orbiter and a
    >lander,
    >became the first space probes to obtain high resolution images of the
    >Martian surface;
    >characterize the structure and composition of the atmosphere and surface;
    >and conduct
    >on-the-spot biological tests for life on another planet.
    >
    >Viking 1 was launched Aug. 20, 1975, and arrived at Mars on June 19, 1976.
    >On July 20,
    >1976, the Viking 1 lander separated from the orbiter and touched down at
    >Chryse
    >Planitia. Viking 2 was launched Sept. 9, 1975, and entered Mars orbit Aug.
    >7, 1976. The
    >Viking 2 lander touched down at Utopia Planitia on Sept. 3, 1976.
    >
    >"The Viking team didn't know the Martian atmosphere very well, we had
    >almost no idea
    >about the terrain or the rocks, and yet we had the temerity to try to soft
    >land on the
    >surface," recalled Gentry Lee, Solar System Exploration chief engineer at
    >NASA's Jet
    >Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. Lee was the science analysis and
    >mission
    >planning director for the Viking mission. "We were both terrified and
    >exhilarated. All of
    >us exploded with joy and pride when we saw that we had indeed landed
    >safely."
    >
    >"The Viking mission looms like a legendary giant, an incredible success
    >against which all present and future missions will be measured," said Doug
    >McCuiston, Mars Exploration Program director at NASA Headquarters in
    >Washington.
    >
    >Originally designed to function for 90 days, the Viking spacecraft
    >continued collecting
    >data for more than six years. The landers accumulated 4,500 up-close images
    >of the
    >Martian surface. The accompanying orbiters provided more than 50,000
    >images, mapping 97 percent of the planet.
    >
    >Viking provided the first measurements of the atmosphere and surface of
    >Mars. These
    >measurements are still being analyzed and interpreted. The data suggested
    >early Mars
    >was very different from the present day planet. Viking performed the first
    >successful
    >entry, descent and landing on Mars. Derivations of a Viking-style thermal
    >protection
    >system and parachute have been used on every U.S. Mars lander mission,
    >including Mars
    >Pathfinder and the Mars Exploration Rovers, Spirit and Opportunity.
    >
    >NASA's Langley Research Center, Hampton, Va., managed the Viking Program.
    >NASA's
    >Jet Propulsion Laboratory, managed by the California Institute of
    >Technology in
    >Pasadena, Calif., built the orbiters, provided the deep space network and
    >managed the
    >science mission. NASA's Glenn Research Center, Cleveland, designed the
    >Titan/Centaur
    >launch vehicles that propelled the spacecraft on their journey. NASA's
    >Kennedy Space
    >Center, Fla., provided the launch facility for the program. Scientists from
    >across NASA
    >served on the Viking science teams.
    >
    >For more information about Viking, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/viking .
    >
    >For information about NASA and agency programs, visit:
    >http://www.nasa.gov/home .
    >
    > -end-
    >
    >


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