October 23, 2001
3:35 PM   Subscribe

With the Mars Odyssey about to finalize gravitational orbit tomorrow, you too can observe the surface of Mars via a simulcast with PBS or through the NASA website on October 30th. NASA is still searching for irrefutable evidence that Mars could have supported an ecosystem or more importantly life. Interesting.
posted by Benway (3 comments total)
this might be kind of disturbing to would-be mars colonizers :)

The MARIE instrument is designed to measure protons and heavy ions in an energy range that can be harmful to humans. Solar particle events produce protons with energies as high as several hundred-megaelectron volts- enough energy to pass into human tissue. As they pass through human tissue, these solar protons can ionize molecules along their tracks. The ionization creates free radicals, which can be very damaging. Sometimes protons will modify or even break DNA strands within cells. If the cell survives it can lead to cancer or degenerative tissue damage to the brain, lens or other vital organs-all of which are possible long-term health risks of radiation exposure.


"We want to make sure for crew members who are actually up there and carrying on these missions that their health is as well-protected as we know how to do, and that indeed is a challenge."

MARIE is currently in a dormant state due to an unknown glitch after it did not respond to commands in August. Busy with preparations for arrival at Mars, mission managers decided to troubleshoot MARIE once Odyssey is in a stable orbit at Mars

MARIE experimenters remain optimistic that the instrument ultimately will function as planned.
posted by kliuless at 7:26 PM on October 23, 2001

Here's the NPR article announcing the descent into orbit around Mars.

"The probe has spent six months in space, traveling nearly 300 million miles, at a cost of about a dollar a mile."

Also of note the fact that a NASA official called Mars "the evil planet" after a couple of botched attempts to orbit similar craft. Shouldn't they be calling the metric system "the evil system of measurements that we mix up from time to time?"
posted by tpl1212 at 5:39 AM on October 24, 2001

"The probe has spent six months in space, traveling nearly 300 million miles, at a cost of about a dollar a mile."

posted by rodii at 6:43 AM on October 24, 2001

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