Fwd: Opportunity successful! - Now the hard work begins
Congratulations Mars Rover team. Congratulations also to the Mars Society
Date: Sun, 25 Jan 2004 06:52:24 -0800 (PST)
SUBJECT: Opportunity successful! - Now the hard work begins
At 9:05PM PST last night, NASA's Opportunity rover became only the fifth
spacecraft to successfully land on Mars. The initial images were back
by around 1:30PM, and they show a completely new face of Mars, one that
promises spectacular science and adventures. The first bedrock
outcropping ever spotted while on the Mars surface could keep us busy
for weeks, and if project scientist Steve Squyres' first guess is right
and we are inside a small crater, who knows what we'll see when we first
peek out over the rim? As always, see http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov
for the latest images, including the first in color, already back!
What does all this mean? To paraphrase JPL Director Elachi from the
night's news conferences, one rover on the surface means we're lucky.
Two means we're good. And to paraphrase NASA Administrator O'Keefe, the
harder we work, the luckier we seem to get. In the context of the new
human exploration initiative, we've already gotten lucky just to have a
chance for a serious discussion of the incredible opportunities that lie
before us, but it's up to us to work hard enough to get even luckier.
To that end, I've pasted what I think are two very important messages
below that I encourage you to read carefully. They're worth your time!
The first is a "Thank you" from NASA Administrator William Readdy on
behalf of President Bush for our "strong voice and welcome support to
'push the envelope'" as the White House formed its new space policy. We
made a difference! The second is the official Mars Society response to
the President's initiative, which is extremely helpful in framing what
issues we should consider as we make our next steps in space.
But don't let politics and Opportunity's arrival steal all your
attention if you haven't seen the latest from the Spirit rover--In case
you missed it, the last releases before the current glitch developed
included an amazing look back at the rover's "empty nest"
its landing path, parachute, and backshell as seen *FROM ORBIT* by the
intrepid Mars Global Surveyor
would also be remiss not to mention that our friends at the Planetary
Society have some terrific overall coverage of the mission, see
http://www.planetary.org. And while I'm plugging, some of you may get
this in time to check out a book-signing by our own Laura Woodmansee,
for her "WOMEN OF SPACE: COOL CAREERS ON THE FINAL FRONTIER," today,
January 25, 2004, 1 to 3 PM
Where: 2629 Foothill Blvd. La Crescenta, CA 91214 (in the Ralph's
shopping center at Foothill and Rosemont). Great topic, great job,
And the same goes to the Mars Exploration Rover team! Congratulations
on the second successful arrival, and keep up the good work. On to the
eastern hills of Gusev Crater and the far reaches of Meridiani Planum!
A letter to the Mars Society of Southern California (Greater Los
Angeles) from NASA Associate Administrator for Space Flight William F.
[Note: This letter was written two days after the new White House
initiative was announced. That was also two days after we met VP Cheney
at JPL and I personally handed him an extra copy of _The Case for Mars_,
a Mars children's book for his granddaughters, and one of the "On to
Mars!" signs we waved in the crowd, see
I guess follow-up never hurts!]
"Thank you for your letter of September 13, 2003, to President Bush
concerning NASA's future, particularly Mono and Mars exploration. As
NASA's Associate Administrator for Space Flight, I have been asked to
President Bush has responded to your call for 'vision and leadership on
national space policy.' His announcement urging NASA to pursue the next
phase of human enterprise beyond Earth orbit, and onward to the Moon and
Mars, has been delivered, and is met with great excitement and
anticipation from the Space Flight family.
The Mars Society has been well represented in the dialogue concerning
the future of space exploration with your national President recently
testifying before Congress [see
http://www.marssociety.org/news/2003/1029.asp]. I am pleased to see
that the Society also supports steps in the Cis-lunar environment that
will help us prepare for future discovery on the Red Planet. The NASA
website received 2 billion hits in several days following the success of
'Spirit,' which speaks volumes for interest and support of space
The Space Flight Enterprise has been expanding the portfolio of the
operational space capabilities we offer in communications,
transportation and a host of related space services that defines our
expertise of performing, building, and living beyond Earth's gravity
well. We are now ready to take the next steps.
Thank you for your strong voice and welcome support to 'push the
envelope.' You have stirred the winds that fill the sails of the fleets
that will carry us, farther, into that greatest ocean of all--The
William F. Readdy
Associate Administrator for Space Flight
But it's up to us to keep pushing that envelope! With that...
Mars Society Statement on Bush Space Initiative
January 24, 2004
On January 23, 2004, the following statement concerning the new Bush
space policy was ratified by the Steering Committee of the Mars Society.
The vote was 19 in favor, 3 abstentions, none opposed, and 5 not voting.
Bush Speech Opens Door
The Future is Up to Us
Statement of the Steering Committee of the Mars Society
January 23, 2004
* * The Mars Society of Greater LA *
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* *** ON TO *mars@xxxxxxxxxxx * 323-428-6576*
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