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Webcasts Feature Scientists On A "Mars Mission"

Moffett Field - Sep 25, 2003
NASA and Spanish scientists, who are developing ways to drill into Mars in search of underground life, will take part in eight worldwide, educational webcasts from their project site near Spain's Rio Tinto River from Sept. 29 to Oct. 15.

NASA's Ames Research Center (ARC) scientist Carol Stoker will kick off the webcast series on Sept. 29 at 10 a.m. EDT with a talk about the Mars Analog Research and Technology Experiment (MARTE). According to Stoker, mineral deposits like the ones the MARTE project is drilling into may also be found in the Martian subsurface.

"Searching for subsurface life in the Rio Tinto system can be viewed as a learning experience to teach scientists and technologists how to search for life in the subsurface of Mars," explained Stoker, principal investigator of the three- year experiment.

Scientists and engineers from NASA, U.S. universities and the Spanish Centro De Astrobiolog´┐Ża (Center for Astrobiology) hope to show how robot systems could look for life below Mars' surface. Scientists believe liquid water may exist deep underground on Mars. "In addition to looking for evidence of subsurface life, we hope MARTE inspires students to pursue careers in science and engineering," Stoker added.

"What's different about this course is that it offers real- time transcription in both Spanish and English. So far, this has only been done before with the French in 1998," said Mark Leon, deputy chief of the ARC education office, which organized the programs. "Not only do we have a live webcast, but we have live captioning," Leon said.

NASA will show lectures by Stoker and other scientists with subtitles in both English and Spanish. The Internet lecture series has been structured as a three-week, NASA subsidized, interactive course. The series, called NASA Robotics for Research and Exploration, is worth one unit of college credit at San Jose State University, San Jose, Calif.

San Jose State University students enrolled in the course will be able to ask questions using Internet chat technology. Members of the worldwide Internet audience may monitor the lectures live through the program Web site.

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The Planet that Won't Go Away NASA Science News
Huntsville - Sep 09, 2003
Mars' closest approach to Earth was on August 27th--but the red planet is even easier to see now. "Tony, it's still there. I can't believe how bright it is!" That's what my mother said to me on the phone last night. She had just stepped outside for some fresh air and was startled by an orange star hanging over her house: Mars--so intense it was worth a phone call.

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