NASA commemorates Rover anniversary on Mars

WASHINGTON, D.C., 30 December 2004. On Jan. 3, 2004, cheers erupted from mission control at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), when the first robotic rover successfully landed on Mars. Three weeks later, the second rover successfully landed on the opposite side of Mars.

WASHINGTON, D.C., 30 December 2004. On Jan. 3, 2004, cheers erupted from mission control at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), when the first robotic rover successfully landed on Mars. Three weeks later, the second rover successfully landed on the opposite side of Mars.

One year later, rovers Spirit and Opportunity have exceeded all mission expectations and continue to make discoveries. The goal of NASA's Mars Exploration Rover (MER) mission was to explore for a minimum of 90 days to search for evidence of past water activity.

"One Year on Mars," a special two-hour live event to commemorate the mission, will be presented at JPL on Monday, Jan. 3, 2005, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. EST. The live event, along with additional taped programming and live- shot opportunities, will be aired on NASA-TV.

At 2 p.m. EST, a news briefing will detail discoveries made in 2004, and the rover's outlook for 2005. Panelists include:
-- NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe
-- Dr. Charles Elachi, Director, JPL
-- Jim Erickson, MER Project Manager, JPL
-- Dr. Steve Squyres, MER Principal Investigator, Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y.
-- Dr. Firouz Naderi, MER Program Manager, JPL
-- Dr. Jim Garvin, Chief Scientist, NASA Headquarters, Washington.

At 3 p.m. EST, the MER team will present "Mars Stories We've Never Told." This 60-minute live program will feature members recounting personal experiences of the past year. The program will end with the cutting of a rover "birthday cake."

Two additional rover programs will air on NASA TV on Monday. "Twelve Wheels on Mars" airs at 1 p.m. EST. This 60-minute program features professional storyteller Syd Lieberman, who spent several months with the MER team. "Two for Two" a 20-minute program about the rovers airs at 4 p.m. EST. For NASA TV information and schedules on the Internet, see www.nasa.gov/ntv.

JPL has managed the Mars Exploration Rover project since it began in 2000. Anniversary multimedia features will be added Monday to rover information available on the Web at www.nasa.gov/vision/universe/solarsystem/mer_main.html, www.jpl.nasa.gov/missions/mer, or http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov.

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