NASA unveils landing reconstructions, amidst fanfare
By EXN Staff
In keeping with the science-fiction feeling of the Pathfinder mission, NASA resurrected the 1950s at a news conference Friday, by presenting a 3-D anaglyph to members of the media. Sporting their complimentary 3-D viewing glasses, reporters clapped and cheered while NASA staff carted out a large red/blue composite of the Martian surface.
Media members were given 3-D glasses to view an anaglyph
The fanfare subsiding, NASA officials got down to business, proceeding to address various developments. After a disappointing day yesterday, with Sojourner crashing into Yogi and a timing problem, which prevented the team from completing the scheduled tasks, the team seemed encouraged by new findings. Many of the statistical results for Pathfinder's entry into the Martian atmosphere are now available, and NASA researchers say they are generally pleased with the results.
The anaglyph, a red/blue composite of the Martian surface
Panel members said they were especially pleased with the almost deadly accuracy of the engineering models used to help guide Pathfinder. A chart illustrating the predicted descent of Pathfinder shows that the engineering predictions match, almost exactly, the actual descent statistics.
NASA staff said reconstruction of the entire landing will take about one year to complete. Nevertheless they were able to make some statements about the landing based on the data collected so far. According to NASA, the Pathfinder bounced 15 times before coming to a complete stop on the Martian soil after landing. This, they estimate, equals a distance of about two-tenths of a mile, which means it took Pathfinder approximately two and a half minutes from the time of landing to stop moving.
NASA's engineers were deadly accurate in predicting a landing model
The panel also commented on the probability of sending humans to Mars, some time during the second decade of the next century. The human program are expected to become in Mars missions, beginning in 2001, when they will begin to collect data to help calculate the power needed to exit the Martian atmosphere.
Video reconstruction of Pathfinder after landing
Click here for a video of the landing reconstruction.