Jet Propulsion Laboratory JPL Earth JPL Solar System JPL Stars and Galaxies JPL Technology Jet Propulsion Laboratory California Institute of Technology Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter NASA Home Page Jet Propulsion Laboratory California Institute of Technology Follow this link to skip to the main content
NASA logo, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology header separator
+ NASA Homepage
+ NASA en Español
+ Marte en Español
Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter
Overview Science Technology The Mission People Features Events Multimedia
Mars for Kids
Mars for Students
Mars for Educators
Mars for Press
+ Mars Home
+ MRO Home
Mars for Press
Press Releases
Press Kits
Fact Sheets
Image Gallery
Press Releases

October 13, 2004

Free Programs Will Preview NASA's Next Mars Mission

NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter passes above a portion of the planet called Nilosyrtis Mensae in this artist's concept illustration
NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter passes above a portion of the planet called Nilosyrtis Mensae in this artist's concept illustration.
Two free public programs in Pasadena this week will introduce NASA's next Mars mission, a multipurpose orbiter under assembly for launch next August.

NASA is equipping the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter to advance our understanding of Mars through detailed observation, to examine potential landing sites for future surface missions, and to provide a high-data-rate communications relay for those missions. Jim Graf, project manager for the orbiter, will describe the project on Thursday evening, Oct. 14, at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Dr. Richard Zurek, the project scientist, will do so Friday evening, Oct. 15, at Pasadena City College.

"Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter will be one of the most exciting missions ever sent to Mars," Graf said. "It is a next-generation orbiter that will work in conjunction with surface missions to give us a new understanding of the processes shaping the planet." The orbiter will carry the most powerful telescopic camera ever flown to another planet, one that is able to show martian landscape features as small as a kitchen table. That camera and five other science instruments will pour data back to Earth at about 10 times the rate of any previous Mars mission.

Graf has worked on space-related projects for nearly 30 years, from development of ion thruster technology to management of the Earth-orbiting Quick Scatterometer mission. He holds a bachelor's degree from Princeton University, Princeton, N.J., and a master's from Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colo. NASA has awarded him its Outstanding Leadership Medal. Zurek's bachelor's degree in mathematics is from Michigan State University, East Lansing, Mich., and his doctorate in atmospheric sciences is from the University of Washington, Seattle.

The talks will be part of JPL's Theodore von Karman Lecture Series. Both will begin at 7 p.m. Seating is first-come, first-served. The Thursday lecture will be in JPL's von Karman Auditorium. JPL is at 4800 Oak Grove Dr., off the Oak Grove Drive exit of the 210 (Foothill) Freeway. The Friday lecture will be in Pasadena City College's Vosloh Forum, 1570 E. Colorado Blvd. For more information, call (818) 354-0112. Thursday's lecture will be webcast live and available afterwards at .

Guy Webster (818) 354-6278
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California

NEWS RELEASE: 2004-255

Credits Feedback Related Links Sitemap
first gov logo
footer NASA logo