Volume: 01, Issue: 20 12/30/2003 
NASA's conception of the Mars rover.
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NASA's Stardust spacecraft being prepared for testing.
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Other Articles in This Issue:
Ring in the New Year with Saturn
Satellites Provide Clues to Help Solve the Ebola Enigma
A Year Of Sorrow, Recovery, Progress And Success for NASA
Chat Live: Lunar Prospector Mission

Tune in for Live NASA Coverage of Mars and Comet Missions

As the world marks the beginning of 2004, two thrilling scientific missions will come into the limelight. On Jan. 2, NASA's Stardust spacecraft will have a close encounter with comet Wild 2, deploying a collector to catch particles for return to Earth. The very next day, on Jan. 3, NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Project will deliver the first mobile laboratory to the surface of Mars. The rover will perform robotic geological fieldwork that may reveal a history of water on Mars.

Engineers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), Pasadena, Calif., have navigated the first rover, Spirit, to arrive at Mars at approximately 11:35 p.m. EST Jan. 3. Three weeks later, the second rover, Opportunity, will reach the Meridiani Planum, a region containing exposed deposits of a mineral that usually forms under watery conditions. Information about the Mars Exploration Rover mission is available online at:

Press conferences will be conducted at JPL beginning Dec. 30, 2003, on the Stardust and Mars missions. Information about both missions is available at:

Briefing Schedule (ALL TIMES EST):

Tuesday, Dec. 30
News briefing, Stardust pre-flyby overview, 2 to 3 p.m.

Friday, Jan. 2
News briefing, Mars science overview, 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
News briefing, Mars rover mission overview, 12:30 to 1:30 p.m.
News briefing, Stardust flyby, 6 to 7 p.m.

Saturday, Jan. 3
News briefing, Spirit landing status, 3 to 4 p.m.
News briefing, Mars program overview, 6 to 7 p.m.

Sunday, Jan. 4
News briefing, Spirit landing, 12:30 to 1:30 a.m.
Other news briefings, times TBD

NASA TV will provide extensive mission coverage. NASA TV is available on AMC-9, transponder 9C, C-Band, located at 85 degrees west longitude. The frequency is 3880.0 MHz. Polarization is vertical, and audio is monaural at 6.80 MHz. Audio only of coverage is available by calling 321-867-1220/1240/1260/7135. For the NASA TV schedule, visit:

JPL, a division of the California Institute of Technology located in Pasadena, manages the Mars Exploration Rover project for NASA's Office of Space Science in Washington.

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