Tuesday, May 20, 2008

"Mars University" readies for Phoenix lander

The University of Arizona has events across campus and the community to mark the Phoenix Mars Lander touchdown on Sunday at about 4:38 pm, to start a 3-month exploration mission.
Public Landing Celebration

On Sunday, the UA Lunar and Planetary Laboratory and Flandrau: The UA Science Center will host a public landing celebration on the campus mall in front of Flandrau and the neighboring science buildings – the Sonett Space Sciences Building and the Kuiper Space Sciences Building.

It will feature live coverage of events taking place at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, plus provide access to the science center, children’s activities and presentations by UA scientists involved on the Phoenix and other Mars missions. Many of the buildings will feature displays of extraordinary space images generated by instruments developed by UA scientists.

The UA Museum of Art also will host a landing celebration in conjunction with its exhibit of the work of legendary space artist Robert McCall.

Kuiper Building: 3-8 p.m.

  • NASA TV streaming in atrium and rooms 301, 308, 309 and 312
  • Space Imagery Center tours from 3-4 p.m. (Room 450)
  • Children’s science activities and experiments
  • Presentations by Bill Boynton, Daniel Janes, Alfred McEwen and Rob Bovill, all with the UA’s Lunar and Planetary Laboratory

Sonett Building: 3-8 p.m.

  • NASA TV streaming in lobby and small conference room
  • The “HiWALL,” a floor-to-ceiling computer display of the giant and dramatic images of the surface of Mars, taken from the UA’s High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment, or HiRISE, camera that now orbits the Red Planet.
  • Video presentations

Flandrau: The UA Science Center: 3-8 p.m.

  • NASA TV streaming in gallery
  • Exhibits will be open top the public at no charge
  • Free planetarium shows at 1 p.m., 2:30 p.m. and 4 p.m. A telescope will be opened for Mars viewing after dark (Mars will be visible in the western sky around sunset)

Campus Mall: 3-8 p.m.

  • Overflow seating in case of large turnout (main tent will seat 100)
  • NASA audio feed
  • Solar telescopes for viewing from 3-5 p.m.
  • Physics Factory shows

UA Museum of Art: 1-4 p.m.

  • Robert McCall’s space art exhibit, “Imagination Unbound,” will be open to the public
  • Presentation by the Postal History Foundation about McCall’s postage stamp design
  • Hands-on children’s activities that merge science and art

There will be free parking in campus garages for landing-day events. Bathrooms will be available inside the Sonett, Kuiper and Flandrau buildings.

TV Coverage of Landing

Coverage of the Phoenix landing will be broadcast live on:

NASA-TV: 3:30 p.m. PDT/6:30 p.m. EDT

The Science Channel: 4 p.m. PDT/7 p.m. EDT

Discovery Channel Canada: 4 p.m. PDT/7 p.m. EDT

Cox Communications announced this week that it will add the digital NASA-TV to its local lineup in Tucson so that its viewers can enjoy the coverage of the Phoenix landing and science operations.

Staying Connected


Daily e-mail updates will be available via UANow, the UA’s daily newswire. Subscribe at http://uanews.org/signupfornews.


Visit the UA’s Mars main Web site at http://mars.arizona.edu for news, images, links and resources to follow the Phoenix Mission as it unfolds.

Mission Web site: http://phoenix.lpl.arizona.edu

UANews: http://uanews.org

NASA: http://www.nasa.gov/phoenix


Watch daily media briefings live on NASA TV, which Cox Communications will carry in Tucson between May 23 and June 26. A live online feed of NASA TV is also available at http://mars.arizona.edu.

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