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Free Lectures Will Explore Viking Legacy, Future Missions to Mars
Free Lectures Will Explore Viking Legacy, Future Missions to Mars
13 Jul 2001
(Source: Jet Propulsion Laboratory)

PASADENA, CALIF. 91109. TELEPHONE (818) 354-5011

Contact: Enrico Piazza (818) 354-0478

A quarter of a century after successfully landing on Mars with twin spacecraft, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory will treat the world to a trip down memory lane and a sneak-peak into the future with a pair of free lectures. The first lecture will also be broadcast over the Internet.

Both lectures are open to the public and will start at 7 p.m. The first will be held at JPL on Thursday, July 19, and the other at Pasadena City College on Friday, July 20.

Viking 1 and Viking 2, each comprised of an orbiter and a lander, unveiled a wealth of information about the red planet. While the orbiters mapped 97 percent of the surface, both landers carried out biology experiments designed to look for possible signs of life. The results gave scientists direct measurements of enigmatic chemical activity. However, they showed no clear evidence for the presence of living microorganisms in the soil near the landing sites.

"The orbital and lander data sets collected by Viking serve as the foundation upon which the next era of Mars Exploration is based," said John Callas, science manager of the Mars Exploration Rover Project and the speaker for both lectures. "The Viking legacy has enabled NASA to engage in a very ambitious campaign of exploration."

The lectures will discuss the Viking legacy, highlight recent discoveries by Mars Pathfinder and Mars Global Surveyor, and describe plans for future exploration. Launched in April, the 2001 Mars Odyssey will enter Mars' orbit in October. Two rovers equipped with sophisticated instruments will launch in 2003. The rovers will land in different regions of the red planet.

Lecture seating is on a first-come, first-served basis. The lecture at JPL will be held in the von Karman Auditorium, 4800 Oak Grove Dr., in Pasadena, off the Oak Grove Drive exit of the 210 (Foothill) Freeway. For directions to JPL, see Information on the webcast is at

On Friday, the lecture will be held in Pasadena City College's Forum at 1570 E. Colorado Blvd. For more information, call (818) 354-0112.

Find information on the von Karman lecture series at or call JPL's Public Services Office at (818) 354-0112.

JPL is managed for NASA by the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.

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Last Updated: 16 Jul 2001