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30 Dec 2003
(Source: NASA Headquarters)

Dwayne Brown
Headquarters, Washington
Dec. 30, 2003
(Phone: 202/358-1726)

Guy Webster
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.
(Phone: 818/354-6278)

NOTE TO EDITORS: N03-143

NASA'S MARS & COMET MISSION COVERAGE

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. On Jan. 2, 2004, NASA's Stardust spacecraft will have a close encounter with comet Wild 2, deploying a collector to catch particles for return to Earth.

NASA's first rover, Spirit, will arrive at Mars at approximately 11:35 p.m. EST Jan. 3. Information about the Mars Exploration Rover mission is available online at: http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/press_kits/merlandings.pdf.

JPL NEWSROOM OPERATING HOURS (ALL TIMES EST)
Dec. 31 closed
Jan. 1, 2004 closed
Jan. 2, 2004 10 a.m. to midnight
Jan. 3, 2004 10 a.m. thru 3 a.m. Jan. 5
Jan. 5, 2004 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Press conferences will be conducted at JPL starting today on the Stardust and Mars missions. Information about both missions is available at: http://www.jpl.nasa.gov

Briefing Schedule (ALL TIMES EST):
Today:
- 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.
-- Live coverage of Stardust flyby, 2 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.
-- Live Mars rover mission coverage begins, 9:45 p.m.
-- Spirit Mars landing, NET 11:35 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. TV schedule: http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/nasatv/MM_NTV_Breaking.html

Visit the multimedia "M2K4" Mars mission Web site for photos, videos and extensive information about NASA's quest to explore the dangerous and mysterious red planet: http://www.nasa.gov/externalflash/m2k4/frameset.html

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

For information about NASA and agency missions on the Internet, visit: http://www.nasa.gov

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Last Updated: 30 Dec 2003