Bob Jacobs
Headquarters, Washington, DC
(Phone: 202/358-1600)

NOTE TO EDITOR: N01-041

On this date, 25 years ago, NASA's Viking 1 lander did something only two other space probes had ever done - successfully land on another planet. Viking's historic mission to Mars changed our understanding of Earth's neighbor and inspired a robust Martian exploration program that lives on today.

(The Soviet Venera 7 landed on the surface of Venus in 1970. The Soviet's Mars 3 landed on Mars in 1971. The Mars 3 spacecraft lasted only about 2 minutes on the surface before contact was lost, and no useful data was returned.)

This week, President George W. Bush honored the people who made this space odyssey possible. In a commendation letter sent to NASA Administrator Daniel S. Goldin, the President said "The exploration of Mars brings out the best in Americans. It challenges us to learn, to strive, and to achieve dreams that were impossible for earlier generations."

Remarks from Administrator Goldin air today on NASA Television at 11 a.m. EDT. This afternoon, NASA TV carries a panel discussion from NASA's Langley Research Center, Hampton, VA, titled "Viking: The First Encounter" from 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. EDT.

Langley managed the Viking project until 1978, when it was turned over to NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA.

NASA TV is available on GE-2, transponder 9C, C-Band, located at 85 degrees West longitude. The frequency is 3880.0 MHz. Polarization is vertical and audio is monaural at 6.8 MHz.

The complete text of the President's commendation is available on the Internet at:

http://www.nasa.gov/newsinfo/viking_potus2001.html

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