Athena Postponed

The 2001 Mars mission was scheduled to carry a robotic rover named Athena (page 35, DISCOVER MARS). The rover was to collect rocks, store them, and later send them back to Earth. Now, because of NASA budget cuts, Athena has been pulled off the 2001 mission. NASA hopes to send her to Mars in 2003.

Aerobraking Begins Again

For several months, because of a problem with a solar panel, Mars Global Surveyor (page 33, DISCOVER MARS) had to suspend aerobraking - the process of slowing down to go from an elliptical orbit into a circular orbit. It has now started aerobraking again. For more news on this go to


On page 32 of DISCOVER MARS, it was stated that Sojourner traveled 52 miles back and forth on the planet's surface. Actually, the distance the rover traveled was only 100 meters.


Yogi (page 26) may not be basalt.

Mars Polar Lander

A spaceship launched by NASA will reach the Martian South Pole in December 1999. A tiny microphone on the lander will record Mars sounds and beam them back to earth. "We expect to hear the wind whistling, dust hitting the spacecraft, and the creaking, groaning and clanking of the instruments as they work," according to an associate director of the Planetary Society. The tiny mike is similar to ones used in hearing aids on earth. Its package contains a sound-processor chip like those used in talking toys. The Martian sounds will be heard on the Planetary Society's World Wide Web site:

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