The Planetary Society, 65 N. Cataliana Ave., Pasadena, CA 91109, Tel:
626-793-5100, Fax: 626-793-5528, E-Mail:

For immediate release: November 24, 1999
Contact: Susan Lendroth

Arizona Third-Grader Wins Mars Microphone Essay Contest

Visionary eight-year-old Harry Kent of Scottsdale, Arizona, has won The
Planetary Society’s Mars Microphone Essay Contest. Harry will read his
fact-filled winning essay “Sounds on Mars” during an all-expenses-paid trip
to Planetfest ’99, the Society’s three-day festival of space exploration
held in Pasadena, California, December 3-5.

The Planetary Society invited students from around the world to participate
in an essay contest to predict the sounds that might be heard on Mars. The
contest was conducted in cooperation with Arizona State University’s Mars
K-12 Education Program.

Students wrote essays about what sounds on Mars might be like now as well
as a hundred years from now, imagining a future Mars that might be very
different from the planet today, perhaps colonized by humans.

Sixteen-year-old Stephanie Wong from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, won second
place. Auja Yoland, a fifteen-year-old from Germany, is the third place

Planetfest ’99 takes place at the Pasadena Center, 300 East Green Street,
Pasadena, California. Harry Kent and other festival participants will have
the historic opportunity to watch images from the Mars Polar Mission on a
giant 30-foot screen via a live link-up with the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
Included in the Lander’s instrument package is the Mars Microphone,
developed and funded by The Planetary Society.

The Mars Microphone is slated to bring us sounds from Mars for the very
first time! It will record whatever sounds there are on Mars, such as wind,
dust, and electrical discharges in the Martian atmosphere as well as
noises of the spacecraft itself.

The public will be able to hear the actual sounds of Mars, after the data
from the mission is received, at The Planetary Society’s website They will also be available at and at

Harry Kent noted in his essay: “I am looking forward to hearing the sounds
on Mars when the Mars Polar Lander touches down. I will be listening!”


The Planetary Society’s Mars Microphone is the first instrument ever
funded by a public interest organization to fly on a planetary mission. It
was developed by the University of California Berkeley’s Space Science Lab
for The Planetary Society. It sits on board the Mars Polar Lander within
the LIDAR instrument built by the Russian Space Research Institute (IKI).
The LIDAR is the first Russian
instrument to fly aboard a US planetary mission.

Major sponsors for Planetfest ’99 include Touchstone Pictures’ Mission to
Mars, Oldsmobile, Intel Corporation, Cisco Systems, Inc. and LEGO.
Additional sponsors include the Norris Foundation, Space.Com, Swales
Aerospace, Raytheon, Discovery Channel, Sky Publishing, Oce Document
Printing Systems, David Brown and Abe Gomel of The Planetary Society’s New
Millennium Committee, International Services, Lockheed Martin, Radio
Shack, M & M’s® Chocolate Candies, EarthLink, Employee Community Fund of
the Boeing Company, Epson, StarLab, Minotaur Amusements, Meade
Telescope, Motorola, MBNA, Sonic Foundry Inc., U-Haul, Community Bank,
Costco Wholesale, Smart & Final, and Steve’s InFocus Photo Lab and Portrait


Please contact Susan Lendroth for additional information: telephone
(626)793-5100 (ext 214), e-mail at

Carl Sagan, Bruce Murray and Louis Friedman founded the Society in 1979 to
advance the exploration of the solar system and to continue the search for
extraterrestrial life. With 100,000 members in over 140 countries, The
Planetary Society is the largest space interest group in the world.

The Planetary Society
65 N. Catalina Ave.
Pasadena, CA 91106-2301
Tel: (626) 793-5100
Fax: (626) 793-5528