For the first time ever, student scientists will direct a camera on
board NASA’s Mars Global Surveyor, currently orbiting the red planet, and
image interesting sites on the Martian terrain.

Nine students, ranging in age from 10 to 15, were selected from more
than 10,000 entrants worldwide to serve on the Planetary Society’s weeklong
Red Rover Goes to Mars Training Mission. As mission members, the group works
with imaging data from the Global Surveyor spacecraft, managed by NASA’s Jet
Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., to choose a candidate landing site
for a possible future Martian sample return mission. (The chosen site will
be imaged once the spacecraft reaches that particular region of the planet.)
In addition, under the supervision of Drs. Michael Malin and Ken Edgett of
Malin Space Science Systems in San Diego, Calif., the students will image
three interesting Martian sites with Global Surveyor’s Mars Orbiter Camera.

The students’ achievements and findings will be announced at a
student press conference at LEGOLAND in Carlsbad, Calif. on Feb. 16.

“We’re really beginning to expand opportunities for the public — and
for students in particular — to participate directly in Mars exploration,”
said Michelle Viotti, lead for the Mars Public Engagement Program at JPL.
“It’s all about sharing the adventure, and it’s exciting, because some of
these students might even end up playing major roles in NASA missions one

The students, representing Brazil, Hungary, India, Poland, Taiwan and
the United States, were chosen through an essay contest from a group of 80
semi-finalists. Information about the students and their training mission is
available at .

The Planetary Society’s Red Rover Goes to Mars project is conducted
in cooperation with NASA and JPL. JPL manages NASA’s Mars Global Surveyor
mission for NASA’s Office of Space Science, Washington, D.C., and Malin
Space Science Systems built and operates the Mars Orbiter Camera. JPL is a
division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.