For the first time ever, students will be given a hands-on opportunity to
take a picture of Mars from a spacecraft. The Planetary Society’s Red Rover
Goes to Mars Training Mission will enable nine Student Scientists from
around the world to image Mars with a camera on the orbiting Mars Global
Surveyor spacecraft.

The Society, in cooperation with the LEGO Company — one of the program’s
sponsors — will host a Student Press Conference showcasing the winning
students and their achievements at LEGOLAND in Carlsbad, California, on
Friday, February 16, 2001. The students’ Mars Orbiter Camera picture will
be released at the press conference.

The nine Student Scientists were selected from over ten thousand entrants
worldwide to serve on the Planetary Society’s Red Rover Goes to Mars
Training Mission. Ranging in age from 10 to 15, the winners — four girls,
five boys — hail from across the globe: Brazil, Hungary, India, Poland,
Taiwan, and the United States.

The students have worked with imaging data from the NASA Mars Global
Surveyor (MGS) spacecraft currently in orbit around Mars to choose a
candidate landing site for a possible sample return mission. The Mars
Orbiter Camera on the MGS mission was built by and is operated by Malin
Space Science Systems.

The Student Scientist Training Mission will last a week in southern
California, February 10-16. At Malin Space Science Systems in San Diego,
the students will take pictures of their site on Mars with the MGS Mars
Orbiter Camera (MOC). The imaging will be carried out under the supervision
of Michael Malin and Ken Edgett, whose recent announcement of evidence for
possible seepage of Martian groundwater stunned the world. The MOC is the
same camera Michael Malin and Ken Edgett used to collect their data.

The findings of the Student Scientists will be announced by Ken Edgett at a
Student Press Conference on February 16 at LEGOLAND. The Planetary Society
and LEGOLAND California have invited local elementary and middle school
students to attend the Student Press Conference as media representatives
from their schools.

LEGO is a principal sponsor of the Red Rover Goes to Mars project of the
Society, which is being conducted in cooperation with NASA and the Jet
Propulsion Laboratory.

The winners are Zsofia Bodo, 15, Hungary; Kimberly DeRose, 13, USA;
Bernadett Gaal, 14, Hungary; Shaleen Harlalka, 15, India; Iuri Jasper, 12,
Brazil; Hsin-Liu Kao, 11, Taiwan; Tanmay Khirwadkar, 13, India; Wojciech
Lukasik, 10, Poland; and Vikas Sarangadhara, 10, India.

These remarkable young people were chosen from a field of 80
semi-finalists, who represented 16 nations. Forty-four nations are
participating in the contest.

People everywhere can follow along with the training and progress of the
Student Scientists on The Planetary Society’s website at


The Red Rover Goes to Mars program is an outgrowth of the Red Rover, Red
Rover program — a joint development of The Planetary Society, the Center
for Self-Organizing and Intelligent Systems at Utah State University,
Visionary Products, Inc., and the LEGO Company. Using computers linked
through the Internet, students teleoperate robotic rovers built from LEGO
Dacta components. Over 400 Red Rover, Red Rover sites are already
established in classrooms and science centers worldwide.

Red Rover Goes to Mars is sponsored by The Planetary Society and the LEGO
Company, with Liberte Yogurt of Canada, Science Magazine, and the AAAS
Directorate for Education and Human Resources, in cooperation with NASA,
the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Malin Space Science Systems, ASU Mars K-12
Education Program, and Visionary Products, Inc., and with the support of
Varig Airlines and Sundance Stage Lines, Inc. The LEGO Company has been a
principal partner with The Planetary Society in the development of Red
Rover, Red Rover.


Carl Sagan, Bruce Murray and Louis Friedman founded The Planetary Society
in 1980 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 Society is the largest space interest group in the world.


For more information or to arrange interviews, please contact Susan
Lendroth at (626)793-5100.


LEGOLAND California is a 128-acre family theme park dedicated to youngsters
between the ages of 3 and 12. Just like with LEGO toys, kids are the ones
who make things happen at the Park. They drive, pedal, squirt, climb, jump,
stomp, slide, steer, pull, click, push, gallop, laugh, build and program
their way through more than 40 rides and attractions. There are only two
other LEGOLAND parks in the world — LEGOLAND® Billund in Denmark, and
LEGOLAND® Windsor outside of London. A fourth LEGOLAND is under
construction near Güünzburg, Germany, and is scheduled to open in 2002.
LEGOLAND California is part of Global Family Attractions, a division of the
LEGO Company.


Kina Paegert (760) 918-5377 or Meike Refardt (760) 918-5511


Malin Space Science Systems (MSSS) designs, develops, and operates
instruments that fly on robotic spacecraft. MSSS is currently operating the
Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) aboard the Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) spacecraft,
in orbit about Mars since September 1997. The company provided the visible
camera for the 2001 Mars Odyssey and had instruments aboard the lost Mars
Observer, Mars Climate Orbiter, Mars Polar Lander, and cancelled Mars
Surveyor 2001 lander. The company’s work in Mars exploration was featured
in recent issues of Aviation Week (December 11, 2000) and National
Geographic (February 2001).