Nine Student Scientists have been 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 — will select a possible landing site on Mars for some
future sample return mission. The nine winners hail from across the globe
— Brazil, Hungary, India, Poland, Taiwan, and the United States.

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.

“This is the first time members of the public will command a spacecraft
instrument on a planetary mission,” said Linda Kelly, Education Manager of
the Red Rover Goes to Mars project. “Students will actually program a
camera on a spacecraft in orbit around Mars to take pictures of the surface.”

These remarkable young people were chosen from a field of 80
semi-finalists, who represented 16 nations. 44 nations are participating
in the contest.

The Student Scientist team will work with imaging data from NASA’s Mars
Global Surveyor (MGS) spacecraft currently in orbit around Mars to choose a
candidate landing site on Mars. In early 2001, they will travel to Malin
Space Science Systems in San Diego, California. There, they will take
pictures of their site on Mars with the MGS Mars Orbiter Camera. The
imaging will be carried out under the supervision of Michael Malin and Ken
Edgett, whose recent announcement of evidence for seepage of Martian
groundwater stunned the world.

People everywhere can follow along with the training and progress of the
student scientists on the Planetary Society’s website at


Another team of students called Student Navigators will explore the
simulated landing site terrain with a state-of-the-art rover program now in
development at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Students everywhere will be
able to follow along with the Student Navigator training and reproduce what
is taking place as the Student Navigators select a sample to return to
Earth through The Planetary Society’s and the LEGO Company’s Red Rover, Red
Rover network.

The Student Navigator contest is still open. The selection process for
Student Navigators involves teleoperating LEGO robotic systems that
simulate the process of remote Mars exploration. To enter, applicants must
be between the ages of 10 and 16 years old. The deadline for the Student
Navigator Journal Contest is November 15, 2000.

Complete rules and judging criteria for the Student Navigator contest can
be obtained from the Planetary Society by visiting the web site at or by calling the Society at (626)793-5100 to locate a
Regional Center.


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. 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. The LEGO Company has been
a principal partner with The Planetary Society in the development of Red
Rover, Red Rover.

The project was developed as an education experiment for the Mars Surveyor
2001 lander mission. That mission has been cancelled by NASA, which is now
deciding whether Red Rover Goes to Mars will be part of the Mars 2003
lander mission.



For more information or to arrange interviews, please contact Linda Kelly
at (626)793-5100 or by e-mail at


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.

ADDENDA: Winning Student Scientists for Red Rover Goes to Mars

Sophomore Category — Ages 8 -11:

Vikas Sarangadhara, 10, from Bangalore, India — he likes reading, watching
TV, and working on his computer.

Wojciech Lukasik, 10, from Tarnow, Poland, — he sings in a choir and likes
to build things. He is very musical and artistic.

Hsin-Liu Kao, 11, from Taipei, Taiwan — she has a wide range of interests,
including science, art, reading, traveling, mountain climbing, astronomy,
and sailing. She is fluent in English and Chinese.

Junior Category — Ages 11-13:

Iuri Jasper, 12, from Santo Antonio da Patrulha, Brazil — he is interested
in conquering space and participating in Mars missions. He plays
basketball, rides his bicycle, and makes astronomical observations of the
sky. He also builds model rockets.

Tanmay Khirwadkar, 13, from Nagpur, India — reads science and astronomy
books, takes part in quiz competitions, and plays cricket.

Kimberly DeRose, 13, from Northridge, California, USA — she enjoys
reading, working with computers, and learning about space. She takes
karate, plays soccer, and is in the Girl Scouts.

Senior Category — Ages 13-16:

Bernadett Gaal, 14, from Hodmezovasarhely, Hungary –she plays basketball,
solves puzzles, enjoys astronomy, reading, flying, and traveling. She
likes animals. She looks forward to meeting the other Student Scientists
and working with them to learn about Mars.

Zsofia Bodo, 15, from Budapest, Hungary — she enjoys reading, watching TV
and playing volleyball.

Shaleen Harlalka, 15, from Udaipur, India — he makes working science
models, swims, works with computers, and reads science fiction and physics
books. He likes astronomy, and he participated in the National Astronomy
Olympiad Camp 2000 in India.

The Planetary Society

65 N. Catalina Ave.

Pasadena, CA 91106-2301

Tel: (626) 793-5100

Fax: (626) 793-5528