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A DOCUMENTARY FOR OUR NEWEST SPACE AGE
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Madame Mars is a transmedia production designed to prepare all of us for our futures in space, whether orbiting Earth, returning to the moon, or colonizing Mars – and worlds beyond.
WINTER 2016
As we celebrate this holiday season, Madame Mars hopes you will take time to reflect on all our accomplishments in space science and tech, and on how we can best prepare the next generation of scientists, technicians and explorers. Your tax-deductible gift will support completion of the Madame Mars documentary and related educational games and apps that will help ensure a future in which everyone with the dream of working in space or in the space industry has an opportunity to do so.
 
THIS MONTH: 
EXCLUSIVE TO MADAME MARS!

THE WOMEN OF VIKING
BY RACHEL TILLMAN
The first photograph from the surface of Mars, taken minutes after
the Viking 1 lander touched down on July 20, 1976
The first Mars explorers, it can be argued, were those on the team that put two landers on Mars in 1976 - the first successful "touchdowns" on the red planet. But the pioneering did not end there: the unique science and engineering challenges of the Viking mission required a little of everything, and emerging jobs in science, engineering, and computing provided new opportunities across the board. The mission brought about distinct changes in the space industry overall and, in particular, signaled changes for women in the aerospace workplace.

Viking Mission Team

Viking was the mission that changed the way women were treated in the aerospace workplace.
 
Women who joined the Viking team at commercial and NASA labs around the country came with a variety of experience, from substantial work in science/tech to virtually none. Among the scientists to join the Viking team from the commercial sector was Dr. Patricia Ann Straat, who served as co-designer (with Dr. Gilbert Levin) during the design phase and on the flight team during mission operations. Recruited by Levin from her assistant professor position at Johns Hopkins University and armed with degrees in psychology, biochemistry and biophysics, Straat was co-investigator (with Levin) of the "life detection experiment." The findings she and Levin published following the mission, based on Martian soil samples that tested positive for extant microbial life, stirred controversy and still fuel debate in the scientific community about potential life on Mars.

Dr. Patricia Straat with Dr. Gilbert Levin (left), Bonnie Dalton

Microbiologist Bonnie Dalton spent fourteen years studying microorganisms at the NASA Ames Research Center before transitioning to the Viking operations team there, where she designed and outfitted labs, and worked with one of the mission's biology principal investigators, Vance Oyama. After Viking, she continued her work at Ames, where she was named Deputy Director for the Science Directorate.

On-the-job learning ability was as important as experience. Sue Lowrie moved from a banking job to the Viking team in 1973 to work with the Viking flight software group, where she did flowcharting for descent and science software. She learned programming as she reverse-engineered the software to properly chart it, and quickly moved upward. She was invited to the Jet Propulsion Lab (JPL) to work as a member of the flight team. Following the Viking mission, Lowrie continued to work in technical roles on a number of classified space missions. 

Some women on the Viking team arrived with previous experience, not only with NASA missions, but also with workplace sexism. 

Before being hired by subcontractor Martin Marietta to join the Viking team at JPL, Candy Vallado had already worked on Apollo for Singer/Link, where, despite her math degree, experience with all three computers of the era, and knowledge of five computing languages, she was offered a salary of $9000 - although the job was advertised at $12,000. When she questioned the amount, she was told:  “You are single, men have to pay to take you out, what do you need money for?” Despite the obvious affront, she took the job, because she “wanted to work on Apollo.”  

By the time she was hired at JPL, affirmative action policies were in place. "That's what it finally took," she said, to be taken seriously. At JPL, Vallado worked first on lander sequence design, and then as a member of the flight team, where she designed "simulation models" to test each action and instrument before it was uploaded to the spacecraft. The simulations were a critical failsafe, and the training essential for the flight team to learn to operate them.

"Baking" the Viking lander at Cape Canaveral sterilization lab

At the Viking "outpost" lab located at Cape Canaveral, Sheryl Bergstrom, equipped with a master's degree in microbiology, worked on a team pioneering planetary protection standards for the landers. Every system on each Viking craft required careful sterilization to prevent transport of living organisms from Earth to Mars. Although women in general were not “readily embraced” in her workplace, she said, her male co-workers were “congenial.” Because her unique lab environment was not a traditional office, the women's dress code (strictly enforced at other NASA locations) was dictated by work rather than gender standards. She and her co-workers wore lab coats and jumpsuits. After Viking, Bergstrom continued her career in aerospace as JPL's Manager of Cape Operations Office at Kennedy Space Center until her retirement in 2014.

While women have only recently been recognized for their pioneering roles in aerospace history, it could be said that women in aerospace laid the groundwork for the emergence of women in diverse workplace roles across industries and borders. In the Viking heyday, the industry was still new, and creative thinkers, planners and dreamers were as critical to mission success as were technical aptitude and experience. The Viking mission created a new and unique environment for women to advance in their technical and scientific careers. The women of Viking not only excelled; they laid the groundwork for generations of women to come.

Women were ready for new challenges, and management wanted success. It was a good fit.
ABOUT THE VIKING MARS MISSION: FIRST FEET ON MARS! 
 
The Viking Mission to Mars consisted of 2 sets of spacecraft, each with an orbiter and a lander.  Primary mission objectives were to obtain high-resolution images of the Martian surface, characterize the structure and composition of the atmosphere and surface, and search for evidence of life.


On July 20, 1976, the Viking 1 lander became the first spacecraft to land successfully on Mars and to transmit images from the planet's surface. Vikings 1 and 2 together mapped about 97% of Mars from orbit and collected about 4,500 close-up images of the Martian surface. In addition to cameras, the landers carried equipment to analyze the Martian surface, wind, and atmosphere, and to send the results back to Earth.
The data from the Viking experiments provided the most complete view of Mars to date and has inspired scientists to continue the search for life on the red planet.

ABOUT RACHEL TILLMAN AND THE VIKING MARS MISSION EDUCATION AND PRESERVATION PROJECT
 
 
Rachel Tillman, daughter of Viking Meteorology Team Member James E. Tillman, the last Program Manager of the extended Viking Mission, founded VMMEPP, and has been preserving Viking contributors’ histories and accomplishments. Her goal is to cover each individual that worked on the mission in great detail, and to share these materials in exhibits, papers, documentaries, and education outreach. The story above is based on Tillman's interviews with former Viking team members.
AND SPEAKING OF FEMALE PIONEERS IN AEROSPACE...
She symbolizes the generation of unsung women
who helped send humankind into space
 

                                    - President Barak Obama, about Margaret Hamilton

 
2016 Medal of Freedom recipient Margaret Hamilton, a young MIT scientist and working mom in the ‘60s, led the team that created the onboard flight software that allowed Apollo 11 to land safely on the moon. Hamilton and Katherine Johnson, NASA mathematician who received the Medal of Freedom in 2015, exemplify renewed attention and long overdue recognition for pioneering women in the space industry. 
Clockwise from left: Margaret Hamilton and the stack of hand-written code she created for Apollo 11; Hamilton receiving the Medal of Freedom; Johnson receiving her award in 2015; Johnson at the desk where she worked at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center.
NEWS FROM FRIENDS OF MADAME MARS
Mars in Rewind Mode:
 

"Wet Mars" - a bluer look for Mars in the past
 
Emmy-nominated director Dana Berry of Skyworks Digital has created dramatic artwork - he calls it "science visualization" - for Rewind the Red Planet, an interactive feature designed to augment National Geographic's new Mars series. Designed for mobile devices, a series of touch-controlled images reveal the planet as it may have appeared in the past, with varying degrees of ice and water, as well as its dry, red present - reminding us that planet's current state is most likely not its permanent one.

"While working on these images," Dana said, "I could not help but wonder if there was once a time when our star hosted two living worlds, a question teased by the 'before' scenes in this art."

Dana is a valued story consultant for the Madame Mars project.
From the Mars Society:
Dr. Robert Zubrin, President of the Mars Society, is one of the experts whose interviews are featured on the new NatGeo series, Mars.
Also from the Mars Society:
Dr. Robert Zubrin's critique of the SpaceX Interplanetary Transport System was published in The New Atlantis on Oct. 16. In Colonizing Mars, Zubrin, an aerospace engineer whose book, The Case For Mars, has inspired many currently working on ways to get humans to Mars, offers not only his assessment, but his suggestions on how SpaceX might improve the deep space vehicle unveiled by Musk on September 29. 
From the SETI Institute:

The SETI Institute has been involved in U.S. and international workshops focused on NASA's behind-the-scenes planning for human missions to Mars, including how to keep astronauts safe and healthy during  round-trip exploration missions, how to avoid contaminating the planet, and how to prevent adverse effects on Earth upon return.  

Dr. Margaret Race (featured in Madame Mars documentary) and others from the SETI Institute have authored a comprehensive report, Planetary Protection Knowledge Gaps for Human Extraterrestrial Missions. 

Also from the SETI Institute:

"As we learn from life on Earth how to create life on another planet..."

The SETI Institute has released a series of short videos developed in house by artist/musician Nelly Ben Hayoun, part of the project The Life, the Sea and the Space Viking, which explores current debates on astrobiology and terraforming. The media/music project, featuring leading scientists at NASA and the SETI Institute, is set for release in 2017.


ARE YOU MAKING NEWS ABOUT MARS, SPACE EXPLORATION OR STEM/STEAM EDUCATION? SEND US YOUR NEWS SO WE CAN INCLUDE IT IN FUTURE ISSUES OF THIS NEWSLETTER!
From Explore Mars:
Wide-ranging thoughts abound in a new Explore Mars op-ed series appearing in the Huffington Post, Why Mars? The most recent posts are from Talal M. Al Kaissi, Director of U.S.–U.A.E. Space Affairs, Embassy of the United Arab Emirates, and from French actress Clementine Poidatz, who portrays Dr. Amelie Durant in the National Geographic series, Mars
From Mars One:
At last, Mars One settlers have an answer to the what-to-wear-on-Mars question. On November 15, Mars One announced details of the Surface Exploration Suit (SES), a flexible, lightweight, pressurized spacesuit with a modular construction; a take-along 3D printer would allow easy production of replacement parts. Designed by Paragon, the suit has an eight-hour battery, built-in radiation protection, and includes devices to enable wearers to eat, drink and eliminate. 
Also From Mars One:
On December 2, Mars One announced its acquisition by InFin Innovative Finance, a major step forward in funding its beleaguered Mars mission. New stock shares will be issued to raise the capital needed to support the next phase of astronaut selection, which will reduce the remaining 100 astronaut candidates to 24, and to fund mission design with third-party technology suppliers.

Accoring to Mars One CEO Bas Lansdorp: "We’ll be in a much stronger financial position as we begin the next phase of our mission." Lansdorp and Mars One Communications Officer Suzanne Flinkenflögel will be named to the to InFin board, and InFin will be renamed as Mars One Ventures.
From Kenya Armbrister:
On November 23, Mars One finalist and Madame Mars participant Kenya Armbrister, and fellow Mars One applicant Roel Kwanten, updated the Mars One mission for interested locals at the Lommel, Belgium, town hall. 
MARS IN THE NEWS
Just in time for holiday gift-giving, a new children's book about Mars!

The Martian for kids? 

SpaceX aerospace engineer Andrew Rader's colorful, science-infused story, Mars Rover Rescue, features intrepid animal explorers (including two female leads, a panda scientist and elephant pilot) who are headed to Mars to search for a missing rover. The crew will have to practice teamwork to get there and then to figure out how to survive. 

“It’s trying to show kids what it’ll really be like to live on another planet,” Rader said in an interview on io9. “...it’s the kids growing up right now who will be going to Mars and living there.”

The hardcover book features 56 pages of alphabetical and rhyming text with full-color artwork by Galen Frazer, who previously collaborated with Rader on another children's book, Epic Space Adventure

Mars Rover Rescue, available here, is  best suited for kids aged 1-6 (parents reading to kids or kids learning to read), but all ages will find the science in the story accurate, entertaining and timely.  

NEWS FROM MADAME MARS
MADAME MARS THE MOVIE - FIRST LOOK

On November 3, the Madame Mars team presented a rough cut of the film to a select audience of scientists, filmmakers and educators, seeking feedback as we move into final editing stages. First reviews are encouraging, with solid suggestions about how to best complete the film.

  

MADAME MARS AT DENT: SPACE

Executive producer Soumyaa Kapil Behrens (left) and Director Jan Millsapps (right) strolled the floors of the Innovation Hangar at the recent DENT: SPACE event, in search of like-minded Martians. We found this one, Dan Zevin of the Space Sciences Lab at UC-Berkeley.
 
MEANWHILE, ON MARS
SCHIAPARELLI LANDING SITE REVEALS CRASH, CLUES
This image taken on November 1 by the high-resolution Hi-RISE camera on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter shows debris scattered around the landing site, signaling a crash rather than a soft landing.
 
Roughly one minute before touchdown on October 19, the European Space Agency (ESA) lost contact with Schiaparelli, its ExoMars lander. Data points to a software problem rather than a hardware malfunction.

On Nov. 23, ESA reported progress in its preleminary investigation. The spacecraft entered the Martian atmosphere and deployed its parachute as expected. The problem occurred shortly after, when an erroneous altitude reading triggered a premature release of the parachute and the backshell, a brief firing of the braking thrusters, and finally, activation of the on-ground systems - as if Schiaparelli had already landed. In reality, the vehicle was still at an altitude of around 3.7 km. 
 
Meanwhile the ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO) entered Martian orbit successfully and now circles the planet once every four days, using its Colour and Stereo Surface Imaging System (CaSSIS) to gather high-definition photographs of the Martian surface in extreme detail. The onboard camera system will enable scientists to build 3D maps of the Martian surface by combining views from different perspectives.
Stereo reconstruction of a small area in Noctis Labyrinthus, created by the Colour and Stereo Surface Imaging System aboard the Trace Gas Orbiter. 

MARS AGLOW FOR THE HOLIDAYS

Christmas trees, Hanukkah menorahs, Kwansaa candles, and brake lights in holiday shopping traffic jams: this season is associated with glowing lights, and now Mars reveals its own seasonal decor: nightglow.

Researchers had predicted nightglow on Mars, but these images from the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) spacecraft's infrared camera, released in October, are the first images to document the phenomenon.

According to the MAVEN team, "Mars' night side atmosphere emits light in the ultraviolet, due to chemical reactions that start on Mars' dayside." You can read a more detailed explanation on the ScienceAlert web site.

THE MADAME MARS TEAM WISHES YOU
A VERY JOYOUS SEASON OF LIGHT!
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