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Eileen Hawley February 22, 1995

RELEASE: 95-012


School children from throughout the Houston area will learn how a remotely controlled rover will use telepresence to explore the Moon and Mars, with some getting the opportunity to command the Markoshod rover themselves as the Johnson Space Center takes part in the JASON VI Project beginning Feb. 27.

JSC is one of 26 designated Primary Interactive Network sites where students will have the opportunity to drive the Russian-built rover over the dried lava beds of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and to ask questions of the scientists exploring Kilauea volcano.

More than 7,000 Houston area elementary and high school students will use the rover's telepresence capabilities to explore this "Island Earth" through March 10. Participants at JSC will control the explorer vehicle from 3:00 - 4:00 p.m., March 2; noon - 1:00 p.m., March 7; and 3:00 - 4:00 p.m., March 9. A camera mounted on the rover will allow participants to see where the robotic explorer is pointing. Students also will be able to operate the robotic arm, maneuvering it to view features of the dried lava flow.

For 10 days, the students and their teachers will look inward at the formation of the Earth through volcanic activity, and then outward at the solar system to see how the Earth compares with other planets. Using three large screens and a bank of computers in JSC's Teague Auditorium, they will watch the activities at the volcanic site and retrieve data and images of the ongoing research.

JSC is an active participant in the JASON Project, using its unique facilities and capabilities to stimulate students' interest in science and technology. The Markoshod robotic explorer demonstrates new technologies from other programs, including NASA's upcoming Mars Pathfinder mission.

Media interested in covering this event should contact the JSC Newsroom at 483-5111.


NOTE TO MEDIA: Media will have the ability to obtain audio and video hookup for B-roll footage of the JASON VI activities throughout the 10-day program.


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