ad info


 Headline News brief
 news quiz
 daily almanac

 video archive
 multimedia showcase
 more services

Subscribe to one of our news e-mail lists.
Enter your address:
Get a free e-mail account

 message boards

CNN Websites
 En Español
 Em Português


Networks image
 more networks

 ad info


Official 'Mars flag' unfurls in space

Mars Flag

January 7, 2000
Web posted at: 5:17 p.m. EST (2217 GMT)

(CNN) -- Now that the martian flag has flown high in orbit, it should soon flutter from the "top" of Earth.

The red, green and blue banner flew its maiden voyage into space onboard the space shuttle Discovery in late December.

In a few months, scientists plan to fly it at the Mars Arctic Research Station (MARS), which moved a step forward last week when the Mars Society named a primary contractor for the facility, to be based near the North Pole.

The MARS project will enable scientists, engineers and perhaps astronauts to test the equipment and technology that may be deployed during a human mission to Mars.

Do you approve of the design for the "Mars flag?"

View Results


The design of the martian flag carried onboard Discovery was originally proposed by NASA engineer and Mars Arctic Research Station task force leader Pascal Lee during a summer 1999 site selection expedition to Devon Island, where the outpost will be located.

The red, green and blue colors derive from stages of Mars' transformation from barrenness to life depicted in the epic "Red Mars," "Green Mars," "Blue Mars" trilogy written by Kim Stanley Robinson, according to a Mars Society statement.

Destination Mars

Scientists say the polar desert of Devon Island, part of the Queen Elizabeth Islands between Baffin Bay and the Arctic Ocean, exhibits geological and glacial features that resemble features on Mars.

The tricolor banner was carried onboard the Discovery at the invitation of astronaut John Mace Grunsfeld. Astronauts are allowed to bring several items of special importance on shuttle flights.

The martian flag "has now been honored by a vessel of the leading spacefaring nation of the Earth," the society said.

"It is fitting that this action occurred when it did; at the dawning of a new millennium," added the society, which promotes the goal of human exploration and settlement of Mars.

Research station contractor selected

The society selected the primary contractor for the Mars Arctic Research Station (MARS) last week. Infrastructure Composites International (Infracomp) will build the station's primary structure.

The two-deck Mars habitat and laboratory prototype, 27 feet in diameter, will be built at the Mesa Fiberglass facility in Commerce City, Colorado, using an advanced fiberglass honeycomb technology pioneered by the two companies.

The Infracomp/Mesa Fiberglass team has been building large fiberglass structures with their superstrong honeycomb technology since 1961. The MARS primary structure, including all doors and windows, is slated to be completed by the first week of May 2000.

The entire structure will be disassembled and shipped to the Arctic for reassembly on Devon Island during late June and early July. A short test operation of the unit is planned for late July. The first full field season is planned for summer 2001. Operations on Devon Island will be done in cooperation with the NASA-led Haughton Mars Project.

'Think Mars:' Online petition urges manned mission
December 28, 1999
Mission to Mars reveals need for more bandwidth
December 10, 1999
Mars images provide 'compelling' evidence of past ocean
December 10, 1999
Scientists continue attempts to contact Mars Polar Lander as hopes fade
December 8, 1999
NASA to re-evaluate entire Mars program
December 7, 1999

Mars Polar Lander: Official Web site
Deep Space 2
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Mars Pathfinder
Mars Meteorite home page
Planetary Society
Mars Society
The Nine Planets: Mars
Note: Pages will open in a new browser window
External sites are not endorsed by CNN Interactive.
Enter keyword(s)   go    help

Back to the top   © 2001 Cable News Network. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines.