Official 'Mars flag' unfurls in space
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.
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.
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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
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
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
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 Meteorite home page
The Nine Planets: Mars
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