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July 20, 1976 - Image 2

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Michigan Daily, 1976-07-20

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I HC M foHlbAN DAILY

Tuesay, July 20,17

Viking
PASADENA, Calif. (AP)-The
unmanned Viking I landing
craft was declared ready yes-
terday to cast off from its moth-
er ship circling Mars and fall
on its own through the atmo-
sphere for a soft landing and
ma-n's first search for life on
the red planet's surface.
If it succeeds in landing on
the desert surface today and
sends usable data to earth, Vik-
ing will eclipse previous Soviet
attempts. Two Russian landers
fell mysteriouslyusilent just af-
ter dropping to the surface of
the planet in 1971.
A CHECKOUT of the complex
lander's experiments and cam-
eras, while it was still linked
to its mother ship, went "by
the book," officials said yester-
day.
Final commands radioed to
the spacecraft just before mid-
night yesterday would trigger
an automatic sequence of events
ending with the lander's touch-
down at 4:52 a.m. PDT today
on the landing site, called
Chryse.
Fate of the lander will not
be known for at least 19 min-
utes after it touches down be-
cause of the time it takes radio
signals to reach Earth, 230 mil-
lion miles away.
By COINCIDENCE, the land-
ing was to occur on the sev-
enth anniversary of man's first
step on the moon.
Within seconds of landing, the
camera atop the squat, three-
legged craft is to begin snap-
ping photographs of the sur-
face. They would be the first
photographs of Mars taken at
ground level. Scientists expect
to see a barren, sandy plain
with meteorite craters scat-
tered here and there and vol-
canic ridges winding across the
plain.
One scientist said it might
look much like an area of the
Arizona desert that surrounds
a meteor crater. The pictures,
to be radioed to earth, were
expected to appear on televis-
ion sets at the Jet Propulsion
Laboratory here within an hour.
EIGHT DAYS AFTER land-
ing, a telescoping claw attach-
ed to the 1,300-pound lander is
to reach out and scoop a hand-
ful of Martian soil, then dump
it into miniaturized biochemical
laboratories to be analyzed for
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ready for Mars landing

signs of life.
Most scientists think Mars is
too dry and barren to support
life.
But, as it orbited the planet
once a day for a month to scout
possible landing sites, the Vik-
ing orbiter photographed many
features having the appearance
of ancient streambeds carved
by water.
IF WATER once flowed, liv-
ing organisms may have thriv-
ed, some thing, and the sophis-

ticated Viking detectors should
be able to spot signs of them,
Viking I, the first of two un-
manned American spacecraft
scheduled to land on Mars this
summer, was launched last
August 20. It arrived near Mars
and went into orbit around the
planet - which is about half
the size of earth - a month
ago.
A planned July 4 landing was
called off when scientists study-
ing pictures taken from orbit

found the terrain much more
rugged than they had expected,
threatening to damage or top-
ple the delicate craft. A sec-
ond landing date was put off
for similar reasons before Tues-
day's landing site was chosen.
EVERY MOVE of Viking's
descent to the surface is con-
trolled by a computer aboard
the craft. Because of the dis-
tance and 19-minute time-lag
- each way - for radio sig-
oats, commands from earth
would arrive far too late to
react to emergencies.
The landing sequence will be-
gin with the separation of the
lander from the orbiting mother
ship about 3 hours before the
planned touchdown. The lander
enters the Martian atmosphere
traveling at about 14,000 miles
per hour, then is slowed by a
parachute and breaking rock-
ets.
During the first part of its
trip through the thin atmo-
sphere, the lander is covered by

a streamlined, saucer-like shell
and skims through the air like
a wingless glider.
WHEN IT IS 20,000 feet up,
the shell pops off and the 50-
foot parachute blossoms. Less
than a minute later, the down-
ward firing rockets add their
blasts to help slow the craft.
By the time it is 55 feelrabove
the landing point, the craft is
dropping at a speed of five
miles per hour. The force of
the touchdown is taken up by
the three shock-absorbing legs.
While the lander is falling
toward the ground, instruments
will be counting charged parti-
cles in the atmosphere to en-
able scientists to determine
what gases it contains.
Of special interest is how
much of the inert gas argon is
present. If it is abundant, sci-
entists believe, it may indicate
that the atmosphere was once
much denser and more hospit-
able to life.

Life on Mars? Sci
..
Fi* writers say yes
PASADENA, Calif. (A) - In front row seats as Viking
scratches around for life on Mars are some of America's
greatest science fiction writers, hoping to see their dreams
come true.
"I'm sure we will find primitive life of some sore . . .
at least traces of chlorophyll and bacteria," said Ray Brad-
bury, author of many works on Mars, including the classic,
"The Martian Chronicles."
JOINING BRADBURY at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory
this morning will be Gene Roddenberry, creator of the en-
duringly popular "Star Trek" television series.
Many of JPL's scientists are reported to be enthusias-
tic "Star Trek" fans.
Roddenberry said the Mars landing is much more excit-
ing than the moon landing exactly seven years ago be-
cause "it seems to be the one best chance of finding life in
our solar system.
"THIS IS THE most exciting thing to science fiction
people," Roddenberry said, "because Mars has been the
home of so many fanciful creatures."
"It won't be necessary to find intelligent life there or it
to be totally exciting," said Roddenberry. "It will prove
that life is not an accident, that it is probably a common
occurrence in the universe."
The 230-million-mile journey to search for life is "beau-
tiful, it's amazing," said George Pal, producer of such
movies as "War of the Worlds," "Destination Moon" and
"When Worlds Collide."
"I HAVE A FEELING Viking is going to find some kind
of life on Mars - not the kind we know, but something
primitive and strange," Pal said.
When Pal made his first space travel film, "Destina-
tion Moon," in 1950, people considered it a fantasy.
"But it actually came reasonably close to the actual
moon mission because we have very good advisers," Pal
said.
Mars is such unknown territory that a proper name
hasn't been picked for the linding site, which is on the
western slope of a large dry basin called Chryse. Bradbury
had a solution ready.
"It should be named for me," he said immediately.
"Why not? I think Mars belongs to Edgar Rice Burroughs
creator of Martian tales such as "The Gods of Mars" as
well as of Tarzan and myself.
"We've done a sterling job with our 'travel agency' over
all these years."

Television viewing tonight

6:00 2 7 1 1 News
9 Room 222-Comedy-drama
20 Cisco Kid-Western
30 ZOOM-Children
50 Brady Bunch-Comedy
62 5 Spy-Adventure
6:30 4 13 NBC News
9 Newsday
1 C News-Walter Cronhte
20 Daniel Boone-Adventure
30 Hodgepodge Lodge-
Children
50 1 Love Lucy-Comedy
7:00 2 CBS News-walter Cronkite
4 Bowling for Douars Game
7 ABC News-Harry Reasoner
9 Xl Olymnpic Gamses
11 Family Affair-Comedy
13 Hogan's Heroes-Comedy
30 Robert MacNeil Report
56 Family Affair-Come dy
36 Inner Tennis-Instruction
62 Speaking of Sports
7:30)-2Lasi of thseWild
4 iollywood Squares-Game
7 24 xxX Olympic Games
11 Pricer Is Right-Game
13 Adam-ll-Crime Drama
20 Stump The Stars-Game
30 Olympiad-Doeumentary
00 Hogan's Heroes-Comedy
56 Robert MacNe1l Report
42 News
9:00 2 11 Rhoda
0 13 Rich Little-Variety
20 It Takes A Thief-Adven-
ture.
56 Nordjamb-Doumentary
02 Movie-Drama (Sw) "The
Four Dayo of Maples.,"
0:30 2 11 Phyilis-Comedy
30 Music Stand
9:00 2 11 All In The Family
013 Joe Forrester
20700 Ciub-Reigion
56 Movie-Documentary
9:30 2 11 M~aude
30 Movie-Comedy (bw) "The
Man in the White Sat'
00oIDinah!t
10:00 2 11 Medical Center
4 13 Jigsaw John-Crime
Drama
62 PTL Club-Religion

10:31 20 Lift in the Spirit
11:80 2 4 7 11 13 24 News
9 CBC News-George Ftnstad
20 Adventures in Paradise
50 Best of Groucho-Game
(bw)
56 Who Built This Place?
-Comedy
57 Lilia, Yoga and You
11:20 9 Nghtbeat
11:30 2 Mary Hartman, Mary Hart-
man-Serial
4 13 Johnny Carson
1 24 XXI Olympic Games
11tMovie--Drama. "A Brand
New Life."
50 Movie-Comedy (bw)
"The Tattles of Tahiti'
56 ARC News-iarry Reasoner
11:45 7 Late, Great 196
11:55 9 heritage Highway
12:00 2 Movie-raa. "A Brand
Now Sife"
9 XXI Olympic Games
62 News
1:00 4 Tomorrow-Tom Snyder
11 13 News
1:15 7 News
1:00 2 Movie-Comedy (bw) "Jis
Busters."
2:00 4 Classroom
2:30 4 News
3:00 2 News
THE MICHIGAN DAILY
Volume LXXXVI, Na. 495S
Tuesday, July 20, 1#76
is edited and managed by students
at the University of Michigan News
phone 704-0502. Second clas postage
paid at Ann Arbor, Michigon 43109.
P'ublished d4611 y Tuesday throug~h
Sunday morning during the Univer-
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Arbor, Michigan 48109 .Sbsciption
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