UN / MARS

16-Jun-2007
Is there still water on Mars? What climate change is going on on our neighbor planet? Could there even be some form, of life? At an exhibit in the UN lobby, featuring the European space mission Mars Express and high resolution 3-D vistas of the Martian landscape, scientists try to give a "New Perspective on Mars"

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STORY:UN/MARS
TRT: 7:00
SOURCE: UNTV / DLR Deutsches Luft- und Raumfahrtzentrum/ German Aerospace Center Berlin (Animation), www.dlr.de
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH,GERMAN
RESTRICTIONS: NONE

DATELINE: 7 JUNE 2007, NEW YORK CITY

SHOTLIST:

1) Wide Shot, UN Headquarters Building in New York
2) Medium shot, "Mars - our Neighbor" exhibit in UN lobby
3) Wide shot, zoom in through arch with "Mars - our Neighbor" sign to group of boys looking at the exhibit
4) Various shots, visitors reaching for 3-D glasses and looking at 3-D images of Mars
5) Wide shot, surface feature on Mars
6) Wide shot, photo of German Aerospace developed 3-D Mars camera
7) Wide Shot, sign "Water", pan to photo of Cascades of Dao and Niger Valley on Mars
8) SOUNDBITE (English) Dr. Ralf Jaumann, Co-Investigator of the High Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC) on the Mars Express Mission and Commercial Director of the Institute of Planetary Research at the German Aerospace Center (DLR), Berlin: "We haven't seen water directly on Mars today, but there are a lot of surface features, there are young features, there are kind of gullies, some kind of runoff-features on steep slopes. And we start to see that these features are changing with time, so that means that something happened with these features within the last 30 years. And that probably means something is going on on Mars today."
9) (Animation, courtesy DLR) zoom in on Mars, movement over Mars surface rendered from photographs and data of the HRSC camera
10) SOUNDBITE (English) Dr. Ralf Jaumann:
"Mars is much younger than we have expected so far. So we found features on the surface which are in the order of a few tens of million years and that's very young in a geological sense and we also found we had a lot of glacial features close to the equator, that's unusual, because even on Mars the equator is much warmer than the poles and that shows us that there's a lot of Climate Change going on on Mars even today."
11) Medium shots, visitors looking at Mars pictures with 3-D glasses
12) Medium shot, photo of Mars Rover in exhibit
13) SOUNDBITE (English) Prof. Dr. Tilman Spohn, Head of the Institute of Planetary Research, German Aerospace Center, Berlin:
"Europe is planning another mission, a series of missions to Mars, the next one will be a Rover, operating on the surface of Mars, and a geo-science station, a stationary station, that will be observing the weather, the heat flow on the planet and the seismology on Mars. The Rover will search for life, both extinct and existent life, that is life that has been there or that maybe is still there, in the form of bacteria."
14) Zoom in to replica of first sputnik satellite under the ceiling of the UN lobby
15) SOUNDBITE (English) Prof. Dr. Tilman Spohn:
"We are still confused, but on a higher level, as they say. We have a lot of questions - in science you can say questions answered mean new questions. We have started to explore the solar system, we have been to almost any planet in the solar system, except for Pluto, which is not an actual planet anymore since the renaming, but what we need to do now is to look in more detail and this is what exploration means. Exploration starts closer to home, with Moon and Mars and will then go further into the solar system to just find out in more detail what is there and how life could have developed in some places - are we alone in the universe? - and all these questions."
16) (Animaton, courtesy DLR) zoom out from Planet Earth into space, moon like object in the distance
17) SOUNDBITE (English) Prof. Dr. Tilman Spohn:
"There is Europa, the Jovian Moon, that has an ocean underneath a thick ice cover, and we expect that Europa may be a place where life may be found, than there is Titan, Saturn's moon, which has an athmosphere that ressembles that of the early Earth, but it is in other ways very different and it is very interesting to explore that. Than there is the Jovian Moon again, Io, a place where you have vulcanic activity like nowhere else in the Solar System, and then, of course closer to home, you have planets like Mercury or Venus - very important for our life on Earth, because here we see a runaway Green House Effect that has come to completion."
18) (Animation, copyright DLR) Mars surface with data from HRSC camera, flight over high moutain ranges and glaciers
19) SOUNDBITE (German) Dr. Ralf Jaumann, komm. Leiter des Instituts for Planetenforschung, Deutsches Zentrum fuer Luft- und Raumfahrt (DLR), Berlin:
"Until 2 years ago we were sure that today there is no more water on Mars, given the physical requirements. But now we see structures on Mars, we see small canyons that change with time so that possibly there still is water on the surface of Mars and it can still flow on the surface of Mars. If that is the case, then of course only in small quantities. The big question is: Was Mars long enough moist enough to develop life? For two reasons this question has not been answered yet. One reason is: We don't know how long Mars was moist - and secondly, we also don't know how long it takes until life develops."
20) Various shots inside the exhibit
21) SOUNDBITE, Prof. Dr. Tilman Spohn, Leiter des Instituts fuer Planetenforschung, Deutsches Zentrum fuer Luft- und Raumfahrt (DLR), Berlin (German):
"Europe is not going to stop with the Mars Express, Europe is planning another mission to send a Rover and a geo scientific station to Mars. The station is going to measure the weather, study seismological waves, measure the heat flow from the interior of the planet - and the Rover is going to look for traces of life - either life that existed there one day and is now extinct, or even forms of life that could still exist on Mars today."
22) Various shots people in the exhibit.

STORYLINE:

Until 5 July the German Aerospace Center (DLR) is presenting an exhibition "A new perspective on Mars" at the UN Headquarters in New York. Visitors are reaching for special glasses to see for the first time 3-dimensional images from the red planet's surface, taken with a German special high definition camera on board the European spacecraft Mars Express. Pictures of canyons and river deltas show that there must have been a time when water played an important role on Mars.

SOUNDBITE (English) Dr. Ralf Jaumann, Co-Investigator of the High Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC) on the Mars Express Mission and Commercial Director of the Institute of Planetary Research at the German Aerospace Center (DLR), Berlin:
"We haven't seen water directly on Mars today, but there are a lot of surface features, there are young features, there are kind of gullies, some kind of runoff-features on steep slopes. And we start to see that these features are changing with time, so that means that something happened with these features within the last 30 years. And that probably means something is going on on Mars today."

Only recently Mars made it into the science news with discussions of vast oceans that could have once covered the flat, low lying northern hemisphere of the planet. Runoff water and slowly moving glaciers must have shaped the surface in millions of years. Today the most effective erosive force on Mars is the wind. Even so Mars has a much thinner athmosphere than the Earth, there are interactions between athmosphere and surface that are almost similar on both planets.

SOUNDBITE (English) Dr. Ralf Jaumann:
"Mars is much younger than we have expected so far. So we found features on the surface which are in the order of a few tens of million years and that's very young in a geological sense and we also found we had a lot of glacial features close to the equator, that's unusual, because even on Mars the equator is much warmer than the poles and that shows us that there's a lot of Climate Change going on on Mars even today."

Scientific interest in Mars is growing. The ExoMars spacecraft is going to land on the Red Planet in 2013.

SOUNDBITE (English) Prof. Dr. Tilman Spohn, Head of the Institute of Planetary Research, German Aerospace Center, Berlin:
"Europe is planning another mission, a series of missions to Mars, the next one will be a Rover, operating on the surface of Mars, and a geo-science station, a stationary station, that will be observing the weather, the heat flow on the planet and the seismology on Mars. The Rover will search for life, both extinct and existent life, that is life that has been there or that maybe is still there, in the form of bacteria."

High above the exhibit in the UN lobby hangs a replica of Sputnik I, the first artifical satellite that was launched 50 years ago. Has half a century of space exploration given the scientists more answers - or more questions ?

SOUNDBITE (English) Prof. Dr. Tilman Spohn:
"We are still confused, but on a higher level, as they say. We have a lot of questions - in science you can say questions answered mean new questions. We have started to explore the solar system, we have been to almost any planet in the solar system, except for Pluto, which is not an actual planet anymore since the renaming, but what we need to do now is to look in more detail and this is what exploration means. Exploration starts closer to home, with Moon and Mars and will then go further into the solar system to just find out in more detail what is there and how life could have developed in some places - are we alone in the universe? - and all these questions."

Beyond Moon and Mars other objects in the solar system have caught the scientists' attention. Some of them may shed light on the Earth's own geo-history, while others like Venus give a frightening glimpse of a possible future.

SOUNDBITE (English) Prof. Dr. Tilman Spohn:
"There is Europa, the Jovian Moon, that has an ocean underneath a thick ice cover, and we expect that Europa may be a place where life may be found, than there is Titan, Saturn's moon, which has an athmosphere that ressembles that of the early Earth, but it is in other ways very different and it is very interesting to explore that. Than there is the Jovian Moon again, Io, a place where you have vulcanic activity like nowhere else in the Solar System, and then, of course closer to home, you have planets like Mercury or Venus - very important for our life on Earth, because here we see a runaway Green House Effect that has come to completion."

The data from Mars Express and the high definition 3-D camera suggests that Mars went through some tough climate in its history. Running water may have evolved to catastrophic floods in relatively short periods of time in Mars geological history, resulting in outflow channels of extreme dimensions. Could there actually be water hidden under the surface in a state of permafrost - and remobilized and melted one day by vulcanic heat ?

SOUNDBITE (gERMAN) Dr. Ralf Jaumann, komm. Leiter des Instituts for Planetenforschung, Deutsches Zentrum fuer Luft- und Raumfahrt (DLR), Berlin:
"Until 2 years ago we were sure that today there is no more water on Mars, given the physical requirements. But now we see structures on Mars, we see small canyons that change with time so that possibly there still is water on the surface of Mars and it can still flow on the surface of Mars. If that is the case, then of course only in small quantities. The big question is: Was Mars long enough moist enough to develop life? For two reasons this question has not been answered yet. One reason is: We don't know how long Mars was moist - and secondly, we also don't know how long it takes until life develops."

Mars Express will operate until 2009 and complete more than 5000 orbits. The 3-D images have already mapped almost half of the planet in a resolution of 10 to 25 meters per pixel. Research institutes in Europe and their scientific partners all over the world share their new perspectives on Mars.

SOUNDBITE (German) Prof. Dr. Tilman Spohn, Leiter des Instituts fuer Planetenforschung, Deutsches Zentrum fuer Luft- und Raumfahrt (DLR), Berlin:
"Europe is not going to stop with the Mars Express, Europe is planning another mission to send a Rover and a geo scientific station to Mars. The station is going to measure the weather, study seismological waves, measure the heat flow from the interior of the planet - and the Rover is going to look for traces of life - either life that existed there one day and is now extinct, or even forms of life that could still exist on Mars today."

For more information, please visit www.dlr.de
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