Got a hankering to know about the inner workings of a space flight mission? You can satisfy your craving today or tomorrow with a peek into the Mission Control Room of a US spacecraft intending to land on Mars.
The Mars Pathfinder spacecraft is scheduled to touch down on the planet most like Earth soemt time today, US time, and Internet users can go to http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/ to watch the earthbound scientists direct the landing and drive the spacecraft's rover across the Martian landscape. The view will be of the scientists and not of the spacecraft itself.
Chicago, Illinois-based Vosaic LLC's Java streaming technology will provide audio and video coverage of the scientists, who will be located in the Mission Control Room of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA) Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.
The Mission Control Room can be viewed by most users without the use of plug-ins or the need to download software to the viewer's computer, according to Chuck Colby, Vosaic's co-founder.
PC users must be running Windows 95 with a Java-enabled browser, (Netscape Navigator 3.1 or higher or Microsoft Internet Explorer).
Because Java capabilities on Macintoshes are currently too slow, Mac users will not be able to see the live video, though they will be able to hear the live audio, Colby says. However, Mac users will be able to download plug-ins from Vosaic to view the stored video feed.
The transmission delay will be around 10 minutes, Colby said.
The exact time of the Friday landing is not yet known, but viewers can check the sitefor more exact information.
Vosaic can be reached on the World Wide Web at http://www.vosaic.com/.