R. Arvidson and S. Slavney
Dept. of Earth and Planetary Sciences
St. Louis, MO 63130
March 13, 1998
The purpose of this document is to delineate an implementation plan for
interactions between the Mars Global Surveyor Mission science teams and the
public and press.
The scope includes: (a) release of data sets and information designed for use
by the public and press, (b) press conferences, (c) definitions of roles and
responsibilities, and (d) mechanisms to coordinate the releases and activities.
Applicable Documents and Constraints
Mars Global Surveyor Project Science Data Management Plan, MGS #542-310, May
Mars Global Surveyor Project Archive Generation, Validation, and Transfer Plan,
MGS #542-312, Rev. B, July 3, 1997
The objective of this plan is to establish a process for periodic and frequent
release of science findings in order to sustain public interest in the Mission.
Public Information Release and Interaction Policies
Public information release includes press conferences and written material
concerning both mission operations and scientific analyses. The following are
specific policy statements for Public Information Release for the Mars Global
The Project has the overall responsibility for ensuring that the policies and
implementation plans concerning release of information and interactions with
the public and press are followed. The Project also is responsible for primary
interactions with NASA Headquarters, including ensuring that Headquarters
personnel are aware of activities discussed in this document before they occur,
together with focusing feedback from Headquarters back to the appropriate
parties. The Project has the responsibility for primary interactions with the
JPL Public Information Office (PIO), serving as coordinating entity for media
relations focused at JPL.
Project Science Group and Public Information Subgroup
The MGS Project Scientist has overall responsibility for ensuring that science
findings are made available to the media. The Public Information Subgroup
(PISG) of the Project Science Group (PSG), through its chair, is the point of
contact to the MGS Project for coordinating public release and media
interactions involving science. The PISG consists of representatives from each
instrument team and is chaired by an Interdisciplinary Scientist (IDS).
The PISG maintains a schedule of public information events, which is made available to the Project, the PIO, and instrument teams via a restricted-access web site. The PISG reports on public information and press plans at PSG meetings and MSOP Quarterly Reviews. The PISG Chair also coordinates with a designated PIO contact on a regular basis so that the PIO is able to keep abreast of science developments that could merit releases of one kind or another.
Specifically, the responsibilities of the PISG include the following.
Principal Investigators (PIs) and Team Leaders (TLs) control release of their
own data from their own home institutions, under the policies defined in
Section 3 of this plan. Co-Investigators (Co-Is) and Team Members (TMs) may be
designated by their respective PI or TL to assume data release
responsibilities. IDSs may release data with the concurrence of the relevant PI
or TL. These releases may also occur from respective home institutions, under
the policies delineated in this plan.
Public Information Office
The JPL Public Information Office is chartered to be the prime point of contact
with the public and the media for activities focused at JPL. The overall
objective on the public affairs side is to maximize the positive impact of
information and image releases from the project. They help organize and
implement press releases and press conferences. They facilitate release of data
and information meant for consumption by the press and public, including video
feeds of interviews. A PIO person is also a liaison member of the PISG.
Specific Public Information Release and Interaction Plans
The Public Information Subgroup will conduct its business chiefly by
teleconference and electronic mail. The PISG Chair will report on the
subgroup's activities to the Project Science Group at its meetings every three
months and as part of the MSOP Quarterly Reviews.
The PISG will be responsible for creating and maintaining the schedule of
science results release. The PIO liaison on the PISG will coordinate the
planning of these events with the PIO. The PISG will maintain a
restricted-access web site where Project members, instrument team members, and
the PIO can view the latest schedule and plans for information releases.
Schedule of Events
MGS public information release and interaction will be closely tied to mission
activities as shown in Figure 1.
Regular monthly press releases will be theme-based. They may consist of televised presentations from instrument teams, or written press releases, or press conferences at JPL. Themes may relate to data from more than one instrument. Examples of themes might be dynamics of the atmosphere, discovery of carbonate rocks and implications with regard to paleoclimate, the dynamics of the interior, and the magnetic field dynamics through space and time. These monthly events may rotate among PI home institutions. They may coincide with JPL press conferences to be held every three months during the mapping phase of the mission.
Additional events may be scheduled as needed, for example when new data are released or major discoveries are made. These additional information releases may occur more frequently than once a month, and may take the form of text news releases, public web site offerings of images and other data, televised presentations or panel discussions, and interviews with instrument team members (see Table 1).
Finally, major press conferences will be held every six months, coinciding with
the spring and fall AGU meetings. The first will occur at the Spring 1998 AGU
meeting in June, when the science phasing orbit phase is underway and
significant science data are being collected. The second major press conference
will occur in December 1998 as the final aerobraking phase begins. The third
event will occur in June 1999, shortly after regular mapping has begun.
Additional major events will be scheduled at six-month intervals.
AGU American Geophysical Union Co-I Co-Investigator DSN Deep Space Network IDS Interdisciplinary Scientist JPL Jet Propulsion Laboratory MAG/ER Magnetometer / Electron Reflectometer MGS Mars Global Surveyor MOC Mars Orbiter Camera MOLA Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter MSOP Mars Surveyor Operations Project NASA National Aeronautic and Space Administration PI Principal Investigator PISG Public Information Committee Subgroup PSG Project Science Group RSS Radio Science Subsystem TES Thermal Emission Spectrometer TL Team Leader TM Team Member