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Mars Pathfinder Update - September 29, 1997

29 September 1997, 12:45 PM PDT

For the past few days, we have been having difficulty 
communicating with the Pathfinder spacecraft and Sojourner
rover.  Although we have expected the spacecraft to attempt
to communicate with us, we did not receive the expected signal.

Today we will attempt to understand what the spacecraft problem
is by using the Canberra Deep Space Network station to uplink
commands to Pathfinder that will cause us to give us a
beacon signal from the low-gain antenna.  We will also attempt
to initialize the high-gain antenna and send down engineering
data that will help us diagnose the problem from the last few

Although we don't specifically know the problem, we do
believe it is associated with the expected degradation of the
Pathfinder battery.  It is possible that the lander is now
operating only on solar power, and we will need to adjust the
operations to support this.  Understanding how to do this and
also how the spacecraft operates in this new mode are our goals
for the next few days.

For further information on the Mars Pathfinder Mission,
please call our Mission Status Report line at