Text: H.Res.490 — 108th Congress (2003-2004)

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Introduced in House (01/20/2004)


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[Congressional Bills 108th Congress]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office]
[H. Res. 490 Introduced in House (IH)]






108th CONGRESS
  2d Session
H. RES. 490

Recognizing and commending the achievements of the National Aeronautics 
 and Space Administration, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and Cornell 
   University in conducting the Mars Exploration Rover mission, and 
            recognizing the importance of space exploration.


_______________________________________________________________________


                    IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

                            January 20, 2004

 Mr. Dreier (for himself, Mr. Schiff, Mr. Rohrabacher, Mr. Gordon, Mr. 
    Boehlert, Mr. Lampson, Mr. Walsh, Mr. Mollohan, Mr. Feeney, Mr. 
  McDermott, Ms. Jackson-Lee of Texas, Mr. Costello, Ms. Lofgren, Mr. 
Moran of Virginia, Mr. Ehlers, Mr. Holt, Mr. Culberson, Mr. Alexander, 
Mr. Calvert, Mr. Berman, Mrs. Capps, Mr. Udall of Colorado, Mrs. Jones 
   of Ohio, Mrs. Tauscher, Ms. Harman, Mr. Hinchey, Mr. Sherman, Mr. 
 Bilirakis, and Ms. Roybal-Allard) submitted the following resolution; 
             which was referred to the Committee on Science

_______________________________________________________________________

                               RESOLUTION


 
Recognizing and commending the achievements of the National Aeronautics 
 and Space Administration, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and Cornell 
   University in conducting the Mars Exploration Rover mission, and 
            recognizing the importance of space exploration.

Whereas since its inception in 1958 the National Aeronautics and Space 
        Administration has achieved extraordinary scientific and technological 
        feats;
Whereas the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's exploration of space 
        has taught us to view Earth, ourselves, and the universe in a new way, 
        opening our eyes and minds to great and new possibilities;
Whereas for over 40 years the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's 
        Jet Propulsion Laboratory has led the world in the robotic exploration 
        of the solar system, commanding the first United States unmanned 
        missions to the Moon, Venus, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, 
        Neptune, and most recently, the edge of our solar system;
Whereas the Jet Propulsion Laboratory began the space age for the United States 
        in 1958 with the successful development and launch of the Explorer 1, 
        the first United States satellite;
Whereas the Jet Propulsion Laboratory conducted the first interplanetary 
        mission, in which the Mariner 2 spacecraft arrived at Venus in December 
        1962;
Whereas over 100 years ago Russian astrophysicist Konstantin Tsiolkovsky asked, 
        ``to observe Mars from a distance of several tens of kilometers, to land 
        on its satellite or even on its surface, what could be more 
        fantastic?'';
Whereas the Jet Propulsion Laboratory fulfilled Konstantin Tsiolkovsky's vision 
        when it navigated the Viking mission, developed the Viking Orbiter, and 
        in 1976 successfully operated the Viking 1 and 2 robot landers on Mars, 
        the first missions to land a spacecraft safely on the surface of another 
        planet;
Whereas more than 26 years after its launch in 1977, the Jet Propulsion 
        Laboratory's Voyager 1, which unlocked the mysteries of the outer 
        planets of our solar system, continues to expand our understanding of 
        the farthest reaches of our solar system;
Whereas the Jet Propulsion Laboratory's Mars Pathfinder successfully landed on 
        the Martian surface on July 4, 1997, launching the first United States 
        free-roving exploration of another planet and inspiring a new generation 
        of children to dream of the heavens;
Whereas after a journey of nearly seven years the Jet Propulsion Laboratory's 
        Cassini-Huygens spacecraft will enter Saturn's orbit and begin to 
        explore the solar system's second largest planet on July 1, 2004, and 
        subsequently dispatch Huygens, a European-built probe, to the surface of 
        Titan, Saturn's largest moon;
Whereas the Jet Propulsion Laboratory's Stardust spacecraft, having traveled 
        more than 3,000,000,000 miles, will return to Earth on January 15, 2006, 
        with the first extraterrestrial materials from beyond the orbit of the 
        Moon;
Whereas the Mars Exploration Rovers Spirit and Opportunity were launched on June 
        10, 2003, and July 7, 2003, respectively, on missions to search for 
        evidence indicating that Mars once held conditions hospitable to life;
Whereas Cornell University has led the development of the five science 
        instruments carried by the two Rovers, is leading a science team 
        consisting of 150 preeminent astronomers and engineers in the science 
        investigation for the Mars mission, and is playing a leading role in 
        both the operation of the two Rovers and the processing and analysis of 
        the images and other data sent back to Earth;
Whereas the Rovers' landing sites were selected on the basis of intensive study 
        of orbital data collected by the Mars Global Surveyor and Mars 
        Pathfinder missions;
Whereas Spirit's landing site, formerly known as Gusev Crater and renamed 
        Columbia Memorial Station, is thought to have once contained a large 
        lake and may hold water-laid sediments that preserve important records 
        of the lake environment, the sediments' highlands origins, and the 
        sediments' river trip;
Whereas Opportunity's landing site, the Meridiani Planum, contains exposed 
        deposits of a mineral that usually forms under watery conditions;
Whereas each Rover will conduct a three-month scientific study of the geologic 
        records at the sites and evaluate whether those conditions would have 
        been suitable for life;
Whereas each 384-pound Rover, roughly the size of a golf cart, traveled 
        approximately 300,000,000 miles to reach Mars;
Whereas the craft carrying each Rover reaches speeds nearing 12,000 miles per 
        hour when entering the Mars atmosphere before decelerating to a vertical 
        stop in just over six minutes;
Whereas, during the period between entry into the Mars atmosphere and the 
        Rovers' landing, over one dozen intricate operations need to be 
        performed perfectly at just the right point for the Rovers to survive;
Whereas Spirit successfully completed entry, descent, and landing on January 3, 
        2004, at 11:35 p.m. eastern standard time, and within hours was beaming 
        photographs of the Martian surface back to Earth;
Whereas Spirit is to be joined on the surface of Mars by its twin, Opportunity, 
        on January 24, 2004; and
Whereas the engineers, scientists, and technicians of the Jet Propulsion 
        Laboratory have played a vital role in the Nation's space program and 
        set an example for the rest of us to follow: Now therefore be it
    Resolved, That the House of Representatives--
            (1) commends the engineers, scientists, and technicians of 
        the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Cornell University for their 
        years of effort leading up to the successful entry, descent, 
        landing, and operation of the Mars Exploration Rover Spirit on 
        the Martian surface on January 3, 2004;
            (2) recognizes the importance to the Nation and to humanity 
        of the exploration of space; and
            (3) honors the achievements of the National Aeronautics and 
        Space Administration, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and 
        Cornell University in expanding our comprehension of the 
        universe and fulfilling the human need to explore and 
        understand.
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