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Office of the Vice President

For Immediate Release July 18, 1997
                        FULL COLOR PANORAMA OF MARS

Vice President Honors Connecticut Student for Naming Rover After Sojourner Truth

WASHINGTON -- Vice President Gore today (7/18) unveiled a dramatic full-color panorama color photograph of Mars taken by the Mars Pathfinder and honored a 15-year-old student from Connecticut for naming the Pathfinder's rover after Sojourner Truth.

This is the first time that this photograph has been shown to the public, and the Vice President announced that it will be sent to the National Air and Space Museum for viewing beginning next week. The 14-foot, by 3-foot photograph was unveiled at a celebration with Girls Nation in honor of women in the nation's space program.

"It's only logical that NASA name the rover after Sojourner Truth," said the Vice President. "Sojourner Truth was a woman who traveled far and wide to seek what was good and what was right. She sought truth -- and along the way, she proved that women can achieve anything they dare to dream. The photograph we unveil today shows us some of those dreams."

The photograph was taken on Mars by the Pathfinder lander on Saturday, July 12. It is made out of 500 images. The images were transmitted to Earth over four days and it took about 12 hours to compose the super pan. The photograph will serve as a master index for the Mars Pathfinder mission, providing an atlas and road map for the Sojourner and allowing for the identification of rock and soil targets based on color and texture. Images like the super pan are helping scientists understand more about the geology of the planet. The photograph shows Sojourner making an elemental measurement of the rock named Yogi.

Joining the Vice President for the unveiling were: Dan Goldin, NASA administrator; Donna Shirley, manager of Mars Exploration Program Office; and Mary Ellen Weber, NASA astronaut. Also honored was Jennifer Harris, flight director for Mars Pathfinder.

In addition to the unveiling, the Vice President honored 15-year-old Valerie Ambroise of Bridgeport, Conn., who won an international contest to name the Pathfinder rover. In an essay that she wrote when she was 12 years old, Ambroise recommended that the rover be named after Sojourner Truth. In the essay, Ambroise wrote: "I chose Sojourner because she was a heroine to blacks, slaves and women. She acted on her strong feelings about life and the way it should be...It is only logical that the Pathfinder be named Sojourner Truth because she is on a journey to find truth on Mars."