NASA's Mars Success Honored at Disney World Day of Discovery

Glenn Mahone/Bob Jacobs Headquarters, Washington April 6, 2004 (Phone: 202/358-1898/1600)
Miguel Piedra
Walt Disney World, Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (Phone: 407/566-5317)
RELEASE: 04-114
NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe joins NASA scientists, mission managers and a Mars rover today to help Disney's Epcot, at the Walt Disney World Resort, celebrate the success of the Mars Exploration Rovers Spirit and Opportunity.
The Administrator's now famous quote, "We're back - and we're on Mars" is being added to a permanent collection of space- related quotations on the faade of Disney's latest attraction, "Mission: SPACE." The popular attraction launches visitors on a simulated space adventure to the Red Planet. "Mission: SPACE" combines NASA-based technology and imagery with the creative minds of Walt Disney Imagineering to deliver a one-of-a-kind exploration experience.
"The attraction builds on a foundation of science fact and provides visitors a fantasy ride into the future of exploration," said Administrator O'Keefe. "It's a realistic experience that can introduce a new generation of explorers to the excitement of science, technology and discovery."
"Mission: SPACE" officially opened Oct. 9, 2003. It is Disney's most technologically advanced attraction, relying on visual imaging, motion control and centrifuge technology to send would-be astronauts on a futuristic voyage.
"Mission: SPACE appeals to the explorer in all of us," said Al Weiss, president of Walt Disney World Resort, Lake Buena Vista, Fla. "NASA's triumphant Mars missions embody that spirit of exploration. We are pleased and honored to have Administrator O'Keefe's comments taking their place at Mission: SPACE alongside those of others who dared to dream," he said.
NASA provided Disney's Imagineering team with tours, briefings and discussions about human and robotic missions, as well as the challenges future missions, like a trip to Mars, might present. The attraction took five years and some 350,000 work-hours to build.
During a special ceremony, an actual Mars rover made a ceremonial pass through wet cement. Administrator O'Keefe's quote will be affixed near the rover's tracks in the attraction's planetary courtyard. The latest developments and discoveries on Mars also were shared during the event.
As for the real rovers traversing Mars some 300 million miles from Earth, Spirit and Opportunity have made extraordinary discoveries and found important clues to a watery past on the martian surface. The Spirit rover is driving toward the "Columbia Hills," and Opportunity has been making close examinations of a martian rock known as "Bounce" before moving toward Endurance Crater.
For information about the latest developments on Mars and Disney's "Mission: SPACE" attraction on the Internet, visit:
For information about NASA and agency missions on the Internet, visit:
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