Media Invitation to Astrobiology, Mars Exploration Meeting in Pasadena, July 8


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July 8, 2007
8:30 am-6 pm
Hilton Pasadena Hotel, Pasadena, CA

Members of the media are invited to attend a Colloquium on Astrobiology and Mars Exploration taking place Sunday July 8 in Pasadena, CA.

The Space Studies Board (SSB) of the National Research Council (NRC) is holding this Colloquium to foster discussion in the global science community on U.S. and international aspects of Mars exploration planning in the broad context of the findings of three recent NRC studies addressing astrobiology research: Exploring Organic Environments in the Solar System, An Astrobiology Strategy for the Exploration of Mars, and The Limits of Organic Life of Planetary Systems. (For more information about these studies, see: http://www7.nationalacademies.org/ssb/ )

The Colloquium will feature an open morning session where SSB Chairman Lennard Fisk will review 50 years of strategic planning for Mars exploration and NRC study leaders will brief attendees on the findings of the three reports. These briefings will be followed by a status report on NASA planning for the robotic and human exploration of Mars.

A lunch-time session will focus on planning for the European Space Agency's Aurora exploration program. Invited discussants will participate in a series of early-afternoon working-ground sessions on specific aspects of Mars exploration, such as subsurface exploration, sample return, and planetary protection. The lunch-time session and the working-group sessions will be closed to all but invited participants. The Colloquium will conclude with an open plenary session in which working groups will report on their findings. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration will prepare summaries of the working-group sessions; these summaries will be available to the public.

The Astrobiology and Mars Exploration Science Colloquium precedes the 7th International Mars Conference, taking place July 9-13 at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. (See: http://www.lpi.usra.edu/meetings/ 7thmars2007/ for more information on the Mars Conference.)

For more information or a complete agenda, contact:

Linda Billings
1-202-479-4311
lbillings@seti.org

To request free press registration for the Colloquium, contact:

David Smith, Space Studies Board
1-202-334-3477
dsmith@nas.edu

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