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January 22, 1999

Kathleen Burton

(Phone: 650-604-1731 or 650-604-9000)

NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA

Kburton@mail.arc.nasa.gov


NOTE TO EDITORS: 99-03AR

NASA TO BRIEF NEWS MEDIA ABOUT ASTROBIOLOGY

You are invited to learn more about NASA's Astrobiology Program at a press briefing hosted by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) on Monday, January 25, 1999. The briefing will begin at 11:30 a.m. PST in the Palos Verdes room of the Hilton Hotel (4th floor), Anaheim, CA. Reporters planning to attend the briefing must register with the AAAS prior to the start of the session. There is no charge for the briefing registration.

Astrobiology is an emerging interdisciplinary field that deals with life in the universe: its origin, evolution, distribution and future. During the briefing, speakers will discuss some of the fundamental scientific questions that are part of this effort. David DesMarais, NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA, will discuss the co-evolution of life and the Earth; Jonathan Trent of Ames will discuss the adaptation of life to extreme environments; Jack Farmer, Arizona State University, Tucson, AZ, will discuss life on Mars and the search for life in the Solar System; and Emily R. Morey-Holton of Ames will discuss the expansion of terrestrial life beyond the home planet.

The 50-minute press briefing will precede an AAAS symposium on Astrobiology on Monday, January 25, from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. Organized by David Morrison, Ames Research Center and James S. Clegg, University of California-Davis, Davis, CA, the symposium is titled "Astrobiology: Understanding Life in the Universe." It will address some of the fundamental scientific questions that astrobiologists ask:

  • How did life begin? Are there other habitable Earth-like planets?
  • Does life exist on other planets, and how may we recognize its presence?
  • Does life exist on Mars or in the ocean of Jupiter's moon Europa?
  • How might terrestrial life adapt and evolve in extraterrestrial environments?
  • What are the prospects for establishing stable ecosystems on Mars to support a long-term human presence on that planet?

Media personnel requiring additional details about the briefing, registration or location, may call the AAAS newsroom at (714) 703-0122.

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