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Kathleen Burton                                                                                              May 11, 2004

NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif.

Phone: 650/604-1731 or 604-9000

E-mail: Kathleen.M.Burton@nasa.gov


RELEASE: 04-40AR

NASA SCIENTIST TO THROW OUT FIRST PITCH AT GIANTS GAME MAY 13

To celebrate innovation in space exploration, NASA Ames Research Center scientist Dr. David DesMarais will throw out the ceremonial first pitch at the San Francisco Giants vs. the Philadelphia Phillies baseball game on Thursday, May 13 at SBC Park in San Francisco, Calif.

DesMarais is being honored at the game, which is part of GE and WIRED NextFest Day at SBC Park, because of his role as lead scientist of the long-term planning team in NASA's Mars Exploration Rover (MER) mission.  DesMarais helps plan day-to-day operations for the twin rovers, Spirit and Opportunity, coordinates activities between the rovers and the Mars orbiter and investigates how liquid water has influenced rocks and soils at the two rover sites, Gusev Crater and Meridiani.

"We are very proud that Dr. David DesMarais, a distinguished Ames scientist, is making such an important contribution to the success of the MER mission," said G. Scott Hubbard, Director of NASA Ames Research Center. "Of course, if Dave were throwing the ceremonial first pitch at a Martian baseball game, he'd be able to throw the ball about 60% farther because of Mars' less dense gravity," noted Hubbard.

The baseball game is scheduled to begin at 12:35 p.m. PDT. NextFest Day will highlight WIRED NextFest, presented by GE.  WIRED NextFest is a public exhibit of cutting-edge new technologies at Fort Mason in San Francisco, which is open to the public May 15 and 16.

NASA Ames' role in support of the MER mission includes design and testing of thermal protection materials, conducting wind tunnel tests of the MER parachutes and developing a suite of critical mission support software for the rover's daily operations.  Ames is also slated to play a future role in supporting the agency's new space exploration vision to send humans to the moon and Mars.

For more information about Ames' role in MER, visit:

http://amesnews.arc.nasa.gov/outreach/marscenter/contributions.html

or

http://amesnews.arc.nasa.gov/releases/2003/mer/mer.html

For information about NASA Ames Research Center visit:

http://www.arc.nasa.gov/

For information about SBC Park, directions to the game and links to WIRED NextFest, visit:

http://sanfrancisco,giants.mlb.com

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