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F eb. 28, 2002

Kathleen Burton

NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif.

Phone: 650/604-1731 or 604-9000


NOTE TO EDITORS AND NEWS DIRECTORS: You are invited to attend the ‘Contact Ames Symposium 2002,’ a one-day astrobiology research seminar to be held on March 1 in the Moffett Training and Conference Center (Bldg. 3) at NASA’s Ames Research Center. Astrobiology experts will discuss strategies and targets for looking for life in the universe. To reach Ames, take the Moffett Field exit off Highway 101 and drive east to the main gate. Members of the media will be required to show a driver’s license at the Moffett Field main gate, where they will be directed to Bldg. 3.


NASA Ames Research Center will host the ‘Contact Ames Symposium 2002,’ a seminar focusing on astrobiology and the transfer of life between planets, on March 1. The event will take place between 9:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. PST.

Co-sponsored by NASA Ames and the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) Institute, the ‘Contact Ames Symposium 2002’ is part of the three-day ‘Contact 2002 Conference’ that will be held at the Marriott Hotel in Santa Clara on March 1 to March 3. The one-day Ames session focuses specifically on the question: "Is the Cosmos Rife with Life?"

The keynote address, "What Is Life?," will be delivered at 9:00 a.m. PST by Dr. Baruch Blumberg, director of NASA’s Astrobiology Institute and a Nobel laureate in medicine.

"Currently, there is no agreed-upon definition of life, although many of the characteristics of living organisms can be listed," said Blumberg. "This interdisciplinary meeting will stimulate the discussion of the characteristics that are known, and give rise to conjectures about life forms that may be found on locations other than Earth."

Symposium highlights will include:

• Dr. Penelope Boston, University of New Mexico, "Earth, Mars and Beyond" (10:00 a.m.)

• Dr. Chris Chyba, SETI Institute, "Life Around Giant Planets" (10:45 a.m.)

• Dr. Bill Borucki, NASA Ames, discussing the Kepler Mission (1:00 p.m.)

• Dr. Robert Zubrin, Mars Society, "Panspermia: Transferring Life Between Worlds" (2:30 p.m.)

• Dr. Al Harrison, University of California, Davis, and Dr. Jim Funaro, Cabrillo College,

discussing the societal implications of finding intelligent life elsewhere (3:15 p.m.)

There will be an opportunity for the media to interview available speakers between noon and 12:40 p.m. in the North Wing Room, opposite the Macon Room, Bldg. 3. Researchers who have agreed to be available for interview include Ames’ Dr. Christopher McKay and SETI’s Dr. Seth Shostak.

Pre-registration is not required for members of the news media to attend the ‘Contact Ames Symposium 2002.’ Registration is required for the three-day ‘Contact 2002 Conference.’ To register, go to:

A ‘Contact Ames 2002 Symposium’ agenda is available on the Web at:

Astrobiology is the study of the origin, evolution, distribution and future of life in the universe. Ames is the agency’s lead center for astrobiology and the location of the central offices of NASA’s Astrobiology Institute (NAI), an international research consortium. Information about NASA’s astrobiology programs may be obtained at:



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