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Jonas Dino
NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif.
Phone: (650) 604-5612 or (650) 207-3280

March 21, 2006
NASA Conference to Discuss Life in the Universe
MEDIA ADVISORY: News media representatives are invited to attend the Astrobiology Science Conference (AbSciCon) 2006 at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington, March 26-30, 2006. The conference will feature keynote presentations, expert panel discussions, poster sessions, workshops and a debate on the book 'Life As We Do Not Know It,' by Peter Ward. Former astronaut Harrison “Jack” Schmitt will introduce showings of the 3D IMAX movie, 'Magnificent Desolation: Walking on the Moon.' For registration information and interview opportunities, please contact Jonas Dino at (650) 207-3280 or Registration is required for attendance.

During a major scientific conference later this month in the nation's capitol, NASA is bringing together leading experts in the field of astrobiology to discuss the origins, evolution, distribution and future of life in the universe.

"Astrobiology addresses some of the most fundamental questions humans have ever posed: How did life begin on Earth? Does it exist elsewhere in the universe?" said Carl Pilcher, NASA astrobiology senior scientist. "The Astrobiology Science Conference is the largest scientific meeting dedicated to reporting progress and results of this research."

Sponsored by NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif., in collaboration with the Carnegie Institution of Washington, Geophysical Lab, the Astrobiology Science Conference (AbSciCon) 2006 will be held March 26-30 at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center, Washington.

"NASA's astrobiology program brings together the wide range of researchers -- biologists, astrophysicists, chemists, astronomers, and Earth and planetary scientists to name a few --that are needed to address these profound questions," Pilcher said.

During the five-day conference, AbSciCon 2006 will include a limited number of plenary talks that will complement a larger number of oral presentations in parallel thematic sessions. The event also will include a poster session, a valuable and successful venue to exchange scientific ideas. As in the past, students will play an important role in the conference. Workshops dedicated to graduate students will be held on the first day of the conference and the NASA Astrobiology Institute, Moffett Field, Calif., will host a student poster competition.

Highlights of the conference include a special lecture by George V. Coyne, S.J., of the Vatican Observatory, Castel Gandolfo, Italy, discussing the possible role of God in the universe. John Hayes of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, Mass., will deliver the Harold Klein lecture. Also featured will be a discussion by NASA scientist Scott Sandford highlighting the latest developments in the Stardust mission; a presentation by former astronaut Harrison “Jack” Schmitt about returning to and living on the moon; and a panel discussion of the Peter Ward book "Life As We Do Not Know It."

There also will be special evening showings of the 3-D IMAX movie, " Magnificent Desolation: Walking on the Moon," featuring an introduction by Schmitt.

The Carnegie Institution of Washington ( has been a pioneering force in basic scientific research since 1902. It is a private, nonprofit organization with six research departments throughout the U.S. Carnegie scientists are leaders in plant biology, developmental biology, astronomy, materials science, global ecology, and Earth and planetary science.

For more information about AbSciCon 2006, visit:

For more information about NASA's astrobiology program, visit:


For more information about the Carnegie Institution of Washington: visit:


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