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Public Invited to NASA Goddard for Talk on Saturn's Moon Titan, April 3
Titan just beyond Saturn's rings.
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Cassini delivers this artificially colored yet stunning vista showing small, battered Epimetheus and smog-enshrouded Titan, with Saturn's A and F rings stretching across the scene. Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute

GREENBELT, Md. -- On Tuesday, Apr. 3, 2012, the Visitor Center at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., will host a public lecture about Saturn's intriguing moon Titan, given by Dr. Ralph Lorenz of the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Md. The talk will begin at 7:00 p.m. EDT.

Titan is a fixture in science fiction, making appearances in books, movies and television as well as comic books and video games. And why not? It's the only moon in the solar system with an atmosphere worthy of a planet. It's a place where clouds of methane float in a hazy brownish sky that kept the moon shrouded in mystery until recently, when science began to tell Titan's story.

The talk will review how Titan has been portrayed in science fiction and art over the years, from Chesley Bonnestell's iconic painting with a Saturn in a blue sky behind jagged hills, through Arthur C. Clarke's "Imperial Earth" novel, where Titan resounds to the howl of fictional technology called "ramscoops." The talk also will cover world history around key events in Titan exploration—some remarkably recurrent themes emerge even across the centuries since Titan's discovery.

Dr. Lorenz specializes in research on Titan, especially its climate, weather and landscape. In 1990 and 1991, he worked for the European Space Agency on the design of the Huygens probe, which landed on the surface of Titan in January 2005. He is presently the Project Scientist for the Titan Mare Explorer (TiME) mission being proposed to NASA for flight to Titan's polar sea Ligeia Mare in 2023. His other research interests include the geology and geophysics of icy moons, dust devils on Earth and Mars, and the design of instruments for planetary exploration. He is author or co-author of several books including 'Lifting Titan's Veil,' 'Spinning Flight,' and 'Space Systems Failures' as well as more than 180 publications in refereed journals.

The lecture is intended for members of the public of high-school age and older. Doors open at 6:00 p.m., and the lecture will start promptly at 7 p.m. EDT.

Space is limited. Please register in advance at:
For more information and directions to the NASA Goddard Visitor's Center, visit:
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Goddard Release No. 12-032

Elizabeth Zubritsky / Nancy Neal-Jones
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.
301-614-5438/301-286-0039 /