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February 13, 2001

Catherine E. Watson
Johnson Space Center, Houston, TX
(Phone: 281/483-5111)

Release: J01-14

NASA to Host 32nd Lunar and Planetary Science Conference at Johnson Space Center

Ancient life on Mars, oceans on Europa, a rendezvous with an asteroid – these are just a few of the many fascinating topics that will be covered at the 32nd Lunar and Planetary Science Conference, March 12-16, 2001, at the NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston.

More than 450 scientists will present their research at JSC's Gilruth Center beginning at 8:30 a.m. Monday, March 12. Oral presentations will continue through Friday morning, March 16. Some scientists will also present their results on posters from 7 to 9:30 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday, in the Bayou Building at the University of Houston – Clear Lake. The media are invited to attend both the oral and poster sessions.

One session on Monday morning will be devoted to the Tagish Lake meteorite, which fell to Earth in northern British Columbia on Jan. 18, 2000. Early analyses suggest that the Tagish Lake meteorite may contain the most primitive solar system materials yet found. Researchers have also determined that the meteroid weighed 200,000 kilograms (441,000 lbs) before it entered the atmosphere, and was four to six meters (approximately 13 to 20 feet) in diameter. Several hundred meteorite samples have been recovered from the site, which is strewn along an area 16 kilometers (10 miles) long and five kilometers (three miles) wide. The analyses of these unique samples will be discussed in detail at the conference.

The conference, which is chaired by Carl B. Agee of JSC and David C. Black of the Lunar and Planetary Institute, will also include presentations on water, glaciers and volcanoes on Mars; earthquakes on Venus; and the effects of past asteroid impacts on the Earth.

News media can register for the conference, at no charge, via the Web at:

Under “registration status” select “Working Press $0.00”. News media with additional questions, or those who wish to schedule interviews with participants, should contact Pam Thompson at the Lunar and Planetary Institute. Thompson can be reached by phone at 281/486-2175 or by e-mail at

Additional information about conference events, including the texts of abstracts, can be found at the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference website:


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