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March 4, 1999

Laura Rochon
Johnson Space Center, Houston, TX
(Phone: 281/483-5111)

Release: J99-6

NASA Hosts 30th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference in Houston

Special "Planetary Scientists Meet the Press" Workshop set for March 14

New evidence regarding the possibility that an ocean once existed on Mars will be among this year’s topics of interest at the 30th Annual Lunar and Planetary Science Conference (LPSC), March 15-19. The conference, which is chaired by Carl B. Agee and David C. Black, will be held at Johnson Space Center’s Gilruth Center and the University of Houston—Clear Lake (UHCL).

The "Planetary Scientists Meet the Press" workshop at the Lunar and Planetary Institute (LPI) on Sunday, March 14 will kick off the week’s activities. The workshop will bring together scientists and journalists to foster more effective communication of scientific information to the public.

Technical sessions will be held at the Gilruth Center, including oral presentations on continuing investigations of the Martian meteorites, results from the Mars Global Surveyor mission, discussions about astrobiology and origins of life in the Universe, findings about Jupiter’s moon Europa, and goals for near-future Mars missions (the Mars Surveyor 2001 orbiter, lander and rover, and the European Space Agency’s Mars Express). A special plenary session featuring the Masursky Lectures will highlight the scientific and technical accomplishments made during the Galileo mission to the Jovian system, and preview Cassini’s exploration of the Saturnian system.

Special sessions will include the Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous (NEAR) flyby of the asteroid Eros, new views of our Moon by the Clementine probe, and Lunar Prospector’s mapping and measurements of the magnetic and gravity fields of the Moon’s surface. New perspectives on Mars Global Surveyor results regarding Martian volcanism, possible lakes and oceans, the planet’s polar regions and other terrain will be discussed, as well as future missions to understand how Earth-like planets form and evolve to become habitable. Poster presentations are scheduled for Tuesday and Thursday evenings at UHCL’s Bayou Building.

Additional information on the conference events including registration and text of abstracts can be found at the LPI website:

To register for the media workshop, contact Pam Thompson by e-mail ( or by phone at: 281/486-2175.


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