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William Jeffs
Johnson Space Center, Houston

RELEASE : J08-002
Results From Mercury, Moon Missions Highlight Conference
HOUSTON – Early science results from MESSENGER's flyby of Mercury and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency's Kaguya mission to the moon highlight the 39th annual Lunar and Planetary Science Conference March 10-14 in Houston.

The conference will include presentations on the latest findings from these missions and a special session on the current state of lunar science and the role of future missions in addressing outstanding issues. Exciting new results from a wide variety of planetary science disciplines also will be presented. Leading scientists from around the world will attend to discuss these and other topics at the South Shore Harbour Resort and Conference Center in League City, Texas.

Media may register to attend. For LPSC press information including links to the program, media advisories and contact information, visit:

Data from recent missions continue to offer space scientists worldwide new information and imagery to study. On Jan. 14, 2008, MESSENGER was the first spacecraft to fly near Mercury in nearly 33 years. MESSENGER has returned images of portions of the surface of Mercury never before seen by spacecraft and the first spacecraft measurements of the surface topography on the planet. The major objectives of the Kaguya mission, launched on Sept. 14, 2007, are to gather scientific data of the lunar origin and evolution and to develop the technology for future lunar exploration.

"This continues to be an exciting era for planetary scientists. Information from the diversity of missions returning new data every day complements the continuing discoveries in the planetary science research disciplines," said Eileen Stansbery, deputy director of the Astromaterials Research and Exploration Science Directorate at NASA’s Johnson Space Center. “This year’s conference provides much insight into the way the scientific community pulls diverse research disciplines and missions together to provide a framework for understanding our solar system and the bodies of which it is made." Participants include NASA Administrator Michael Griffin, who will speak at 5:30 p.m. March 10 in Crystal Ballroom A. Alan Stern, associate administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, will hold a NASA Headquarters SMD Briefing at 12:10 p.m. March 12 in Crystal Ballroom A. Jim Green, director of NASA’s Planetary Science Division, will hold a NASA Headquarters SMD/Exploration Systems Mission Directorate Briefing at 5:30 p.m. March 12 in Crystal Ballroom A. The conference is presented by the Lunar and Planetary Institute (LPI), in partnership with the Johnson Space Center, as part of a cooperative agreement with NASA.

LPI, celebrating its 40th anniversary, is managed by the Universities Space Research Association (USRA), a national, nonprofit consortium of universities chartered in 1969 by the National Academy of Sciences at the request of NASA. USRA operates programs and institutes focused on research and education in most of the disciplines engaged in space-related science and engineering. Institutional membership in USRA now stands at 100 leading research universities. More information about USRA can be found at

For more information about LPI, visit:

For information about NASA and agency programs on the Web, visit:


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