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Melissa Mathews/Beth Dickey
Headquarters, Washington

Brandi Dean
Johnson Space Center, Houston

Aug. 30, 2007
NASA Invites Reporters for Lunar Mission Tests at 'Desert Rats'
HOUSTON - News media are invited to spend a day with NASA's planetary rovers, robots and futuristic spacesuits as the agency tests hardware for missions to the moon. A media day for the event, known as Desert RATS, will be held Sept. 12 northeast of Flagstaff, Ariz.

Desert RATS (Research and Technology Studies) highlights the partnership between humans and robots in space exploration. This year's event is a field test of advanced concepts that may be used for missions to the moon, which NASA plans to begin by 2020. The tests will take place near a site used to train for the first moon landings during the Apollo Program in the 1960s.

Engineers will test concepts for assembly of a lunar outpost, such as using robots and a lunar rover to perform a site survey and set up solar arrays and cables for power supply.

Reporters at the Desert RATS media day will be able to:
- watch engineers in prototype space suits simulate astronauts' activities on the moon;
- interview rover and space suit engineers;
- participate in photo opportunities with the rover known as SCOUT, time permitting; and
- get the latest information on NASA's plans for lunar exploration.

Interested media should contact Brandi Dean at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston no later than Wednesday, Sept. 5. Access to the test site is restricted. NASA requires a letter of assignment on company letterhead for credentials. For more about NASA's plans to set up an outpost on the moon, visit:

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