Lunar and Planetary Institute

March 10–14, 2008
South Shore Harbour
Resort and Conference Center
2500 South Shore Boulevard
League City, Texas 77573

Media Advisory 1

February 7, 2008

Contact:  Kristie Smith
Lunar and Planetary Institute

Please join us at the 39th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference (LPSC), March 10–14, 2008, at the South Shore Harbour Resort and Conference Center in League City, Texas. Jointly sponsored by the Lunar and Planetary Institute (LPI) and NASA Johnson Space Center (JSC), LPSC brings together international specialists in petrology, geochemistry, geophysics, and astronomy to present the most recent results in lunar and planetary science.

This year the conference will showcase three special sessions:

  • MESSENGER at Mercury:    On January 14, 2008, MESSENGER was the first spacecraft to fly near Mercury in nearly 33 years. This session will feature images of portions of the surface never before seen by spacecraft, data from the first high-resolution spectral reflectance measurements (ultraviolet to near-infrared) of surface composition, the deepest penetration yet into Mercury’s magnetosphere, the first spacecraft altimetric measurements of surface topography on the planet, searches for previously undetected species in Mercury’s surface-based exosphere, and discussion on limits provided by the geochemical remote-sensing instruments.
  • Results from the Kaguya (SELENE) Mission to the Moon:  The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) launched Kaguya (SELENE) on September 14, 2007.  The major objectives of the Kaguya mission are to obtain scientific data of the lunar origin and evolution and to develop the technology for future lunar exploration.  Kaguya consists of a main orbiting satellite at approximately 100 km altitude and two small satellites (Relay Satellite and VRAD Satellite) in polar orbit.  The orbiters will carry instruments for scientific investigation of the Moon, on the Moon, and from the Moon.  Presentations in this session will describe the early science results of the mission, with new data from the various instruments on the spacecraft.
  • Lunar Science:  Past, Present, and Future on the Moon:   This session will focus on the current state of lunar science and the role of future missions in addressing outstanding issues.  The session has been constructed from a combination of invited and contributed talks.  Lunar science topics include lunar bulk composition and its relation to processes during lunar origin, lunar differentiation (from the magma ocean to the most recent magmatism), bulk composition of the crust, current views of the cataclysmic bombardment hypothesis, and lunar polar science.  Discussion of future missions will focus on network science and their synergism with orbital missions, robotic landed missions (including sample returns), and human missions.

Other sessions will focus on the current state of lunar knowledge, new and current missions to the Moon, and lunar network science and forward mission concepts.

This year, there will be more than 500 oral presentations and over 900 poster presentations, including the special sessions. All abstracts are now accessible online. The LPSC Press Information page provides registration, accommodation, and transportation information, as well as links to the program, media advisories, and contact information.

This year’s special guest speakers will include Dr. Michael Griffin, NASA’s Administrator, who will speak on Monday at 5:30 p.m. in Crystal Ballroom A. Dr. Alan Stern, Associate Administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, and Dr. Jim Green, Director of NASA’s Planetary Science Division, will speak on Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. in Crystal Ballroom A.

Other noteworthy sessions will include an Overview of the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Mission on Thursday, March 13, at 5:30 p.m., which will discuss the upcoming October launch of the U.S. LRO spacecraft and payload, which is designed to provide a multidisciplinary global map of the Moon for scientific and exploration purposes. Also featured will be a Town Hall with NASA Senior Advisor for Research and Analysis (R&A) on Wednesday, March 12, at noon. Dr. Yvonne Pendleton, Senior Advisor for R&A, Science Mission Directorate, will lead a discussion focusing on NASA’s strategic directions in the R&A programs within the NASA Science Mission Directorate, including process changes to facilitate research activities. 

Members of the media who are interested in a firsthand opportunity to discover breaking news about the latest results from an international field of scientists conducting lunar and planetary science research will not want to miss this five-day conference.

The registration fee for the conference is waived for all members of the media and working press who are able to provide press credentials. For more detailed information about the conference, visit the
39th LPSC website.

Please contact Kristie Smith for further questions or to schedule interviews.