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 2

February 22, 2008

Contact:  Kristie Smith
ksmith@lpi.usra.edu
281.486.2159
Lunar and Planetary Institute

A new record was set this year when more than 1500 abstracts were submitted to the 39th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference. All submissions were carefully reviewed, and approximately 50 abstracts were selected by the scientific review committee to be highlighted as being particularly newsworthy.

I would like to call your attention to two sessions that will feature new and exciting scientific results that have never before been presented:.

  • Impact Events:  Modeling, Experiments and Observations:  Just before noon on September 15, 2007, the Carancas meteorite slammed into a dry stream bank in Peru, producing a crater nearly 15 m in diameter. The meteorite has astonished scientists, as it is not dominantly iron, but a stony (stone-rich) H4/5 chondrite that did not disperse in the atmosphere before impacting the surface. This event challenges our understanding of entry physics and provides new implications for small craters on Earth and Mars.
    Tuesday, March 11, 2008, at 1:30 p.m. in the Amphitheater
  • New Achondrite GRA 06128/GRA 06129 — Origins Unknown:  During the 2006 ANSMET field season, a unique meteorite pair was discovered in the Graves Nunataks (GRA) area of Antarctica. These meteorites are not obviously like any other meteorites, so their origin is unclear. The mineralogy and chemical composition of these meteorites are so unusual that scientists are struggling to find the right term to describe them. Numerous parent bodies have been proposed. Could they have come from the Moon? From Venus? Scientists are currently debating these issues.
    Wednesday, March 12, 2008, at 8:30 a.m. in Crystal Ballroom A

This year LPSC is showcasing three special sessions that will feature the most current information available.

  • MESSENGER at Mercury:
    Part I:  Monday, March 10, 2008, at 8:30 a.m. in Crystal Ballroom A
    Part II:  Monday, March 10, 2008, at 2:30 p.m. in Crystal Ballroom A

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:
    Monday, March 10, 2008, at 2:30 p.m. in Crystal Ballroom A

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:
    Part I:  Tuesday, March 11, 2008, at 8:30 a.m. in Crystal Ballroom A
    Part II:  Tuesday, March 11, 2008, at 1:30 p.m. in Crystal Ballroom A

This session will focus on the current state of lunar science and the role of future missions in addressing outstanding issues. 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.

The Lunar and Planetary Institute will host a press conference on Tuesday, March 11, 2008, at 9:00 a.m. in the Harbour View Room featuring the Results from the Kaguya (SELENE) Mission to the Moon.

Beyond the formal press conference, any member of the working press who would like to interview the authors of any abstract being presented at the meeting should contact Kristie Smith before March 3, 2008. An effort will be made to determine a mutually convenient time and location for the interview during the week of the conference.