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February 12–14
The Workshop on Evolution of Martian Volatiles is held at LPI. Convened by Bruce Jakosky and Allan Treiman, the goal of the workshop is to bring together researchers representing all the different aspects of Mars science in an effort to obtain an overall understanding of Mars as a system.


February 17

The Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous (NEAR) mission launches to asteroid Eros. NEAR is NASA’s first Discovery mission and the first mission to orbit an asteroid.

August 7
NASA scientists announce that meteorite ALH84001 contains fossils that may be the remains of bacteria-like lifeforms, indicating that microscopic life may have once existed on Mars. The 4.2-pound, potato-shaped meteorite is approximately the same age as the Red Planet. Controversy immediately ensues as scientists debate the validity of this claim.


August 13
The Galileo probe at Jupiter reveals that Europa may harbor “warm ice” or even liquid water — key elements in life-sustaining environments.


October 16–18
The Workshop on Evolution of Igneous Asteroids: Focus on Vesta and the HED Meteorites is held at LPI. Convened by David Mittlefehldt and James Papike, the intent of the workshop is to exhaustively discuss the issues regarding the geology and evolution of Vesta and the origin of HEDs.


November 7
Mars Global Surveyor launches. Mars Global Surveyor is a global mapping mission, carrying a suite of science instruments designed to study the entire martian surface, atmosphere, and interior.


December 12–13
The Workshop on Uses of Solar System Resources is held at the LPI. LPI provides logistical, administrative, and publications support for this two-day workshop, convened by Mike Duke.