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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 26, 2009
JPL Scientist to Present Findings of Phoenix Mars Mission
In collaboration with the Santa Clarita Valley Astronomy Group, the College of the Canyons astronomy and physics department will host the presentation “Results of the Phoenix Mission (to Mars),” led by Robert Denise of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, on August 28.
“This is a rare opportunity for anyone with an interest in space and astronomy to learn more about this groundbreaking mission from someone who was part of it, from start to finish,” said Ram Manvi, dean of mathematics, sciences and engineering at the college.
Launched on August 4, 2007, NASA’s Phoenix spacecraft traveled 423 million miles to the red planet, where it landed on May 25, 2008. For five months, Phoenix collected data in a Martian arctic plain that would help determine the planet’s history of water and its ability to support life. But as the harsh Martian winter approached, the solar-powered spacecraft began to lose power and the mission was completed. Even so, the mission’s findings were indispensable to the science community.
"Not only did we find water ice, as expected, but the soil chemistry and minerals we observed lead us to believe this site had a wetter and warmer climate in the recent past -- the last few million years -- and could again in the future," said Phoenix Principal Investigator Peter Smith of the University of Arizona, Tucson, according to the mission’s Website.
A resident of Santa Clarita, Denise has worked at NASA for more than 14 years, most recently as Tactical Mission Manager for the Surface Phase of the Phoenix Mission.
Denise’s presentation will be held from 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Aliso Hall (Room 108).
Admission is free.