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Silicon Valley Astronomy Lectures Series

Chris McKay to talk on November 9, 2005 at 7 p.m.

Andrew Fraknoi


Astronomer Chris McKay of NASA's Ames Research Center will give a non-technical, illustrated talk on: REVEALING TITAN: What the Cassini Mission Has Discovered about Saturn's Giant Moon. The talk will be in the Smithwick Theater, Foothill College, El Monte Road and Freeway 280, in Los Altos Hills, California. Free and open to the public. Parking on campus costs $2. Call the series hot-line at 650-949-7888 for more information and driving directions.

Saturn's huge moon Titan is the only satellite in the solar system with a substantial atmosphere. The joint NASA/European Space Agency mission called Cassini has been exploring this fascinating, but haze-shrouded, moon in detail, even dropping a probe onto its surface.

Dr. McKay, a co-investigator for this experiment to reveal Titan's surface for the first time, will fill us in on what the probe and the orbiter are finding out about this cold and alien world, which nevertheless has features that remind us of Earth.

Christopher McKay is a planetary scientist at NASA's Ames Research Center, specializing in the exploration of Mars and Titan, in the evolution of the solar system, and the search for life. He is actively involved in planning future Mars missions, and has traveled to cold, dry parts of our own planet to search for Mars-like environments. In 1989, Dr. McKay received the prestigious Urey Prize of the Division for Planetary Science, given to a young investigator who has already made important contributions to science early in his career. He is a popular speaker, giving lectures on the planets all over the country, in a uniquely humorous and accessible style.


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