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Death Valley, CA--Death Valley National Park announces the third annual MarsFest March 28-30, 2014. MarsFest is designed to elevate public awareness about planetary analog research taking place on Earth, and its associated missions in space such as Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) and the upcoming 2020 missions.
The National Park Service is proud to collaborate again this year with the SETI Institute (Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence), various NASA branches, and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory to bring scientists and the public together to explore the fascinating research being done in this field.
Death Valley National Park encompasses some of the most extreme environments on the planet.For decades, planetary scientists have come to the park to conduct research and instrument testing. There are several planetary analog research sites —sites that are equivalent to those on other planets--within the park's boundaries. Field trips to some of the sites are scheduled for Saturday March 29th.
The event is free and requires no registration, and is appropriate for all ages. The keynote speaker will be Dr. Chris McKay, Planetary Scientist within the Space Science Division of NASA Ames, and will also feature scientist-led field trips to analog sites such as Badwater Basin, Ubehebe Volcanic Field, and Mesquite Sand Dunes The event will also offer guest lectures and special presentations at the Furnace Creek Visitor Center. An additional feature is a "Curiosity Hour" update featuring scientists participating in the MSL Curiosity rover mission, followed by a Q&A session.