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Press Room

Go "Wild About Mars" With The Planetary Society


Mat Kaplan
Phone: +1-626-793-5100

On January 3-4, 2004, The Planetary Society will host "WILD ABOUT MARS" at the Pasadena Convention Center, featuring special guests and the opportunity to witness the landing of NASA's Mars Exploration Rover on a giant screen with thousands of other space enthusiasts.

Spirit will be the first of the two Mars Exploration Rovers to bounce down onto the Martian landscape, beginning an exciting new era of exploration. This historic event happens only one day after Stardust travels through Comet Wild 2 to collect samples for Earth return. Both missions will be celebrated at the "WILD ABOUT MARS" event.

"WILD ABOUT MARS" will feature a host of special guests, such as John Rhys-Davies, who stars as Gimli the dwarf in The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Rhys-Davies, a longtime friend of The Planetary Society, is flying in from England to perform dramatic readings from Ray Bradbury's collected works on both Saturday and Sunday.

Additional featured "WILD ABOUT MARS" programs include:

Space exploration exhibits will include a full-sized replica of the Mars Exploration Rover built from 70,000 LEGO bricks, a 47-foot long replica of a blade from The Planetary Society's Cosmos 1 solar sail, which was last on display at New York's Rockefeller Center, and several full-scale spacecraft models from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL).

"If you don't have a seat in JPL's mission control, WILD ABOUT MARS is the place to be to witness our latest journey to Mars in the company of renowned scientists, celebrities and authors who share a passion for space exploration," said Bruce Betts, Director of Projects for The Planetary Society.

The Mars Exploration Rover data featured at "WILD ABOUT MARS" will come from live feeds originating at JPL. "WILD ABOUT MARS" will keep late hours in order to offer the public and the media a first transmission from the Martian surface on a large screen.

Images returned from Stardust from its encounter with Comet Wild 2 will also be featured, as well as mission updates on the fleet of U.S and European spacecraft converging on the Red Planet. Never before have this many spacecraft descended upon Mars all at once.

"WILD ABOUT MARS" will be held in the Exhibition Hall of the Pasadena Center at 300 East Green Street. Admission ranges from $19.75 (one day) to $38.75 (both days) for adults (less for members of The Planetary Society) and $12.50-$25.00 for children ages 6-16. Under 6 are free. Call 1-877-PLANETS or visit website to order tickets.


About The Planetary Society

The Planetary Society has inspired millions of people to explore other worlds and seek other life. With the mission to empower the world's citizens to advance space science and exploration, its international membership makes the non-governmental Planetary Society the largest space interest group in the world. Carl Sagan, Bruce Murray and Louis Friedman founded The Planetary Society in 1980. Bill Nye, a longtime member of The Planetary Society's Board, serves as CEO.