Comets and astrobiology


Press meeting during JENAM 2005 in Liege (Begium)

The Joint European and National Astronomy Meeting (JENAM) makes also possible for media professionnals to meet astronomers. This european meeting is open every day to the press, but there is a special "rendez-vous" on Wednesday 6 July 2005.

The day will begin at 9 o'clock with the conference "Cosmic Vision" by David Southwood, scientific director of the European Space Agency (ESA), a talk presenting the future challenges of ESA.

Next (around 10 o'clock) will take place a discussion/press conference about two themes: comets and astrobiology.

In fact, during the JENAM, comet Tempel 1 will be bombarded by the Deep Impact spacecraft. This comet and this impact will be observed with the best ground telescopes, the Very Large Telescopes of the European Southern Observatory. The press conference will thus begin with the latest news concerning the impact. Two comet specialists participating to this observing campaign will answer your questions: Damien Hutsemékers, in Liège, and Emmanuel Jehin, live from the Cerro Paranal Observatory.

We also invite you to a discussion with most renowned specialists of astrobiology, the science exploring the possibility of life on other planets. During this second part of the press conference, five scientists will present the latest results in this domain, notably by pointing out the results of the European spacecraft Mars Express & Huygens, and the American rovers (Spirit and Opportunity).

Will be present for this second part of the debate :

  • Agustin Chicarro (ESA), responsible for the European spacecraft Mars Express
  • Emmanuelle Javaux (ULg), astrobiologist
  • Jean-Pierre Swings (ULg), chairman of the executive committee of Aurora (the European Mars exploration program)
  • Andy Knoll (Harvard Univ.), responsible for the NASA Opportunity rover
  • Juan Perez-Mercader, director of the astrobiology center in Madrid
  • Jean-Pierre Lebreton (ESA), european responsible of the Cassini-Huygens mission

    After a light meal offered by ULg, the media professionnals will have the opportunity to visit not only the Centre Spatial de Liège (Liege Space Center), where will be tested at that time the European satellite Planck, but also AMOS, the company that is building the auxiliary telescopes of the VLTI.

    The day will end with a science café (public debate) about life in our Universe.

    Please confirm your participation with the media space on

    Source: Eurekalert & others

    Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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