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Has NASA found evidence of extraterrestrial life on Titan?

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In a media advisory posted earlier today, NASA announced that it will hold a press conference at 2pm on December 2 “to discuss an astrobiology finding that will impact the search for evidence of extraterrestrial life.” The announcement is likely related to the recent discovery of Oxygen in the atmosphere of Titan, one of Saturn’s moons, by the Cassini-Huygens spacecraft.

And with wording like that, we can only assume that this is a truly major announcement. If it just turns out to be a dud — some non-announcement announcement — I sincerely hope their press release writers will soon be looking for another job.

The full media advisory is copied below:


MEDIA ADVISORY : M10-167

NASA Sets News Conference on Astrobiology Discovery; Science Journal Has Embargoed Details Until 2 p.m. EST On Dec. 2

WASHINGTON — NASA will hold a news conference at 2 p.m. EST on Thursday, Dec. 2, to discuss an astrobiology finding that will impact the search for evidence of extraterrestrial life. Astrobiology is the study of the origin, evolution, distribution and future of life in the universe.

The news conference will be held at the NASA Headquarters auditorium at 300 E St. SW, in Washington. It will be broadcast live on NASA Television and streamed on the agency’s website at http://www.nasa.gov.

Participants are:
– Mary Voytek, director, Astrobiology Program, NASA Headquarters, Washington
– Felisa Wolfe-Simon, NASA astrobiology research fellow, U.S. Geological Survey, Menlo Park, Calif.
– Pamela Conrad, astrobiologist, NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.
– Steven Benner, distinguished fellow, Foundation for Applied Molecular Evolution, Gainesville, Fla.
– James Elser, professor, Arizona State University, Tempe

Media representatives may attend the conference or ask questions by phone or from participating NASA locations. To obtain dial-in information, journalists must send their name, affiliation and telephone number to Steve Cole at stephen.e.cole@nasa.gov or call 202-358-0918 by noon Dec. 2.

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