New discoveries from Titan and Saturn, the status of ongoing studies of solar ions returned last year on the Genesis spacecraft and ongoing studies of Mars Exploration Rover results highlight the 36th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference.

Hundreds of leading scientists from around the world will meet next week in Houston to discuss these and other topics. The conference will be held March 14-18 at the South Shore Harbour Resort & Conference Center in League City, Texas.

“With initial studies of Genesis solar science samples now beginning and with the Huygens probe, transported to Saturn aboard the Cassini spacecraft, sending back incredible imagery and data on Saturn and its moon, Titan, this is an exciting time for space scientists,” said Eileen Stansbery, Deputy Director, Office of Astromaterials Research and Exploration Science at NASA’s Johnson Space Center. “These missions, together with the continuing discoveries returned by the Mars Rover Exploration Missions and the nation’s new vision of returning humans to the Moon and traveling on to Mars and beyond, make this year’s conference especially timely.”

As part of the conference, a special session on the Genesis mission will be held at 2:15 p.m. March 14. The session will include presentations on the condition and assessment of the solar wind collector materials, results from contamination studies and preliminary science.

"It brings a great deal of satisfaction, with the papers to be presented at this conference showing that our sample collectors do contain pieces of the sun, that the hard efforts and work of the Genesis Team have paid off," said Don Sweetnam, Genesis project manager at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. "I am excited for the solar scientists around the world who will now have an unprecedented opportunity to unlock the secrets of the Sun."

Special sessions on Cassini at Saturn will be held March 16 and 17. A preliminary program and abstracts are available on the Internet at:

More information about conference events and registration forms can be found at:

The 2005 conference is sponsored by NASA, Johnson Space Center and the Lunar and Planetary Institute.