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Media Advisory

Jan. 17 media briefing on NASA aurora mission

12 January 2007

ATTENTION: Science and astronomy writers, editors, producers

Contact: Robert Sanders, Media Relations
(510) 643-6998 rsanders@berkeley.edu

A University of California, Berkeley, press conference, held in conjunction with a national media teleconference, to discuss NASA's THEMIS mission. UC Berkeley scientists designed and built the THEMIS scientific satellites, which will be launched aboard a Delta II rocket from Cape Canaveral on Feb. 15.

THEMIS, an acronym for Time History of Events and Macroscale Interactions during Substorms, consists of five identical probes that will explore the origin of substorms in the Earth's magnetosphere that make the Northern Lights shimmy and shake. This will be the largest number of scientific satellites ever launched into orbit aboard a single rocket.

10 a.m. PST (1 p.m. EST) Wednesday, Jan. 17.

Bay Area reporters are invited to join UC Berkeley scientists at the campus's Space Sciences Laboratory, where they will be able to get one-on-one interviews and a behind-the-scenes look at the THEMIS operations center after the scheduled teleconference. The laboratory is at the top of Centennial Drive near Grizzly Peak Boulevard.

To phone into the teleconference, dial (888) 455-0031 and use the pass code "THEMIS." International media should call +1-210-234-0007. Audio of the teleconference will be streamed live at: http://www.nasa.gov/newsaudio.

At UC Berkeley:

Vassilis Angelopoulos, UC Berkeley research physicist and THEMIS principal investigator

Peter Harvey, THEMIS project manager at UC Berkeley

Available via teleconference:

Craig Pollock, THEMIS program scientist, NASA headquarters, Washington, D.C.

Jim Slavin, director, Goddard Space Flight Center Heliophysics Division, Greenbelt, Md.