How to Sort Science Fact from Science Fiction

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November 13, 2002

The facts and fiction of space exploration will be discussed in a pair of free public lectures at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory on Thursday, Nov. 21, and at Pasadena City College on Friday, Nov. 22.

During the lectures, entitled "Rise of Machines: Intelligent Robots and Space Exploration," Dr. Richard Terrile of JPL, Mars Scout program scientist, will discuss how close we are to the dream of matching human intelligence in a machine and how these systems will be used to explore our solar system.

Unlike stories or movies that have a beginning, middle and end, the day-to-day work of furthering space exploration is ongoing. JPL is known worldwide for its robotic exploration of the solar system, including missions to Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, comets and asteroids. The presentation will include an overview of current and future plans in the quest to unravel the mysteries of space.

Terrile has been a planetary astronomer at JPL for 22 years. He is credited with discovering Saturn's moon, Atlas, Uranus' moons Ophelia and Cordelia and was part of a team that detected a possible planet-forming disc around the star Beta Pictoris. Terrile began consulting for the movie industry as a hobby nearly twenty years ago on the motion picture, 2010.

Seating is on a first-come, first-served basis. The lecture will also be webcast live on Thurs., Nov. 21, at 7 p.m. Pacific time at and will be archived online for later viewing.

The lecture at JPL, located at 4800 Oak Grove Dr., Pasadena, off the Oak Grove Drive exit of the 210 (Foothill) freeway, will be held in the von Karman Auditorium. The Friday lecture will be held in Pasadena City College's Vosloh Forum at 1570 E. Colorado Blvd. For more information, call (818) 354-0112 or see

JPL is a division of the California Institute of Technology.

Contacts: JPL/Colleen Sharkey (818) 354-0372



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