von Karman lecture series

NASA is taking advantage of having two spacecraft near Jupiter to examine that planet and its surroundings in ways neither spacecraft could do alone, and one of the scientists who organized the campaign will describe it during free public lectures in Pasadena this month.

The lectures will be held on the evenings of March 22 at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory and March 23 at Pasadena City College.

JPL's Dr. Duane Bindschadler, chief of the spacecraft and sequence team for NASA's Galileo mission, will explain what the Galileo and Cassini spacecraft have been studying together during the past six months. He will describe recent findings and lingering questions about Jupiter's colorful atmosphere, diverse moons, faint rings and powerful magnetic field. The moons include Io, where mighty volcanoes rapidly repaint the surface, and Europa, where Galileo has found strong evidence for an ocean of saltwater under an icy crust.

Galileo is in its sixth year of what was originally planned as a two-year mission in orbit around Jupiter. It is currently transmitting data collected during the joint campaign with Cassini. Cassini flew near Jupiter for a gravitational boost to reach Saturn. It passed closest to Jupiter in December and took dramatic images of Jupiter's swirling storms and other jovian wonders.

Before coming to JPL in 1995, Bindschadler taught and conducted research in geophysics at the University of California, Los Angeles. A Wyoming native, he earned a bachelor's degree in physics at Washington University in St. Louis and a doctorate in geology from Brown University in Providence, R.I. "I enjoy trying to give people a sense of what space exploration is showing us about the amazing things that go on in the universe around us," he said.

His lectures, "Galileo Millennium Mission: The Latest Results," will begin at 7 p.m. Parking and admission are free. Seating is first-come, first-served. Thursday's lecture at JPL will be in von Karman Auditorium, 4800 Oak Grove Dr., Pasadena. Friday's Pasadena City College lecture will be in Voslow Forum, 1570 E. Colorado Blvd. More information on the von Karman lecture series can be obtained at http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/events/lectures.html or by calling (818) 354-0112. JPL is managed for NASA by the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.

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Guy Webster (818) 354-6278