NASA Daily News Summary For Release: March.

29, 2000 Media Advisory m00-62 SUMMARY NEWS RELEASES: PLANET HUNTERS ON TRAIL OF WORLDS SMALLER THAN SATURN PLANET HUNTING AT 1 PM, GOLDIN JPL SPEECH AT 2 PM TODAY ON NASA TV

----VIDEO VIDEO FILE: ITEM 1 - DISCOVERY OF NEW PLANETS - STSCI ITEM 2 - X-38 DROP TEST - JSC/DFRC (replay) ITEM 3 - SATELLITES MONITOR CHANGES IN ARCTIC SEA ICE (replay) GSFC LIVE TELEVISION EVENTS THIS WEEK: SPECIAL NOTE TO ASSIGNMENT EDITORS & PRODUCERS: ARE WE ALONE IN THE UNIVERSE?

***************************** NEWS RELEASES

PLANET HUNTERS ON TRAIL OF WORLDS SMALLER THAN SATURN Planet-hunting astronomers have crossed an important threshold in planet detection, with the discovery of two planets that may be smaller in mass than Saturn. Of the 30 extrasolar planets around Sun-like stars detected previously, all have been the size of Jupiter or larger. The existence of these Saturn-sized candidates suggests that many stars harbor smaller planets, in addition to the Jupiter-sized ones. Finding Saturn-sized planets reinforces the theory that planets form by a snowball effect of growth from small ones to large, in a star-encircling dust disk. The 20-year-old theory predicts there should be more smaller planets than large planets, and this is a trend the researchers are beginning to see in their data. Contact at NASA Headquarters, Washington, DC: Donald Savage (Phone: 202/358-1547). Contact at University of California, Berkeley: Robert Sanders (Phone: 510/643-6998). Contact at W.H. Keck Observatory, Kamuela, HI: Andrew Perala (Phone: 808/885-7887). For full text see: ftp://ftp.hq.nasa.gov/pub/pao/pressrel/00-047.txt

----------------------------PLANET HUNTING AT 1 PM, GOLDIN JPL SPEECH AT 2 PM TODAY ON NASA TV A Space Science Update to announce a breakthrough in detecting planets outside our Solar System will be carried live today at 1 pm EST from NASA Headquarters, Washington, DC, on NASA Television. NASA Administrator Daniel S. Goldin's speech to employees at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA, will air at 2 pm EST on a tape-delayed basis from its 1pm EST delivery.

NASA Television is broadcast on the GE2 satellite, transponder 9C, at 85 degrees West longitude, frequency 3880.0 MHz, audio 6.8 MHz. Audio only will be available on the voice circuit at the Kennedy Space Center, FL, on 321/867-1220, -1240, -1260, -7135, 4003, -4920. Contact at NASA Headquarters, Washington, DC: Sarah Keegan (Phone: 202/358-1600). For full text see: ftp://ftp.hq.nasa.gov/pub/pao/note2edt/00-013.txt

----------------------------If NASA issues any news releases later today, we will email summaries and Internet URLs to this list. Index of 2000 NASA News Releases: http://www.nasa.gov/releases/2000/index.html Index of 1999 NASA News Releases: http://www.nasa.gov/releases/1999/index.html

***************************** VIDEO LIVE TELEVISION EVENTS THIS WEEK: March 29, Wednesday - 1:00 p.m. - New Planets Space Science Update - HQ - *2:00 pm - Administrator Goldin Addresses Employees (recorded at 1:00 pm 3/29/00) - JPL March 30, Thursday - *9:00 - 11:00 - Computer Security Hearing before the House Subcommittee on Government Management, Information and Technology; Government Reform Committee (recorded on 3/29/00) HQ

- *12:30 p.m. - X-38 Drop Test - DFRC (Note: test time subject to change depending on weather conditions) March 31, Friday - 9:00 a.m. - Noon - FY 2001 Budget Posture Hearing before the House Subcommittee on VA-HUD-Independent Agencies; Appropriations Committee (recorded 3/30/00) - HQ - 1:00 - 3:00 p.m. - FY 2001 Budget Posture Hearing before the House Subcommittee on VA-HUD-Independent Agencies; Appropriations Committee (recorded 3/30/00 continued) - HQ - 5:30 - 10:00 p.m. - "Planet Hunting Mission" Live News Interviews - JPL April 1, Saturday - 11:00 a.m. - 9:00 p.m. - Ames Research Center Western Regional FIRST Robotics Competition - San Jose State University Event Center, San Jose, CA (direct uplink to NTV)

----------------------------SPECIAL NOTE TO ASSIGNMENT EDITORS & PRODUCERS FROM: Jack Dawson, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, (818) 354-0040 Michelle Viotti, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, (818) 354-8774 ARE WE ALONE IN THE UNIVERSE? Have you ever looked up at the night sky and wondered which stars might have planets around them? Is life out there in the Universe, abundant on some distant world? What is that planet like, and could we recognize life there if we found it? Creative sparks are flying as the Jet Propulsion Laboratory awards contracts to four industry-academic teams, which will take the first steps toward answering these far-reaching questions. Over the next eighteen months, the teams will set out to create the most innovative designs for Terrestrial Planet Finder, an ambitious mission in NASA's Origins Program that will look for life-sustaining Earth -like planets around other stars. Astronomers have already found far more planets outside of our solar system than within it, but so far we've only been able

to detect really large, gaseous bodies that wouldn't likely support life. We're on the verge of having the technology that will enable us to look for much tinier, Earth-like planets that orbit closer to their parent stars. Terrestrial Planet Finder will have the potential to give us the first "family portraits" of planetary systems like our own--and it might even find another planet where life can thrive. Live satellite interview opportunities are available with JPL1s Dr. Firouz Naderi from 6 to 10 p.m. EST on Friday, March 31. Animation, B-roll and interviews will be carried on GE-2, Transponder 9C at 85 degrees West longitude, with vertical polarization. Frequency is on 3880.0 megahertz with audio on 6.8 megahertz. Emergency telephone numbers are 818-354-0246 and 818354-2113. Dr. Firouz Naderi is the Program Manager for Origins and the Project Manager for the Terrestrial Planet Finder. With JPL for the past 20 years, Dr. Naderi has also served as Program Manager for the Space Science Flight Experiments Program and Project Manager for the NASA Scatterometer and SeaWinds missions, among others. He received his B.S. from Iowa State in 1969 and a Masters and Ph.D. from USC in 1972 and 1976, all in electrical engineering. POSSIBLE QUESTIONS: - How likely is it that life exists elsewhere in the Universe? - How will Terrestrial Planet Finder look for Earth-like planets? - How hard is it to detect life-bearing planets around other stars? - Would a planet have to be like Earth to support life? - What is the lasting value of Terrestrial Planet Finder to our civilization? To book time for this interview call, Jack Dawson at 818-354-0040 or e-mail Jack at jack.b.dawson@jpl.nasa.gov For more information on this subject, see: http://tpf.jpl.nasa.gov/

-----------------------------

Unless otherwise noted, ALL TIMES ARE EASTERN. ANY CHANGES TO THE VIDEO LINE-UP WILL APPEAR ON THE NASA VIDEO FILE ADVISORY ON THE WEB AT ftp://ftp.hq.nasa.gov/pub/pao/tv-advisory/nasa-tv.txt WE UPDATE THE ADVISORY THROUGHOUT THE DAY. The NASA Video File normally airs at noon, 3 p.m., 6 p.m., 9 p.m. and midnight Eastern Time. NASA Television is available on GE-2, transponder 9C at 85 degrees West longitude, with vertical polarization. Frequency is on 3880.0 megahertz, with audio on 6.8 megahertz. Refer general questions about the video file to NASA Headquarters, Washington, DC: Ray Castillo, 202/358-4555, or Fred Brown, 202/358-0713, fred.brown@hq.nasa.gov During Space Shuttle missions, the full NASA TV schedule will continue to be posted at: http://spaceflight.nasa.gov/realdata/nasatv/schedule.html For general information about NASA TV see: http://www.nasa.gov/ntv/

***************************** Contract Awards Contract awards are posted to the NASA Acquisition information Service Web site: http://procurement.nasa.gov/EPS/award.html

***************************** The NASA Daily News Summary is issued each business day at approximately 2 p.m. Eastern time. Members of the media who wish

to subscribe or unsubscribe from this list, please send e-mail message to: Brian.Dunbar@hq.nasa.gov

***************************** end of daily news summary