Press Release

Astronauts, Robots, and 21st Century Exploration

By SpaceRef Editor
September 13, 2006
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WHEN: Thursday, October 5, 2006 8 PM

WHERE: The Lunar and Planetary Institute Lecture Hall, 3600 Bay Area Boulevard, Houston, TX

In exploring the solar system, what unique traits do astronauts and robots bring to the job? Are our pioneering efforts with robotic probes and our human space exploration program in conflict? The Association of Space Explorers and the Planetary Society announce a public panel discussion in Houston, TX, to discuss the joint human-robotic exploration of the solar system. Convened as part of the Association of Space Explorers’ 2nd National Congress, the “Astronauts and Robots” forum will feature a panel of distinguished astronauts and planetary scientists discussing the latest scientific results and potential discoveries awaiting the next generation of human and robotic explorers. Panelists will pursue the possible advantages resulting from combining the best assets of people and robots in space.

Panelists include LPI Director Stephen Mackwell, PhD, Planetary Society Executive Director Lou Friedman, veteran astronaut Jeff Hoffman, PhD, and NASA astronaut and ISS Expedition 4 crewmember Carl Walz. Former astronaut and planetary scientist Thomas Jones, PhD, will moderate. An extended question and answer session is planned.

Hosted by the Lunar and Planetary Institute (LPI), the event will begin at 8 PM on October 5 in the Institute’s Lecture Hall, and last approximately 90 minutes. The event is free and open to the public.

The Association of Space Explorers represents more than 300 professional astronauts and cosmonauts around the globe. ASE supports space science and exploration for the benefit of all, and encourages international cooperation in the human exploration of space. The Planetary Society is the largest and most influential public space organization on Earth. The Society inspires and involves the world’s public in space exploration through advocacy, projects, and education.

For media inquiries, contact:

Association of Space Explorers ( – Andy Turnage, Executive Director, 281 280 8172, or

Planetary Society ( – Louis D. Friedman, Executive Director, 626-793-5100,

For event information, visit the Lunar and Planetary Institute Web site at Directions to the LPI are at Admission is free, but please RSVP (for purposes of event planning only) to 281-486-2106, or to

SpaceRef staff editor.