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Media Advisory

Feb. 16 event for THEMIS launch

14 February 2007

ATTENTION: Science and astronomy writers, editors, producers

Contact: Media Relations
(510) 642-3734

Live video viewing at the University of California, Berkeley, of the launch this Friday of NASA's THEMIS mission, a UC Berkeley project to explore the origin of substorms in Earth's magnetosphere that make the Northern Lights brighten and dance. (THEMIS stands for Time History of Events and Macroscale Interactions during Substorms).

UC Berkeley scientists designed and built the THEMIS instruments, managed the building of the five identical probes, and will operate them from the campus's Space Sciences Laboratory. The five probes - the largest number of scientific satellites ever launched into orbit aboard a single rocket - will be lofted into Earth orbit aboard a Delta II rocket from Cape Canaveral, Fla.

In addition to viewing NASA-TV's live coverage of the launch, reporters can get one-on-one interviews with THEMIS team members on campus.

2:15 to 5:30 p.m. PST Friday, Feb. 16. NASA's launch window is 3:05-3:23 p.m. PST (6:05-6:23 p.m. EST). First contact with probes begins around 4:15 p.m. PST. NASA-TV's coverage of the day's events begins at 1 p.m. PST.

The auditorium of the campus's Mathematical Sciences Research Institute, located at the top of Centennial Drive near Grizzly Peak Boulevard.

While UC Berkeley research physicist and THEMIS principal investigator Vassilis Angelopoulos and most of the THEMIS team are in Florida for the launch, team physicists Tai Phan and Jim McFadden will be available for interviews at the laboratory, as will campus administrative officials; Space Sciences Laboratory director and THEMIS team member Robert Lin, professor of physics; and 2006 Nobel Laureate and Professor of Physics George Smoot.


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