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Former NASA-Johnson Space Center Scientist
to Discuss Genesis and Stardust Missions

RELEASED: April 14, 2006

Russell Palma
Russell Palma

EAU CLAIRE — Russell Palma, professor of physics and astronomy at Minnesota State University-Mankato, will present "NASA's Genesis and Stardust Missions: Exploring the Early Solar System" at 4 p.m. Wednesday, April 26, in the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire's Phillips Science Hall, Room 117.

The presentation will feature photos, as well as short film pieces, related to the Genesis and Stardust space missions to illustrate discoveries about the sun and early solar system.

NASA's Genesis space probe lifted off in 2001, and its capsule crashed into the Utah desert in 2004, shattering delicate wafers holding samples of atoms and ions collected from the solar wind between Earth and the sun. Since the crash, researchers have sifted through the fragments to locate data, and they have recently begun releasing their findings.

The Stardust mission took off in 1999, returning in January after a seven-year, 3-billion-mile space trek. Scientists are examining dust particles that the probe collected during its passage through the tail of comet Wild-2 and from interplanetary space.

Palma worked both on-site and in collaboration with scientists at NASA-Johnson Space Center in Houston for a number of years and served as a NASA/ASEE Summer Faculty Fellow in 1983 and 1984.

Palma is also an adjunct professor of physics at the University of Minnesota and has served as a senior research associate at Texas A&M University in College Station; a research physicist at the University of California-San Diego; an associate professor at Butler University in Indianapolis; a faculty member at Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas; and a research associate at Rice University in Houston.

The event, sponsored by the physics and astronomy department, is free and open to the public. For more information, contact Paul Thomas, professor in physics and astronomy, at (715) 836-3615 or thomaspj@uwec.edu.

-30-

BC/NW

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