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September 2005

Release Date: September 15, 2005

ASU Planetarium Examines Mars through Telescope, History

"MarsQuest," scheduled Thursdays through Nov. 17 at the Angelo State University Planetarium, provides a look at Mars not only as how it has been seen by astronomers through the centuries but also as how it has been viewed by different cultures throughout history.

The show will be presented at 8 p.m. Thursdays in the Planetarium located in the Vincent Nursing-Physical Science Building at 2333 Vanderventer on the ASU campus.

The first section of the show traces Mars through history, starting with an "incantation" of the various war-god forms given by early cultures. The show examines the early telescopic observations by astronomers Schiaparelli and Lowell as well as the infamous "canals" which led to science-fiction stories about Martians. Excerpts from H.G. Wells "War of the Worlds" and Edgar Rice Burroughs's "Barsoom" novels are used.

Next the show describes recent studies of Mars as documented through binoculars and telescopes and through our Mars space explorations. Mission findings from NASA spacecraft feature reports on Mars weather, climate and potential for water. Martian climate and terrain are compared to the Earth's, and current theories about the hydrologic history of the planet are presented. These studies strongly suggest a rationale for future exploration of the planet.

Finally, the show examines the place on Earth where we can best prepare to live on Mars. The program looks at what will be needed to get crewed missions to the planet and what the first landing may be like.

"MarsQuest" is open to the public. Admission is $3 for adults, $2 for children and senior citizens. ASU students, faculty and staff are admitted free. For information, call 942-2136.