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10 October 1996
NSS Press Release describing NSS' cosponsoring November 22 Symposium at George Washington University concerning Life in the Universe

Date: October 10, 1996

National Space Society CoSponsors
November 22 Event Builds Upon NSS Forum on November 13

The National Space Society will cosponsor "Life in the Universe," a symposium on Friday, November 22, coordinated by the Space Policy Institute of George Washington University's Elliott School of International Affairs and The Planetary Society.

The event follows the National Space Society's "Space Summit Forum: Mars and the Future of the U.S. Space Program," being held Wednesday, November 13 at the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington, D.C. Programmatic elements of sending humans to Mars -- how, why, at what cost -- will be the focus of this event.

"Life in the Universe" on November 22 will discuss the cultural, intellectual, theological, and societal implications of the recent announcement of evidence of long-ago life on Mars and the public's reactions to that announcement. Reacting to the August 7 unveiling of the Mars findings, President Clinton announced that he had asked Vice President Gore to convene a "space summit on the future of America's space program." The "Life in the Universe" symposium will provide a way for the public to express its views on the appropriate response to the Mars findings prior to the White House summit.

The all-day symposium will be held at the Dorothy Betts Marvin Theatre located at 800 21st Street, NW on the campus of The George Washington University. It will address the following topics:

  • What are the findings?
  • How do we know what we know?
  • Understanding the public response:
    alien life in fiction and fact
  • The finding in broad perspectives
  • Public perspectives on an appropriate response
  • Internationalizing any response
  • Next steps: reflecting the public
    interest in government action

Symposium speakers are still being finalized by the Space Policy Institute. To receive additional information on the symposium as it becomes available, send an e-mail message to or call (202) 994-7292.

Symposium details will also be posted on the home pages of the sponsoring organizations:

Space Policy Institute -
National Space Society -
The Planetary Society -

Partial funding for the symposium is also being provided by the District of Columbia Space Grant Consortium.

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