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May 2001

Release Date: May 30, 2001

ASU Planetarium Opens New Show on 'Red Planet Mars'

"Red Planet Mars" is the title of the new summer show that will run Thursdays and Saturdays through Aug. 9 at the Angelo State University Planetarium and will explore both the science and the fiction of the planet that has captured our imagination more than any other.

The show will premiere at 8 p.m. Thursday, May 31, in the Planetarium located in the Vincent Nursing-Physical Science Building at 2333 Vanderventer on the ASU campus. The presentation will be shown at 2 p.m. Saturdays and 8 p.m. Thursdays through Aug. 9.

The first section of the show traces Mars through history, starting with an "incantation" of the various war gods of different cultures and continuing through the early telescopic observations by astronomers Schiaparelli and Lowell and the discovery of 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 program details recent studies of Mars as seen in the night sky through binoculars and telescopes and as seen from various Mars explorations by NASA. Mission findings from NASA spacecraft feature reports on the planet's weather, climate and potential water. Martian climate and terrain are compared to the Earth's and current theories about the water history of the planet are presented. These studies strongly suggest a rationale for future exploration of Mars.

Finally, the show examines where on Earth we can prepare to live on Mars, what will be needed to get crewed missions there and what the first landing may be like.

Admission is $3 for adults, $1.50 for children and senior citizens and free for ASU students, faculty and staff. More information is available at 942-2136.

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