At the website of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) we found this headline: NASA to Host News Conference on Discovery Beyond Our Solar System.
What’s going on? The news release says, with bold font added by us for emphasis:
NASA will hold a news conference at 1 p.m. EST Wednesday, Feb. 22, to present new findings on planets that orbit stars other than our sun, known as exoplanets. The event will air live on NASA Television and the agency’s website.
Why all the suspense?
Details of these findings are embargoed by the journal Nature until 1 p.m.
Okay, we can wait a day. Then they say:
Limited seating is available in the NASA TV studio for media who would like to attend in person at the agency’s Headquarters at 300 E Street SW in Washington. Media unable to attend in person may ask questions by telephone. To attend in person or participate by phone, media must send an email with their name, affiliation and telephone number to Dwayne Brown at email@example.com by noon Feb. 22. Media and the public also may ask questions during the briefing on Twitter using the hashtag #askNASA.
With all of those controls on who can attend, they’re giving the impression that this could be big news. But don’t get all excited, dear reader. The last time we wrote about one of these NASA news conferences, it turned out to be no big deal — see The NASA Europa Teleconference — Live.
Okay, on with the announcement:
The briefing participants are:
• Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator of the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington
• Michael Gillon, astronomer at the University of Liege in Belgium
• Sean Carey, manager of NASA’s Spitzer Science Center at Caltech/IPAC, Pasadena, California
• Nikole Lewis, astronomer at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore
• Sara Seager, professor of planetary science and physics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge
The announcement continues:
A Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything) about exoplanets will be held following the briefing at 3 p.m. with scientists available to answer questions in English and Spanish.
That’s nice, but how can we watch? They tell us:
For NASA TV streaming video, downlink and updated scheduling information, visit: NASA TV.
Okay, we’re hooked. We’ll be watching tomorrow at 1 p.m. EST Wednesday, 22 Feb. Stay tuned to this blog!
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