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Death Valley National Park to host 3rd annual Marsfest

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The SETI Institute in Mountain View, Calif. announced on Friday that the 3rd annual Marsfest will take place March 28-30 2014 in Death Valley National Park. The event is a collaboration between the SETI Institute, NASA Ames Research Center, NASA Goddard, NASA Jet Propulsion Lab (JPL) and the National Park Service. Death Valley has several planetary analog sites which are used by scientists to prepare for scientific missions on Mars. the goal of Marsfest is to increase public awareness of this research and its role in missions currently in space such as the Curiosity rover and upcoming missions.

Marsfest will bring together scientists, the general public and National Park enthusiasts for a weekend of talks, exhibits and waking tours of planetary analog research sites The festival is supported by several scientists, education and public outreach professionals, astronomy club members and other groups of planetary science enthusiasts, such as the Mars Society and the Planetary Society.

Visitors of of ages are invited to Marsfest 2014. The event will begin with a keynote address by Chris McKay of NASA Ames Research Center who is a member of two science teams for instruments on the Curiosity Mars rover. Saturday's sessions will include a Curiosity Hour and Question and Answer session featuring members of the Mars Science Laboratory team. The scientist led walking tours will visit analog sites such as Mars Hill, Badwater Basin, Ubehebe Volcanic Field and Mesquite Sand dunes.

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