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News Release


Expert on Planetary Exploration can Discuss Mars, Other Planets

Contact: Karl Luntta (518) 437-4980, cell (518) 265-4114

ALBANY, N.Y. (August 19, 2003) -- On August 27, 2003, Mars will be nearer Earth than it has been in 60,000 years. The red planet's orbit will take it within 35 million miles on that date -- just six months ago the planet's elliptical orbit placed it nearly five times the distance. For the next several weeks, Mars will be one of the brightest spots in the southern sky, and its proximity will provide amateur astronomers and academics the views of a lifetime. And Mars, more than any other planet in our solar system, gives indications that it has supported life.

John Delano, University at Albany Distinguished Teaching Professor in the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, specializes in geochemical composition of planets and the origins of life, as well as the ages and chemical compositions of lunar volcanoes. Professor Delano is the associate director of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA) New York Center for Studies on the Origins of Life, and a principal investigator in the space agency's Exobiology program. He has served on various NASA review panels, including the Discovery Missions Review Panel, the Planetary Materials and Geochemistry Management Operations Group, and the Astrobiology Institutes Review Panel. In addition, Professor Delano has been a consultant for the National Science Foundation (NSF).

Professor Delano received his Ph.D. in Geochemistry from the State University of New York at Stony Brook.

John Delano is available for print and television interviews, guest commentary and expert analysis. For more information or queries, please contact University at Albany Media Relations, (518) 437-4980 or visit

Established in 1844 and designated a center of the State University of New York in 1962, the University at Albany's broad mission of excellence in undergraduate and graduate education, research and public service engages 17,000 diverse students in eight degree-granting schools and colleges. The University is engaged in a $500 million fundraising campaign, the most ambitious in its history, with the goal of placing it among the nation's top 30 public research universities by the end of the decade. For more information about this nationally ranked University, visit

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