12 March 1998
CONTACT: Robert Pearlman, 202-543-1900
(Washington, DC) -- March 12 -- The National Space Society today announced its endorsement of the "Astrobiology Web" <http://www.astrobiology.com/>, a leading online resource for news and information concerning the growing multi-disciplinary study of life in the universe. The announcement was made in conjunction with a related symposium held at George Washington University.
"I am doubly pleased by this endorsement," said Keith Cowing, editor and webmaster of the Astrobiology Web. "Astrobiology represents an emerging scientific discipline of the next millennium -- one which strives to bring together aspects of biology, astrophysics, and chemistry, with both robotic and human space exploration in a synergistic fashion not previously seen at NASA. Astrobiologyês multi-disciplinary approach is very compatible with the broad, enthusiastic methods the National Space Society has always used in its advocacy for the exploration of space. As we strive to be a spacefaring species, astrobiology will become an increasingly important endeavor. This is a natural fit."
Cowing went on to say that he is "also pleased to receive this endorsement as a long time member of the National Space Society -- having joined both of its predecessors (the National Space Institute and the L-5 Society) as a student in the 1970s. The NSS fed my passion for space exploration then and I am now only too happy to be able to help repay them via the Astrobiology Web."
The "Astrobiology Web" endorsement is the latest NSS action supporting this emerging field. Sparked by the 1996 discovery of possible microbiological life in a Martian meteorite (as first suggested in the Society's magazine, Ad Astra, in the May/June 1995 issue), astrobiology has become an increasingly present issue within the Society's goals and visions.
"With the recent discovery of riverbeds on Mars, water ice on the Moon, and what seems to be a frozen ocean beneath Europaês outer crust, the imperative to seek out life has never been more pervasive - or compelling. I am pleased to see NSS taking an activist leadership role in this area and look forward to further collaborative ventures in the years ahead," Cowing said.
Also announced today, NSS has dedicated the January/February 1999 issue of its magazine, Ad Astra, to astrobiology and its related studies. The issue will feature a forward by Gerald Soffen and Michael Meyer of NASA Headquarters.
The National Space Society, founded in 1974, is an independent, nonprofit space advocacy organization headquartered in Washington, DC. Its 23,000 members and 90 chapters around the world actively promote a spacefaring civilization. Information on NSS and space exploration is available at http://www.nss.org/.