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For Immediate Release
May 1, 2007

Media Contacts
Michael Buckley
240-228-7536 or 443-778-7536

Maryland Students to Learn About Exploring Pluto in May 4th "Space Academy" Event at Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab

More than 100 Maryland middle school students will get a close-up look at NASA's first voyage to Pluto when they visit the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel for Space Academy: Mission to Pluto on Friday, May 4, starting at 9:20 a.m. EDT. 

The "Space Academy" series, sponsored by APL, Comcast and The Science Channel (from the Discovery Channel family of cable networks), takes students behind the scenes of actual space missions and introduces them to the people who conduct some of NASA's most exciting projects. Mission to Pluto will focus on New Horizons, the robotic APL-built and -operated spacecraft en route to Pluto and the distant, unexplored Kuiper Belt region on the planetary frontier. New Horizons recently zipped past Jupiter at 50,000 miles per hour, gathering new data on the giant planet while gaining speed toward its 2015 flyby of Pluto and its moons. 

Space Academy is open to the media and offers several photo, video and interview opportunities, including a student press conference with space scientists and engineers and a tour of the Applied Physics Laboratory's spacecraft design and testing facilities. APL, a division of The Johns Hopkins University, manages several NASA missions and has built 64 spacecraft over the past four decades.

What: Space Academy: Mission to Pluto

When: Friday, May 4, from 9:20 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. EDT

Who: Space Scientists and Engineers from the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory and approximately 100 students from Garrison Middle School (Baltimore City), Matthew Henson Middle School (Charles County) and Walkersville Middle School (Frederick County).

Where: Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, located at 11100 Johns Hopkins Road, ½-mile west of U.S. Route 29 in Laurel, Md. Call 240-228-7536 for directions or visit the APL Web site at http://www.jhuapl.edu/newscenter/visitor/default.asp.

For more information or to attend, please contact:

Michael Buckley , APL Public Affairs
240-228-7536 or 443-567-3145

Media may also register on the Space Academy Web site at:

For information on the New Horizons mission, visit: http://pluto.jhuapl.edu

The Applied Physics Laboratory, a division of The Johns Hopkins University, meets critical national challenges through the innovative application of science and technology. For information, visit www.jhuapl.edu.