Space Science Institute Expert to Discuss Cassini Mission to Saturn April 23

Monday, April 6 2009

April 6, 2009 

MOSCOW, Idaho – The Cassini spacecraft currently is in orbit of Saturn, studying the planet and its system of moons and rings.

Carolyn Porco will present the University of Idaho's fifth annual Robert B. and Floretta F. Austin Distinguished Lecture in Science on Thursday, April 23, at 7 p.m. in the College of Law Courtroom, 711 Rayburn (South of the intersection of Sixth and Rayburn streets) in Moscow.

The title of the lecture is “At Saturn: Tripping the Light Fantastic.” The university community and public are invited to attend.

Porco is the leader of the Cassini Imaging Science team and the director of the Cassini Imaging Central Laboratory for Operations (CICLOPS) at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colo.

“We are delighted to have a scientist of the caliber of Dr. Carolyn Porco deliver a lecture on the Cassini mission to Saturn,” said Scott Wood, dean of the College of Science. “Ever since the days of Sputnik, space exploration has inspired young people to go into careers in science and engineering. The Cassini mission is providing such inspiration to the current generation.”

Porco is an adjunct professor in the Department of Astrophysical and Planetary Sciences at the University of Colorado in Boulder. Her research specialties include the study of planetary ring and moon interactions, and the study of the geysers on Saturn’s moon Enceladus. She earned her doctorate in planetary sciences at the California Institute of Technology in 1983. In late 1999, she was selected by the Sunday London Times as one of 18 scientific leaders of the 21st century, and by Industrial Week magazine as one of "50 R&D Stars to Watch."

The Austin Lecture is funded by the Robert B. and Floretta F. Austin Memorial Endowment, which was established by the family and friends of the Austins in 1987. Bob Austin graduated from the University of Idaho with a degree in metallurgical engineering in 1934. He was a long-time supporter of the university and a founder of the College of Mines and Earth Resources Constituent Alumni Association (C2A2). All three of the Austins’ children earned degrees from the University of Idaho. One grandson is also a graduate, and one granddaughter attended the university.

For more information, visit, or contact Eric Bennett at (208) 885-9106 or
# # #

About the University of Idaho
Founded in 1889, the University of Idaho is the state’s flagship higher-education institution and its principal graduate education and research university, bringing insight and innovation to the state, the nation and the world. University researchers attract nearly $100 million in research grants and contracts each year; the University of Idaho is the only institution in the state to earn the prestigious Carnegie Foundation ranking for high research activity. The university’s student population includes first-generation college students and ethnically diverse scholars. Offering more than 150 degree options in 10 colleges, the university combines the strengths of a large university with the intimacy of small learning communities. For information, visit

Media Contact: Ken Kingery, University Communications, (208) 885-9156,

About the University of Idaho
The University of Idaho helps students to succeed and become leaders. Its land-grant mission furthers innovative scholarly and creative research to grow Idaho's economy and serve a statewide community. From its main campus in Moscow, Idaho, to 70 research and academic locations statewide, U-Idaho emphasizes real-world application as part of its student experience. U-Idaho combines the strength of a large university with the intimacy of small learning communities. It is home to the Vandals. For information, visit