Date: Thu, 3 May 2001 11:30:04 -0600 (MDT)
Subject: DPS Mailing #01-17: DPS SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT - First Planetary Decadal Study

Greetings, DPS Members-
       |1) DPS SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT - First Planetary Decadal Study|


DPS SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT - First Planetary Decadal Study

I want to underline the importance of the announcement made by the National
Research Council regarding the formation of the Solar System Exploration 
Survey Committee and its activities (DPS email #01-16).

We have an unprecedented opportunity to shape the future of solar system
exploration. Dr. Ed Weiler (Associate Administrator, NASA Office of Space 
Science) has contracted the NRC to conduct the first planetary decadal 
study. It will be overseen by the above committee. Such studies have been 
conducted in astronomy for more than 40 years, identifying such goals 
as the creation of the Great Observatories (e.g., Hubble Space Telescope). 
These studies have had significant impact and carry great political weight 
with Congress and the White House, because they represent a consensus of the 
relevant scientific community after much open discussion and broad-based 
input - from everyone.

Your input is vital to the success of this study.

I personally encourage every planetary scientist, from those with established 
careers to post-docs to graduate students, to take the initiative and 
contribute to the decadal study. Do not think that because you are a younger 
member of our profession or you are not asked to sit on an NRC panel, that you 
have nothing of importance to contribute. It is your contribution that will 
make this survey important.

The DPS plans within the next few weeks to make available a central website 
where you can solicit participation in your own ad hoc working groups to
focus on specific areas of solar system exploration, post your resultant white 
papers for all to read (which will be submitted to the appropriate NRC 
subpanels), and engage in community-wide online discussions. It will evolve. 
We want to cast the broadest possible net across the planetary science 
community.  Different groups or individuals may decide to work on the same 
subjects. Great. All of your voices are needed, individually and collectively.

The above white papers will be collected into a single volume and published. 
This will be an important resource document for the current effort as well as 
for future decadal studies. A future announcement will detail recommended 

There will be much discussion and prioritization of science issues and the 
research programs, missions, and other initiatives needed to address those 
issues and expand future capabilities. In addition, we hope that some of you
will consider how planetary work can play a role in the future of human space 
activities. We also need to consider and discuss how education and public
outreach can be accomplished in the context of our recommendations.

More information and announcements will be forthcoming. You are welcome to
communicate with me on this matter anytime. Your participation is a priority.

On behalf of the DPS Committee,

Mark V. Sykes, Chair

                      Nick Schneider, on behalf of the DPS Committee
                      (submissions to Al Harris: