Date: Thu, 5 Jul 2001 11:50:44 -0600 (MDT)
Subject: DPS Mailing #01-24: Elections, Decadal Study, Blue Ribbon Panel, DPS '05

Greetings, DPS Members-
       |1) CANDIDATE SLATE FOR 2001 ELECTION                    |
       |3) PLANETARY DECADAL STUDY NEWS - New Forum and Panels  |
       |4) NOTES FROM THE CHAIR - Blue Ribbon Panel Testimony   |
       |5) 2005 DPS: Cambridge, England September 6-9, 2005     |



The Nominations Subcommittee, chaired by Alan Stern, has prepared the
following slate of officers for the next election:

Vice-Chair:  Richard Binzel (MIT)
             Michael Drake (Univ. Arizona)

Committee:   Mark Bullock (SWRI Boulder)
             Catherine De Bergh (Paris Obs. Meudon)
             Caitlin Griffith (Northern Arizona U.)
             Hunter Waite (Univ. Michigan)

The bylaws provide for the possibility to add candidates by petition.  If
you wish to so nominate a candidate, I must receive a petition, signed by
at least 20 DPS members (regular or affiliate, but not junior), along with
a statement from the candidate expressing willingness to serve if elected,
by August 19, 2001.  Ballots, including candidate biographies and position
statements, will be mailed in September.  The deadline for receiving
ballots back will be approximately October 17.

Alan Harris, DPS Secretary-Treasurer (



As part of the Solar System Exploration Decadal Survey being carried out
by the NAS/NRC, the INNER PLANETS Panel will be holding two Open Forums
for community input. General information about the Survey, its charge,
structure, and timeline is posted on the websites indicated below.

Members of the science community are strongly encouraged to provide
input into this important Survey by the Open Forums and/or submission of
material via the websites. The Inner Planets Panel is particularly
interested in hearing discussion from the community on the following
a) The most important science questions concerning exploration of the
Inner Planets and why these issues are compelling. For science
discussion, the inner planets necessarily include planetary bodies
inside the orbit of Jupiter, including Earth. 
b) The means (missions, programs, approach, etc.) to address these
questions in the next decade [2003-2013]. The Inner Planets Panel will
make broad recommendations, but will prioritize only concepts relating
to Mercury, Venus, and the Moon. [Prioritization of Mars exploration is
handled by a separate panel.]
c) Technology issues that must be resolved before these science
questions can be addressed.

The two Open Forums scheduled for the Inner Planets are:
1. Washington DC, July 13, 2001
   Place:  National Museum of Natural History, 
   Smithsonian Institution, 10th and Constitution Aves. NW
   Time:  1:00 pm - 3:00 pm
   Details: Enter at 10th and Constitution entrance (side
            away from the Mall), where a table will be set up to 
            greet visitors and escort them to the meeting
            room. Please try to arrive by 12:45.
2. Chicago, Oct 3, 2001
   Place: TBD Contiguous with the Mercury Conference
   Time:  1:00 pm - 4:00 pm (estimate)
   Details:  Check the websites below for information as it
             is updated.

The format of the Open Forums will be brief (5 min) summary
presentations by any interested community member (viewgraph to be
available) followed by general discussion and open-mike.  If you have a
concept you wish to discuss, please submit a title by email (see below)
to assure a slot in either of the two programs. Presenters should also
prepare a brief "white paper" with their comments and submit it via
either of the websites indicated below. We recognize the shortness of
time before the first Inner Planets Forum, but urge members of the
community to participate even if presentations are not fully polished.

Submit Inner Planet Open Forum titles by email to

Websites for Survey input and "white paper" discussion of concepts



A real-time forum on defining solar system exploration priorities for
2003-2013 has been activated. This addresses the ultimate question
which will be considered by the NRC SSE Survey Committees. Go to

New community panels (and organizers) include:
   Dust Astronomy (E. Gruen)
   Exploring Main Belt Asteroids (M. Sykes)
   Near-Earth Asteroid Sample Return (D. Sears)

The following panels are now full:
   Mars (J. Moore)
   The Next Giant Leap: Human Exploration and Utilization of NEOs (T. Jones)

Panels are continuing to form. Many subject areas remain uncovered.

Mark V. Sykes, DPS Chair,


On May 31, I requested input from you regarding the future of NSF and 
NASA groundbased astronomy. Several dozen of you responded by email and
phone, providing important and useful insights into the issue. Thank

Using this information, on June 13, I testified before the NRC Blue 
Ribbon Panel (now called the Committee on Organization and Management 
of Research in Astronomy and Astrophysics) charged to address this 
issue on behalf of the DPS. I took the opportunity to illustrate the 
critical role played by groundbased planetary astronomy in support of 
NASA mission definition and interpretation. I explained that most of 
the DPS relies on grants for livelihood and that planetary science is 
very largely funded by NASA. I noted some of the NSF-funded planetary 
astronomy programs that would not have been likely funded by NASA given 
its mission orientation. Despite complaints raised regarding both 
agencies, I reported that few people feel that there would be benefit 
in transfering groundbased astronomy programs from one agency to the 

Representatives of other organizations (excluding NASA - who was 
neutral - and NSF) spoke negatively of program transfers from NSF to
NASA. They did not address transfering NASA programs to NSF. The AAS 
had no official comment and offered to direct its membership to provide
input to the panel ( More information on the
panel may be found at .

On a separate note: both Dan Goldin and Ed Weiler, as well as I believe 
every other speaker but me, made numerous references to the Astronomy 
and Astrophysics Decadal Studies as both a guide for future programs 
and a benchmark against which progress could be measured. We are 
engaged in the first Solar System Exploration Decadal Study. If it is 
given the same weight as those generated for Astronomy and Astrophysics, 
it will have a profound impact on our profession. There will be 
priorities. Whether these priorities reflect your thinking, critically 
depends upon your input at both NRC-sponsored events and on 
community-initiated forums and ad hoc panels 

Mark V. Sykes, DPS Chair,


The 2005 DPS meeting will be held in Cambridge, England September 6-9, 2005. 
Details to follow.


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