Date: Tue, 8 Feb 2005 11:53:13 -0600
Subject: DPS Mailing #05-06:  Message from the Chair, Corrected Version...
 
 +------------------CONTENTS:------------------------------+
       1)   MESSAGE FROM THE CHAIR, CORRECTED VERSION
       2)   MESSAGE FROM THE SECRETARY
       3)   MEETINGS OF POSSIBLE INTEREST TO DPS MEMBERS
 +----------------------------------------------------------+
 
Dear Colleagues,
The following replaces yesterday's (2/7) version of the "Message 
from the Chair."  The only change is in the second sentence.
 
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MESSAGE FROM THE CHAIR, CORRECTED VERSION
 
Dear Colleagues:
 
Last week saw another ominous development for planetary science.  On 
Wednesday, NASA announced its selections from the latest round of 
Discovery proposals.  From 18 proposals, no stand-alone flight 
missions were selected, an unprecedented occurrence.
 
The DPS is stunned by this decision.  Discovery proposals require a 
tremendous amount of unfunded work by Principal Investigators (PIs), 
their Co-Investigator teams, NASA centers, other research centers 
and laboratories, and their industry partners.
 
Are we to believe that none of the flight missions proposed merited 
going to "Phase A," which is not selection for flight, but selection 
for further detailed study to determine suitability for flight?
The Discovery Program is one of NASA's most innovative and 
cost-effective programs.  It is a major and in our judgment 
irreplaceable part of planetary exploration. Incredible ideas are 
conceived, and if all goes well, brought to fruition.  Missions are 
flown, such as Pathfinder, NEAR, Lunar Prospector, Stardust, 
Genesis, Messenger, and Deep Impact, that frankly never would have 
had little chance of being flown under the old way of doing business. 
 
While the Discovery proposal PIs have yet to be debriefed on the 
details of each evaluation, we do know that some submitted proposals 
have heritage from earlier rounds and have in past Discovery proposal 
cycles simultaneously received the highest possible scientific ranking 
and the lowest possible risk ranking.
Last week, NASA also announced that the next Discovery AO would be 
released soon, and officials have told us that both the cost cap 
would be raised and the existing budget profile restrictions would 
be relaxed.  These are welcome developments, but the effect of last 
week's non-selection will likely adversely affect the applicant 
pool regardless of the scope of the program in the future.
As we noted above, qualified teams and their industrial partners 
have invested their own resources, countless man-hours and (all 
together) millions of dollars.  But in the face of such seemingly 
arbitrary actions by the Agency, they cannot be expected to continue 
doing so. And as a result, America's space program is the loser.
 
In effect, the non-selection of potential mission candidates for 
study means that a Discovery mission has been cancelled, and the 
Discovery selection process has failed.  We call upon NASA to 
conduct an open selection-process failure analysis, just as it 
would for a flight mission loss.
 
The paradigm of PI-led missions like Discovery represents American 
enterprise, ingenuity, and entrepreneurship at its best.  The 
Discovery Program, and the nascent New Frontiers Program, and the 
smaller scale Explorer programs, all PI-led, must not be allowed 
to falter.  The DPS strongly urges NASA to reaffirm its support 
for the Discovery and other PI-led programs by making mission 
selections in response to NASA Aos, and to work with Congress 
to ensure the funding of these missions.
 
Finally, we note that last week's decision takes place against 
the background of profound change in NASA's directions and 
priorities, more details of which are expected in the FY06 
Federal Budget to be released Monday, February 7th.  The AAS and 
DPS will be closely analyzing the implications of the budget for 
NASA and the programs within it. 
 
In the meantime, letters, phone calls, and faxes to NASA and the 
press in support of the Discovery and other PI-led programs are 
critically important.  These could stress 1) your disappointment 
in the recent non-selection and 2) your support for Discovery and 
other PI-led programs; request that 3) NASA openly investigate 
the causes of this non-selection; and most important, that 
4) NASA recommit itself to making competitive selections in 
these programs. 
 
We ask you, however, to also prepare for a much larger effort 
that we may be calling upon you to undertake, which transcends 
our serious concerns for individual programs.
On behalf of the DPS Committee,
 
Bill McKinnon
DPS Chair
 
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MESSAGE FROM THE SECRETARY
 
Dear Colleagues,
 
In Mailing #05-02, I asked that announcements about upcoming meetings 
of other societies be kept brief.  Several people have submitted 
information for inclusion since then.  Most tried to follow the 
guidelines; some did not.  Some vital information was omitted from 
some of the announcements, such as date and location of the meeting. 
Others included long paragraphs of description.  Some web links that 
were submitted did not work.
 
I ask that any future submissions be sent at least a month before 
you need them to appear, that you check to be sure any contact email 
addresses or websites are correct and active, and that the listings 
follow this sample format:
 
SAMPLE:
AAS Division of Dynamical Astronomy Meeting
April 10-14 in Santa Barbara, details at http://dda.harvard.edu/ .
Abstract deadline:  10 March, 2005.
 
Following these guidelines will ensure that your announcement 
appears the way you prepared it, and in a timely way.  Submissions 
which do not follow these guidelines may not appear in the DPS e-news.
Thank you.
 
Linda French Emmons
DPS Secretary
 
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MEETINGS OF POSSIBLE INTEREST TO DPS MEMBERS
 
1)  AAS Division of Dynamical Astronomy Meeting
April 10-14 in Santa Barbara, details at http://dda.harvard.edu/ .
Abstract deadline:  10 March, 2005.
 
2) International Association of Meteorology and Atmosphere 
Sciences (IAMAS) 2005 Scientific Assembly
Beijing, China
August 2- August 11, 2005.
http://www.iamas2005.com/
 
 Planetary Atmospheres Symposia:
I1: Planetary Atmospheres and their Evolution (ICPAE) 
- essentially terrestrial planets
 
I2: Aeronomy of Planetary Atmospheres: Comparative Planetology (ICPAE) 
- essentially giant planets systems and Cassini-Huygens
 
Abstract deadline: 1 March 2005
 
3)  Late Sessions Added at AGU
contact schenk at lpi.usra.edu for further information
 
Spring AGU Special Session P07
One year on Mars :MER Results
 
Spring AGU Special Session P08
Cassini at Saturn
 
Spring AGU Special Session P09
Huygens at Titan
 
Spring AGU Special Session P10
Cassini/Huygens at Saturn and Titan (General results)
 
Abstract deadline: Feb. 10.
 
4)  Education and Public Outreach Conference
Building Community:  The Emerging EPO Profession
Tucson, Arizona
September 14-16, 2005
Proposals received before March 1 will receive the highest 
priority for consideration.
Submit online at http://astrosociety.org/events/meeting.html
 
5)  Pacifichem 2005
Symposium 47:  Astrochemistry - From Laboratory Studies to Astronomical 
Observations
Honolulu, Hawai'i
December 15-20, 2005
Abstracts for contributed oral (15 min) and poster presentations 
can be submitted via http://www.pacifichem.org/c_abstracts/ . 
Please note the April 13, 2005, deadline.
 
 
 
Linda French Emmons, DPS Secretary
send submissions to lfrench at iwu.edu
Submissions should be in text format (no attachments, please).