Subject: [DPS Members] DPS Mailing #09-18: Letter from chair, PPT sets, Decadal news...

Issue 09-18, December 7th 2009

1) Letter from the DPS Chair
2) New "Discoveries In Planetary Science" Classroom Powerpoints
3) DPS Carbon Neutrality Fund
4) Student Member Wanted for DPS Federal Relations Subcommittee
5) 2010 Icarus Subscriptions for DPS Members
6) Decadal Survey: Letter from Steve Squyres
7) IAU Office of Astronomy Development
8) Hubble Space Telescope Cycle 18 Call for Proposals
9) JPL-Homeland Security Case Reaches the Supreme Court
10) Job Announcements
11) Upcoming meetings



Dear Members,

Thanks to all of you our Puerto Rico meeting was a great success! Your
talks, posters and interactions always make our yearly endeavor
worthwhile. Although the final numbers are not in yet, we anticipate
coming out in the black. DPS financial challenges are not completely
behind us, however we are going to refocus our efforts on
non-financial matters.

The Federal Relations subcommittee is working hard on the Pu238 issue.
The lack of Pu238 limits some inner solar system missions and is a
showstopper for outer solar system exploration. Expect a
letter-writing campaign soon.

Work on the 2010 survey is progressing. We will have it out in a few
months. The demographic data will be analyzed by a new professional
development subcommittee, especially with the concerns of early career
scientists in mind.

Our student members gave us a lot of good ideas for the 2010
conference in Pasadena, so look for some new activities aimed at

Candy Hansen



The DPS Education Subcommittee announces the 2nd release of
"Discoveries in Planetary Science" Classroom Powerpoints, covering six
new topics:

- Discovery of a Rocky Exoplanet
- Lunar Water
- Jupiter Impact Event
- Oceans on Enceladus
- The TC3 Meteorite
- 2012 Doomsday Rumors

These are succinct summaries of discoveries too recent to appear in
"Intro Astronomy" college textbooks; each set consists of just three
slides to be shown: the discovery itself, a basic explanation based on
good planetary science, and the "big picture" context. Another page
for further information is provided as well. Powerpoints and pdf's can
be downloaded from

Feedback from the community on how these slide sets are used and
received is welcomed, and will be used to improve future releases.
Planetary scientists with recent or upcoming results of broad interest
are encouraged to submit them for consideration by providing an
initial draft using the template provided on the website. For more
information, contact Nick Schneider & Dave Brain at



Thanks to all who contributed to the carbon neutrality fund to offset
the environmental impact of travel to the Fajardo DPS meeting. $1110
was raised, which will be used to purchase Renewable Energy Credits
which will contribute to the development of new renewable energy



The DPS Federal Relations Subcommittee last year added a student
member and, due to the graduation of the current student member, has
an opening for a new student representative. If you are interested in
this position, please contact Melissa McGrath (,
who can provide further details about what the position entails, and how
to apply. Deadline December 31st.



The 2010 Icarus subscription rate for DPS members is $103 for both
electronic and print versions. An updated subscription form
will shortly be available from



Dear Colleague:

This is the fourth newsletter to the community regarding
SolarSystem2012, the planetary science decadal survey. The key points
in this newsletter are these:

1. Assessment of the 199 white papers received from the community is
nearing completion. The white papers have provided very important
input to the decadal survey process.

2. A second set of mission candidate studies has been identified by
the panels and approved by the steering group.

3. Aerospace Corporation has been selected to perform independent cost
estimates for the decadal survey, and they are now under contract.

4. Decadal survey sessions are planned for the upcoming Fall AGU,
LPSC, and AbSciCon meetings.

5. More information is available on the SolarSystem2012 web site:

Since my last newsletter, most of the panels have met again, with
their primary focus being assessing and taking action on the white
papers submitted by the community. Every one of the 199 white papers
has been read by multiple panel members, and their recommendations
synthesized and briefed to the panels. Where clarification seemed
valuable, white paper authors have been invited to brief panels
personally. The deliberations of the panels have been substantially
shaped by the white paper input. This was exactly what we had intended
when we solicited the white papers, and I'm very pleased by the

The Steering Group met on November 16-18 at the Beckman Center in
Irvine, CA, after the latest round of panel meetings. This meeting
dealt with a number of issues, including launch vehicle costs,
availability of plutonium for space power systems, and the future of
the Deep Space Network. A major focus of the Steering Group meeting
was the latest set of mission study requests from the panels. These
were based largely on white paper input, and a number of new studies
were approved and initiated.

Three of the new studies are of the type known as “Rapid Mission
Architecture” studies. These are high-level studies of overall
mission architecture that we expect to take a few weeks. The purpose
of these studies is to explore the trade space for a specific mission
candidate, in order to identify a “point design” for a possible
subsequent full mission study. The three new Rapid Mission
Architecture studies are:

1) Saturn atmospheric probe (JPL)

2) Main belt asteroid lander with possible mobility (APL)

3) Chiron orbiter (Goddard)

There are also two new full mission studies. These will be more
time-consuming and labor-intensive, and are intended to take these
mission concepts to the point where they are ready for a full
independent cost estimate. The two new full mission studies are:

1) Jupiter-orbiting Io mission (JPL)

2) Ganymede mission (JPL)

In addition, three more mission concept studies have been identified
that have already been done to a level of maturity such that an
independent cost estimate should be possible. Those three mission
concepts are:

1) Lunar network mission studied to date by Marshall and APL

2) MAX-C Mars rover and sample cacheing mission studied to date by JPL

3) Europa Jupiter system mission studied to date by JPL

I'm also pleased to report that Aerospace Corporation has been
selected to perform all the independent cost estimates that will be
used to prepare the SolarSystem2012 report. Aerospace is doing a
similar job for Astro2010, the astronomy decadal survey, and brings
considerable experience and credibility to the task.

An important note: Although we are conducting technical studies of
many possible missions, not all of them will ultimately be selected
for independent cost estimates. Also, only missions that have
undergone independent cost estimates can be included in the final
report, but undergoing an independent cost estimate does not guarantee
that a mission will be included in the final report. Finally, we are
continuing to organize a number of sessions at major scientific
conferences where discussion of the decadal survey among the community
will take place. Two special sessions will be held Friday morning,
December 18, at the Fall AGU. Future sessions are planned for LPSC and

As always, more details on all of this are available at the
SolarSystem2012 web site: Once
again, thanks very much for all your hard work on the white
papers. They are playing a major role in shaping the outcome of the
decadal survey.

Best wishes,
Steve Squyres
SolarSystem 2012 Chair



An important development in the implementation of the International
Astronomical Union Strategic Plan 2010-2020 "Astronomy for the
Developing World" is the establishment of the Office for Astronomy
Development. A short cover letter and the Announcement of Opportunity
to host the Office for Astronomy Development are available at

Letters of interest are due December 31st 2009, with proposals
due February 28, 2010.



Release Date: December 04, 2009
Proposal Deadline: February 26, 2010

NASA and The Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) are pleased to
announce the Cycle 18 Call for Proposals for Hubble Space Telescope
(HST) Observations and funding for Archival Research and Theoretical
Research programs. Participation in this program is open to all
categories of organizations, both domestic and foreign, including
educational institutions, profit and nonprofit organizations, NASA
Centers, and other Government agencies.

This solicitation for proposals will be open through February 26, 2010
8:00pm EST. The Astronomer's Proposal Tools (APT), which is required
for Phase I Proposal Submission will be made available/released for
Cycle 18 Phase I use during the 1st week of January 2010. Results of
the selection will be announced in early June 2010.

All programmatic and technical information, as well as specific
guidelines for proposal preparation, are available electronically from
the STScI World-Wide Web site at the Announcement Web Page with URL:

Questions can be addressed to the STScI Help Desk
(email:; phone: 410-338-1082).



The lawsuit of 28 Caltech employees at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory
against their employer and NASA, on the subject of background checks,
is now being brought before the US Supreme Court. See for details.



1) Postdoctoral Researcher (Planetary Science)
Boulder, CO

Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) is seeking applications for a
postdoctoral researcher in planetary science to assist Hal Levison
( in the study of the formation and long-term
dynamical evolution of the Solar System. This project will involve
studying the Kuiper belt binaries, giant planet core formation, and
Oort cloud formation. The successful applicant will be expected to
orchestrate their own independent research program in these or related
areas. Requires a PhD in Planetary Science, Astronomy, or a related
field with 0 – 2 years experience after PhD. Must have a strong
research interest and publication record in the dynamics of small
bodies in the Solar System, and/or the dynamics of planet formation.
A working knowledge of the N-body code known as Swift will be
considered a strong plus. To apply, please visit our website at Reference job code 15-00971.



1) Cassini-Huygens Project : Huygens Legacy and Future Titan Exploration
Barcelona, January 13-15, 2010

Huygens landed on Titan on 14 January 2005. On the occasion of the 5th
Anniversary of the Huygens landing, the main scientific and
engineering achievements of Huygens in combination with the remote
sensing of the Cassini Orbiter observation at Titan will be reviewed
during a 3-day long international meeting to be held January 13-15,
2010. The objectives of the meeting are to prepare:

1. Huygens Legacy
2. Review of Expectations for the Continuing Orbiter Mission
3. Objectives that will remain for Future Missions to Titan

Deadline for abstracts : 18 December 2009
For the SOC : Athena Coustenis

2) European Geosciences Union (EGU) General Assembly 2010
Vienna, Austria, 2-7 May 2010

There will be several Planetary Sciences Sessions during the meeting,
under the following themes:
PS1 – Solar System exploration and techniques
PS2 – Terrestrial Planets
PS3 – Outer planets
PS4 – Small bodies and dust
PS5 – Plasmas and magnetospheres
PS6 – Exoplanets
PS7 – Modelling and experimental work in Planetology
PS8 – Origins and Astrobiology
PS9 – Joint Sessions

The abstract submission is open until 18 January 2010.
Deadlines and information on support applications (deadline : 4
December 2009)

for the Programme Committee : Athena Coustenis (President of Planetary
Sciences Division)

3) International Planetary Probe Workshop 2010 (IPPW-7)
Barcelona, Spain : 14-18 June, 2010

This Workshop will explore technological challenges and scientific
opportunities associated with entry, descent, landing and flight in
planetary atmospheres with fellow scientists, technologists,
engineers, mission designers, policy-makers and students interested in
the exploration of solar system bodies with substantial atmospheres.
Deadline for submission of abstracts: 1 March 2010
For the Programme Committee: A. Coustenis (Co-Chair Science)

4) TNO 2010: Dynamical and Physical properties of Trans-Neptunian
Philadelphia, June 27 - July 1, 2010.


The meeting will take place in historic Philadelphia, within walking
distance of Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell. The meeting itself
will be held at the College of Physicians
(, 19 South 22nd Street.

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