From: John Spencer Date: April 6, 2010 2:56:00 PM PDT To: DPS Members Subject: [DPS Members] DPS Mailing #10-04: Prize deadline, 238Pu letters... Issue 10-04, April 6th 2010 +-----------------------------CONTENTS--------------------------------+ 1) DPS prize nominations close soon 2) Message from the chair: Hartmann travel grants 3) 2010 DPS meeting invitation 4) 238Pu: Write to your representatives and senators 5) Information for future DPS meeting hosts 6) 2010 Planetary science summer school 7) New Horizons KBO search: Partners wanted 8) Special MESSENGER issue of Planetary and Space Science 9) Upcoming Meetings +---------------------------------------------------------------------+ 1---------1---------1---------1---------1---------1---------1---------1 DPS PRIZE NOMINATIONS CLOSE SOON A reminder that the deadline for nominations for the 2010 DPS Prizes is approaching, on April 16th.  You still have ten days to honor your favorite planetary scientists!  See for details of the prizes, and nomination procedures. 2---------2---------2---------2---------2---------2---------2---------2 MESSAGE FROM THE CHAIR: HARTMANN TRAVEL GRANTS Dear Colleagues, Last year we appealed to you, and you responded, with donations to keep our Society financially afloat.  This year we are happy to report that we are securely back in the black, and we can turn our attention to core DPS priorities.  The Hartmann Student Travel Grants enable our youngest scientists to attend our conference.  Tax season reminds us of the value of donating generously to our favorite causes - I would like to take this opportunity to remind you about the Hartmann Student Travel Grants, and suggest that you consider a donation.  Generous donations from our DPS members to the Hartmann travel grants have helped numerous students to participate in our meetings, and they are tax deductible. To learn more about this program go to the DPS home page and click on Meetings on the left side of the page.  Then click on Travel Grants. We have testimonials from two of our recipients from last year. Thanks again for your support! Candy Hansen 3---------3---------3---------3---------3---------3---------3---------3 2010 DPS MEETING INVITATION The American Astronomical Society's Division for Planetary Sciences invites you to attend its 42nd annual meeting in Pasadena, California from October 4-8, 2010. Further information can be found at: The deadline for workshop requests will be June 11th, and the abstract deadline will be on July 19th. 4---------4---------4---------4---------4---------4---------4---------4 238PU: WRITE TO YOUR REPRESENTATIVES AND SENATORS This is from Jim Bell Chair of the DPS Federal Relations Subcommittee: Dear DPS Colleagues, You may be aware that NASA is facing a serious shortfall in the supply of Plutonium-238 (Pu-238), the isotope used in electrical power systems for many planetary robotic missions.  This is an issue that directly affects future missions, and which the DPS Committee has targeted as a critical topic for advocacy efforts by the DPS Federal Relations Subcommittee (FRS).  Last year, Congress rejected the Department of Energy's (DoE's) $30M budget request to restart domestic production of Pu-238.  This year, the administration's FY11 budget request contains $15M each for DoE and NASA to jointly pursue and begin the Pu-238 restart process. The success of this restart effort is not guaranteed, and so the DPS Committee is calling for the membership to get directly involved to advocate for this important budget item.  We are asking that all DPS members contact their Congressional representative and senators to ask them to support the joint DoE+NASA budget proposal to restart domestic Pu-238 production. A template of a potential letter to send to your representative and senators is appended below. You could cut and paste the body of this letter directly onto your own letterhead, or of course simply use the text below as a guide for your own more personalized letter. Mailing a hardcopy of a letter has the greatest impact in Congressional offices. Sending your letters by fax or email or making a phone call are also fine ways to communicate with members of Congress and their staffs, though we have been told by staff that those methods have less impact than hardcopy letters. If you don't know them, you can easily find the names, mailing addresses, phone/fax numbers, and email addresses of your Congressional representatives online using the AAS's "zip to it" interface at or using other resources like Vote Smart, at It is vitally important that members of Congress know how critical this issue is to the future of NASA's space exploration program, and that they know that the issue affects constituents in their own districts and states.  If you are involved with or proposing involvement with a mission that depends on Pu-238 in any form, your letter will be even stronger with a statement describing the direct impact of that mission in your rep's district. PLEASE make the effort to communicate directly with Congress about this important issue.  The DPS Committee will be on Capitol Hill in mid-May to advocate for our case directly to several of the key players involved with DoE and NASA budget authorizations and appropriations. It would be extremely helpful to the Committee if, when we get to these Congressional offices, they were to say, "oh yeah, I received a bunch of letters about this recently!" For more information and details, please ping DPS Chair Candy Hansen ( or DPS Federal Relations Subcommittee Chair Jim Bell (  We will also post this information and other details (for example, advice on the most important members of Congress to contact) soon on the DPS/FRS Public Policy web site at Thanks! -Jim Bell, DPS/FRS Chair Letter template below: Replace items in [brackets] with your relevant info --------------------------------------------- [Your Letterhead] [Date] [Honorable Senator/Representative XYZ] [House or Senate Office Building] [Washington, DC zip code] Re: Please Support DoE/NASA Restart of Pu-238 for Space Exploration Missions Dear [Representative/Senator], I am writing to urge you to fully support the Department of Energy (DoE) and NASA's plans to restart the production of Plutonium-238 (Pu-238), the isotope used as a source of electrical power for many of NASA's robotic space exploration missions. Pu-238 is not a weapons-grade material and has not been produced in the U.S. since the mid-1990s. It has been used to power many successful space missions, like the Voyager probes to the outer solar system, the Viking and Mars Science Laboratory missions to Mars, and the Cassini mission to Saturn--missions that could not have been done with solar power alone. However, many new NASA missions to explore the solar system cannot proceed without additional Pu-238.  Indeed, restarting production as soon as possible is essential, because there is no current U.S. capability to produce this valuable resource, and the world's supply is rapidly declining. At best, there is only enough left to power one more spacecraft to the outer solar system, and then the supply runs out. It will require five years or more from the time production restarts to produce enough Pu-238 to support a new mission, so action on this issue is required now. The administration's FY2011 budget request includes $15M each for DoE and NASA to share the costs of re-establishing domestic Pu-238 production. I urge you to work to ensure that these DoE and NASA allocations remain in the final budget authorization and appropriation.  The future of American space exploration is at stake! As a constituent of yours and as a professional astronomer and member of the American Astronomical Society's Division for Planetary Sciences, please do not hesitate to contact me if I can provide you or your staff any information on this issue as you consider this request. Thank you for supporting space exploration and the scientific endeavors that it enables! Sincerely, [Your signature and contact information] 5---------5---------5---------5---------5---------5---------5---------5 INFORMATION FOR FUTURE DPS MEETING HOSTS There is some new information on the DPS meeting page for people considering hosting the DPS meeting in the future, including a link to a spreadsheet for evaluating the minimum facility requirements. See 6---------6---------6---------6---------6---------6---------6---------6 2010 PLANETARY SCIENCE SUMMER SCHOOL NASA is accepting applications from science and engineering post-docs, recent PhDs, and doctoral students for its 22nd Annual Planetary Science Summer School, which will hold two separate sessions this summer (19-23 July and 2-6 August) at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif.  During the program, student teams will carry out the equivalent of an early mission concept study, prepare a proposal authorization review presentation, present it to a review board, and receive feedback.  At the end of the week, students will have a clearer understanding of the life cycle of a robotic space mission; relationships between mission design, cost, and schedule; and the tradeoffs necessary to stay within cost and schedule while preserving the quality of science.  Applications are due 1 May 2010.  Partial financial support is available for a limited number of individuals. Further information is available at 7---------7---------7---------7---------7---------7---------7---------7 NEW HORIZONS KBO SEARCH: PARTNERS WANTED The NASA New Horizons mission to Pluto and the Kuiper Belt is soliciting partners to assist with the telescopic search for Kuiper Belt Object flyby targets beyond Pluto.  Large telescopes with wide-field detectors will be required for the search.  Leaders of search teams will have a chance to join the New Horizons science team for the KBO flyby portion of the mission. If you are interested, please contact John Spencer at Southwest Research Institute in Boulder: 8---------8---------8---------8---------8---------8---------8---------8 SPECIAL MESSENGER ISSUE OF PLANETARY AND SPACE SCIENCE The Editors of Planetary and Space Science and the MESSENGER Science Team invite contributions to a special issue, "Mercury after Three MESSENGER Flybys" devoted to new findings on the planet Mercury.  The MESSENGER team will be contributing a set of papers reporting results from that spacecraft's three flybys of Mercury, particularly the third flyby in September 2009, as well as models that account for those observations.  The special issue is also open to other papers reporting new results on Mercury science.  These could be papers analyzing observations from the Mariner 10 or MESSENGER flybys, reporting on new models, or presenting appropriate ground-based or laboratory measurements.  The submission deadline for all papers in the special issue is 30 June 2010. To assist in planning for the editorial review of papers for the special issue, contributors from outside the MESSENGER team are asked to send a brief electronic letter of intent by the end of May to the Managing Guest Editor for the special issue, Sean Solomon (, with a copy to the Editor-in-Chief of Planetary and Space Science, Rita Schulz ( 9---------9---------9---------9---------9---------9---------9---------9 UPCOMING MEETINGS 1) Lunar Graduate Conference, NASA Ames Research Center, Mountain View, CA, July 18 2010. The first-ever Lunar Graduate Conference (LunGradCon 2010) will be held on Sunday, July 18, 2010 at the NASA Ames Research Center (ARC). In conjunction with the NASA Lunar Science Forum at ARC, LunGradCon will provide an opportunity for grad students and early-career postdocs to present their research on lunar science in a friendly environment among their peers. In addition to oral presentations, opportunities for networking with fellow grad students and postdocs, as well as senior members of the NASA Lunar Science Institute, will be provided. A limited amount of funding will be provided for travel and lodging costs. For more details, please visit: or email any questions to: +---------------------------------------------------------------------+ Send submissions to: John Spencer, DPS Secretary ( To unsubscribe visit or email To change your address email