Message From The Chair: Planetary Science Examples From Present, Past And Future

Monday: The DPS Committee reviewed, discussed and passed the 2017 budget in an hour! Thanks to treasurer, Andy Rivkin for leading that effort, for the subcommittee chairs getting in their requests, and to the committee for discussing and voting it approved. The budget funds telecommunications and activities of the subcommittees, and travel for the Committee’s and federal relations subcommittee members’ Congressional visits in the spring.

Next on our agenda is reviewing charges of all subcommittees.

Tuesday: Ben Feist (yes, the singer’s brother), recounted at Goddard Space Flight Center last week, his personal pathway to a project restoring the Apollo 17 mission timeline. That led to the web-based Apollo 17 in real-time. As Ben said, he did this to engage people in the history of our space program, and he succeeded! It is awesome.

Back to Monday: The subcommittee on professional climate and culture and our secretary’s newsletter (thank you Anne Verbiscer), brought to my attention Planetary Science Vision 2050 Workshop. So I took a side trip to imagine 33 years down the road, seeking contributions from my network of younger colleagues to contribute to an abstract.   Five of my 8 co-authors wouldn’t have proposed to participate in this opportunity. I was able to lead it because I wasn’t going to AGU and wasn’t writing an abstract for ACM.

Wednesday: Back to the present with some current data from the Dawn mission reviewing plans for upcoming data collection.  It is fun and a privilege.

Thursday: Drafted Planetary Visions abstract, sent to co-authors for review and augmentation.  Friday: Revised and submitted in spite of the fact that the deadline was moved forward.

It was a week where I worked hard to change the narrative of pending doom that I continue to find among many media posts, and in discussions with colleagues and friends. I won’t put my head in the sand, and will work to share and communicate planetary science for the benefit of all.

I truly appreciate the opportunity to lead the Division for Planetary Sciences this year. As we enter the holiday season, I encourage everyone to pause to enjoy it, spend time with those we love, and recommit our efforts to explore and share our knowledge broadly so that we inspire, engage and enlighten those in the world around us.  Happy Holidays.