Newsletter 11-18

Issue 11-18, October 31, 2011



A. Dantzler (Age 49) died on Thursday, October 13, 2011. Born March 25, 1962 in Bethesda, he worked at NASA from 1984-2006, serving as an optical engineer, EOS manager, Landsat 7 manager, assistant chief of the Laboratory for High Energy Astrophysics, and Director of the Solar System Exploration Division at NASA Headquarters. In 2006, Andy joined The Johns Hopkins University APL’s Civilian Space Business Area to lead the Living with a Star Missions. Andy was also the first Program Manager for Solar Probe Plus, which will journey closer to the Sun than any probe has ever gone. Andy was promoted to Program Area Manager for Civilian Space in 2009, overseeing program management for projects such as the MESSENGER mission, now in orbit about Mercury and the New Horizons mission on its way to Pluto and the Kuiper Belt.
Online condolences may be offered at

See the full obituary as published in The Washington Post on October 16, 2011 at:…

and you can also find it posted on the DPS web site under History.


Ronald Greeley, Regents’ Professor of planetary geology in the School of Earth and Space Exploration at Arizona State University, died Oct. 27, in Tempe, Arizona at the age of 72. Greeley has been involved in lunar and planetary studies since 1967 and has contributed significantly to our understanding of planetary bodies within our solar system.
He went on to Geology at Mississippi State University, receive B.S. and M.S. degrees there. In 1966 he received a Ph.D. in Geology from the University of Missouri at Rolla.
After a year working for Standard Oil Company of California as a paleontologist, in 1967 Greeley was called to active military duty as an officer. Given his background in geology and remote sensing, the Army assigned him to NASA’s Ames Research Center to work on Apollo-related problems.
At Ames, his research career in planetary science was launched, as he trailblazed the field of planetary geology and during this same period, stimulated by the new Mariner 9 pictures from Mars, Greeley began using wind tunnels at Ames to simulate how aeolian processes might operate on different planets. Greeley has become recognized not only as an expert in planetary science, but also as an expert on terrestrial aeolian processes, frequently consulted on problems of desertification and wind erosion.
Among other research projects, Greeley conducted photogeological mapping of planets and satellites, establishing ASU’s Space Photography Laboratory. In 1986, Greeley left the Center for Meteorite Studies to serve as chair of the Department of Geology.
Greeley served as director of the NASA-ASU Regional Planetary Image Facility and principal investigator of the Planetary Aeolian Laboratory at NASA-Ames Research Center. He served on and chaired many NASA and National Academy of Science panels, and he most recently chaired the Planetary Science Subcommittee of the NASA Advisory Council.
Greeley was involved in nearly every major space probe mission flown in the solar system since the Apollo Moon landing. Mission projects included the Galileo mission to Jupiter, the Magellan mission to Venus, and the Shuttle Imaging Radar orbiter around Earth. He also conducted research on the moons of Uranus and Neptune, observed by the Voyager 2 mission.
Passionate about Mars exploration, Greeley has been involved with nearly all missions to the Red Planet: Mariner (6, 7, 9), Viking, Mars Pathfinder, Mars Global Surveyor, and the Mars Exploration Rovers. He served as a co-investigator for the camera system onboard the ongoing European Mars Express mission.
Greeley’s work lives on in proposed missions to Europa, Ganymede, and the Jupiter system, which he has tirelessly championed as US co-chair of the Joint Jupiter Science Definition Team.
In lieu of gifts, a scholarship fund is being set up to aid planetary students. More information on memorial services can be found:…

(See the full obituary to which Bob Pappalardo, Nicole Cassis, Mike Carr, and Jeff Moore contributed on the DPS Web site at: obituaries)

Please note that due to the unexpected and tragic loss of Ron Greeley, Chair of the Planetary Science Subcommittee (PSS), the PSS meeting scheduled for November 2-3 at NASA Headquarters has been canceled. The meeting will be rescheduled for a later date and notice of that new date will be published in the Federal Register.


I want to start by congratulating and thanking the organizers of the joint EPSC-DPS meeting in Nantes (Olivier Grasset and Melissa McGrath leading the LOC, and Manuel Grande and Renu Malhotra leading the SPC) on a hugely successful meeting. Attendance was over 1500, well beyond expectations, and the scientific content was outstanding in its breadth and depth. We owe the organizers a vote of thanks for a job well done! At the meeting we welcomed two new DPS committee members Ralph McNutt and Robert Pappalardo, the new Treasurer Andy Rivkin, and the new Vice-Chair, Rosaly Lopes. Many thanks to our outgoing people, committee members Josh Colwell and Anne Verbiscer, Treasurer Diana Blaney, and Chair Melissa McGrath for an outstanding job during a difficult time for DPS.

We also added Emmanuel Lellouch and Keith Noll to the prize subcommittee, Cristina Thomas to the nominating subcommittee, and Christina Richey and Dave Choi to the federal relations subcommittee. Sincere thanks to Paul Withers, Candy Hansen, Tristan Guillot, Andy Ingersol, and Amy Lovell for your service and a job well done on DPS subcommittees!

For those that could not attend the DPS Members Meeting in Nantes, the officer’s reports and the meeting slide package are on-line at reports. Part of the presentation included a “In Memoriam” of the sad losses to our community during the past year. Obituaries of DPS members who have passed away recently can be found at obituaries.

One of the highlights of the meeting was the ESA/NASA night event with presentations by representatives of both agencies. In particular, Jim Green’s presentation reviewed the difficult budget situation that faces planetary science. Jim’s slides from that presentation are also online at content/jim-green-presentation-dps-2011. This makes excellent background reading for the challenges that Jim and our community face in the coming year. We need to educate our elected representatives and the Administration of the value of investments in planetary science. It is no surprise to anyone keeping up with the news that the federal budget in general, and science funding in particular, are under huge political pressure. One of our major assets at this difficult time is our just-published Decadal Survey which represents our community’s consensus on the priorities for planetary science over the next 10 years ( A consensus document that clearly lays out goals and priorities is a powerful influence on Congress and the Administration.
After Nantes, I met with a number of congressional staffers as well as officials from the Office of Management and Budget and the Office of Science and Technology Policy. I was impressed by the broad-based support I found for planetary science. However, the foreseeable future is going to be difficult and Congress and the Administration needs to be told over and over again of the value planetary science and the fact that we have a consensus plan for the next decade. The members and the leadership of DPS need to be as active as possible to push the goals of the decadal survey and urge that funding be provided to achieve those goals. We have friends in Congress and there is a broad consensus that exploring the solar system is what the federal government should be supporting. If they hear from us, we have a good shot at getting the resources needed for a vibrant planetary sciences program. But they do need to hear from us or the resources will go elsewhere. For contacting your representatives the DPS public policy site has much useful information (public_policy).


The Division for Planetary Sciences of America Astronomical Society announces the release of “Descubrimientos en Ciencias Planetarias”, the Spanish translation of the “DPS Discoveries” Classroom Powerpoints. We’re grateful to Pedro Sada, Universidad de Monterrey, Mexico for his efforts. The most recent release in both languages is “A Planet Orbiting Two Suns” about the recently discovered planet nicknamed “Tatooine”.

These classroom slidesets 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 education/dpsdisc which has links to the Spanish and English versions.

The 22 previous releases cover these topics:
– A Thousand New Planets, – Buried Martian Carbonates- The Lunar Core – A Six Planet System – Martian Gully Formation
– Propellers in Saturn’s Rings – Venus’ Active Volcanism – Martian Glaciers – Titan Lakes – Explaining Iapetus
– Waterworld at 40 Lightyears? – Discovery of a Rocky Exoplanet – Lunar Water – Jupiter Impact Event – Oceans on Enceladus
– The TC3 Meteorite – 2012 Doomsday Rumors – Mars Sulfur Cycle – The First Images of Exoplanets
– Methane in the Martian Atmosphere – The Chaotic Early Solar System – Volcanoes on Mercury

For more information, contact Nick Schneider & Dave Brain at [email protected]

The abbreviated message below, sent on behalf of IAU Office of Astronomy for Development (OAD), can been in its entirety at

The OAD is compiling list of potential volunteers willing to contribute to the IAU capacity building activities described in the IAU Strategic Plan. Astronomy for the Developing World 2010 – 2020: Building from IYA 2009. It aims to use astronomy as a tool to stimulate development at all levels including primary, secondary and tertiary education, science research and the public understanding of science.

Present and planned activities include:
• Building Research Capacity and university education
# Schools for university students
# Long-term visits to institutes in developing countries
# Long-term institute twinning
# Inspirational lectures to students on astronomy and related technologies.
• Astronomy for Schools
# Teacher training courses
# Development and translation of educational material for children.
• Astronomy for the Public
# Inspirational semi-popular lectures on astronomy or related technologies
# Activities building on IYA2009 including stargazing and engagement with amateur groups

In addition to participation in the delivery or helping with the organization of activities there are several general areas in which volunteer assistance would be valuable, e.g. translation of the OAD website into several languages. We are particularly interested in contacting expatriates who are prepared to help carry out development activities in their countries of origin. We would therefore be grateful if you would complete the questionnaire for potential volunteers at can also reach us at [email protected] specifying as subject: “Call for Volunteers” or contact us personally.

We draw your attention to the opportunity for organisations, institutes and astronomy departments to contribute to future IAU “Astronomy for Development” activities and the OAD workshop to discuss this in Cape Town from 12 – 14 December. See:

Very many thanks for your help.
Kevin Govender, Director: IAU Office of Astronomy for Development (OAD), [email protected]
George Miley, IAU VP (Portfolio Development and Education), Chair, OAD Steering Committee, [email protected]
(forwarded by Nick Schneider, EPO Officer for the DPS, [email protected])


Pay your 2012 membership dues online at through 31 December 2011. Renew today by logging in to your membership record, and consider making a donation to the Power of Giving Campaign. These programs support our discipline as well as recognize the research of your fellow astronomers. By renewing online and not receiving a paper renewal, you will help your Society save enormous costs.

If you will renew your dues electronically before 31 December 2011 log in to your membership record today and opt out of a paper renewal to avoid receiving an invoice in the US mail. Also, please take a moment to update your personal DPS member file.

Thank you for your support.
Send general replies to [email protected].

As the fall semester or quarter begins, here are
a few new educational resources from the nonprofit
Astronomical Society of the Pacific that may help
you if you are teaching or explaining astronomy:

1. Frank Drake Tells How He Came Up with the Drake Equation:

2. A New Classroom Activity: How High Up is Space:

3. An “Astronomy Behind the Headlines” podcast on “Science
from the Moon” (on current and future Moon missions, with
guest Dr. Jack Burns, University of Colorado):

4. An Astronomer Looks at Astrology (an information sheet for
both students and instructors):

5. A new issue of “The Universe in the Classroom” with
information and activities for the 2012 Transit of Venus:

6. The Universe at Your Fingertips 2.0
(a DVD-ROM with 133 hands-on classroom activities,
and lots of articles, resources, images, and how-to videos
for teaching astronomy at many levels and in many settings):

Forwarded by Andrew Fraknoi

a) Tenure track assistant professor position in Bern

In the framework of its newly established Space Science
Centre for Planetary Studies, Habitability, and the Origin of
Life, the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Bern invites
applications for a position of Tenure-track Assistant Professor of Astronomy/Planetary Sciences opening on September, 2012 at the Division of Space Research and Planetary Sciences of the Physics Institute, University of Bern, Switzerland.
Applications (in English) including a curriculum vitae, a list of publications, copies of the five most relevant publications, and an outline of current and planned future research should be sent as a single PDF file or as a hard copy by November 15, 2011 to
Prof. S. Decurtins
Dean, Faculty of Science, University of Bern
Sidlerstrasse 5
CH-3012 Bern (Switzerland)
e-mail:[email protected]

Further information about the Division for Space Research and Planetary Sciences can be found at: Enquiries about the position should be addressed to

Prof. W. Benz, Physics Institute, Sidlerstrasse 5, CH-3012 Bern
(Switzerland), ph: +41 31 631 4404, fax: +41 31 631 4405, e-mail:
[email protected].

b) Postdoctoral position in planetary petrology

The Geology Department at Southern Illinois University Carbondale invites applications for a postdoctoral fellowship in planetary petrology with a focus on Martian volatiles. The successful candidate will work with Dr. Justin Filiberto in NASA-funded efforts, focusing on analytical and experimental studies of the pre-eruptive volatile contents of Martian basalts. These efforts focus on volatile elements (specifically halogens) in planetary magmas, Martian meteorites, terrestrial analogs, and experimental studies, starting with analyses by optical microscopy and electron microprobe. The candidate will be encouraged to design and conduct their own research in petrology.
Applicants must hold a Ph.D. in geology or a related field or show that they will complete all degree requirements by the time of appointment. Experience with planetary materials and/or experimental equipment is recommended. The position would be for one year, with possible extension up to four years depending on performance and funding.

Application Deadline: Review of applications will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled.
Application Procedure: Applicants should submit a curriculum vitae, a statement of research interests, and the names and contacts of at least three referees to [email protected]

c) Post doctoral position in planetary geology in Wroclaw (Poland)

see :


See the planetary meeting calendar posted at

a) 9th International Planetary Probe Workshop (IPPW-9)
in Toulouse, France on June 18-22, 2012.
The goal of the workshop is to bring together scientists, technologists, engineers, mission designers, and policy makers interested in the technological challenges and scientific opportunities in the exploration of Solar System atmospheres and surfaces using atmospheric entry and descent probes. The 9th workshop will build on the success of the previous workshops to promote international cooperation in probe missions to solar system bodies.

b) 39th Scientific Assembly of the Committee on Space Research (COSPAR) and Associated Events “COSPAR 2012”

Date:14 – 22 July 2012
Place: Mysore, India

Contact: COSPAR Secretariat, c/o CNES, 2 place Maurice Quentin, 75039 Paris Cedex 01, France
Tel: +33 1 44 76 75 10
Fax: +33 1 44 76 74 37
[email protected]

Abstract Deadline:
10 February 2012

120 meetings covering the fields of COSPAR Scientific Commissions (SC) and Panels (full list available at

c) First Announcement of the Conference:
“1970-2010: The Golden Age of Solar System Exploration”
in honour of Prof. Marcello Fulchignoni.

The conference will be held in the Accademia dei Lincei, in Rome, Italy
from September 10 to September 12, 2012.

The conference web site is at:

The email for information and expression of interest is:
[email protected]

Elisabetta Dotto (SOC Chair)
Alessandro Rossi (SOC Co-Chair)