Newsletter 12-12

Issue12-12, June 3d 2012



The 2012 election for DPS Vice-Chair and Committee is now open, and will close on July 30th 2012.

To vote, go to .
You will need your AAS member login ID (which defaults to your membership number), and your password.
If you haven’t registered to or renewed your DPS membership recently, please take a moment to do so now.
This will allow you to vote and benefit from all membership advantages.

You should vote for one of the two candidates for Vice-Chair:
Heidi Hammel, AURA
Jeff Moore, NASA Ames

The Vice-Chair will become the DPS Chair in October 2012.

You should vote for two of the four candidates for DPS Committee:
Ross Beyer, SETI Institute
Sebastien Charnoz, AIM, Univ. Paris Diderot, France
Amanda Sickafoose Gulbis, Southern African Large Telescope
Paul Withers, Boston University

The successful candidates will serve on the committee for three years after October 2012.

The detailed vitae and position statements for each of the candidates follow.
This information is also linked from the main election page,


Candidates biographical notes and statements follow in alphabetical order.



Executive Vice President, AURA, Inc., Washington, DC

Ph. D. University of Hawaii, Physics and Astronomy, 1988
B. Sc. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Earth and Planetary Science,

Executive Vice President of Association of Universities for Research in
Astronomy (AURA) since 2011; Senior Research Scientist, Space Science
Institute, Boulder, CO 1999-2010; Principal Research Scientist, MIT,
Cambridge, MA, 1990-1999; Staff, Contractor, Research Associate, JPL,
Pasadena, CA 1988-1990

Selected honors:
Women in Space Science Award, Adler Planetarium, Chicago, IL, 2009
Carl Sagan Medal, AAS Division for Planetary Sciences, 2002
Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science, 2000
Exploratorium Public Understanding of Science Award, San Francisco, CA 1998
Harold C. Urey Prize AAS Division for Planetary Sciences, 1996
NASA Group Achievement Award, Comet SL9 Jupiter Observations, HST Team,
NASA Group Achievement Award, Voyager Science Investigation, ISS Team 1990

AAS/DPS Service:
AAS Education Committee: member (2008 – 2011)
AAS Van Biesbroeck Prize Committee: member (2006 ­ 2008, chair 2008)
DPS Web Site Developer, Administrator (1995 – 2007)
DPS Committee (1993 – 1996)
DPS Nominating Subcommittee (1989 – 1992)

Selected other community service:
National Academy of Science: Space Studies Board (2010 ­ present);
Planetary Science Decadal Survey, Chair of the Giant Planets Panel
(2009-2011); Committee on Priorities for Space Science Enabled by Nuclear
Power and Propulsion (2004-2005); Committee on Planetary Exploration,
COMPLEX (1995 – 1998)
The Planetary Society, Board of Directors (2005 ­ present); Vice President
(2010 ­ present)
NASA: Outer Planets Assessment Group Steering Committee ­ ³OPAG² (2008 –
present); Astrophysics Subcommittee (2006 ­ 2008); Solar System
Exploration Strategic Roadmap Committee ³SRM12² (2005 ­ 2006); Ex Officio
Education Liaison; Education Strategic Roadmap Committee ³SRM3² (2005 ­
2006); Space Science Advisory Committee ³SScAC² (2002 ­ 2005); SScAC
Education and Public Outreach Task Force (2002); IRTF-Keck Management
Operations Working Group (2001 ­ 2003); Origins Advisory Subcommittee
(1998 ­ 2001)
AAAC/NSF Exoplanet Task Force (2006 – 2008)
AAAS Section D (Astronomy): Council (2008 ­ 2010); Member-at-large (2002
2007); Nominating Committee (1996 ­ 1999; 2011 ­ present)
NOAO Committee for Access to Large Telescopes for Astronomical Instruction
and Research ‹ ³ALTAIR² (2008 – 2009)

Candidate Statement:
“The planetary exploration program is one of the most successful and
viable NASA programs. However, it is our judgment that in terms of
scientific priority it ranks below space astronomy and astrophysics*
[*specifically a new large over-budget space telescope for astrophysics]Š
The next step in planetary exploration is to do such things as landing
missions and sample return missions, and these require full development of
[a new launch capability]… In our judgment, it is ultimately better for
future planetary exploration to concentrate on developing the [new]
capabilities rather than to attempt to run a “subcritical” planetary
program given the current financial restrictions…”

Sound familiar? The occasion was NASA’s decision to eliminate the
planetary exploration program; the new space telescope was Hubble; the new
launch system was the Shuttle; and the speaker was James Beggs, then NASA
Administrator; and the date was 1981 (read more at John Logsdon¹s essay
about that era at

Today¹s situation is an eerie parallel to the struggle a generation ago:
stark reductions in the NASA Planetary Science Division (PSD) budget;
clear prioritization of the James Webb Space Telescope over other science
missions; and ongoing turmoil over future NASA launch vehicles. Yet as
bad as it seemed in 1981, we know how the story eventually played out: the
launches of Galileo and Cassini; the robust Mars program; a mission
orbiting a main belt asteroid; the Hubble Space Telescope providing
amazing planetary science results and mission support; and much more
planetary exploration.

I was an undergraduate in 1981, and was advised to avoid planetary science
because the future was so grim. Undaunted, I eventually got a PhD. After
attempts to find a faculty position failed, I landed in a soft-money
planetary science position, and I worked in those trenches for over 20
years. Last year, I chose to transition from soft-money research to
science policy and management in Washington, DC. My motivation for that
change is the same motivation for taking on a DPS leadership role:
somewhere right now in our country, an undergraduate is being advised to
avoid our field, and I want to make sure that she has a vibrant future in
astronomy and planetary science if she so chooses.

To justify growing the PSD budget back to $1.5B and beyond, we must
convince the American public and Congress that a mission to Mars or Europa
is as important as getting a job, replacing a crumbling bridge, finding
affordable healthcare, and educating our kids. As planetary scientists, we
understand the importance of planetary science to many issues that face
humanity: global climate change, planetary-scale sustainability, severe
weather, earthquakes, impact hazards, and so on. We must, however,
communicate this.

The current DPS leadership has worked hard and successfully on our behalf
in the past year. Much work remains, and this is not a job just for the
DPS leadership. We need you. By checking the box next to my name, you
agree to the following terms and conditions: you commit to work with the
DPS to be an active participant in saving our field; you agree to send
letters to your congressional representatives when asked; and you sign up
to give public talks, write opinion pieces for your local newspapers, and
do other activities that engage your neighbors in the exciting work that
we do as planetary scientists.

For my part, I will work with the DPS leadership to represent our field
within Washington, and to get us the tools we need for planetary research.
Together, we can preserve the voyages we envisioned in our Decadal
Survey. Our goal is that a generation from now, the community leaders
(today¹s undergraduates) will be able to say, as we do now, ³wow, we have
a terrific planetary science program.²


The exploration of space, particularly the planets, is one of the hallmarks of our civilization. Indeed, future historians may regard it as the positive hallmark. Planetary exploration showcases our understanding and appreciation of the cosmos, but just as importantly, provides a sense of awe and wonder like no other. However, we live in unsettled times. This is exquisitely so for our profession as planetary scientists. The events and politics of the current century clearly indicate the need for the champions of science to provide a visible, vigorous, and effective counterpoint to agents that threaten the enlightenment and the prosperity of our civilization as expressed through space exploration. Planetary mission funding in the U.S. is being slashed. The current U.S. mission manifest is such that much of the solar system could go radio-dark within a decade. Research and Analysis is underfunded, resulting in scientists disproportionally investing time writing numerous proposals at the expense of conducting research. The need for most researchers, especially those on soft money, to write or participate in multitudinous proposals weakens the review process by the very unavailability of these researchers to serve on review panels; this situation invites a downward spiral of unproductivity. Mission Operations and Data Analysis similarly suffer from a lack of resources.

The DPS plays a central role in representing planetary science before the public, the government (Congress, NASA, OMB) and the rest of the scientific community. I intend to vigorously pursue these avenues in representing the DPS community.

I offer my time and energy to promote our vital interest to our friends, proponents, and sponsors, while working to expand these constituencies. Central among issues is the essentiality of continuity in our world-class annual meetings, and that our meetings maintain a financial benefit to the DPS. If elected, I will develop initiatives to establish an orderly secession of missions that are balanced in targets, objectives, and costs. I will continue the DPS’s very successful relationship with our international colleagues and respective missions. I will seek common ground with other US research agencies such as NOAA and NRC as well as our related professional societies such as the AGU and GSA. I will also work toward greater inclusion of such disciplines as astrobiology into the DPS community, as unity within our field is now more vital than ever, and inclusivity promotes our scientific and programmatic goals.

I will concentrate my efforts toward increasing R&A and MO&DA funding, and to increase the efficiency of proposal evaluation and administration. A component of this will be to promote proposal writing training as part of our annual meetings. Also I will investigate how the DPS might create endowments to support a range of activities like research and public outreach. An overarching objective will be to be proactive in our communication with our government sponsors and the general public. This should be accomplished, whenever possible, in conjunction with likeminded partners, ranging from the AAAS and AGU to the Planetary Society and the National Geographic Society.

My research has focused on a range of topics relating to the geologic evolution of planetary landscapes and crustal materials. I have published a number of papers on the geomorphology, stratigraphy, and sedimentology of terrestrial planets and outer planet satellites, as well as explored the roles of impact cratering, volcanology, and tectonism on planetary bodies. I have conducted extensive laboratory simulations of Martian geological processes. I have researched the implications of impact craters on Europa for a sub-surface ocean. I have investigated Martian layered fluvial delta deposits, possible Martian ice-covered lakes in large basins such as Hellas, large alluvial fans on the Martian highlands, the role of SO2 in maintaining the early Martian climate, evidence of two episodes of Martian fluvial climate optima, the sublimation-driven erosion of the surfaces of Callisto and Hyperion, and the exogenic-processes-dominated nature of Titan’s landforms and evidence for climate change there. My record demonstrates a breath of interests and experiences, which I believe, if elected, provides the background to advocate balanced and vigorous goals for the DPS community.

I believe my experience provides me with the capacity to accomplish these objectives. I have been an active member of DPS since 1981. I was Science Organizing Committee (SOC) Chair for the 2003 DPS Meeting and (SOC) Chair for the NASA Lunar Science Forum (2009 and 2011). I am a Faculty Guest Lecturer in the Earth & Planetary Sciences Department of the University of California, Santa Cruz. I am the New Horizons Mission Imaging Node Leader; am a Mars Exploration Rover (MER) Science Team member; and was a Galileo Solid State Imaging Team Associate. I currently serve on the 2011-2012 Europa Science Definition Team as Geology Lead. I served on the JEO/ESJM Europa SDT’s leadership group. I am a Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, HiRISE Science Team collaborator. Further afield, I was a Tank Platoon Leader and Battalion Staff Officer in the United States Army.

Professional Background:
NASA Research Scientist since 1999; SETI Institute Research Scientist 1993-1999; NASA NRC postdoc 1991-1992; Graduate Research Associate, Dept. of Geology, Arizona State University 1983-1990; Research Assistant, School of Geology and Geophysics, University of Oklahoma 1980-1983; Emergency Room Extern, Moore Municipal Hospital, Moore, OK 1978-1980; Lieutenant (Tank Platoon Leader and Battalion Staff Officer) United States Army 1975-1978

B.A. (Modern European History) University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK, May 1975
B.S. (General Geophysics) University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK, May 1983
M.S. (Geology) Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ, May 1986
Ph. D. (Geology) Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ, December 1990

Selected Honors:
1997 Galileo Solid State Imaging Team, Superior Performance Award
2007 New Horizons Spacecraft Development Team, NASA Achievement Award
2008 MER 3rd & 4th Extended Mission Team, NASA Achievement Award



Research Scientist with the Carl Sagan Center at the SETI Institute.

I carry out my research at NASA Ames Research Center in the Space
Science and Astrobiology Division (Planetary Systems Branch) and
with the Intelligent Robotics Group (part of the Intelligent Systems

Scientific Focus: Planetary Surfaces

I study surface geomorphology, surface processes, remote sensing
and photogrammetry of the solid bodies in our Solar System (Mars,
the Moon, icy satelliets, etc.)–if you can stand on it, I’m
interested in what its like and how it got that way.

Ph.D. Planetary Sciences, The University of Arizona, 2004.
B.S. Astronomy, University of Illinois, 1998.
B.S. Physics, University of Illinois, 1998.

Research Scientist, Sagan Center, SETI (2007-present)
National Academies Research Associate and NASA Postdoctoral Fellow (2005-2007)

Spacecraft Involvement (broadly defined):
Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter: HiRISE Co-Investigator
Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter: LROC Participating Scientist
New Horizons: Geology and Geophysics Imaging team affiliate (not an *actual* team member)
Mars Science Laboratory: landing site certification science
Mars Exploration Rovers: landing site certification science
Mars Global Surveyor: I was a grad student of a MOC science team member
Galileo: I was Mike Belton’s (SSI lead) summer student at the time of the first Ganymede encounter.

My team at NASA Ames works with Google to make NASA’s geospatial
data more available via their Google Earth and Google Maps platforms.

Icarus Editorial Board member (2010-2012)
PG&G’s Planetary Cartography and Geologic Mapping Working Group member (2007-present)
DPS Webmaster (2006-2011)


The Division for Planetary Sciences represents us, the planetary
scientists to larger organizations and the public. It can also be
an incredible vehicle for scientific change and the professional
development of scientists in our field. It is our community.

I think that the DPS must represent our membership’s perspective
to governments and the general public, it should advance scholarship,
and it should enable its members to be better scientists.

The DPS already has a fantastic program of legislative visits and
is very active on a public policy front, as well as engaging the
public through various efforts. As a DPS committee member I would
like to be more inovlved with that process and help ensure that the
“DPS position” is known to policy makers as they craft legislation
and budgets that affect our interests.

The DPS’s annual meeting does an amazing job of advancing scholarship,
but our designated publication, Icarus, falls short in this modern
age. The articles, refereeing, and editing are top notch, but the
policies that surround that core of scholarship are lacking. The
research that we do and submit to Icarus is, by and large, paid for
by public funds, and the results of that research, in my opinion,
should belong to the public. Access to our research, as published
in Icarus is very costly to the individual researcher whose institution
does not have a subscription, and nearly impossible for a non-researcher
to get access to. I think that as a scholarly society it is our
duty to make our research more accessible. Science is not accomplished
when we make the discovery, it is accomplished when that discovery
is communicated with others.

I will work with the DPS leadership to change our relationship with
Elsevier, Inc., the publisher of Icarus, to promote broader access.
If Elsevier is unwilling to change their policies to allow affordable
open access, then I would be in favor of more dramatic change
regarding what many consider to be `our’ journal. However, Icarus
is not `ours,’ aside from a subscription discount, the society
receives no benefit from our relationship with the journal. We are
the authors, the editors, the reviewers, and the audience, and I
feel that we need more of a say in how our scholarship is represented
than we currently have.

Finally, I think that our society has done an excellent job in
recent years promoting Professional Development via the new
subcommittee and their activities, and I would continue to encourage
the committee and society to expand upon their work.


Professor of Astrophysics, University of Paris

Education: PhD 2000, University of Paris.

Research Interests: Collisional processes, origins, planet formation, satellite formation, rings dynamics, Kuiper and Asteroid Belts, giant planets, numerical simulations.
Associate member of the Cassini Imaging Team since 2003.
DPS is the place where I was born scientifically. Thanks to its blend of excellence and accessibility, young researchers have their place beside senior ones and new ideas can be debated in a friendly and enthusiastic atmosphere. At DPS, instrumentalists, theoreticians and observers are considered at a same level, breaking the boundaries that are found in other communities.
After working in numerical simulations of planetary formation during my PhD, I had the opportunity to join the Cassini Imaging Team in 2002 where I met the most extraordinary people of my scientific career. In this group I have brought my knowledge of planet formation and applied it to the dynamics of Saturn rings and satellite formation around the giant planets to build new models of satellite formation. Working internationally, this work has shown me the challenges of interdisciplinary work and the barriers that must be overcome in multidisciplinary dialogs.
Since planetary science is today one of the most visible areas of astronomy and attracts substantial public attention, we must continue our efforts to (i) attract young people to the field, (ii) facilitate international collaborations for building and strengthening new projects (iii) fuel interdisciplinary collaborations between different communities. As a European, a professor, and a researcher trying to make connection between different fields, I would engage in these three complementary areas if elected as a DPS Committee Member :
· Attract and facilitate young researchers to our scientific family
As a university professor, I am particularly sensitive to the question of the attracting and supporting young researchers in our scientific community. Young researchers are the vital “fluid” of our community: they are our future and they bring young and fresh views, new ideas, and strength to push the frontiers. As a DPS Committee Member I will act to promote actions towards graduate and PhD students, facilitating their participation in sessions dedicated to them. Also, in order to help young scientists starting their careers in planetary science, I will push projects aiming at linking students and research teams looking for postdocs.

· Strengthen ties with overseas colleagues
DPS meetings, since their origin, have been a marvelous place for promoting scientific collaborations, from small groups up to large consortiums for international space missions. In this way, the DPS plays a unique structuring role for our community that is not done by any other scientific society. The recent JUICE experiences show how vital international collaboration is to our community. As a citizen from Europe and as a DPS Committee Member I would be natural liaison to facilitate international communications between Europe and the DPS community and help to be the voice of the DPS community in Europe.

· Pushing forward trans-disciplinary collaborations :
Discoveries are often done at frontiers. Whereas we often talk about multidisciplinarity, this is often a difficult task because different communities have different languages. In addition, often researchers involved in trans-disciplinary research take a risk: the risk to be considered as a stranger by different funding agencies or review panels. However, due to the dynamism of planetary sciences, our community attracts new communities and we are bound to multidisciplinarity. I propose that by carefully designing interdisciplinary sessions, workshops and discussions at DPS, we can open new fields of explorations and form new research teams, both at the small collaboration levels, and at the scale of space missions
This is the way I propose to serve the DPS community if elected as a DPS Committee Member.


Astronomer, Southern African Large Telescope, Cape Town, South Africa

. University of Colorado (Astrophysical, Planetary, and Atmospheric Sciences; MS 1999, PhD 2002)
. Denison University (Physics, Mathematics; BS 1997)
. United States Air Force Academy (1993-1995)

Professional Positions
. Visiting Scientist, MIT Dept. of Earth and Planetary Sciences, 2008-present
. Research Scientist, MIT Dept. of Earth and Planetary Sciences, 2006-2008
. Postdoctoral Associate, MIT Dept. of Earth and Planetary Sciences, 2003-2006
. Postdoctoral Research Associate, Univ. of Colorado, Center for Integrated Plasma Studies, 2003
. Research Assistant, Univ. of Colorado, Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics, 1998-2002
. Undergraduate Research Assistant, Lowell Observatory, summer 1996 & 1997

Research Interests
My recent research is focused on small bodies in the outer solar system, primarily via the technique of stellar occultations. This work encompasses a wide range of interests: observations on telescopes worldwide (visible and IR wavelengths), instrumentation (high-speed, visible wavelengths), astrometry (stars and solar system bodies), and the physical characterizations of Pluto, Charon, and other Kuiper Belt objects. I have also been involved with laboratory work on dusty plasmas. I remain interested in the near-surface dusty plasma environments on airless bodies, specifically the Moon and asteroids.

Selected Activites
. member of the AAS and DPS (since 1996); the IAU (since 2009); the African Astronomical Society and the Sutherland Small Telescopes User’s Committee (since they were founded in 2011)
. member of the Science Organizing Committees for the 2010 MEARIM II and 2008 DPS meetings
. member of NASA’s Management Operations Working Group for Planetary Astronomy, Planetary Atmospheres, and NEO Observations (2007-2008)
. speaker for public talks, Astronomy Centres, and BBC productions (2004-present)
. reviewer for NASA funding proposals from multiple programs

Candidate Statement
The DPS is a vibrant community, with the capability of not only advancing planetary research but fostering international collaborations, inspiring non-scientists, and encouraging future generations. I am interested in serving on the DPS committee in order to build on all of these aspects.

Planetary exploration and research continues to suffer under financial pressures. To help our cause, I think it is important to work with government representatives as well as take full advantage of international resources and raise public awareness. There are so many exciting, approachable aspects of planetary science that it is not difficult to share our knowledge and enthusiasm in order to generate popular interest and support. With increasingly accessible and widespread media, it is becoming much easier to connect with people worldwide. These tools can be employed to strengthen scientific collaborations and to reach a variety of people who are eager to learn more about astronomy (importantly, motivating students in math and science). One demonstration that funding can be available if we think broadly is the recent founding of the IAU Office of Astronomy for Development here in South Africa. We need to continue to be creative in finding ways to secure, maximize, and extend resources.

I am also interested in promoting interdisciplinary collaborations within the DPS. Many research projects can benefit from progress that is made on other bodies, application of different techniques, and/or a more comprehensive understanding of the Solar System. For example, laboratory work has traditionally held a fairly small place in the community; however, communication between experimentalists and observers is critical to the interpretation of spectroscopic and photometric observations of small bodies. If elected, I would look for ways to support and promote these types of interactions.



Professional positions:
Assistant Professor, Astronomy Department, Boston University, 2010-present
Researcher, Center for Space Physics, Boston University, 2003-2010

PhD, Planetary Sciences, University of Arizona, 2003
MS and BA, Physics, University of Cambridge, 1998

Selected service roles:
DPS Nominating Subcommittee, 2008-2011
MEPAG Goals Committee, 2008-present
Local Organizing Committee, Magnetospheres of the Outer Planets meeting, 2011
Delivered atmospheric datasets to PDS for accelerometer instruments on Mars Odyssey, Spirit, Opportunity, Phoenix and arranged delivery of Venera 15/16 ionospheric data
Involvement in spacecraft radio occultation investigations (Mars Express, Venus Express); aerobraking accelerometer investigations (Mars Global Surveyor, Mars Climate Orbiter, Mars Odyssey, Venus Express); atmospheric entry investigations (Beagle 2, Spirit, Opportunity, Huygens, Phoenix)

Research areas:
Currently focused on planetary atmospheres and ionospheres, particularly Mars.


I belong to many scientific organizations. Of all of them, the DPS is the one that I feel works most directly for its membership. That sense of an organization serving its membership is what I wish to maintain and enhance by my service on the DPS Committee.

In thinking of my possible contributions to the DPS as a member of the Committee, I recalled one of my earliest forms of professional service. The graduate students of the University of Arizona’s Lunar and Planetary Laboratory organize a celebration each fall. Some of you may have heard of it: the semi-legendary Bratfest. Many students focused on making the party a success, whereas I found my niche in making it financially possible – selling scores of the specially-designed commemorative shirts each year. I have a similar attitude to my service on the DPS Committee. I want to enable those DPS leaders who are visionaries to accomplish great things for our community. For example, that means working to ensure successful and non-bankrupting annual DPS meetings, to explore ways of improving the operations of the numerous NASA funding programs that support so many of us, and to navigate Icarus safely through the scientific publishing industry’s turmoil concerning the access of taxpayers to the discoveries they paid for.

When America’s planetary scientists want the voice of planetary science to be heard by the public, Washington, or just about any group, they turn to the DPS. When international planetary scientists, many of whom are DPS members, want to engage with America’s planetary science community, the DPS is the organization they call. I would like the DPS to make more frequent and more effective use of its powerful voice in communicating the views and concerns of the planetary science community to the public, the media, and others.

These are interesting times for planetary science. We have switched from concerns that the next decade’s flight program will be “all Mars, all the time” to fears that it could collapse to levels not seen since the 1980s, when no NASA planetary launches occurred between 1978 and 1989. Growing from those troubled times to a rate of one launch per year in 2000-2010 was a magnificent achievement for planetary science. The recent Decadal Survey outlined an exciting program of planetary exploration that is diverse in its destinations and its mission sizes. However, if any fraction of the Decadal Survey’s inspirational plan is to have a chance of becoming reality, the entire DPS is going to have to argue relentlessly for the importance and value of planetary science for the next few years. This will be the major preoccupation of the DPS over the three-year term of this slate of candidates, and I am eager to play a role in that endeavour.