Newsletter 12-26

Issue 12-26, October 26, 2012



Thank you all for making the DPS Reno meeting a great success. We had 654 abstracts and 784 registered participants. As we begin another DPS year, our major concern is the NASA planetary budget. Unless you have been living under a rock, you already know the situation that faces the future of planetary science and exploration.

The DPS, under Dan Britt’s leadership, has made great strides in communicating with Congress. Our letters earlier this year to our congressional representatives had a very positive impact. Both the House and the Senate appropriations bills would restore a substantial fraction of the proposed budget cuts to the FY13 budget for planetary when they become law in the coming months. But we have more to do because Congress can fund only one year at a time. We need the Administration to back away from the dire cuts they proposed in February. We need the OMB and OSTP to provide a 5-year plan that is consistent with the planetary budget in FY12, which is $1.5B. With funding at this level, NASA can execute the number one recommendation of the Decadal Survey, which is to conduct a balanced mixed of program elements that includes strategic missions and competed missions underpinned by strong programs in R&A and technology.

Our letters to the OMB and OSTP a few weeks ago told the leaders there that we are a well-organized and persistent community. Our efforts and those of the AGU, The Planetary Society, the GSA and others resulted in thousands of letters to OBM and OSTP. We believe our message was clearly heard. However, we need to do one more thing this year before the Administration finalizes it proposal for the FY14 5-year budget that will be released next February. We need to write to the boss of the OMB and OSTP, to President Obama himself, to make sure that the White House hears our message directly. It is critical that we do this now because the first full draft of the F14 budget will be completed by the OMB in early November, to be passed back to NASA for their response soon thereafter. If we are to have an impact on what the OMB passes back to NASA, we must write our letters now, this week.

We are sending a draft for a letter, but we urge you to adapt it and use your own words. Form letters have a much smaller impact that personal letters. Please make an effort to do this. I know that being an activist does not come naturally to many of us (certainly not to me) but these are very challenging times and we must act. You may want to fax your letter to President Barack Obama, (202) 456-2461 or (202) 395-1051.

Rosaly Lopes

Suggested wording for Letter to President Obama (using your own words will make it more effective) :

Dear Mr. President,

You were absolutely right when you told NASA’s Curiosity team, after their successful Mars landing, “We are fortunate to be part of a society that can reach beyond our planet and explore frontiers that were only imagined by our ancestors.”

Only missions to distant worlds like Mars and Jupiter’s watery ice-covered moon Europa can answer deep questions like: Is there life elsewhere, beyond the Earth? Are we alone in the Solar System?

Yet the funding that the Administration proposed last February would put us on a fast track to end the magnificent endeavor of planetary exploration. Planetary exploration attracts our excellent students to science and engineering. It fuels the creation of whole new high-tech industries at home, here in the US. Exploration raises the expectations of everyone in our society. Planetary missions drive us to accomplish great things. They are the quintessence of innovation.

The US National Academy of Sciences, in their recent planetary exploration decadal survey, declared the return of Mars samples and the exploration of Europa as highest priority, but asked for costs to be reduced. NASA and the space science community responded. Last week, two major NASA studies, one each for Mars and Europa, were released. Both cut costs in half yet retained a substantial portion of the leading edge science called for by the National Academy. The Mars plan also dovetails with your Administration’s long-term goal to send humans to Mars.

Right now, your Administration is planning the FY 2014 budget proposal that will be released next February. If that proposal continues the current steep decline in NASA’s planetary program funding, it will gravely endanger the unique capabilities that have enabled US leadership in space (such as the ability to land safely on Mars) and took decades to develop.

For these reasons, I respectfully urge you to direct your budget planners to rebalance and restore NASA’s planetary allocation to the FY12 level, $1.5B for each of the next five years so that NASA can move forward with the visionary priorities recommended by the National Academy. This amounts to less than one tenth the total NASA yearly budget, which itself is less than one half a penny for each US tax dollar invested in our Nation.

Great nations pursue great goals and create the future. The search for evidence of life beyond our Earth is such a goal. It is one that only the US has the capability to pursue. Please reverse the dramatic cuts proposed last February so that we can remain the world leader in space and on Earth.

Respectfully yours,


You can FAX your letter to President Barack Obama, (202) 456-2461 or (202) 395-1051



The NASA Lunar Science Institute (NLSI) is expanding to include other destinations beyond the Moon, stemming from NASA’s Flexible Path strategy for human exploration. The new Institute’s scope will include science and exploration research efforts focusing on solar system destinations for human exploration. The new institute will initially focus on the Moon, Near Earth Objects, Phobos and Deimos. These destinations are the focus of an upcoming Cooperative Agreement Notice (CAN) to be issued shortly by NASA. Additionally, heliophysics and astrophysics uniquely enabled through observations from these objects will be part of the new Institute.

NASA is seeking your input for a name for the new institute, reflective of its broader scope. For further details, and to submit a suggested name, please go to .
All suggestions received by midnight PST Nov. 9, 2012, will be considered.
NASA expects to announce the new name in early 2013, however, the NASA Lunar Science Institute name will remain in effect until the new teams are selected. The new institute will operate under the current NLSI leadership and the central office will remain at Ames Research Center.



[Please visit the DPS web site at : jobs
For more information and also consider posting a job by filling out the jobs submission form at:

You can send any comments, questions, or suggestions to the DPS Jobs Czar at: [email protected]]

The Department of Planetary Sciences/Lunar and Planetary Laboratory at the University of Arizona has available a tenured or tenure-track faculty position. Candidates in all areas of planetary science are encouraged to apply. Current faculty and research staff are engaged in many facets of planetary science, including planetary surfaces, interiors, atmospheres, the Sun and heliosphere, exoplanetary systems, comparative planetary studies, origins of planetary systems, and orbital dynamics. They employ tools such as theoretical studies and data analysis, laboratory and field investigations, telescopic observations, remote sensing, and spacecraft development, operations, and instrumentation. The faculty, research staff, and graduate student body are drawn from the diverse backgrounds of planetary science, astronomy, chemistry, geology, physics, and engineering. Additional information concerning the Department/Laboratory is available at
Successful candidates will teach at all levels, from freshman through advanced graduate classes. They will establish and maintain a distinguished research program in the field of planetary sciences and will supervise graduate students. Salary is dependent on qualifications. To be considered for an appointment above the rank of Assistant Professor, candidates must have an internationally recognized record of distinguished scientific achievement, leadership, and teaching ability in the planetary sciences. To be considered for appointment at the rank of Assistant Professor, candidates must demonstrate clear promise of such achievement.
Review of applications will begin on November 15, 2012, and will continue until the position is filled. The starting date for the appointment is anticipated to be August 12, 2013. Applicants must complete the online application at (search for Job Number 51233). Inquiries and supporting application materials, including a CV with publication list, statement of research interests, statement of teaching philosophy, and the names and addresses of at least four references may be submitted to:
Professor Timothy D. Swindle
Head, Department of Planetary Sciences Director, Lunar and Planetary Laboratory The University of Arizona
1629 E. University Blvd. Tucson, Arizona 85721-0092 (520) 621-4128
The University of Arizona is an EEO/AA employer – M/W/D/V.

The School of Engineering and Science at Jacobs University Bremen invites applications for a professorship in the field of Earth and
Planetary Sciences with a focus on planetary remote sensing, resource characterization, and/or resource exploration. Applicants should be experienced in the application of geophysical methods such as potential field analysis, satellite image interpretation and mapping, electromagnetic sounding methods and remote sensing to bridge between resource geoscience and planetary sciences. Within the undergraduate program Earth and Space Sciences, the successful candidate will contribute to education in the field of Geophysics and Planetary Sciences. Participation in curricula, organizational, outreach and communication activities is expected.

Applications should include a single PDF attachment containing a letter of application, curriculum vitae, publications list, statements of research and teaching, and the names and addresses including e-mail of at least three potential referees.

Only Electronic submissions to: [email protected]
Please quote Faculty Search #2150 in all correspondence.

For more information see:

The Department of Physics at Washington University announces a faculty opening in experimental physics at the level of Associate Professor with tenure in space sciences, particularly cosmochemistry or extraterrestrial materials. Candidates at the Assistant Professor level who are exceptionally well qualified and who have a demonstrated aptitude for teaching and original research will also be considered.
Duties include teaching and advising students, conducting original research, and participating in departmental and university service.
A PhD in a relevant field is required. Demonstrated success in obtaining research funding is highly desirable. The appointment will begin fall 2013. Applications should consist of the following: cover letter, current resume including publication record, statement of research interests and plans (up to 5 pages), statement of teaching interests and approach (up to 3 pages), and names and complete contact information (including email addresses) of three references.
Application materials must be submitted electronically by email as a single file in editable PDF format to:
[email protected]

For full consideration applications should be submitted on or before November 15, 2012. Washington University is an equal opportunity/equal access/affirmative action institution. Women and minorities are encouraged to apply.

The NASA Postdoctoral Program (NPP) offers scientists and engineers unique opportunities to conduct research at NASA Centers. Each NPP fellowship opportunity is designed to advance NASA research in a specific project related to space science, earth science, aeronautics, exploration systems, lunar science, astrobiology, or astrophysics.

Applicants must have a Ph.D. or equivalent degree in hand before beginning the fellowship, but may apply while completing the degree requirements. U. S. citizens, Lawful Permanent Residents, and foreign nationals eligible for J-1 status as a Research Scholar may apply.

Stipends start at $53,500 per year, with supplements for high cost-of-living areas and for certain academic specialties. Financial assistance is available for relocation and health insurance, and $8,000 per year is provided for professional travel.

Applications are accepted three times each year: March 1, July 1, and November 1.

For further information and to apply, visit:

Questions may be submitted by e-mail to [email protected]

The Research Foundation of Stony Brook University seeks a Postdoctoral Associate to work with Prof. Scott McLennan in the Department of Geosciences conducting laboratory experiments and/or analyzing spacecraft data in the field of the geochemistry of the Martian surface. Further details of the position and application procedures can be found at:

The position code is: WC-R-7413-12-08-S. Application deadline has been extended to November 30, 2012.

NASA announces its annual invitation for public nominations for service on NASA science advisory subcommittees. These science advisory subcommittees report to the Science Committee of the NASA Advisory Council (NAC). U.S. citizens may nominate individuals and also submit self-nominations for consideration as potential members of NASA’s science advisory subcommittees. NASA is committed to selecting members to serve on its science advisory subcommittees based on their individual expertise, knowledge, experience, and current/past contributions to the relevant subject area.

These are not full-time positions. Successful nominees will be required to attend meetings of the subcommittee approximately two to four times a year, either in person (NASA covers travel-related expenses for this non-compensated appointment) or via telecon/WebEx.
Successful nominees who are not already government employees will become Special Government Employees (SGEs). All successful nominees will be required to submit a confidential financial disclosure form, and undergo a conflict of interest review by the NASA Office of the General Counsel, before their appointment is finalized.

DATES: The deadline for NASA receipt of all public nominations is November 14, 2012.

For further information see:

For any questions, please contact Ms. Marian Norris, NASA Headquarters

[From PEN: Reduced for length.]

Application Deadline: January 18, 2013

The Lunar and Planetary Institute (LPI) invites undergraduates with at least 50 semester hours of credit to experience research in the planetary sciences. As a summer intern, you will work one-on-one with a scientist either at the LPI or NASA Johnson Space Center on a research project of current interest in planetary science. Furthermore, you will participate in peer-reviewed research, learn from top-notch planetary scientists, and preview various careers in science.

The 10-week program begins June 3, 2013, and ends on August 9, 2013. Selected students will receive a $5000.00 stipend plus a travel stipend of $1000.00 (U.S. students) (foreign nationals will receive a $1500.00 foreign travel reimbursement).

Applications are only accepted via the electronic application form found at the LPI’s Summer Intern Program website:

Faculty members: Please pass this information on to any of your students who might be interested.

Claudia Quintana
Phone: 281-486-2159
E-mail: [email protected]



AGU Chapman Conference – Crossing the Boundaries in Planetary Atmospheres:
From Earth to Exoplanets

Annapolis, MD, June 24-28, 2013

This will be a working meeting that emphasizes developing a common language, exchange of ideas, and planning for future collaborations among the Earth, planetary and exoplanetary science communities. Among the topics we plan to explore are:

1. What fundamental processes govern ALL atmospheres? Can they be applied uniformly in generalized dynamic, thermodynamic, and chemistry models including non-local thermodynamic equilibrium (non-LTE) effects? What limitations of our current theories and models of Earth climate compromise their application to more extreme climates of the past and future, and to other planets?

2. Can planetary atmospheres be broken into classes or taxonomies with commonalities in composition, structure, or dynamics?

3. How can insights from one field be adapted or extended to improve our knowledge in another field?

4. Are there community-specific observational and analysis techniques that can be applied to the other disciplines?

Contributed abstracts are solicited on the following topics, crossing the Earth, planetary, and exoplanet atmospheres disciplines. Preference for contributed talks will be given to those that are of a cross-disciplinary nature.
* Atmospheric model development and applications
* Atmospheric theory
* Data acquisition, assimilation, and analysis
* Observational techniques and needs, ground and space-based
* Laboratory techniques and needs



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