Issue 12-6, March 22, 2012
1) UPDATE FROM THE CHAIR : PLANS FOR ACTION ON THE NASA BUDGET
2) NRC’S COMMITTEE ON ASTROBIOLOGY AND PLANETARY SCIENCE
3) IRTF OBSERVING PROPOSALS
4) NEW FRONTIERS IN ASTRONOMY AND COSMOLOGY INTERNATIONAL GRANT COMPETITION
5) JOB OPPORTUNITIES
6) UPCOMING MEETINGS
UPDATE FROM THE CHAIR : PLANS FOR ACTION ON THE NASA BUDGET
I am reporting from the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference (LPSC) where, not surprisingly, the major cuts to the NASA Planetary Science Division budget are a frequent subject for the hallway discussions. The NASA HQ briefing was very well attended and featured the new SMD Chief John Grunsfeld and Jim Green of PSD. The message that came through clearly was that this budget is not what SMD or PSD prefers, but there is nothing that NASA HQ can do about it at their level. The new information from the briefing was a strong intention in SMD/PSD to reboot the Mars program in co-ordination with the human exploration side of NASA. The near-term impact is a committee that is looking at mission options in the 2018 time range for a ~$700 million range mission. This is money available in the current reduced budget and 5-year plan. Mars remains a very high priority for NASA HQ.
Steve Mackwell of LPI organized a Planetary Community Forum where the chairs of the planetary-oriented scientific societies (Planetary AGU, DPS, Planetary GSA, and the Meteortical Society) discussed plans for action on the budget. The bottom line is that if the community wants a different budget, the community will need to engage with Congress and convince them to change the budget. The Societies are committed to working for restoration of the budget to FY2012 levels (to $1.5 billion from the current proposal of $1.2 billion) with legislative language that directs NASA to follow the Decadal Survey and plan on level funding for over the next five years. The consensus course of action is to target selected House and Senate Appropriations Subcommittee members for engagement using meetings, letters, e-mails, and FAXs to make our opinion forcefully known. In the next week the DPS web site will provide names, addresses, talking points, and suggested letter formats for these contacts. These actions need to be coordinated with the legislative calendar which can be a bit murky. The best guess is that the House Subcommittee will be marking up their appropriations bill in late May, so we will need to begin writing “physical” letters about April 15 (all mail to Congress is irradiated and takes four to six weeks to be delivered), and plan on ramping up e-mails, visits and FAXs in mid-May. Additional contacts will be needed when the full House Committee meets on their budget, when the Senate Subcommittee meets, when the full Senate Committee meets, and probably when the House/Senate Conference Committee meets. Those dates are not clear now, but I will keep you informed.
Dan Britt, DPS Chair
NRC’S COMMITTEE ON ASTROBIOLOGY AND PLANETARY SCIENCE
The National Research Council’s Space Studies Board has merged the Committee on Planetary and Lunar Exploration (COMPLEX) and the Committee on the Origins and Evolution of Life (COEL) to create the new Committee on Astrobiology and Planetary Sciences (CAPS).
The prime functions of CAPS will be to monitor the implementation of the recommendations contained in the Vision and Voyages planetary science decadal survey and in the reports drafted under the aegis of COEL and COMPLEX, and to act as the organizing committee for future studies in the areas of astrobiology and planetary science (e.g., the mid-term assessment of the decadal survey).
Philip Christensen (Arizona State University) and J. Gregory Ferry (Pennsylvania State University) have agreed to serve as the co-chairs of CAPS. Seventeen additional individuals have been identified and have agreed to serve on the committee, pending approval by the NRC’s Executive Office.
CAPS will hold its first face-to-face meeting on 23-25 May in the National Academies’ Keck Center, 500 Fifth St. NW, Washington, D.C., 20001.
Additional details about CAPS will be posted on its website at:
THE NASA INFRARED TELESCOPE FACILITY (IRTF) OBSERVING PROPOSALS
DEADLINE: 02 April 2012
***Use the ONLINE application form ***
NASA Infrared Telescope Facility Observing Proposals. Due date for the 2012B semester (August 1, 2012 to January 31, 2013) is Monday, April 2, 2012. See our online submission form. Available instruments include: (1) SpeX, a 1-5 micron cross-dispersed medium-resolution spectrograph (up to R=2,500) and imager; (2) CSHELL, a 1-5 micron high-resolution spectrograph (up to R=40,000); (3) NSFCAM2, a 2048×2048 pixel, 1-5 micron camera with a 0.04″/pixel scale (82″x82″ field-of-view) and a circular variable filter; (4) MORIS, a 512×512 pixel Andor CCD camera mounted at the side-facing, dichroic-fed window of the SpeX cryostat (60″x60″ field-of-view); MORIS can be used simultaneously with SpeX, and (5) PI-instruments including a low-resolution 3-14 micron spectrograph and high-resolution spectrographs for 8-25 microns. Information on available instruments can be found at: http://irtfweb.ifa.hawaii.edu/Facility/.
Important notice: We are planning to take NSFCAM2 off line during Aug.-Oct. 2012, to install a new infrared array and control electronics. We expect it to be available starting on Nov. 1, 2012. Due to the schedule uncertainties in returning the instrument to service, proposals to use NSFCAM2 will be accepted provided the program can be also accomplished with the SpeX slit viewer, which has 0.12″/pixel and a 60″x60″ field-of-view.
Important notice: We anticipate that SpeX will be taken off line during June –Oct. 2013, and will be available Nov. 1, 2013. This is necessary to upgrade SpeX with new arrays and array controllers. We strongly recommend observers to plan their observing accordingly. We also expect to accommodate key projects requiring large amounts of observing time using CSHELL, NSFCAM2, and visitor instruments during time SpeX is not available.
Visitor instruments (available on a collaborative basis with the instrument team) include: TEXES (5-20 micron high-resolution spectrograph; contact Matt Richter at [email protected] for more information), BASS (3-14 micron spectrometer; contact Ray Russell at [email protected]), and CELESTE (5-25 micron echelle spectrometer; contact Don Jennings at [email protected]).
Remote observing is available with SpeX, NSFCAM2, CSHELL, and MORIS.
Remote observing requests must be made in the proposal application – later requests will be considered if requested at least ONE MONTH ahead of time. If you wish to observe from your home institution, you MUST comply with the requirements for video conferencing and instrument operation provided on the Remote Observers Information page. First-time users should plan to work in Manoa, Hilo or at the summit for their first run with their support astronomer and become familiar with the instrument operation. Observers already familiar with the instrument and who want to observe remotely from their home institution are strongly encouraged to contact Miranda Hawarden-Ogata ([email protected]) to set up a test of the video link and user interface at least one month prior to their observing run. We cannot guarantee a successful remote observing connection on short notice since we have no control of hardware and software compatibility on the user’s side. It is the responsibility of the PI to provide up to date observing contact information.
Important notice: To keep our bibliography up to date and to ensure future funding of the IRTF, please check your publications at the following websites:
and send to William Walters ([email protected]) any missing references.
NEW FRONTIERS IN ASTRONOMY AND COSMOLOGY INTERNATIONAL GRANT COMPETITION
Deadline: 16 April 2012
The New Frontiers in Astronomy and Cosmology International Grant Competition is offering opportunities for innovative research on the following topics:
I. What was the earliest state of the universe?
II. Is our universe unique or is it part of a much larger multiverse?
III. What is the origin of the complexity in the universe?
IV. Are we alone in the universe? Or, are there other life and intelligence beyond the solar system?
Grants are offered for theoretical work, up to $300,000 for two years;
and experimental research, up to $500,000 for two years. Proposers
are required to complete a pre-application due 16 April, available on
the website www.NewFrontiersinAstronomy.org in mid-March.
In addition to the grants program, the New Cosmic Frontiers Essay
Contest offers prizes for high school and college student essays.
Further details can be found at www.NewFrontiersinAstronomy.org.
1) POST-DOC IN HAMBURG, GERMANY
A 3-year post-doc position on dynamics and thermodynamics of planetary
atmospheres at the Meteorological Institute, University of Hamburg,
Germany has opened for anyone who may be interested. See :
Doctoral degree in physics, applied mathematics, astronomy, or Earth sciences, and re- search experience in the field of planetary atmospheres is required.
Preference will be given to disabled applicants with equal qualifications.
Application dossiers (application letter, curriculum vitae, degree certificate(s), two references) are to be submitted by e-mail ([email protected]) or by regular mail (Prof. Dr. Valerio Lucarini, Universität Hamburg, Meteorologisches Institut, Grindelberg 5, D-20144 Hamburg, Germany) not later than 1 May 2012. Please do not submit any originals.
For more information please contact [email protected] or check the following web- site http://www.mi.uni-hamburg.de/Theoretische.6.0.html.
2) ASSOCIATE EDITORS FOR THE ASTROPHYSICAL JOURNAL LETTERS
The American Astronomical Society is soliciting applications for two
new positions of Associate Editors for the Astrophysical Journal
Letters. These Associate Editors will play the same role for ApJ
Letters that the ApJ Scientific Editors play for the main journal.
Starting in Fall 2012 the new Associate Editors will work closely
together with the new ApJ Letters Editor, Dr. Frederic Rasio, to help
with the peer review process. See the AAS Job Register for more
3) POSTDOCTORAL RESEARCH ASSOCIATE AT RENSSELAER
The Department of Physics, Applied Physics, and Astronomy at the
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) invites applications for a
Postdoctoral Research Associate in the area of exoplanet exploration,
including observational investigations and/or instrumentation
development. The successful applicant will carry out independent
research on the detection of exoplanets and characterization of
exoplanetary systems and their parent stars, with emphasis on
exploring the conditions for habitability.
Applicants must send a current CV with list of publications, contact
information for 3 professional references, and a 1-2 page statement
of research interests to Professor Jon A. Morse ([email protected]).
Potential applicants may wish to review the current research activities
of the NY Center for Astrobiology at:
and consider how she/he could complement and enhance its portfolio,
then include such ideas in the research statement.
Applicants must have a PhD (or foreign degree equivalent) in astronomy,
astrophysics, physics, planetary science, or related field. The initial
appointment is for 1 year beginning as early as July 2012, renewable
for up to 2 additional years pending satisfactory review and
availability of funding.
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute has a strong institutional commitment
to diversity and is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer.
4) POST-DOCTORAL POSITION AT OBSERVATOIRE DE PARIS IN MEUDON, FRANCE:
Three dimensional MHD simulation of planetary magnetospheres
A one year renewable post-doctoral position founded by the FP7 collaborative
European project SHOCK (Solar and Heliospheric Collisionless Kinetics: Enabling
Data Analysis of the Sun to Earth Plasma System with Kinetic Modellings) is
available in the Paris Observatory at Meudon.
The successful candidate is expected to select and adapt an already existing
compressible MHD code to perform global simulation of a planetary magnetosphere.
The main objective during the very first phase of the project is to select and
validate the best suited MHD code among the few available codes published under
GNU General Public License (e.g. the ATHENA code, made available by the
Princeton University). During the second phase the implementation of the
boundary conditions at the planetary surface will be the main objective. In the
end, fully three dimensional simulations of the solar wind – magnetosphere
interaction for various wind parameters are expected to be produced routinely.
Candidates must have a PhD in plasma physics, astrophysics or a related field,
with a good experience in code development for parallel architectures, MHD
simulations and the use of visualisation tools.
The appointment will be for one year renewable once, with an expected start on
the 1st June 2012. The net salary is 2500 euros/month.
Applications including a CV, a short description of research work and list of
publications should be sent (by e-mail) to the two address given below. Two
reference letters, to be sent directly by the referees, are also required.
Full consideration will be given to applications received by the 8th April 2012.
5) SERVING ON A REVIEW PANEL
Postdocs and early-career professionals, would you like to get some
experience on a review panel? Serving on a review panel is one of the
best ways to improve your proposal-writing skills. We are recruiting
reviewers for the NESSF (NASA Earth and Space Science Fellowship)
program. These are graduate student fellowship proposals that cover a
wide range of planetary topics. The review panels will be held
virtually via Webex (no travel required) in mid to late April. If you
are interested in serving on this panel, please send a CV or short
description of your expertise to
Dr. Sarah Noble
Additional Career opportunities are listed at http://astrobiology.nasa.gov/careers/
See also: PLANETARY MEETING CALENDAR ADDITIONS
Posted at http://planetarynews.org/meetings.html
OPAG MEETING, MARCH 29-30, 2012, ST. LOUIS
The Outer Planets Assessment Group (OPAG) will meet 29-30 March at the
Renaissance Grand St. Louis Hotel, St. Louis, Missouri. Information
regarding hotel and other logistics can be found at:
Potential attendees are kindly asked to go to this website, and click on the invitation link and RSVP for attendance (this will assist our meeting planners).
This OPAG meeting will focus on the recently released FY13 NASA budget for Planetary Science, reports from the Europa Science
ESA’S ESLAB SYMPOSIUM ON “FORMATION AND EVOLUTION OF MOONS”
The European Space Agency’s ESLAB Symposium on “Formation and
Evolution of Moons” will be held at ESTEC, The Netherlands, 25-29 June
2012. The 2nd announcement may be found at:
The web page has been updated with the poster, list of invited
speakers, registration page and student support.
Deadline for abstract: 2nd April 2012
Abstract submission may be done at:
MOVING FORWARD IN SPACE WORKSHOP
Applications are now available for the Moving FORWARD in Space Workshop, to be held in Philadelphia on June 4-6, 2012.
The primary goals of the workshop are to provide early-career female scientists with information and skills development necessary for a successful bid for a tenured professorship in the planetary sciences. Workshop activities will focus on developing mentoring and networking connections, techniques for more successful writing, acquiring grant funding, sharing of classroom ideas and materials, maintaining work-life balance, and challenges for dual career couples.
More information is available on the website at: https://sites.google.com/a/temple.edu/forward-in-space/
Application deadline and review:
Applications are available on the website or by e-mailing [email protected]. Applications must be received by midnight March 26, 2012. The workshop Organizing Committee will review applications and begin informing applicants on April 2. Applications for travel stipends will also be available at that time.
This conference is sponsored by the National Science Foundation via the FORWARD to Professorship Program.
DUST, ATMOSPHERE, AND PLASMA: MOON AND SMALL BODIES (DAP-2012)
The meeting will take place in Boulder, June 6-8, 2012.
Please visit our webpages http://ldap2012.colorado.edu/ to register and submit an abstract by 3/30/2012, if you plan to attend.
We are looking forward to see you in Boulder!
Alan Stern and Mihaly Horanyi
THIRD INTERNATIONAL PLANETARY DUNES WORKSHOP
Remote Sensing and Data Analysis of Planetary Dunes
June 12–15, 2012, at the Lowell Observatory, Flagstaff AZ 86001
To view the announcement, visit the conference website:
ULTRAVIOLET ASTRONOMY: HST AND BEYOND
This is the second announcement for the upcoming conference: UV Astronomy: HST and Beyond to be held June 18-21 on the island of Kauai.
Ultraviolet Astronomy: HST and Beyond will review the current forefront in UV astronomy, and look to the future, identifying the science cases and instrumentation needs for the next generation of instruments, small, medium and large. We have a series of invited review talks on scientific and observational topics, and invite contributions on the latest results in ultraviolet astrophysics, technological developments, and future mission concepts.
The deadline for submitting contributions is March 31, 2012. If you planning on attend the meeting, I would like to encourage you to register at:
The preliminary schedule of invited talks is now available online.
NATIONAL MEETING ON SCIENCE EDUCATION AND COMMUNICATION
The Astronomical Society of the Pacific (ASP), in partnership with the
American Geophysical Union and the National Optical Astronomy
Observatories, is delighted to open the registration for its 124th
Annual Meeting and a conference on “Communicating Science” to be held
in Tucson, Arizona, Aug. 4 – 8, 2012.
The conference web site has detailed information and is now accepting
registration and abstract submissions at:
There will also be a weekend workshop on teaching hands-on astronomy
(with a focus on planetary exploration and reaching under-served
minorities) on Sat. and Sun., Aug. 4 & 5, for teachers in grades 3-12,
and those who work with them.
Abstracts are welcome for poster papers, 10-minute oral presentations,
one-hour hands-on workshops, and one-hour special-interest group
discussions. Full instructions are available on the conference website.
The deadline for submitting an abstract is April 30.
There is a substantial discount for early registration and for members
of the ASP. (You can join when you register.) The hotel space is
limited. We encourage participants to register early and make vacation
plans around this exciting meeting in the beautiful southwest.
1970-2010: THE GOLDEN AGE OF SOLAR SYSTEM EXPLORATION
Accademia dei Lincei, Rome, Italy, 10-12 September 2012
Second Announcement and Call for Papers of the conference
The conference is organized in honour of Prof. Marcello Fulchignoni (University Paris Diderot-Paris 7) on the occasion of his forthcoming retirement. Prof. Fulchignoni devoted all of his scientific career to the study and understanding of processes that led to the formation of the Solar System. Prof. Fulchignoni taught from 1970 to 1993 at the University of Rome “La Sapienza”, before moving to Paris at the “University Paris Diderot – Paris 7” and at the “Observatory of Paris-Meudon”.
The main topics of the conference are:
1. The Moon: a Harsh Mistress 2. Mercury, Venus, Mars: the terrestrial planet family 3. The Gaseous Giants: Systems in the System(s) 4. Small Bodies: searching for origins 5. What else in the future?
Abstracts: a one page abstract shall be submitted using the LPSC two column format. The abstracts, in pdf format, should be sent to [email protected] .
Instructions and LaTex, Word and rtf templates are available at :
The deadline for abstract submission is: May 15, 2012.
The notification to the authors about their abstract will be sent by June 15, 2012.
Registration: Note that the number of participants is limited to 100 due to the size of the venue. Participants will be accepted on a first come first served basis.
The deadline for registration is: May 15, 2012.
Conference web site:
Information : [email protected]
INSTABILITIES AND STRUCTURES IN PROTOPLANETARY DISKS
September 17 – 20, 2012
Marseille – France
web site: http://wiki.oamp.fr/ispp/IsppWorkShop
Final registration is now open. Since the capacity of the lecture room is limited to ~50, early registration is recommended. Fees are 200 Euros for academics and 100 Euros for students; they will cover printed proceedings. Abstract submission and registration deadline is June 15th 2012.
EUROPEAN PLANETARY SCIENCE CONGRESS 2012
IFEMA-Feria de Madrid
23 – 28 September 2012, Madrid, Spain
Abstract deadline: 23 May 2012
The scientific program and abstract submission are accessible at:
Travel funding will be available for students: EPSC will make a contribution to a large number of European PhD students to support their attendance.
More information will be provided soon on the conference website.
THIRD CONFERENCE ON TERRESTRIAL MARS ANALOGUES
25 – 27 October, 2012 Marrakech Morocco
Pre- and Post-conference field trips
The second circular available on the conference web site:
This is the third conference on Mars analogue studies. The first two were held at Catania (Italy) in 2002 and at Trento (Italy) in 2007.
Since the Trento Conference the interest in Mars analogues has increased enormously. The analysis of Mars analogue environments on Earth is of paramount importance for the interpretation of the data from past, present and future orbital and landed missions, as well as mission planning.