Newsletter 12-7

Issue 12-7, April 9, 2012


As I warned in my previous updates, the legislative calendar will drive our calls for action to restore planetary budget cuts. The House and Senate subcommittees will consider the NASA budget and do their markups early this year, by the end of April or early May. If we want our voice heard in Congress, if we want to reverse these devastating budget cuts, now is the time to act. Attached to this call are contact details for the key congressional members on appropriations committees that need to hear our message. Also attached is a set of talking points and a suggested letter form. All of this information and more will also be posted on the DPS federal relations subcommittee website.
What matters now are numbers. Congress will not be impressed with a handful of letters and e-mails. What will impress them are hundreds or even thousands of messages from scientists across the country concerned about the future of planetary exploration. What I strongly urge the DPS membership to do is the following:
· Pick six members from this list (better yet, the entire list) and send e-mails or FAXs to their science and technology staffers. A suggested letter is attached to this call. Please feel free to customize it for your individual preference. Every list should include Rep. Wolf and Sen. Mikulski, the chairs of the House and Senate subcommittees. I will be sending out the list of the full senate appropriations subcommittee in a subsequent mailing.
· Follow up your e-mails with actual written (snail-mail) letters. Because of these troubled times, letters are irradiated prior to delivery to Congress so these can take 4 to 6 weeks before delivery. However, this sort of contact has much more impact than an e-mail and amplifies our presence and our footprint with Congress. If you don’t want to write, call the office and talk to the science and technology staffer. That kind of personal contact has a powerful impact.
· If you live in the district of any of these senators or congressmen, visit their district office during April. Every representative has numerous district offices whose sole job is to keep contact with constituents. This web site just requires your zip code to give you the websites of your senators and representative, which will lead you to the addresses and phone numbers of their district offices. Mine turned out to be less than 3 miles from my house. Call for appointment, use the attached talking points, bring a copy of your letter, and impress upon the staffer of the critical nature and dire consequences of the planetary budget cuts. These contacts get reported directly to the representative and carry a huge amount of weight.
· If you live in the DC area, visit the congressional offices of the subcommittee members. The FRS website public_policy/communicating-congress has advice on visiting Congress. Again use the attached talking points, bring a copy of your letter, and talk about the restoration of the planetary budget.
The time is now. Visits, letters, calls, and e-mails need to be done in the next two weeks to have an impact on the markup process. At the very minimum we can all afford 20 minutes to generate the e-mails necessary to contact every representative on this list. If the DPS as a group does that, we will have a huge impact on the budget process. If we do not, we will be ignored, the cuts will stand, and this golden age of planetary exploration will end. Let’s get busy!

House Appropriations


Frank R. Wolf, Virginia, Chairman
241 Cannon Building
Washington, DC 20515
Tel: (202) 225-5136
(202) 225-0437 fax
(Science and Technology Staffer) [email protected]

John Abney Culberson, Texas
2352 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515
Phone: (202) 225-2571
Fax: (202) 225-4381
(Science and Technology Staffer) [email protected]

Robert B. Aderholt, Alabama
2264 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515
Tel: 202-225-4876
Fax: 202-225-5587
S&T Staff: [email protected]

Jo Bonner, Alabama
2236 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515
Tel: 202-225-4931
Fax: 202-225-0562
S&T Staff: [email protected]

Steve Austria, Ohio
439 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515
Tel: 202-225-4324
Fax: 202-2251984
S&T Staff: [email protected]

Tom Graves, Georgia
1113 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515
Tel: 202-225-5211
Fax: 202-225-8272
S&T Staff: [email protected]

Kevin Yoder, Kansas
214 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515
Tel: 202-225-2865
Fax: 202-225-2807
S&T Staff: [email protected]


Chaka Fattah, Pennsylvania
2301 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515
Tel: 202-225-4001
Fax: 202-225-5392
S&T Staff: [email protected]

Adam B. Schiff, California
2411 Rayburn HOB
Washington D.C. 20515
Phone: (202) 225-4176
Fax: (202) 225-5828
(Science and Technology Staffer) [email protected]

Michael M. Honda, California
1713 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515
Tel: 202-225-2631
Fax: 202-225-2699
S&T Staff: [email protected]

José E. Serrano, New York
2227 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515
Tel: 202-225-4361
Fax: 202-225-6001
S&T Staff: [email protected]

Senate Appropriations

Sen. Barbara Mikulski Chair Senate Appropriations Commerce, Justice, and Science Subcommittee
503 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Phone: 202-224-4654
Fax: 202-224-8858
(Science and Technology Staffer) [email protected]

Sen. Dianne Feinstein Senate Appropriations Commerce, Justice, and Science Subcommittee
331 Hart Senate Office Bldg.
Washington, D.C. 20510
Phone: (202) 224-3841
Fax: (202) 228-3954
(Science and Technology Staffer) [email protected]

Talking Points:
· Planetary science activities provide an excellent value to the taxpayer and provide a strong return on investment
· We are in the middle of a major revolution in the understanding of the origin and evolution to the solar system and if there is life beyond Earth.
· The planetary science community came together in 2009-2010 to decide on the set of priorities for the 2013-2022 time period, identifying the most important science questions in the discipline and the most effective ways of answering those questions in a realistic way given the resources available. The Planetary Decadal survey lays out a plan for the next decade with solid community support.
· The President’s 2013 budget proposal does not allow Decadal Survey priorities to be implemented and greatly delays future exploration. Essentially backs away from American leadership in solar system exploration.
· The President’s proposed 2013 budget gravely damages the US Mars program. Only the US has the technical capability to land on Mars which is critical for all robotic surface explorations and for future human exploration. The proposed 2013 will endanger this unique capability.
· We will abrogate the search for past or perhaps even current life on Mars just at the point in human history that we have acquired to ability to search for and find it.
· The outer solar system is in grave danger of going “radio dark” in 2017, when the very successful Cassini mission ends. Outer solar system missions require many years of lead time to plan and execute, and no outer solar system missions are currently planned beyond 2017 in the US.
· Several moons of the outer solar system including Europa may have water oceans and the “ingredients” required for life. By exploring these worlds, we can address one of the most important questions in all of science: Is there life beyond Earth?
· In direct response to the planetary Decadal Survey, less expensive mission options have been defined to explore Jupiter’s moon Europa. Paradigm-changing outer solar system science can accomplished within a cost-constrained planetary program.
· Planetary science discoveries are a major motivation for students pursuing the Science, Engineering, Technology, and Mathematics (STEM) careers that propels the U.S. forward.
· NASA has been working closely with our international partners to develop joint missions that lower the overall cost to US taxpayers. Budget cuts have ended our participation with ESA in two Mars missions and in the Europa Jupiter System Mission and seriously endanger any possible participation in ESA’s L-class candidate JUICE mission to Jupiter’s system with focus on its moons.
· Innovative technologies developed for space have broader utility and impact that benefits all of society.
The FY 2013 budget for NASA Planetary should be restored to and maintained at the congressionally approved FY 2012 level consistent with the planetary decadal study recommendations, NASA should be directed to (in priority order):
1. Increment the Research & Data Analysis program by 5% relative to FY 2011.
2. Fund technology development programs at 7-9% of the Planetary Division budget.
3. Continue to fully fund those missions returning high-value science data.
4. Restore the “Discovery” program to a 24 month cadence and New Frontiers to a cadence of two missions per decade.
5. Select one of the recommended flagship missions to Mars or the Outer Planets.

Example of Congressional Letter:

The Honorable [Senator/Representative] ______________________
United States Senate/House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20510 (Senate) 20515 (House)
Dear Senator/Representative ___________________
I am writing you to express my concern about the President’s proposed Fiscal Year 2013 budget for NASA which calls for deep cuts to the nation’s very successful and productive planetary science program. The Planetary Science Division in NASA falls in FY13 to $1.2 billion from a current $1.5 billion, a drop of over 20%. These cuts will force NASA to halt consideration of new missions, retreat from international partnerships, and abandon American leadership of the robotic exploration of the solar system. I urge Congress to restore and maintain planetary science funding at FY 2012 levels of consistent with the recommendations of the National Research Council of the National Academies planetary sciences decadal survey and direct NASA to plan for a program based on continuing funding at the FY 2012 levels. Thank you for considering my views. Please do not hesitate to contact me if I can be of further assistance on this issue.

[Your Name and Address]

More tips on writing letters:

Useful Web Sites
· Contacting your representative.
· DPS Federal Relations Committee page for communicating with Congress. We will provide addresses and e-mails for key Congressional members. public_policy/communicating-congress
· Members of the House Appropriations Commerce, Justice, and Science Subcommittee
· Members of the Senate Appropriations Commerce, Justice, and Science Subcommittee


a) 2012 Travel Grant application opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students
The Gerald A. Soffen Memorial Fund is pleased to announce the first of two 2012 Travel Grant application opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students pursuing studies in fields of space science and engineering.

The Travel Grants, in the amount of $500, enable student recipients to attend professional meetings to present their research. The first 2012 Travel Grant application deadline is April 15, 2012. Jerry Soffen, a biologist by training, led a distinguished career in NASA, including serving as the Project Scientist for Viking and as an architect for the NASA Astrobiology Institute. The Travel Grant continues Jerry’s dedication to educating and involving future generations in space science and engineering pursuits. The electronic application materials and instructions are located on the Soffen Fund website:

Questions regarding the application or application process may be sent to:

[email protected]

b) Research Associate at LPL
Applicants are invited for a postdoctoral position associated with MRO’s High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE), located at the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory at the University of Arizona. The research emphasis will be on Mars geology and surface processes that are relevant to HiRISE. Work on terrestrial or other planetary analogs and quantitative studies using digital topography, spectral imaging, and other data are encouraged. Experience in analysis of data from the Compact Reconnaissance Imaging Spectrometer for Mars (CRISM) is highly desirable. Other useful skills and experience include remote sensing, image processing, and lab-based measurements and experiments. Researchers with primary experience and training in terrestrial geology are welcome. Scientific collaboration within LPL and beyond is encouraged. Although the primary duty is research, work could include involvement in HiRISE science operations (observation planning, data tracking, processing, and analysis) and in educational and public outreach. Travel is expected to relevant scientific conferences and workshops and HiRISE team meetings. Funding is available for at least 2 years; Research Associates will be encouraged to propose for additional research funding as PI.…

Alfred S. McEwen Director, Planetary Image Research Lab
Lunar and Planetary Lab Professor, Planetary Sciences
University of Arizona PI, MRO/HiRISE and TGO/HiSCI
Sonett Space Sciences Annex office phone: 520-621-4573
1541 E. University Blvd. fax: 520-626-8998
PO Box 210063 [email protected]
Tucson, AZ 85721-0063 USA cell phone: 520-270-0701

c) Post doctoral research assistant
At the Laboratoire de Chimie Physique – Matière et Rayonnement (LCP-MR, Université Paris 6 and CNRS, UMR 7614) we are looking for a post-doc in the research area of
« Resonant x-ray inelastic scattering (RIXS) on gas-phase species ».
The full-time position is immediately available for a period of 12 months. It is founded through a MICHEM grant from the LABEX initiative

Based at LCP-MR in Paris downtown , the candidate will join an international group developing a new experimental research program. Core-excited states dynamics is governed by the short lifetime of inner-shell vacancies, typically a few femtoseconds. Ultrahigh resolution RIXS opens the perspective for the coherent control of ultrafast nuclear motion in core-excited states in competition with radiative decay on the femtosecond timescale.
A new state-of-the-art soft x-ray emission spectrometer has been designed at LCP-MR and is installed on the SEXTANTS beamline of the French synchrotron radiation center SOLEIL located south of Paris. The candidate will be in charge with the development of new setup for gas- phase samples to be integrated in this existing environment. She/he is expected to plan and conduct the experiments, collect and analyze the spectroscopic data. She/he will interact with an international theory team providing theoretical support and make a significant contribution to the field.

We welcome applications from excellent candidates with a PhD degree (or who are about to obtain one) in atomic and molecular physics, chemical physics, or chemistry. Experience in synchrotron based spectroscopy is an advantage. She/he must be capable of working within a broader research team and demonstrate good written and verbal communication skills.

Further information
Please send your application in electronic form including a letter of motivation, your CV including diploma, names and contact information of references to: Loïc JOURNEL <[email protected]> GheorgheS.CHIUZBAIAN <[email protected]> Marc SIMON [email protected]

d) FAPESP Post-Doctorate Fellowship for the ”Brazilian Model of
the Global Climate System” (MBSCG)
The Center for Earth System Science (CCST) at INPE, in Cachoeira Paulista, SP, BRAZIL, is selecting a postdoctoral fellow to develop earth system modeling research with the Brazilian Model of the Global Climate System (MBSCG). The work consists of contributing for the development of the MBSCG, a fully coupled ocean-cryosphere- atmosphere-biosphere model to study and simulate the global climate system on time scales from days to centuries, with special emphasis on the Atlantic Ocean basin and South America. Academic background on the representation of sub-grid scale processes on both atmospheric and oceanic models is expected from the applicants, as well as familiarity with scientific programming languages and environments. A FAPESP Post-Doc Fellowships is granted for 24 months and includes a monthly stipend according to FAPESP table.
The basic requirements are as follows:
The candidate should have concluded graduate program at the doctoral level in areas related to Earth system modeling, with emphasis on turbulent processes of the atmosphere or ocean boundary layer, chaotic systems, physical or biogeochemical ocean modeling.
For inquires and applications, please write to Dr. Paulo Nobre, e-mail:
[email protected]
Applicants should submit his/her CV, motivation letter and two recommendation letters to the e-mail address above, not later than 25 April 2012. Please, specify: “FAPESP-MBSCG Postdoc position application” as the e-mail subject.

e) Postdoctoral research associate, Development of Multi-site All-Sky CAmeRA (MASCARA) to find brightest transiting exoplanets
Leiden Observatory invites applications for a postdoctoral research position to work on the development and deployment of the Multi-site All-sky CAmeRA (MASCARA). MASCARA is a fully funded instrument concept consisting of several stations across the globe, with each station containing a battery of cameras to monitor the near-entire sky at each location.Once all stations have been installed, MASCARA will be able to provide a nearly 24-hr coverage of the complete sky, down to magnitude 8, at sub-minute cadence. Its main purpose is to find the brightest transiting exoplanets, expected in the V=4-8 magnitude range, but the concept of MASCARA will also allow for a wealth of secondary science cases. MASCARA is expected to deliver the brightest targets for future exo-planet characterization missions like ECHO.
The successful applicant is expected to lead the design and construction of the first prototype station, its deployment at the observatory site, and of consecutive stations. Furthermore, he/she will be expected to support the development of the photometric pipeline and partake in the early science.
Leiden Observatory is the oldest university astronomy department in the world, and the largest astronomy depart- ment in the Netherlands. Leiden Observatory hosts a large and lively Exo-planet community, actively involved in many areas of exo-planet detection and characterization. Leiden is a charming university town with international flair.
The appointment will be for two years initially, but can be extended, based on satisfactory performance, for a total of up to three years. The position comes with full benefits. The starting date is negotiable, but we are hoping to fill this vacancy in the near future.
Researchers with experience in the development and use of modern instrumentation are specifically invited to apply. Applications should contain the applicant’s CV, a short introductory letter, and a detailed description of the applicant’s academic achievements and prior research experience. Applicants should also arrange for 3 letters of recommendation to be sent directly to the (email) address above. Email applications are preferred.
The application review process will begin May 15th 2012 and will continue until the position has been filled.
Download/Website: &∼snellen
Contact: Ignas Snellen
Leiden Observatory, Leiden University, Postbus 9513,2300 RA, Leiden, The Netherlands, [email protected]

f) Planetary Science Subcommittee Vacancy
The Planetary Science Division will consider nominations and self-nominations to serve on the Planetary Science Subcommittee (PSS) for a term of approximately three years. The PSS generally meets three times a year prior to the NASA Advisory Council Science committee meetings. The Planetary Science Division is committed to selecting members to serve on the PSS advisory committee based on their expertise, knowledge, and contribution to the broad field of planetary science. As such established researchers are encouraged to apply.

Please send nominations by April 30, 2012, to [email protected].

g) Call for Applications for the JAXA International Top Young Fellowship 2012

The ITYF is designed to attract outstanding, highly motivated, young researchers in any of the space science fields covered by ISAS/JAXA to work in Japan for 3 (extendable to 5) years. The excellent remuneration package includes research budget and travel support so that the Fellow can extend their international profile, as well as developing collaborations within Japan.

Please visit these sites for details of the fellowship and the application process:

The deadline for applications is 30 April 2012.

Dr Sarah V. Badman
JAXA International Research Fellow
Institute of Space and Astronautical Science
3-1-1 Yoshinodai, Chuo-ku, Sagamihara-shi,
Kanagawa 252-5210, Japan
[email protected]