Newsletter 12-8

Issue 12-8, April 20, 2012


The campaign to restore the catastrophic 20% cut in the planetary science budget has a number of aspects, and critical to the success of our campaign is mobilizing to get our voice heard in the Congressional appropriations process.
The following two notes speak to the mobilization of our community. The DPS Twitter accounts are a great source of breaking information, particularly for the Congressional budget battles.
A number of our non-US colleagues have asked what they can do to aid in this budget process. The best thing that can be done is to write letters expressing your opinions to the representatives and senators on the appropriations committees. Below is a suggested letter of support. The names and addresses of the critical representatives and senators are listed on the DPS “Communicating with Congress” webpage (public_policy/communicating-congress).
I urge all DPS members to take the time to write as many of these Representatives as possible in order to make the case for continued funding for the exploration of the solar system.

Dan Britt
Chair, DPS

a) *Letter in support of planetary sciences from international and public:*

Hello, my name is Dr. _______. I am a planetary scientist from
[City], [country other than USA]. I am concerned about the cuts
proposed to planetary science within NASA.

The United States has been a leader in planetary science; enhanced by
substantial contributions from international partners. Scientists
from countries like mine want to support the work and excellent
research achieved by our colleagues in the US.

NASA funding and partnerships on missions and projects, such as those
with the European Space Agency (ESA), are essential in allowing
scientists and engineers from all over the world to contribute to the
pursuit of knowledge. I hope that the United States will not give up
its planetary exploration program, will not accept the loss in
expertise and scientific excellence, and will continue to be an
inspiration to the rest of the world.

b) *Social media:*

In these perilous budgetary times, we need to mobilize our community and
supportive non-scientists to help maintain a healthy discipline. Social
media sites like Twitter and Facebook are proving to be useful tools in
quickly disseminating information and hosting discussion. The DPS now
has three Twitter accounts to give information to members and the public
on important points like Congressional action, election results and
reminders, and the like. Follow them at @DPSdevelopment (professional
development), @DPSMeeting (meeting-relevant information pre- and
mid-meetings), and @DPSCommittee (official DPS business).

While the DPS has no official Facebook page currently (although the
Professional Development committee is present on Facebook), a “Young
Scientists for Planetary Exploration” Facebook group has been
established, and several DPS members are also members of this group,
which is open to all DPS members. Stay tuned for further information on
the social media front!

-Andy Rivkin, DPS Treasurer and Tweetmaster General


To attract media and Congressional attention to the perilous NASA planetary exploration cuts proposed to take place 1 October, and the need to restore the planetary budget to FY12 or higher levels, a National Planetary Exploration Car Wash and Bake Sale is being planned for June 9th .

Planetary groups and institutions are invited to join, sponsoring their own event locally and inviting media coverage to their event.

Those already involved include planetary groups at: LPL, LPI, Moon Express (Google Lunar X Prize), Notre Dame, PSI, SwRI, UCF, UCLA, and the University of Maryland.

More about the National Planetary Exploration Car Wash and Bake Sale on
June 9th can be found at, and at our
Facebook page at:

Please consider organizing a local event of your own for June 9th , and registering it at the URL above

For more information, contact the Alan Stern, [email protected]
<prizes. The nomination form and
instructions can also be retrieved from this website. The completed nomination
form and supporting material should be emailed to [email protected].

Anyone may submit a nomination. A completed nomination will be retained and
considered by the Prize Subcommittee for three years, or as long as the nominee
is eligible, whichever is less. Past nominees may be re-nominated after the
expiration of a prior nomination. A posthumous nomination is allowed for a
limited time after the nominee’s death, except for the Sagan Medal. For specific
details, see the url noted above.
The deadline for nominations this year is May 1.

Consider for example the Carl Sagan Medal, that recognizes excellence in
public communication in planetary science. Do you have a colleague that
excels in reaching out to the public, that has a particularly effective way
of communicating new findings in our field? We want to recognize those
efforts, that are so important to the health of our field!

The Masursky Award recognizes meritorious service to planetary science. Do
you have a colleague whose efforts made a significant difference in the
success of an endeavor you’ve been involved in through engineering,
managerial, programmatic or public service activities? Consider nominating
that individual!



The Department of Geography at the University of Winnipeg ( invites applications for a postdoctoral position in the field of planetary science. The postdoc will be supervised by Professor Ed Cloutis and focus on the acquisition of laboratory spectra using a variety of planetary environment chambers, analysis of existing laboratory spectra relevant to a number of planetary missions, field work at a number of Mars analogue sites, and supervision of undergraduate and graduate students. Applicants with a strong background and interest in planetary spectroscopy are encouraged to apply.

The appointment could begin as soon as possible and will be funded full-time for up to 3 years. Continuation beyond the first year will depend on progress and availability of funding. Applicants should send their CV, brief summary of research, list of publications, and the contact information of at least 3 references to Ed Cloutis ([email protected]). Further details concerning the position are available from Ed Cloutis.

The University of Winnipeg is committed to employment equity, welcomes diversity in the workplace, and encourages applications from all qualified individuals including women, members of visible minorities, aboriginal persons and persons with disabilities. In accordance with Canadian immigration requirements, this advertisement is initially directed to Canadian citizens and permanent residents of Canada.


The Lunar and Planetary Institute (LPI), part of the Universities
Space Research Association, invites applications for a postdoctoral
fellowship in the area of SIMS isotopic and elemental analysis of
Martian meteorites.

The successful candidate will work with an international team at NASA
Johnson Space Center in Houston. Candidate should be self-motivated,
and must have a Ph.D. in geochemistry, cosmochemistry, or related.
Strong background in ion microprobe analysis essential. Experience
in analysis/interpretation of Pb isotopes is advantageous.
Experience with a Cameca 1270/80 is also advantageous. Knowledge
of Martian geochemistry and petrology is beneficial, but not essential.
Travel is required. Candidates should also present an independent
research plan that complements the Martian meteorite study.

Position is for one year, with possible extension to a second year.
Applicants should send a letter of interest, a curriculum vita with
list of publications, a brief statement of research interests, and
three references to [email protected]. Further details contact:
Justin Simon ([email protected]) or
John Jones ([email protected]).

Information on research and facilities at the LPI can be found at:

Information on JSC facilities can be found at:

The Universities Space Research Association is an Equal Opportunity


See also:

Posted at

a) Last Call for Abstracts 
Planetary Data: A Workshop for Users and Software Developers

Flagstaff, AZ (USA)
June 25-29, 2012

We are pleased to announce Planetary Data: A Workshop for Users and Software Developers to be held June 25–29, 2012, at Northern Arizona University (NAU) in Flagstaff, Arizona. The meeting facility is at the du Bois Conference Center on the NAU campus. The two content tracks will share a common day on Wednesday to hold talks of overlapping interest. One or both tracks can be attended and there is no registration fee for either. Abstract submissions for presentations and/or posters are due by April 30, 2012. 

Planetary Data Users Track 
* Share information on digital planetary data, including availability, access and analysis methods. 
* Present how-to guides for locating, acquiring, processing and working with digital planetary data. 

Planetary Software Developers Track 
* Bring researchers and technology experts together to discuss and exchange ideas to identify difficult planetary research issues that can be addressed by software development. 
* Present planetary data processing and software development methods and techniques. 
* If you cannot attend, we would like to invite you to share your thoughts on needed software technologies for the planetary community (5-10min survey).


The Planetary Data Usertrack is sponsored by the NASA Planetary Data System, the Planetary Geology and Geophysics Program, and the Regional Image Facility network. The Planetary Software Developerstrack is sponsored by the NASA PG&G Cartography Program.

April 30, 2012 Deadline for Abstract Submission (for presentation or poster)
June 15, 2012 Registration Deadline (if not submitting an abstract).
June 25-29, 2012 Workshop: Data Users (June 25-27), Software Developers (June 27-29)

b) Second Announcement and Call for Papers: “1970 – 2010: The Golden
Age of Solar System Exploration”

This conference will be held at Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei, Palazzo
Corsini, Via della Lungara 10, Rome, Italy, from September 10-12, 2012.

The deadline for advanced registration and abstract submission is
May 15, 2012.

The Second Announcement can be found at:

The email for information is [email protected]

c) GSA Annual Meeting Topical Session – The Heart of an Explorer: A
Tribute to Ronald Greeley

Ronald Greeley, who helped found the GSA Planetary Geology Division
30 years ago, passed away unexpectedly in late October 2011. Ron was
a leader and helped build the field of planetary geology, with work
that spanned the breadth of planetary research. From volcanic to
aeolian studies, from laboratory experiments to study of terrestrial
field analogs, and from mathematical modeling to geologic mapping to
NASA planetary mission data analysis, there is virtually no area or
technique in planetary geology in which Ron did not participate. In
tribute to Ron’s memory, and all he did on behalf of our field, we
invite oral and/or poster presentations from Ron’s colleagues and
former students for this wide-ranging planetary geology session to
discuss recent results from your work in the studies, or techniques,
or on missions, that Ron Greeley participated.

The GSA Abstract deadline is Tuesday, August 14, 2012. The 2012 GSA
Annual Meeting is 4-7 November in Charlotte, North Carolina. To
submit abstracts, go to this website: