Newsletter 13-10

Issue 13-10, April 13, 2013



Dear DPS Members,

Last year, the Administration proposed a FY13 Budget Request for NASA’s planetary science division that was $309M less than the FY12 approved operating plan. Recently, Congress voted — and the President approved — a restoration of $223M to NASA’s FY13 budget for planetary exploration. We have yet to see, however, how top officials at NASA will handle this $223M restoration in light of sequestration cuts required by the FY13 budget authorization bill HR933. What is ominous for the planetary science budget is that the NASA Administrator has repeatedly and publicly stated NASA’s top priorities, and they do not include planetary science. The discussion about sequestration of the FY13 budget is happening right now within Washington, so now is when you should weigh in with your voice.

On Wednesday, April 10, the President’s FY14 Budget Request was released. It continues the same cuts to NASA’s planetary science program that were proposed in last year’s FY13 Budget Request. The FY14 request is almost $300M less than the FY12 approved operating plan. Funding for planetary science would remain virtually flat at that level from FY15 through FY18.

The DPS leadership participated in a careful analysis of the planetary science funding in the FY14 Budget Request. There is some good news: the Research and Analysis (R&A) program appears to receive an $8M increase in FY14 compared to FY12, and remain flat for the out-years. Funding would be provided to the Discovery Program which may enable advancement of the next AO to FY14. Funding is identified for Pu-238 production. Many other elements of the NASA planetary program, however, suffer.

The Europa Clipper pre-project study funded by Congress in FY13 has no future according to the FY14 Budget Request. The Outer Solar System would go “radio-dark” in FY17 when the Juno New Frontiers mission is terminated. Funds would be provided only to support NASA’s small contributions to ESA’s JUICE mission. Cassini might be shut down in FY15.

The Mars program is cut $353M in FY14 compared with FY12. NASA might be able to operate the current on-going Mars missions, launch and operate MAVEN and InSight, and implement a Mars 2020 rover mission, but nothing else. One concern is that while the total funding requested for the Mars 2020 rover mission seems adequate, the funding profile is heavily “back-loaded” meaning the bulk of the funds would be provided in the last two years. Lessons learned from past missions show back-funded missions to be at high risk of cost over-run.

The technology program would be cut by $11M in FY14 compared to the FY12 funding level, and of the remainder, $50M per year will be transferred by NASA to the DOE for their infrastructure for Pu-238 production. This represents an aggregate loss of $61M for technology for future missions.

The proposed changes to NASA’s Education and Public Outreach (EPO) activities are not well understood. The DPS remains committed to sharing our planetary research with the world. It is widely acknowledged that NASA science missions provide an unprecedented opportunity to inspire, engage, and educate students of all ages and backgrounds in fundamental science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) concepts. When education activities are embedded within NASA missions, the result is a productive, efficient, and intimate partnership between scientists and education experts. When NASA’s EPO is tied directly to each specific mission, it is not redundant with other agencies’ activities. The DPS strongly supports mission-related EPO activity.

The DPS awaits more information about the human-spaceflight program focused on asteroid retrieval. We note that the planetary decadal survey explicitly stated that “robotic and human exploration of space should be synergistic … however, this effort must proceed without burdening the space science budget or influencing its process of peer-reviewed selection of science missions.”

We hope to maintain the funding provided to planetary science by Congress in the FY13 HR933 budget act, and we hope to restore planetary science to the FY12 level during deliberations over the FY14 Budget.

We urge every member of the Division to write letters to your two senators and your representative expressing: (1) your thanks for the past support of Congress; (2) your concern about the sequester and the implications of the President’s FY14 Budget Request for the FY13 budget and all later years; and (3) your plea for continued support from Congress.

Please write to your senators and representative today. A hand-written letter, faxed to your representative, is best. You can also use the website provided by The Planetary Society to send your own letter or their letter, which you can edit (; you do not need to be a member of The Planetary Society to use their website.

To influence the FY13 NASA operating plan and the FY14 budget, the time to act is now. Please support planetary science and do not delay. A sample letter is given below, and will be posted on our website.

Rosaly Lopes, DPS Chair
Heidi Hammel, DPS Vice-Chair

Dear Senator or Representative [fill in your senator or representative’s name]

I write to you with great concern regarding the future of NASA’s Planetary Science Program. The Administration’s FY2014 budget proposal, if enacted, would continue to cut our inspirational, unique, and affordable program of solar system exploration. I ask that Congress once again reject this cut and fund NASA’s Planetary Science Division at $1.5 billion this year.

Last year, the Administration’s FY13 budget proposed a devastating 21% cut to NASA’s Planetary Science Division, which builds and manages all of NASA’s robotic spacecraft that explore the solar system, including the extremely popular Curiosity rover on Mars and the Cassini spacecraft currently orbiting Saturn.

Congress rejected this cut, restoring much of the funds for the Planetary Science Division when it passed HR933 in March. I thank you and the rest of Congress. But a few days ago, the Administration proposed cutting this program again, removing close to $300 million compared to the FY12 approved operating plan for NASA. This would cripple NASA’s ability to maintain the balanced program of planetary exploration as recommended by the National Research Council’s Planetary Science Decadal Survey. Moreover, these cuts send an ominous message regarding the Administration’s intent for using the funding that Congress voted to restore to NASA’s FY13 budget.

Some have said that planetary exploration is the crown jewel of our space program, a national treasure. I ask that you once again reject the Administration’s proposal to cut this program. I ask that you help support the Planetary Science program at the level of $1.5 billion per year, which is the FY12 level without any adjustment for inflation. Planetary science missions represent less than 10% of the overall NASA budget of $17 billion dollars, yet are a highly visible and successful NASA activity.

With a restored budget of $1.5 billion for the planetary science division, NASA would have the resources available to achieve a balanced program of robust science. Its exciting, engaging missions represent the best of the American spirit of exploration and will yield discoveries to inspire the public.

Respectfully yours,



Denver, Colorado, 6-11 October 2013
at the Sheraton Denver Downtown Hotel

Visit the DPS2013 website for updates

Remember these important dates and send your abstracts and registration forms in on time.

– 29 May to 18 July 2013 :
45th DPS Regular Abstract Submission Deadline – 9:00pm ET
– 23 July 2013 :
45th DPS Early Registration Deadline
– 2 September 2013 :
45th DPS Workshop Proposals Due
– 3 September 2013 :
45th DPS Hotel Reservations Deadline
– 3 September 2013 :
45th DPS Late Abstract Submission Deadline – 9:00pm ET


Every year the DPS recognizes exceptional achievement in our field. It is time to consider nominating a respected colleague for one of the annual DPS prizes.

· The Gerard P. Kuiper Prize honors outstanding contributions to the field of planetary science.
· The Harold C. Urey Prize recognizes outstanding achievement in planetary research by a young scientist.
· The Harold Masursky Award acknowledges outstanding service to planetary science and exploration.
· The Carl Sagan Medal recognizes and honors outstanding communication by an active planetary scientist to the general public.

For all the above prizes the deadline is April 26, 2013. Detailed descriptions of each of the prizes and the criteria for nominees for each can be found at 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 URLs noted above.


Nominations are now being solicited for the Ronald Greeley Early Career and Whipple awards. Details are provided on the Planetary Sciences Section Web site. Please consider outstanding students for the Greeley Award and colleagues for the Whipple Award. Awardees represent the best and brightest in our community, showing the talent and vitality of AGU’s Planetary Sciences section. Nominations due on 30 April and should be sent to Phil Christensen. The deadline has been postponed to 30 April 2013.
DPS Congratulates Greeley Award 2012 winner, Alex Hayes. You can find the interview on the Planetary Sciences Section Web site and also via the AGU Blogosphere.



Several of you (about 300 !!!) receiving this e-mail have not paid your 2013 membership dues and will soon be removed from DPS/AAS lists, not receiving our e-news any more.
Please, if you’re among those, renew today online at by logging in to your membership record. By renewing online and not receiving a paper renewal, you will help your Society save enormous costs.

Also, please take a moment to update your personal DPS member file.

Thank you for your attention.
If you have any problems, and for general replies write to [email protected].



For all Job opportunities, please visit
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]


NASA seeks a new Director for the NASA Astrobiology Institute (NAI).
The ideal candidate will be an internationally recognized scientist
with proven experience in leading large, multi-disciplinary, multi-site
research programs or projects, possessed with a vision for leading the
Institute into the future. Established in 1998 as part of NASA’s
Astrobiology Program, the NAI is a collaboration between NASA, US
academic institutions, and foreign institutions, governments and
research organizations. The NAI, currently headquartered at NASA Ames
Research Center in the heart of California’s Silicon Valley, functions
as a virtual institute, its members linked by modern information

The NAI Director, a member of the federal Senior Executive Service
(SES), is both the senior scientific officer and chief operating
officer of the NAI.

U.S. citizenship is required. Interested applicants should apply
directly to USAJobs to vacancy number AR13S0001 at:

This website also provides additional details and the application
Deadline is Friday, June 21, 2013.

NASA Ames Research Center does not discriminate in employment on the
basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, political
affiliation, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status,
disability and genetic information, age, membership in an employee
organization, or other non-merit factor.


The NASA Goddard Space Flight Center’s (GSFC) Planetary Environments
Laboratory, in conjunction with the Center for Research and
Exploration in Space Science and Technology (CRESST), is soliciting
applications for a researcher in the field of Planetary Atmospheres
to support Mars upper atmosphere investigations with the MAVEN
mission. Additional details are available at:

Candidates should have a Ph.D. in a relevant discipline with a
strong and demonstrated interest in and understanding of upper
atmospheric physics. IDL skills and experience in acquisition and
analysis of data from space flight instruments are highly desirable.

The University of Maryland is an equal opportunity employer. All
applications received by Monday, April 29, 2013 will receive full


The position is available immediately and initially for one year with extension highly probable. The project is primarily aimed at the investigation of gas-jet phenomena in thin and rarefied atmospheres in the Solar System and would be suitable for persons with expertise in CFD techniques.

Details can be found at

Electronic applications should be submitted to Tina Rothenbühler ([email protected]) by April 21st.

WP is the leading planetary sciences institute in Switzerland ( and participates in a large number of European Space Agency and NASA missions. Involvements have recently expanded to include participation in JAXA, ISRO, and Roskosmos-led programmes. The Division is currently engaged in developing and completing hardware for ESA’s BepiColombo mission to Mercury, analyzing results from the HiRISE (MRO), ASPERA-4 (VEx), ROSINA (Rosetta), and OSIRIS (Rosetta) experiments and preparing for future missions such as the JUICE mission to the Jupiter system.

The project is aimed at the investigation of dusty gas jets that have been observed in several different environments in the Solar System. These jets are frequently driven by sublimation into vacuum or into thin atmospheres. Examples include the geyser activity seen on the Mars polar caps in spring, geysers on Triton, and cometary outgassing. The study of sublimation-driven atmospheres on outer planet satellites (e.g. Ganymede) is a related topic of interest following successful experiment selection for JUICE.
Applicants should have a PhD and experience in computational fluid dynamics using an established technique (e.g. Navier-Stokes and/or DSMC). Knowledge of Solar System physics would be desirable but is not essential. The post is open initially for 12 months but an extension for up to a further 2 years is likely.
Applications should include a curriculum vitae and the names of two references (including contact information).

Further information can be obtained from Prof. N. Thomas ([email protected]).


The Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research (MPS) offers outstanding young scientists the opportunity to set up and lead a Max Planck Research Group in the field of cometary research.
The MPS is one of the leading research institutes devoted to solar system physics. With its three research departments “Sun and Heliosphere”, “Planets and Comets” and “Solar and Stellar Interiors” it covers the full range of physics inherent in the field of solar system science and is heavily involved in the Rosetta mission. It is the PI institution for four of the scientific instruments, is involved on Co-I level in five other instruments and holds one of two lead scientists positions for the lander unit.
In order to foster the scientific exploitation of the Rosetta mission the MPS intends to establish a new Max Planck Research Group dedicated to cometary science. The new Max Planck Research Group leader will have the unique chance to play a leading role in the research that is based on the Rosetta data. In close collaboration with the several instrument teams at the MPS he/she is expected to take advantage of the multiple involvements of the MPS in the Rosetta mission and to utilize the corresponding synergies in order to answer the key science questions.
The successful candidate will be offered a Max Planck Research Group for a period of five years with the possibility of twice a 2-years extension after successful evaluation and subject to financial and legal conditions.
The institute is currently located in Katlenburg-Lindau, Germany, but will move in the beginning of 2014 to Göttingen, in the immediate vicinity of the University Institutes for Astrophysics and for Geophysics.
Applicants must hold a PhD in a relevant discipline and are expected to have several years of re- search experience in cometary science or a closely related field. They should have an excellent publication track record and the proven ability to conduct internationally recognized research of high quality. In addition they are expected to possess leadership skills and should be able to supervise students.
Applications, including a CV, a publication list, a summary of previous research experience, a brief statement of Rosetta related and other research interests and contact information for three references should be sent to [email protected]. Applications received by 30 April 2013 will receive full consideration.
For further information please contact Ulrich Christensen ([email protected]) or Hermann Böhnhardt ([email protected])



Posted at

Dear DPS members,
Due to the sequestration and the travel restrictions applied in the US, several US and International meetings have been impacted. Hereafter is a report from the recent EGU in Vienna and, as you’ll see, among the announcement several cancellations of meetings we have announced in this Sections in previous mails.
We regret this situation and hope that in the near future, scientists will be able to share their findings and exchange with their colleagues in the same efficient and profitable way as before.

The absence of many of US scientists from the 2013 EGU in Vienna, 8-12 July, was regrettable on several fronts. Their withdrawal was announced at the very last moment, and although some of them did come drawing on their vacations and on their own money, the numbers of those prevented from attending were significant enough to call for an action in the form of a letter from the EGU Leadership to NASA.

It is clear that while some types of interactions can be conducted by way of telephone and video-conference, there is no substitute for the face to face interactions among colleagues at key meetings to achieve optimum flow of information. The significant impact that a cessation of such interactions can have on the American talented and renowned workforce on an international level is dramatic, especially true for young scientists who are just beginning their careers and are critically dependent on the feedback they get in the face-to-face interactions that they are able to engage in, at international conferences such as the annual General Assembly of the European Geosciences Union. A year is a long time in the career of a young scientist. Missing such opportunities at the early stage of a career therefore, can have great negative impact. NASA has many exceptional young scientists who are potential future leaders, given the opportunity to grow that comes from such interactions. And of course the same can be said of the European young scientists who gain much from their interactions with their US counterparts.

NASA scientists are often the very ones with the most knowledge of the science missions for which NASA is so well known and respected. When they are not allowed to participate in international conferences, everybody suffers from the loss of opportunity to exchange ideas and insights that come only through direct face-to-face interactions.

These last-minute withdrawals also have a very disruptive impact in long-planned meeting activities. The cancellations mentioned hereafter refer to both European and US meetings. Coming back to the EGU conference, entire sessions had to be re-organized at the last minute due to lack of the appropriate US participation. Similarly, the several US cancelled planetary meetings hinders again opportunities for scientific exchange. This of course damages long-term partnerships between international scientists that have taken years to create and nurture.

Several highly important international conferences related to the space sciences will be held in Europe over the coming months. For example, the European Planetary Sciences Conference (EPSC) in September in London. They have been a long time in the planning. And they too, like the EGU General Assembly, have benefited greatly from active participation over the years by US scientists. They too, like the EGU, will suffer greatly should the same level of restrictions continue to apply. We all plead for a quick and efficient resolution of these issues.

Athena Coustenis
EGU/Planetary and Solar System Sciences President
DPS Secretary


The impacts of sequestration on the Federal budget have led to new
travel policies that severely constrain the participation of NASA
center employees, including JPL, and other government employees (e.g.,
the U. S. Geological Survey) in scientific conferences, including the
planned 8th International Mars Conference set for July 15-19 on the
Caltech campus. The current fiscal environment is sufficiently
restrictive that we, the organizers of the conference, have decided
to delay the meeting for one year, holding it instead in June/July of
2014. We sought advice from the MEPAG Executive Committee, which
unanimously concurred with our decision.

Although it was our strong preference to hold the conference this year,
the meeting in 2014 will include even more results from Mars, including
Curiosity’s further exploration of Gale Crater, as the rover will then
be well into the second year of its primary science mission. We look
forward to a full conference in June/July 2014 and hope to see you

Dan McCleese / Dave Beaty / Rich Zurek
8th International Mars Conference conveners

[From PEN. Edited for length.]

Dearest Colleagues,
We regret to inform you that we must postpone the International Cometary Workshop “Comets as Tracers of Solar System Formation and Evolution in Toulouse, France“, originally scheduled for July 2013 until spring (probably April) 2014. The US Budget Sequester, and resulting NASA travel restrictions has blocked the travel of many of our invited speakers, two members of the SOC, and several US participants. As the goal of this workshop was to facilitate an international dialogue on comets leading up to the Rosetta encounter, we feel that the best option is to postpone the workshop. We are currently working with our LOC to determine an appropriate date when the facilities in Toulouse are available, and will announce a new date soon.

Best regards,
Kathy Mandt, Olivier Mousis and the SOC


Space Telescope Science Institute operates as a NASA contractor. Our contractual obligations include support of workshops and seminars. In response to fiscal impacts resulting from the United States Government sequestration, NASA has temporarily suspended the contract authority and all funding that enables us to host conferences and seminars. This suspension includes the upcoming STScI Spring Symposium, Habitable Worlds Across Time and Space, and the 2013 Calibration Workshop, both of which are now cancelled.
Refunds will be provided to all of you who have paid registration fees.

The ability of the HST and future JWST missions to push space exploration to its limits is crucially dependent on the collective intellectual resources of the astronomical community, and on the creative development of ideas that are enabled by direct interactions in face-to-face workshops, conferences and symposia. Activities such as the Calibration Workshop and May Symposium, which enable such creative interactions, are integral elements of STScI’s core science and community support mission.

That being said, we must recognize that these are exceptional circumstances, and acknowledge that this one-time deferral is unlikely to present a long-term risk to the Hubble or JWST missions or science. NASA, along with the rest of the Government, is facing challenging budgetary circumstances, and must make difficult decisions. While we are very disappointed that these two events must be cancelled, STScI looks forward to restarting our conference and seminar activities when the current suspension is lifted.

You can contact [email protected] should you need further information.

European Planetary Science Congress 2013
University College London
08 – 13 September 2013, London, United Kingdom

Abstract deadline: 06 May 2013.

The world-wide community of planetary scientists is invited to submit an abstract for presentation of their recent work at the EPSC 2013 Meeting, which will
take place at the University College London, United Kingdom, 08-13 September 2013.
London is of course one of the great cities of the world, and the meeting is well placed in the city centre.
The meeting will consist of oral and poster sessions, as well as workshop-style sessions. We expect a very well attended meeting, with many high quality presentations.
The current list of over 80 sessions is organized around the following topics:

TP Terrestrial Planets
GP Giant Planet Systems
MG Magnetospheres and Space Physics
MTI Missions, Techniques and Industry
EX Exoplanets and Origins
AB Astrobiology
SB Small Bodies
PD Planetary Dynamics
LF Laboratory and Field Investigations
OEP Outreach, Education, and Policy
AM Amateur Astronomy
CP Comparative Planetology

The scientific program and abstract submission are accessible at:

Please browse the list of sessions and identify the session that most closely matches your area of interest; your abstract can then be submitted directly to that session.
The session conveners, together with the Scientific Organizing Committee, will finalize the science program shortly after the abstract deadline.

Information on registration, accommodation, travel routes, visa requirements and social events will become available soon on the meeting web site.

Please forward this message to colleagues who may be interested.
We look forward to seeing you in London.

With best wishes,
Manuel Grande and Ralf Srama
on behalf of the Scientific Organizing Committee
Mario Ebel
on behalf of Copernicus Meetings

F) IPEWG 2013
May 29-31, 2013, in Nice, France

The on-line registration to the third Meeting of the International Primitive Body Exploration Working Group (IPEWG 2013) on May 29-31, 2013, in Nice, France, is now open. Information regarding how to register, the program (based on solicited speakers only), the meeting goals, the logistics are indicated on the following web site (click on the Registration Menu for explanations on how to register):

Discussions held at IPEWG 2013 are expected to impact and improve international collaboration activities for primitive body space exploration. We hope you will be interested in participating to this workshop and to the discussions that will encourage efficient international coordinations and efforts to improve our knowledge of these fascinating primitive bodies.

The deadline for registration is May 10th, 2013 and we encourage interested persons to register (and book their Hotel; see the web site for information) as soon as possible as the workshop is limited to a maximum of 100 participants. Please contact Patrick Michel, LOC Chair ([email protected]) with any questions.

July 1-4, Shanghai, China

The International Symposium on Planetary Sciences (IAPS2013) will be held at the Shanghai Astronomical Observatory, Chinese Academy of Sciences, July 1-4, 2013, Shanghai, China

Also, an International Summer School on Planetary Geodesy and Remote Sensing will take place on July 5-7, 2013, see:, which will train next-generation young scientists and graduates in planetary science.


Meeting Dates: July 22-26
Abstract Deadline: April 15
Early Bird Registration Deadline: May 31

The meeting is being held at The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland, USA.

Both registration and abstract submission are now open for the Pluto-2013 conference at:

Abstracts are solicited on all facets of the Pluto system—including origins, interiors, surfaces, compositions, atmospheres, satellites, plasma, and context in the Kuiper Belt.
Special issues of both Icarus and JGR-Planets are planned to publish new results and prediction papers in 2014.

Alan Stern (Program Committee Chair)
Hal Weaver (Local Organizing Committee Chair)