Issue 13-13, May 14, 2013
1) MESSAGE FROM DPS LEADERSHIP
2) DPS/FRS HILL VISITS REPORT
3) PLEASE CHECK YOUR DPS MEMBERSHIP
4) REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS FOR INSIGHT
5) JOB/POSITION OPPORTUNITIES
6) UPCOMING MEETINGS
MESSAGE FROM DPS LEADERSHIP
The DPS leadership met in Washington DC on April 29-May 1, 2013. In addition to the regular annual committee meeting, we visited NASA HQ, Congress, OMB, and OSTP on the 30th of April and 1st May. Major thanks for organization of these visits go to our Federal Relations Subcommittee (led by Casey Lisse, who is passing on the leadership to Makenzie Lystrup) and AAS’s Joel Parriott, and to the dedicated team of volunteers who fanned out across the Hill in support of the DPS. A core team met with staffers from both House and Senate committees (CJS Appropriations, S&T Authorization). Many staffers were knowledgeable about the planetary science situation (much more so than in previous years, so our community’s efforts have had some effect) and most were sympathetic.
Our main discussion topic was the budget, in particular the fate of the $200 million that Congress put back in NASA’s planetary budget for FY13. The NASA operating plan for FY13, which is not a public document, is due to be sent to Congress in mid-May. Senators Feinstein and Boxer, and Members of Congress Schiff and Culberson, have written a letter to Administrator Bolden expressing their concern about the operating plan. One impression we got is that the planetary science budget is not likely to be restored to the $1.5 billion level in a budget request anytime soon, because planetary science is not a priority for the current Administration. This can be changed, but it requires a lot of effort from our community.
We brought up two other items during our visits, namely NASA education and public outreach (E/PO) and travel restrictions. The E/PO situation is causing serious concern, because it seems to have been implemented with no transition plan. The AAS statement, which you should all have received, summed up the situation well. We also found staffers to be sympathetic to the travel situation for scientists from NASA centers and JPL, and there was general support to exempting scientific conferences in the US and abroad.
Onto more DPS-centric matters. The 2013 Denver meeting is gearing up to be fantastic, thanks to the efforts of Fran Bagenal, John Spencer, and all the volunteers on the LOC and SOC. Jim Green has requested an exemption from NASA so that more than 50 scientists from NASA centers can attend DPS, but the decision has not been made yet. We are trying to keep registration fees as low as possible, but there is great uncertainty in the number of attendees and the level of support we may get from exhibitors. This is a year of great change, and a lot of adaptation is needed. If you are not impacted by the travel restrictions, please plan to go to Denver and encourage your colleagues to do so.
As always, we encourage the membership to take action to help support planetary science. Put pen to paper, fingers to keyboards. Write articles, send letters, and ask your neighbors to do the same. We extend our thanks to all our volunteers and supporters.
– Rosaly Lopes, DPS Chair
– Heidi Hammel, DPS Vice-Chair
DPS/FRS HILL VISITS REPORT
On Tuesday, April 30th, 2013 the FRS and DPS Committees (represented by Blaney, Pappalardo, Reddy, Coustenis, Withers, Choi, Schmidt, Chojnacki, Martin, Beyer, Heavens) went down to the Hill and visited 8 House offices and 4 Senate offices, focusing on the key members of the House SST and Senate CJS committees. Concurrently a delegation consisting of the DPS Chairs Emeritus, Current, and Future (Britt, Lopes, and Hammel) along with FRS Chair Lisse visited 6 House and Senate Committees charged with NASA’s Authorization and Appropriation. The timing for our visit was very good, in that we arrived 3 weeks after the release of the new FY2014 Federal budget request and before NASA delivered its Operations plan to Congress on May 10th detailing how it would spend the $1.4B allocated to Planetary by Congress in the CR 2013 budget (H.R 5236) passed in March 2013. Our 3 main messages were (1) the need for continuing the NASA Planetary Sciences budget in FY2013 and FY2014 at a $1.4B level/yr, (2) our concern over the proposed removal of EPO from NASA missions and transfer of most EPO activities to the NSF, Smithsonian, and the Dept. of Education without a concrete implementation plan, and (3) our need as productive scientists to attend scientific conferences. We delivered updated versions of our 2012 handout, listing some of our latest Planetary Science results of 2013, and what 2012 NRC decadal survey (“Vision and Voyages for Planetary Science in the Decade 2013-2023) work we could and could not do in the next year at the Administration’s proposed Fy2014 $1.2B/yr funding level.
We found good knowledge of the Decadal and support for our budget, EPO, and scientific conference positions from most of the offices we visited, especially on the Senate side. We expressed concern in our visits that the $200M restored by Congress to Planetary in the CR 2013 Act would be removed to pay for the Sequestration (~2%) + Rescission (~5%) of not only Planetary, but other parts of NASA as well, and distributed copies of an 18th April 2013 letter signed by Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Representatives Adam Schiff (D-CA) and John Culberson (R-TX).) requesting that these be applied equally across NASA’s divisions (in which case Planetary’s reduction would be $97M, not $200M). Congress was uniformly concerned about the proposed EPO redistribution, and supportive of our need to work together at scientific conferences – although it might take a few months to produce an exemption to support meeting travel. We learned that while the House is very supportive of our work, their CJS budget planning has built into it the Sequestration Act levels for FY 2014, i.e. they are planning to a total budget of $966B including NASA, while the Senate is working towards a $1058B level, assuming the Sequestration will be a 1-time occurrence (and not operative for the 10 yrs called for in the Act). This means that the House and Senate will likely start with very different budget #’s for NASA’s divisions when it is time to reach a final bill resolution in conference. OTH this is not an election year, and the economy is improving while the deficit is decreasing, so we may be hopeful.
On Wednesday, May 1st the DPS/FRS visited NASA HQ and OMB/OSTP. We found good support for our budget advocacy at HQ, as well as concern (but the beginnings of EPO removal) implementation at HQ. We also learned that Pu-238 production continues to be supported in the federal budget, but the FY 2014 budget calls for NASA, as the chief customer of Pu-238, to take over oversight of the DOE production facilities, which may require more resources and manpower than in previous years from NASA.
At OMB we learned that the Administration is committed to the new Mars 2020 rover, a 4-yr cadence for Discovery missions, and supporting R&A at current levels. A Europa flagship mission funding wedge start was not in their plans. We heard that the EPO initiative in the FY2014 was meant to centralize and streamline NASA EPO, roughly halving the current total budget but sending ~$27M to the NASA Education office to support the best of the current EPO efforts. We expressed concern that it was not clear how this would work in practice, and that mission EPO efforts are being zeroed out this month. As with Congress, we heard support for our request for an exemption for NASA scientists to attend scientific meetings directly related to funded NASA grant and mission work.
For more information about the FRS and the current FRS/DPS planetary science policy positions, or a copy of the Conressional giveway delivered to Congress in 2013, please see leadership/frs and public_policy.
– Carey Lisse, DPS/FRS Chair
PLEASE CHECK YOUR DPS MEMBERSHIP
Please, if you’re among those who have not yet renewed and dropped out of our lists (still more than 400 !!!), do not think that you’re getting this e-mail because you’re back on…
This e-mail is addressed to current and recent DPS members to give you an opportunity to try again today and renew online at https://members.aas.org/ by logging in to your membership record. You must have your login and password information. Once at the site, you can request to be sent your password if forgotten. You should not attempt to create a new member record.
Also, please take a moment to update your personal DPS member file.
If you have any problems, and for general replies, or if you are a special status (affiliate, etc) write to or call :
Director of Membership Services
202.328.2010, extension 109
REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS FOR INSIGHT
The Jet Propulsion Laboratory has issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) for landing site surface and atmosphere characterization for the InSight mission to Mars.
The RFP can be accessed at:
User Name: GO-2691-022113
InSight Co-I: Geology and Landing Site Lead
You can send any comments, questions, or suggestions to the DPS Jobs Czar at: [email protected]
A) ORIGINS OF LIFE POSTDOCTORAL FELLOWSHIP
The Simons Foundation, a private nonprofit based in New York City, has
established the Simons Collaboration on the Origins of Life. This
collaboration will support research on topics such as the astrophysical
and planetary context of the origins of life, the development of
prebiotic chemistry, the assembly of the first cells, the advent of
Darwinian evolution, and the earliest signs of life on the young Earth.
The collaboration invites applications for Postdoctoral Fellowships to
support independent research on the origins of life at laboratories or
research institutions in any country.
For more information about the institution, see:
For more information about the fellowship, see:
[From the PEN. Edited for length.]
See also: PLANETARY MEETING CALENDAR ADDITIONS
Posted at http://planetarynews.org/meetings.html
A) CANCELLATION OF THE JOINT MARSIS AND SHARAD SCIENCE TEAM MEETING
because of severe travel restrictions imposed by the current policies of NASA, the participation of our US colleagues to the Joint MARSIS and SHARAD Science Team Meeting was made practically impossible. After consultations, it was decided that it is not useful to have a team meeting that half of the team cannot attend. I thus regret to have to tell you that the Joint MARSIS and SHARAD Science Team Meeting of May 15-17 is cancelled. Another meeting will be scheduled this Fall if NASA policies have changed in the meantime.
Istituto di Astrofisica e Planetologia Spaziali Istituto Nazionale di
Astrofisica Via del Fosso del Cavaliere 100
00133 Roma, Italy
B) IPEWG 2013: REGISTRATION DEADLINE POSTPONED TO MAY 17TH, 2013
The deadline for registration to the third Meeting of the International Primitive Body Exploration Working Group (IPEWG 2013) on May 29-31, 2013, in Nice, France, has been moved from May 10th to May 17th, 2013 (12:00 East US time). 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.
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.
We look forward to welcoming you on the “Nice” Côte d’Azur!
C) 4TH PLANETARY CRATER CONSORTIUM MEETING
The 4th Planetary Crater Consortium meeting will be held August 14-16, 2013, at the US Geological Survey in Flagstaff, AZ. The Planetary Crater Consortium is open to planetary scientists interested in any aspect of impact cratering on solar system bodies, including observational, theoretical, experimental, and numerical studies. The meeting is a combination of invited talks, contributed talks, and open discussion.
Abstract deadline is Friday, July 26, 2013.
D) SECOND ANNOUNCEMENT: PLANET MARS 4
Les Houches, 20-25 October 2013
The goals of the workshop are to integrate the main
results of both the recent Earth-based observations and the missions
to Mars into a new global picture of Mars evolution. With the same
spirit of the previous workshops, discussions among scientists of
different disciplines will be encouraged and it is foreseen that they
will help refine the scientific goals of the future missions to Mars.
Including the program:
Deadline for registration: 31 May 2013