Newsletter 13-14

Issue13-14, May 31st 2013



The 2013 election for DPS Vice-Chair and Committee is now open, and will close on July 31st 2013.

To vote, go to

You will need your AAS member login ID (which defaults to your membership number), and your password. If you haven’t registered to or renewed your DPS membership recently, you are getting this e-mail because we are using large recent DPS lists, but you may actually not be an active member anymore… So, please take a moment to check your status now and renew if you haven’t done so already. This will allow you to vote and benefit from all membership advantages.

You should vote for one of the three candidates for Vice-Chair:
o Bonnie Buratti, JPL
o Torrence Johnson, JPL
o Carey Lisse, JHUAP

The elected Vice-Chair will take his/her functions in October 2013 and will become the DPS Chair in October 2014.

You should also vote for two of the four candidates for DPS Committee:
o Julie Castillo, JPL
o Ben Greenhagen, JPL
o Jani Radebaugh, BYU Geological
o Tom Spilker, Solar System Science & Exploration consulting firm

The successful candidates will serve on the committee for three years after October 2013.

The detailed vitae and position statements for each of the candidates follow. This information is also linked from the main election page,



Candidates biographical notes and statements follow in alphabetical order.



Bio/CV : Buratti

– Ph. D. Cornell University, Astronomy and Space Sciences, 1983
– M. Sc. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Earth and Planetary Sciences, 1976

– Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Senior Research Scientist and Group Supervisor, 1983-present
– Pomona College, Visiting Professor of Astronomy, 2001-2004
– American Science and Engineering (Cambridge, MA), Associate Scientist, 1974-1977
– Maria Mitchell Observatory Summer Student, 1973
– Strassenburgh Planetarium Intern, 1977

Selected honors, awards, and NASA mission selections:
– NASA Exceptional Achievement Medal, 2006
– NASA Group Achievement Awards: over a dozen
– Asteroid 90502 Buratti
– JPL Nova Award for workshop ìTeachers Touch the Skyî and other outreach activities, 1998
– Amer. Assoc. of University Women, Pasadena-Arcadia Chapter, Woman of the Year, 1998
– NASA selections for Science Teams: Mars Observer, Comet Rendezvous Asteroid Flyby, Clementine, Deep Space 1, Cassini, New Horizons, Moon Multispectral Mapper, and Dawn (Participating Scientist)
– Lew Allen Award for Research Achievement, 1989

DPS service:
– DPS Nominations Committee, 1992-1994
– DPS Committee, 1996-1998
– DPS Meeting Scientific Program Committee, 2010-2011
– Icarus, Editorial Board, 2011-2014

Selected other community service:
– AGU Secretary, Planetology Section, 1992-1994
– Program Chair, Planetology, AGU Fall Meetings, 1992-1994
– Associate Editor, Reviews of Geophysics, 1994-1997
– NASA and NSF Review Panels: over 20 (some chaired)
– JPL Speakers Bureau: over 100 talks given
– ‘Teachers Touch the Sky’ weeklong teachers’ workshop, 1992-2013
– COMPLEX, 2006-2008
– NASA Enceladus Flagship Science Definition Team, 2008-2009

Statement : Buratti

During the past two decades, the DPS has successfully met two great challenges: the passing of our leadership onto the next generation, and the incorporation of the international planetary community into our organization. Under the current crisis in funding for planetary sciences, with the great bulk of NASA’s science funding going to the James Webb Telescope, we face even greater challenges. I am optimistic we will meet these successfully. I have two ideas for making DPS a more effective organization: first, we need to broaden our base, and second, we need to enhance our cooperative work with our parent and sister organizations. The DPS should be the organization that speaks to and for the broad scope of planetary science. Even today, the cadre of DPS members – leaders especially ñ consists largely of those with backgrounds in planetary astronomy. We need to reach out to underrepresented groups: space physicists and planetary geologists come to mind (although the latter group has made recent inroads). We can draw these groups into more active participation if we attract them with special sessions and invited talks. If we increase our base, we will be prepared to more effectively inform Congress and the public both on a day-to-day basis and when a crisis erupts. Second, there are great resources available in the AAS, AIP, and AGU that we haven’t fully utilized. Jointly sponsored sessions and meetings on interdisciplinary topics such as the physical characterization of exoplanets and the search for habitable environments will increase our visibility. The AAS and AGU both have systems in place for holding topical meetings that the planetary community does not fully utilize.

Another advantage to having the DPS more broadly-based is that we can more effectively work together, as the astrophysicists do (at least that is how it appears to me). I believe a lack of consensus has often damaged our field. Clearly, the current Administration needs to be informed in the field of space science, and the more people we have speaking in unity, the better.

I have been a tireless promoter of outreach and education. I have taught a teachers’ workshop, ‘Teachers Touch the Sky’ for over 20 years, and I try to give at least two popular talks each month. We are beholden to the American people ñ the space program is their heritage ñ and it is their right to be informed about our work. They are our best supporters. DPS does a great job at outreach and education, but I would like to enhance its efforts by encouraging ‘every member to do at least a little bit’. Our organization can realize that goal by making it easy for our members to sign up for speakers’ bureaus, and by having experienced speakers coach those who want to be more active. A special workshop during an annual meeting would be a start. Giving effective presentations and finding venues takes practice, and having a coach at the beginning really helps.

I am the type of person who works very hard behind the scenes, speaking to people, gathering consensus, and asking people to do things. I would also like to ask each member to be more involved. The future of Planetary Science is not being played out as a movie to be watched: what you do now will make a difference in our future.



Bio/CV : Johnson

Torrence Johnson is currently a Senior Research Scientist in the
Science Division at Caltech’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena California
Past DPS service – Secretary/Treasurer (1977-1980)

He earned his undergraduate degree in physics from Washington University in St. Louis in 1966 and went on to graduate studies in planetary science at Caltech, receiving his PhD in 1970. His dissertation dealt with telescopic observations of the spectral reflectance of Jupiter’s Galilean satellites. After postdoctoral studies at MIT, he returned to California as a NRC Research Associate at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and became a member of the technical staff at JPL in 1973. Since then he has worked in many areas of modern planetary research, including ground based telescopic observations, laboratory and theoretical studies, and planetary spacecraft missions. His primary research interests have been in the geochemistry and geophysics of planetary satellites, the Moon and asteroids. On the Voyager mission, he played a major role as a member of the Imaging Science Team, chairing the Satellite Working Group and planning and analyzing observations of satellites at Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune. In 1977 he was named Project Scientist for the Galileo mission and was a Co-I on the Near Infrared Mapping Spectrometer. During the course of the Galileo mission he directed the activities of the Galileo science teams, and science operations. Galileo spectacularly achieved its primary goals in the Jupiter system and continued with extended studies of Europa and Io. He is currently involved in ongoing research into the properties of giant planet satellites as a team member of the Cassini imaging team and a Co-Investigator on the Cosmic Dust Analyzer experiment.

Honors and Awards: In the course of his career he has received numerous awards, including two medals for scientific achievement from NASA and one for outstanding leadership. His is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and an elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Geophysical Union, the International Academy of Astronautics, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the Explorers Club. He is a member of the IAU. He has an asteroid (2614 Torrence) named for him in recognition of his contributions to asteroid science. In 1997 he received an honorary degree in astronomy from the University of Padua, where Galileo made his original observations of the satellites of Jupiter in 1610.

Publications: He has published over 190 research articles as well as numerous popular articles and book chapters. He is also an editor of the reference work (with Lucy McFadden and Paul Weissman), Encyclopedia of the Solar System (Academic Press).

Community Service: He has been a member of numerous NASA advisory and science working groups, including the Jupiter Orbiter Probe (later Galileo) Science Working Group, the NASA/ESA joint Cassini Science Working Group, NASA Space Science Advisory Committee and currently the steering group of the Outer Planet Analysis Group. He served as the third DPS Secretary Treasurer (1977-1980), is a past President of the AGU’s Planetology Section, and has been a Vice-Chair of COSPAR Scientific Commission B (Solar System) and is the past Commission B Chair.

Statement : Johnson

Since its inception, the DPS has played a unique and important role in providing a focus for planetary researchers of all types from around the world. It is emblematic of the breadth of the DPS that the initial organizing committee and early Chairs included luminaries in such diverse fields as atmospheric science (Chamberlain), meteoritics and geochemistry (Anders), planetary photometry (Irvine) and exo (now astro-) biology (Sagan). During the second decade of the new millennium, the DPS is now playing a leading role in extending the study of the origin and nature of planets in our solar system to the origin and nature of planetary systems around other stars. With the advent of increasingly powerful ground-based and space-based observing facilities and with spacecraft active at, on the way to, or planned for, virtually every class of planetary target, never has our science created more excitement, both professionally and publically. But what of the future?

A professional organization such as the DPS rests on three pillars: 1. Meetings, to provide the community with a forum for reporting results and exchanging ideas, 2. Publications, to provide a high quality vehicle for documenting and reviewing research results, and 3. Communications with the public and government agencies supporting our science. All three require constant attention and development as conditions change, and all three face significant challenges in the coming years. If elected Vice-Chair, I would purpose to work with the Chair and the Committee to assess the state of each of these pillars and develop plans to strengthen them for the future.

In the area of meetings, I am sure the membership is well aware of the stresses that economic conditions put on DPS finances in the years following 2008. The Committee and program organizers have succeeded in placing the DPS on a more solid financial footing since then. Holding the type of meeting that the membership has come to expect will undoubtedly require continual attention. Current areas of concern include increasing pressure from Congress and NASA to limit civil service attendance at “heavily attended conferences” such as the DPS. This seriously impacts NASA center scientists (including JPL) as well as having a dampening effect on all NASA funded travel. While recent innovative efforts to exploit web-based broadcasts, social networking and virtual meetings may alleviate some of the effects, I feel that a vital annual DPS meeting is essential to the community and the advancement of our science, with presentations, discussions and many face-to-face scientific interactions. I would work with the Chair and Committee to advocate to NASA, the Administration and Congress that full participation in DPS science meetings by the whole planetary science community is vital to the health of the discipline, including providing more student and post-doc support.

In the publications arena, we have seen many societies and journals struggle with the rapid transition to electronic publication. Icarus has its own set of specific problems but is not alone in these. Indeed electronic publication and new forms of media are changing the face of nearly every aspect of society as a whole. The DPS will need to keep abreast of changing conditions and business models affecting electronic publishing generally.

Finally, it is the taxpayers and our governments that support the science that we do. The DPS has been proactive in supporting outreach to the public and legislative sectors to explain and promote our science, but we can do more.

A major element of the Communications pillar is advocating a strong solar system exploration and research program. This effort is increasingly international in character, with India, China and Japan having all begun serious planetary exploration, in addition to the strong ESA program already in place. Advocating effectively for our science is particularly vital to the DPS due to our discipline’s narrow funding base. Most broad scientific disciplines, Atmospheric Science, Earth Science, Geophysics, and yes, even Astronomy and Astrophysics, receive support from multiple departments and agencies throughout the government – e.g. NSF, DOE, DOD, Interior, etc. Planetary Science is unusual in receiving practically all of its support from a relatively small division of a relatively small agency, NASA. This makes strategic planning and long range goals extremely susceptible to short term political decisions. Our community recently spent a large amount of effort working with the NRC to produce the current Decadal Survey, which laid out priorities and achievable goals across a balanced program. Almost immediately after its completion, essentially all of the Survey’s major recommendations were rendered inoperative or placed in great jeopardy by a few pen strokes in budget items buried deep within the NASA budget. We cannot change the history which resulted in the current funding structure, but we can use the Decadal Survey as our best tool for advocating a reasonable, community supported plan for planetary exploration. We should do this as a unified community as well as reaching out to related disciplines in astronomy and astrophysics (exoplanets) and geophysics to make our case for continued support.

If elected, an important part of my job would be to help the DPS and its members vigorously promote an exciting solar system exploration program for the future and advocate for the required investments in missions, technologies, education, research and data analysis needed to sustain major advances in understanding our (and other) planetary systems.



Bio/CV: Lisse

My scientific focus is on the origin and evolution of solar systems, using primitive bodies and dust as tracers. These studies bring together my backgrounds in materials physics, history, and astronomy. Born and raised in Maryland near Washington DC, my early college studies (A.B from Princeton, M.S from UC Berkeley, M.S from UMD) were in solid state physics and physical chemistry. I began my astronomy career in 1985 as an instrument scientist at NASA/Goddard on the Nobel prize winning COBE project, where for 10 years I was steeped in studying the history of the cosmos and infrared astrophysics. I moved over to planetary studies when I wrote my dissertation on comets detected in the COBE all sky survey with Mike A’Hearn of UMD and Mike Hauser of NASA/GSFC in 1992. I continued my post doctoral work at UMD, where I used my cross disciplinary astrophysics-planetary training to discover X-ray emission from comet C/1996 B2 Hyakutake with ROSAT while observing its close perihelion passage from the NASA/IRTF on Mauna Kea. I went on to work at STScI from 1999-2001, where I helped design and build the current generation WFC3 camera. In 2001 I moved back to UMD, where I worked on the Deep Impact (DI) mission from start to finish, helping to design, build, launch, operate, and analyze its workings. Since 2004 I have worked at JHU-APL in Laurel, MD, one of the centers of excellence for solar system studies in the country, where we are orbiting Mercury, orbiting and roving Mars, circling Saturn, and speeding towards Pluto. At APL in 2005 I obtained seminal Spitzer measurements of primordial dust excavated from the interior of comet 9P/Tempel 1 by the DI experiment, and continued working on the Deep Impact Extended mission to comet 103P/Hartley 2 in 2010. Between the comets we studied Earth and Mars as examples of extra-solar planets using DI remote sensing. At APL in 2009 I used Spitzer to discover glassy silica debris created by a massive planet forming collision in the nearby HD172555 system, and in 2010 used this result to demonstrate the asteroidal nature of the 2009 Wesley impactor into Jupiter. In 2012 I demonstrated that a Late Heavy Bombardment (LHB) must be occurring in the nearby Eta Corvi system, which we are currently studying in greater detail in order to learn more about our own LHB.

My scientific interests are broad, and I am as interested in solar system and planet formation and evolution as I am in the search for water and life in the galaxy. I have authored and co-authored over 160 papers cited over 4500 times, and have used the APO, ESO, IRTF, Keck, and Kitt Peak ground based telescopes and the BeppoSAX, Chandra, COBE, EUVE, Hubble, MSX, ROSAT, Spitzer, and XMM spacecraft to observe asteroids, comets and nascent evolving solar systems, bringing me into professional and personal contact with a broad cross-section of the DPS and AAS membership. My leadership activities are also varied – along with my service to the DPS Committee as part of the Federal Relations Subcommittee (FRS), I have worked with NASA headquarters as a member of the NASA Keck & IRTF MOWG oversight committee since 2005, and am now leading NASA’s Comet ISON Observing Campaign (CIOC) to study this unique Sungrazing comet on its first passage through the inner solar system since its scattering into the Oort Cloud 4.56 Gya. I give numerous outreach talks each year, and am very good at talking to non-experts, including Congress, about the importance of our work.

Statement: Lisse

We live and work in very uncertain times for our scientific discipline and the society that supports us. Strong connections and interactions with our employers (Congress, NASA, and the American people) will be required to maintain and to revitalize our community. My service to the DPS community on the FRS over the last 5 years, including the last 2 years as chair, gives me the opportunity to exercise connections with Congress and NASA on behalf of the DPS. The FRS was instrumental in getting $200M back from Congress to help restore the $309M cut by the administration in the FY2013 budget. The FRS as well as the last 3 DPS chairs + DPS Committee representatives from the Mars, Outer Planets, and Small Bodies communities have just returned from Congress asking that the same be done in FY2014, as we have been cut again by $300M in the President’s proposed budget (down to $1.2B). We have also asked Congress and the Office of Management and Budget to help with correcting new cuts from NASA EPO, and to relieve the restrictions on travel to scientific meetings so that we can do our jobs efficiently. Utilizing my strong multidisciplinary background in planetary science and astrophysics, and calling on my many years of community service leadership, as DPS chair I plan on continuing these efforts to restore NASA’s support for EPO activities and scientific meetings, while supporting the best and brightest proposed missions across the spectrum of Discovery, New Frontiers, and Flagship missions for new starts, and seeing that R&A and critical future technology development are maintained vibrantly, as called for in our 2012 Decadal Study. To do this will require someone knowledgeable about all aspects of our DPS community, about the DPS leadership, about the broader AAS community, and about how NASA and Washington DC works.





Bio/CV: Castillo-Rogez

Research scientist in the Planetary Ices Group and Ice Physics Laboratory at NASA/JPL/Caltech.
I am a geophysicist who starts the day with numerical models, spends lunch watching ice being crunched, and participates in mission planning in the afternoon. I work on asteroids, icy satellites, and Mars, Discovery missions and “nano” satellites.

Ph.D. Planetary Geophysics, Rennes University, France, 2001.
M.S. Geology, Rennes University, France, 1998;
B.S. Geology, Nantes University, France, 1997.
Research Scientist, JPL/Caltech (2007-present); Caltech postdoctoral researcher (2005-2007);
National Academies Research Associate (2002-2005)

Mission Involvement: Cassini-Huygens (Radio science team affiliate, science planning); InSight: Investigation Scientist; Dawn: science planning and operations; INSPIRE Cubesat precursor for Deep Space: study scientist.

Outreach (Examples):
Caltech Space Challenge (science mentor 2013), Women History Month event at JPL Organizing Committee (2012); Mentor for small satellite engineering classes (U. Michigan, UCLA); NASA Planetary Science Summer School Mentor (2010)

NASA Planetary Science Subcommittee (2010-2013); SBAG Roadmap Action Team; DPS Local Organizing Committee (2011); Icy Satellite Workshop co-organizer (DPS 2011); Science of Solar System Ices Workshop co-organizer (2008)

Statement: Castillo-Rogez

The role played by our professional society in advocating for planetary exploration continues to be remarkable at a time when the state of affairs is in turmoil. My greatest interest in serving the DPS is to further carry the voice of our community to decision makers and the public, ensure that they appreciate our impact on society, and have them recognize our unique contribution to the education of the next generation of scientists, engineers, and technologists.
First, I will develop a projection of the state of our community for the next five to ten years as a tool for the DPS leadership to share with policy makers. Indeed, the sharp cuts in the planetary science budget and insufficient support to research and analysis will eventually lead to a loss of expertise, while it makes it difficult for early career scientists to break in. The prospective impact on workforce is unknown and this analysis is critical for lawmakers to appreciate the consequences of their choices.

In the same vein, the recent hit on NASA’s education programs is a source of anxiety among our junior scientists, in part because the drivers behind this drastic change and the expected outcome have not been clearly communicated. What this means for maintaining a pipeline of planetary scientists remains to be comprehended. But the impact of that policy goes far beyond: planetary science is a fantastic playground for STEM activities because of its appeal to students. Hence policy makers need to be reminded of the contradiction that comes with cutting our STEM funding while science and technology are so critical to society’s moving forward. I will participate with the DPS in ensuring more transparency from policymakers. I also would like to engage the private sector and identify opportunities for early career scientists.

Talking about opportunities, we are witnessing a renewed interest worldwide for Human exploration of the Solar system. While many new projects are starting as technology demonstrations, the long-term vision for the Human exploration of selected destinations relies on the involvement of the community at large. It is essential that scientists be invited to that discussion so that space agencies can make the best use of the skills offered by its workforce. This is part of the message that I will help carry out to policy makers.

Lastly, through my involvement in various missions I have a deep appreciation of the value of international collaboration, which I will communicate at any occasion. I will also help facilitate the exchange of information on opportunities available all over the world, the implementation of a platform (via the DPS website) for the exchange of practical information about working abroad, and organize multi-agency forums at future DPS meetings.

In summary, it would be a great privilege for me to serve this community, to apply experience gained through serving on the planetary science subcommittee, and to help further the DPS’ advocacy for space exploration.



Bio/CV : Greenhagen

Research Scientist, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology

Research Areas: I use a combination of laboratory experiments, numerical models, and remote sensing datasets to study the composition and physical properties of surfaces and regoliths. My current focus is to use thermal infrared spectroscopy to study airless bodies from Mercury to icy satellites.

· Ph.D. Geology (Planetology), University of California, Los Angeles, 2009
· M.S. Earth and Planetary Science, Washington University, St. Louis, 2005
· B.S. Geophysics, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, 2003
· B.S. Geology, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, 2003

· Research Scientist, JPL/Caltech (2009-present)
· Postdoctoral Researcher, UCLA (2009)
· Student Research Positions, UCLA/WashU/UofM (2001-2009)
· Research Staff, The Aerospace Corporation (2002-2005)
· Laboratory Assistant, 3M Corporation, (1999-2001)

· Deputy PI, LRO Diviner Lunar Radiometer (2010-present), Compositional Investigation Lead (2005-present)
· Collaborator, MRO Mars Climate Sounder (2005-present)
· Deputy PI and Co-I on variety of other mission proposals, recently including JUICE Thermal Imager (UCLA) and MarcoPolo-R Thermal Mapper (Oxford)

· University of Oxford Dept. of Physics, AOPP Visiting Fellow (2012-2015)
· Young Scientists for Planetary Exploration, Founding Member (2012-present)
· Next Generation Lunar Scientists and Engineers, Leadership Council (2012-present), Member (2009-present)
· NASA ROSES Review Panels (2010, 2011)
· UCLA Graduate Student Association, Math and Physical Sciences, President (2007-2008), Forum Rep. (2006-2008), Appointments Board (2006-2008), Dept. of ESS Rep. (2006-2008)

Statement : Greenhagen

The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera has a simple but important motto, “Scientia facultas explorationis, exploratio facultas scientiae,” essentially stating that science facilitates human exploration, and human exploration facilitates science. The LRO mission is the embodiment of this motto where the spacecraft began as an exploration precursor mission and then moved into a science mission. As Depty PI of LRO’s Diviner Lunar Radiometer, I’ve see first hand the effectiveness of this relationship. Yet it is also clear that some science research and science missions must be so forward thinking as to have minimal influence on the current plans for human exploration. Given its diverse membership, the DPS stands in excellent position to help balance and rationalize the relationship between science and human exploration and I would hope to add guidance in this area.

I was fortunate to participate in the DPS congressional visits in 2012 as a representative of the Young Scientists for Planetary Exploration. These visits opened my eyes to the political process and the critical role of the DPS in lobbying for planetary science funding. All of us are deeply affected by the current budget situation, including flat R&A funding, fewer new-start opportunities, and uncertainty regarding EPO. I strongly support the excellent service that the DPS provides for its members and would seek to enhance it through additional direct involvement from the membership. I would also encourage dialogues with other organizations such as the Planetary Society and the AGU to complement and reinforce the DPS efforts.

As an early career scientist, the professional development of students and early careers is very important to me. I am excited by the efforts organized by the DPS Professional Development Subcommittee. As a long-time member (and recently part of the leadership) of the Next Generation Lunar Scientist and Engineers I’ve participated in and helped organize a wide range of professional development seminar and activities. As a member of the DPS committee I would support an expanded program for students and early career scientists.



Bio/CV: Radebaugh

Associate Professor of Geological Sciences, Brigham Young University

Scientific Focus: Planetary Geology

As an associate member of the Cassini Radar Science Team, I participate in analyses of the geomorphology of Titan’s surface, including dunes, mountains, rivers, lakes and cryovolcanoes. This research builds on my experience in studies of volcanoes and mountains on the surface of Io from Galileo, Voyager and Cassini. I do comparative studies of better-known Earth analogues to improve our understanding of the related planetary features and involve students in all areas of my research.


– Ph.D. Planetary Sciences, The University of Arizona, 2005.
– M.S. Geological Sciences, Brigham Young University, 1999.
– B.S. Physics and Astronomy, Brigham Young University, 1993.


– Associate member of the Cassini RADAR Team, 2008-present
– Steering Committee Member for OPAG, Outer Planets Assessment Group, 2008-present
– Field participant in ANSMET, Antarctic Search for Meteorites, 2004-2005, 2008-2009
– Co-Organized planetary science sessions at IAG Brisbane 2009 and IGC Ethiopia 2010
– Peer reviewer for journals and NASA R&A proposals, instruments and missions
– Organized Io workshop, Provo, UT, 2010
– Assisted in planning and initial analysis of Galileo Io data, 2000-2003
– Led field trips to many important geology and planetary locales, with students, alumni, and scientist participants

Statement: Radebaugh

When I think of the Division of Planetary Sciences of the AAS, the first thing that comes to mind is the annual conference. I feel this meeting has the ideal size, diversity of disciplines and variety of locations to maximize international scientific interactions. Many of the most important formative experiences I had as a student learning about the field of planetary sciences occurred at DPS meetings in the US and abroad, and I continue to benefit tremendously from the meetings today. In these settings, I have heard about topics on the forefront of planetary research, have gotten detailed feedback on my own projects, and have forged new collaborations. For these reasons and many others, the DPS meeting is, I believe, the capstone of the DPS and must be protected from recent governmental threats to organized scientific meetings, kept current in organization and technology, and helped along its course into the future. I would do what I can to ensure these things will happen.

Another strong piece in the role of the DPS is advocacy for science to government leaders and society. The DPS has thoroughly and consistently informed the public and government and agency leaders, alongside other societies such as AGU and GSA. Education about the latest research results helps the public feel invested in the work being done, and bridges the gap between science research and societal benefits. Governmental leaders similarly need education on how taxpayer money is being spent, and how advancements in science and technology lead to the benefit of all. I would follow the current path of the DPS on this course of advocacy, and would work with other DPS leaders to continue to determine the most effective frequency and style of this task.

As we move ahead with our individual and group research projects, I hope we will remember how the DPS can strengthen those efforts through broader interactions, mainly at the annual meetings but also through our membership in the society. I would work to keep the DPS healthy, to help all of us as scientists to do the best job possible in our disciplines.



Bio/CV: Spilker

Retired from JPL; Owner of Solar System Science & Exploration consulting firm

– Ph.D. Electrical Engineering/Radio Science, Stanford University, 1990.
– M.S. Electrical Engineering/Radio Science, Stanford University, 1984.
– B.S. Geophysics & Computer Science, Kansas State University, 1975.

Professional Positions:
– Principal Member of Staff, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, 1999-2012
– Senior Member of Staff, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, 1996-1999
– Member of Technical Staff, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, 1995-1996
– Member of Scientific Staff, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, 1993-1995
– NRC Resident Research Associate at JPL, 1991-1993

Space Flight Mission Involvement:
– Voyager 2 Radio Science and Radio Science Support Teams, 1985-1989
– Rosetta (ESA), Co-I on MIRO Instrument team, 1994-present
– Cassini/Huygens, 1999-2000
– Genesis Mission (Discovery Program), 2000-2004

Selected service roles:
– Member, Satellites of the Giant Planets Panel, NRC Planetary Science Decadal Survey, 2009-2011
– Member, NRC Committee on Planetary and Lunar Exploration (COMPLEX), 2003–2006
– Board Member, NASA planetary R&A programs

Professional Societies:
– American Astronomical Society
– Division for Planetary Sciences
– American Geophysical Union
– American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics

Total of 36 refereed science and engineering publications, more than 80 talks at professional meetings and workshops.

– JPL Award for Excellence, 2000
– Eight NASA Group Achievement Awards

Statement: Spilker

Having been a member for 25 years, DPS is the first professional organization I joined after entering graduate school. My current position as an independent consultant, after retiring last year from JPL, makes more of my time available for DPS business work.

There is ample need for that work. The planetary science community faces serious challenges as a result of shrinking budgets and the still-uncertain ramifications of the Sequester. There is much uncertainty in future R&A funding levels, and that uncertainty impacts both veteran and new researchers, as well as the ability to attract high-quality graduate students into university programs. I have recent experience evaluating R&A proposals for NASA and have seen first-hand how budget pressure has resulted in worthwhile, well-planned research proposals not being funded. In the near-term, I would work with the DPS to ensure R&A doesn’t suffer inordinate and debilitating cuts. Also in the near-term, even if the ramifications of sequestration make maintaining the magnitude of our planetary research effort impossible, we must work toward maintaining continuity of the highest priority research. In the longer term, I would work with the DPS toward rebuilding a robust and balanced program of planetary research, at levels similar to those expected in the 2011 Planetary Science Decadal Survey (PSDS). This would include maintaining the priorities recommended in the PSDS.

My career in planetary science and engineering includes much scientific space flight mission involvement, in all stages of such missions: formulation and proposal, implementation, operations, and data analysis. This experience is international in scope, involving NASA and ESA missions and proposals. By working with and getting to know both the U.S. and European planetary science communities I have become familiar with their concerns. Also I know and have worked with many of the Program Scientists and Program Executives in the planetary science programs at NASA HQ, and ESA officials and staff. The years of space flight experience have given me a good understanding of which scientific investigations can be accomplished relatively easily with spacecraft, and which are more difficult, and I can communicate these clearly to educated lay-persons such as congressional staffers.

If elected I would work in concert with the DPS officers, other Committee members, and the DPS membership to maintain a strong and effective DPS presence, and use that presence to produce the best environment possible for the planetary science community.