Newsletter 14-15

Issue 14-15, July 3, 2014



The Division for Planetary Sciences (DPS) of the American Astronomical Society (AAS) is pleased to announce its 2014 prize winners.

– Gerard P. Kuiper Prize for outstanding contributions to the field of planetary science: Dr. Peter Gierasch made outstanding contributions to our understanding of planetary atmospheres during the 49 years of his professional career. His impact on the study of planetary atmospheres is exceptional, with some of his early papers still being frequently cited today, decades after their publication. His papers on the Martian thermal and dynamical structure (1968), zonal-mean properties of Jupiter (1986), and Venus’s atmospheric rotation (1975) were groundbreaking and remain classics in the field. Long before the greenhouse effect and global warming became household terms, Peter worked these puzzles for Mars. Dr. Gierasch is a professor of astronomy at Cornell University and the co-founder of Cornell’s Center for Radiophysics and Space Research, which he led for over a decade. He received his bachelor’s and doctoral degrees from Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1962 and 1968, respectively. He has served on numerous planetary missions, including Viking, Pioneer, Voyager, Galileo, and Cassini.

– Harold C. Urey Prize for outstanding achievement in planetary research by a young scientist: Dr. Matija Cuk’s broad-ranging research is significantly contributing to unraveling the origin of the solar system’s current structure. He has applied his skills across a remarkably broad range of topics: the origin and evolution of the Moon, binary asteroids and KBOs, as well as tidal evolution, orbital stability, rotational history and cratering of these bodies. Dr. Cuk devised and convincingly demonstrated the BYORP (binary Yarkovsky-O’Keefe-Radzievskii-Paddack) mechanism, in which thermal radiation forces affect the orbital and rotational histories of binary asteroids. Dr. Cuk’s findings represent some of the most significant contributions to the field. Dr. Cuk, currently a researcher at the SETI Institute in Mountain View, California, obtained his bachelor’s degree from University of Belgrade, Serbia. He received his master’s degree and Ph.D. from Cornell University and worked as a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University.

– Harold Masursky Award for outstanding service to planetary science and exploration: Dr. Athena Coustenis has an impressive scientific research career and has made major contributions to planetary science in the spirit of the Harold Masursky award. More than any other member of our community, Dr. Coustenis contributed to promoting and facilitating international collaboration in planetary science. Athena has played a major role in organizing the dissemination of scientific results at international conferences, including those of the European Geophysical Union, the International Association of Meteorology and Atmospheric Sciences, the Asia Oceania Geosciences Society, the DPS/AAS, the European Planetary Science Congress, as well as the AGU Goldschmidt conferences and the International Planetary Probe workshops. She has rendered outstanding service to the international planetary science community through a combination of managerial, leadership, programmatic, and public service activities. Dr. Coustenis is currently Director of Research at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), France, and an astrophysicist with the Laboratoire d’Etudes Spatiales et d’Instrumentation en Astrophysique (LESIA) of Paris Observatory, France.

– Carl Sagan Medal for outstanding communication by an active planetary scientist to the general public: Br. Guy Consolmagno has a decades-long track record of communicating planetary science to the public while maintaining an active science career. In addition, he occupies a unique position within our profession as a credible spokesperson for scientific honesty within the context of religious belief. Br. Guy uses multiple media to reach his audience. He has authored or edited six books, with “Turn Right at Orion” in its fourth edition of publication. This book alone has had an enormous impact on the amateur astronomy community, engendering public support for astronomy. In addition to writing books, he is a dynamic popular speaker, giving 40 to 50 public lectures every year across both Europe and the United States, reaching thousands of people. He regularly gives interviews on BBC radio shows on planetary science topics and hosted his own BBC radio show discussing the origins of the universe (“A Brief History of the End of Everything”). These appearances address both pure science subjects and science-with-religion subjects. As a Jesuit Brother, Guy has become the voice of the juxtaposition of planetary science and astronomy with Christian belief, a rational spokesperson who can convey exceptionally well how religion and science can co-exist for believers.

– Jonathan Eberhart Planetary Sciences Journalism Award to recognize and stimulate distinguished popular writing on planetary sciences: James Oberg is a science journalist, space consultant, and retired “rocket scientist” who spent the first 22 years of his career as an engineer at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, where he specialized in space shuttle operations and orbital rendezvous. Mr. Oberg has authored some two-dozen books about all aspects of space flight for both the astronomy-interested layman and NASA’s training program and has written more than 1,000 magazine and newspaper articles. His work has appeared in Astronomy, The Wall Street Journal, Scientific American, OMNI, Popular Science, Popular Mechanics, and other publications. In addition, James has served as the NBC News space consultant for a decade. He is considered an expert on the Russian space program and U.S. space policy. In his winning entry, “Torrid Mercury’s Icy Poles,” in Astronomy magazine’s December 2013 issue, James expertly explores the history of the search for the innermost planet’s water ice and what the MESSENGER spacecraft, launched in 2004, is revealing. The saga of water ice hiding in the shadows on Mercury ranks among the most fascinating chapters in the story of the solar system’s birth and evolution.

The 2014 DPS prizes will be presented at the 46th annual DPS meeting in Tucson, Arizona, 9-14 November 2014 [].

Dr. Vishnu Reddy
DPS Press Officer
+1 808-342-8932
[email protected]

Dr. Heidi Hammel
DPS Chair
+1 202-483-2101
[email protected]


Tucson, AZ, 9-14 November 2014 at the JW Marriott Starr Pass

Dear DPS members, we invite you to attend the 46th Annual DPS meeting! Please note these important dates:

– 21 August 2014 : 46th DPS Regular Abstract Submission Deadline – 9:00pm ET
– 26 August 2014 : 46th DPS Early Registration Deadline
– 24 September 2014 : 46th DPS Late Abstract Submission Deadline – 9:00pm ET
– 10 October 2014 : 46th DPS Hotel Reservations Deadline

If you like paradigm-shifting oral sessions, cutting-edge poster round-ups, and rubric-smashing education and outreach workshops then you won’t want to miss the 46th Annual meeting of the Division for Planetary Sciences in Tucson Arizona!  At the Tucson 2014 DPS meeting, you will participate in world-class hobnobbery with an eclectic array of moon swooners, dust musterers, gas bags, lava lovers, glass masters, math blasters, ring dingers, first lighters, dewar slewers, infraheads, ultrapilots, dot wranglers, plasma tamers, non-synchronous rotators, flight-rule makers, flight-rule breakers, spin doctors, planet smashers and general space cases against a backdrop of sand, bedrock, rock beds, basins, ranges, saguaro, ocotillo, mesquite, palo verde, rattle snakes, scorpions, javelina, sunshine, stars, planets, and the best sunsets you will ever see!

* Abstracts

See in particular and go to:

DPS specifies the following regulations for submission and presentation of abstracts at a Division for Planetary Sciences Meeting:
– Any person may submit an abstract.
– Presenters must be listed as the first author on the paper.
– Presenting/first author must register for the meeting.
– Nonmembers can only present once every 10 years.
– Nonmembers are required to have a sponsor who is an active AAS Full Member or DPS Affiliate; the sponsor will be notified.

The DPS Science Program is coming together. There will be a wide range of invited plenary talks and we expect plenary talks by the Urey and Kuiper prize winners.

* Accommodation and diversions

The JW Marriott Starr Pass is located about five miles west of downtown Tucson and it is a great venue with restaurants, hiking, biking, swimming, golf, and more! In case you’re worried about hotel fever, we will run a regular shuttle service to downtown Tucson and the university area so you can sample the best tacos, burritos, chimichangas, vampiros, caramelos, albondigas, chile rellenos, pico de gallo, carne asada, and queso fundido west of the San Pedro, south of the Rillito and east of the Santa Cruz!

We are planning a number of diversions including a field trip to Meteor Crater, a food-truck round-up, and an art exhibition! The banquet will be held at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, which will be open and fully available to attendees!

Please see for more information!

* Funds

Please also remember to donate to the professional development award for planetary scientists, the Susan Niebur Professional Development Fund. The fund will provide financial assistance to qualifying DPS members to facilitate their attendance at the annual DPS meeting by offsetting dependent-care costs, either at the meeting location or at home during the week of the conference. The Susan Niebur Professional Development Fund will support Dependent Care Grants for the 46th annual meeting of the DPS in Tucson, Arizona, 9-14 November 2014.
These grants are intended to reimburse several categories of expenses, including:
– Airfare for a caregiver (e.g., au pair, nanny, sitter) to fly to the meeting location to assist with dependent care for child(ren) under age 18, ill or disabled family members, or for dependent elder(s) able to travel.
– Airfare for child(ren) under age 18, ill or disabled family members, dependent elder(s), or a family member caregiver traveling to the meeting.
– Costs for dependent care at the meeting (e.g., onsite babysitting, daycare or elder care service local to the meeting venue, local custodial child care and/or elder care expenses, or paying for a nanny or other caregiver’s labor)
– Costs for additional dependent care at home incurred due to member’s absence during the DPS meeting (e.g., caregiver’s labor, before and after school or extended day programs, late pick-up fees, day camps that are custodial in nature and not educational, daycare centers, sick-child care center not for medical services, custodial childcare and expenses for care for elderly or other family members that the applicant usually provides)
– Other justifiable expenses

All expenses should be justified with a receipt to claim the award.

More information about the fund, including how to donate:

We look forward to seeing you in Tucson in November! The SOC and LOC.


For all Job opportunities, please visit jobs
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]


You are invited submit proposals for participation to
the Cassini-Huygens mission through the Participating Scientists (PS)

The documentation, proposal submission and support software for this
Announcement are being made available via the Internet at::


The dates for the next OPAG meeting are July 23-24 in Bethesda, MD. 
We will be meeting at the Doubletree Bethesda Hotel.  The logistics are now posted on the OPAG homepage:

Please note that the deadline for getting hotel rooms at the group rate is June 23.  The agenda will be posted soon.

Candy Hansen
OPAG Chair


Logistical details and a draft agenda are now available on the SBAG
website for the 11th SBAG Meeting:

11th Meeting of the NASA Small Bodies Assessment Group
July 29-31, 2014
Washington, DC

Participation is open to all. Participants are requested to register
using the SBAG 11 website, and registration is free.

C) IPM-2014

Preparations are well under way for the 2nd International Workshop
on ‘Instrumentation for Planetary Missions’ (IPM-2014) to be held
November 4-7, 2014.

The objective of the Workshop is to have a broad canvas of
instrumentation and technology available to ‘Decadal Survey’ missions
and those further out. It is also meant to be a forum of collaboration,
exchange and discussions where science questions, and the technology
needed to address them, are discussed.

Exceptional keynote and invited speakers are a highlighted part of
the program.

Visit the link below to submit an abstract by Aug 25, 2014 and view
details regarding registration:

We encourage you to submit an abstract and be part of this unique
international gathering focused on instrumentation for planetary

The first such Workshop held in 2012 was attended by 230 people
from across the globe. Early indications suggest that this one will
surpass that.

Mark your calendar! Be part of this unique experience!

POC: Brook Lakew <[email protected]>

December 15-19, 2014
San Francisco, CA, USA

The abstract deadline for all submissions is 6 August 23:59 EDT/03:59 +1 GMT and no abstracts will be accepted after this date.

– Special Session : Planetary Atmospheres and Their Evolution
Session ID#: 1521
Understanding the evolutionary histories of planetary atmospheres is one of the key scientific questions driving planetary mission planning. While the evolution of our own planet, the Earth, is constrained by geological and geochemical data, the evolutionary paths of other planetary bodies in and outside our solar system must be determined from planetary mission data and astronomical observations. The discoveries of extrasolar planets greatly expand the interests of the scientific community and provide a new opportunity for interdisciplinary collaborations between geoscientists, astronomers, and planetary scientists. The session welcomes both observational and theoretical studies relevant to the evolution of planetary objects in and outside of our solar system (including the Earth).


Session Title: Enceladus: A Habitable World 
Session ID: #1492 
Conveners: Carolyn Porco, Chris McKay

Geysers of icy particles and vapor, with trace amounts of organic 
compounds, erupting from warm fractures and deriving from a salty, 
subsurface sea make the Saturnian moon Enceladus the most accessible 
extraterrestrial habitable zone in our solar system. In this special 
session, now in its 9th year, we continue our focus on those topics 
relating to the origin and state of the moon’s geologically active 
south polar terrain (SPT). These include observational, theoretical 
and modeling investigations of the composition, state, and dynamics 
of Enceladus’ jets and plume, its thermal and interior state and 
evolution, and the geomorphology of the SPT and similar provinces. We 
also welcome studies addressing future spaceflight missions and the 
moon’s potential for biological activity.

If you love Enceladus as much as we do, and you have new results that 
fit the topics above, and you’re eager to share them with other 
Enceladus fans, please consider submitting an abstract to this special 
AGU session. 

Hope to see you in San Francisco! 

Poipu, Kauai, Hawaii, 
February 23-26, 2015

We wish to bring to your attention announcement of the Second Workshop on Experimental Laboratory Astrophysics to be held in Poipu, Kauai, Hawaii, February 23-26, 2015.

Contributed talks (30 min) and poster presentations are invited for the ‘Second Workshop on Experimental Laboratory Astrophysics’ in Poipu, Kauai, Hawaii, February 23-26, 2015. During the last decade, significant new experimental techniques have been developed to investigate the interaction of ionizing radiation (UV, VUV, gamma rays, charged particles) and of neutrals (atoms, radicals, molecules, grains) with surfaces of solids (ices, minerals, carbonaceous compounds) in the Solar System and in the Interstellar Medium (ISM). These processes provide new fundamental insights – sometimes on the molecular level – into the processes that are critical to the chemistry in the ISM, star and planet forming regions, and on/in icy objects in the Solar System from the formation of the simplest molecule (molecular hydrogen) to astrobiologically important species such as amino acids and sugars. There is an increasing convergence of interests of these fields, so a ‘united’, bi-annual workshop is highly desired.

Based on the successful first workshop in 2013, the second  workshop features invited (senior and junior researchers) as well as contributed talks covering the interaction of ionizing radiation (UV, VUV, gamma rays, charged particles) and neutrals (atoms, radicals, molecules, grains) with low temperature solids (ices, minerals, organics). The talks can be extended to observations, modeling, and electronic structure calculations, if these topics can be linked – as evident from the abstract – to laboratory experiments. Also, poster submissions are highly encouraged; this will allow a broad participation of newcomers to the field (students, postdocs).

Accommodation: The workshop will take place in the Sheraton Kauai Resort  in Poipu, Kauai, Hawaii, starting with a reception and registration on February 22, 2015, at 6 pm (Sunday). The hotel will allocate a block of rooms for workshop participants. Reservations must be made by December 1, 2014. Group rates are available three days pre and post group arrival and departure dates.

Transportation: Sheraton Kauai Resort is a short drive (20 minutes) from the airport (LIH). LIH can be reached from LAX, SFO, or HNL.

Registration: Registration and abstract submission open July 1, 2014, with deadlines on December 1, 2014.  The registration fee of $ 350 includes the reception, snacks, and a book-of-abstracts; the late registration fee after December 1, 2014, is $ 600. No refunds will be given after December 1, 2014. 
Further information will be posted soon.

The Organizers
Brant Jones, University of Hawaii, Murthy Gudipati, JPL, Mark Loeffler, NASA Goddard, Gianfranco Vidali, Syracuse University, Helen Fraser, Open University, UK, Ralf I. Kaiser, University of Hawaii, Naoki Watanabe, University of Hokkaido, Japan

Send submissions to:
Athena Coustenis, DPS Secretary ([email protected])

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