Newsletter 14-17

Issue 14-17, July 24, 2014



Dr. Barney Conrath passed away peacefully in his sleep on April 23, 2014, at his home in Charlottesville, Virginia, after a bout with cancer.  He is survived by his wife, Marjorie, three children, and five grandchildren.
He was born June 23, 1935 in Quincy, Illinois and grew up near Hannibal, Missouri.  In 1957 he graduated from Culver-Stockton College in northeast Missouri with a BA in Physics, then earned an MA in Physics at the University of Iowa under the direction of James Van Allen.  In July 1960, Barney joined the staff of NASA’s new Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, where he would spend most of his professional career.  However, Goddard was not ready to accommodate him, since the Center’s buildings were still under construction.  Goddard’s scientists and engineers were housed in temporary quarters scattered over greater Washington, D.C., and Barney spent nearly two years working at the US Naval Receiving Station in the Anacostia section of the city.  Later, he won a Robert Goddard Fellowship and took a leave to earn a PhD in Physics at the University of New Hampshire in 1966, his dissertation being on the violation of the 2nd and 3rd adiabatic invariants by hydromagnetic waves.
Fortunately for atmospheric science, Barney fell in with the wrong crowd at Goddard, and his career in space plasma physics was short lived.  The atmosphere at the Center in its early days was charged with excitement: Earth-orbiting satellites were being launched at a regular rate and Goddard was supplying many of the experiments.  Barney’s group was heavily involved with the Tiros and Nimbus weather satellites, which, respectively, had radiometers and spectrometers to measure the thermal radiation field of Earth’s atmosphere.  This was a new area of exploration, and techniques were needed to interpret the observed radiation and derive physical atmospheric parameters, e.g., the distributions of temperatures, clouds, and gaseous constituents.  Beginning in the mid 1960s, Barney contributed a series of seminal studies on the inversion of planetary infrared spectra observed from space-borne platforms, which was to occupy much of his career.
The course of Barney’s work was strongly influenced by his close association with Rudolf Hanel, who built a series of Infrared Interferometer Spectrometers (IRIS) that were onboard the Nimbus satellites, and then on spacecraft that went to Mars (Mariner 9) and the outer planets (Voyager 1 & 2).  Barney was a co-investigator on all these experiments and became the Voyager IRIS principal investigator in 1986.  Early on, Barney appreciated the value—and sheer enjoyment—of combining the activities of data acquisition and spectral inversion with detailed theoretical modeling of the results.  His passion became understanding the atmospheric thermal structure and dynamics of the bodies he observed.  Using terrestrial analogies to interpret data from strange worlds is usually a reasonable starting point, but sometimes one’s mind needs to be nimble.  This was true of the hydrogen-dominated atmospheres in the outer solar system, where Barney and his colleagues discovered that conversion between the ortho and para forms of molecular hydrogen in disequilibrium could be an important energy source driving atmospheric motions.
Barney twice received the NASA Medal for Exceptional Scientific Achievement (1981, 1990), and he became a Goddard Senior Fellow in 1990.  In 1996 he received the DPS Kuiper Prize for his scientific contributions to planetary science.  He retired from Federal service in 1995 and became a Senior Research Associate at Cornell University, continuing his close collaboration with Peter Gierasch that had begun during the Voyager IRIS days. During this time, he participated in the Mars Global Surveyor Thermal Emission Spectrometer experiment. He was also a co-investigator on Cassini’s Composite Infrared Spectrometer (CIRS), an ambitious Fourier Transform Spectrometer that built on the earlier IRIS instruments.   He worked with other CIRS investigators in studying the seasonally varying thermal structure and dynamics of Titan’s stratosphere and the large structural changes effected by Saturn’s great northern storm, which erupted in late 2010.  He actively pursued his research until the end, preoccupied with determining the helium abundance of Saturn’s atmosphere—thus far a challenge—by combining CIRS data with radio occultations and with stellar occultations observed by the Cassini Visual Infrared Mapping Spectrometer (VIMS). 
In his career, Barney led by quiet example, and he epitomized unselfish cooperation in research.  He was attentive and encouraging.  His integrity and competence were unquestioned.  Those who knew him well will never forget those qualities, nor will they forget him.

Prepared by Michael Flasar, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center


Please remember to vote ! The 2014 election for DPS Vice-Chair and Committee will close soon now, on July 31st 2014.

Go to 
You will need your AAS member login ID (which defaults to your membership number), and your password.

If you have trouble voting on line, the AAS can do a proxy vote and vote on your behalf (send an e-mail to [email protected]). You will still get an automated email confirmation and a separate manual email, both with who you voted for and a confirmation number.

You should vote for one of the two candidates for Vice-Chair:
o Jason W. Barnes, University of Idaho
o Stephen J. Mackwell, LPI, Universities Space Research Association

The elected Vice-Chair will take his/her functions in October 2014 and will become the DPS Chair in October 2015.

You should also vote for two of the four candidates for DPS Committee: 
o Maria Antonietta Barucci, LESIA, Paris Observatory
o Joshua Emery, Dept of Earth & Planet. Sci., University of Tennessee
o Amy Lovell, Dept of Physics & Astronomy, Agnes Scott College  
o Gerald Wesley Patterson, APL, Johns Hopkins University

The successful candidates will serve on the committee for three years after October 2014.

The detailed vitae and position statements for each of the candidates can be found on the main election page,

It is very important for all of us to participate to these elections, so please take a moment to vote !

Thank you !


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

DPS members you are invited to attend the 46th Annual DPS meeting!

* Important dates

21 August 2014 : Abstract deadline, coming up quickly now !
See and go to:

Other important dates:
DPS 46 Exhibitor Regular Deadline
6 August 2014
DPS 46 Regular Abstract Deadline
22 August 2014
DPS 46 Exhibitor Final Deadline
26 August 2014
DPS 46 Early Registration Deadline
11 September 2014
DPS 46 Regular Registration Deadline

And also:
– 24 September 2014 : 46th DPS Late Abstract Submission Deadline – 9:00pm ET
– 10 October 2014 : 46th DPS Hotel Reservations Deadline

* DPS Grants

A) DPS Dependent Care Grants

In 2011, the DPS began a pilot program to help parents of small children attend the DPS meeting. After surveying the DPS membership (see 2011 Childcare Survey spreadsheet), it was clear that the economic burden of child, elder, and disabled dependent care affects a small fraction of our membership, but the impact is so great that it can often prevent attendance at meetings, especially for early career scientists or those with limited funding. Therefore, members may apply to subsidize dependent care services during the DPS conference week, for use either at the DPS meeting location or at home.
These grants are intended to reimburse some categories of expenses (see :
All expenses should be justified with a receipt to claim the award.

The DPS Susan Niebur Professional Development Fund provides financial assistance to qualifying members in order to facilitate their meeting attendance by offsetting dependent care costs at the meeting location or at home during the DPS conference week. Online applications are solicited no later than 1 month prior to the DPS meeting.

B) Hartmann travel grants

A generous contribution from William K. Hartmann, supplemented by member contributions and matching funds from the DPS Committee, has enabled a limited number of student travel grants to assist participation by early-career scientists at the annual DPS meeting. Application details are atmeetings/travel_grant_application. Travel grants are primarily intended for students, but post-doctoral scientists without other means of support will also be considered.

The due date for applications is August 29, 2014 11:59 PM.

The DPS Leadership is also soliciting additional contributions from members for the Hartmann Fund. Your tax-deductible gift promotes the careers of our next generation of planetary scientists. Thanks so much for your generosity.


The Director of Science and Robotic Exploration intends to release in the second half of August 2014 a “Call for the M4 mission”, soliciting proposals for a mission with a ceiling to the ESA “Cost at Completion” (CaC) of 450 M€, and a “readiness for launch” foreseen in 2025. The proposal process will foresee the submission of a mandatory “Letter of Intent” by September 16, with a briefing meeting foreseen on September 26 in ESTEC (date and place subject to confirmation). The deadline for proposal submission is foreseen to be in mid January 2015. Letters of support from national funding agencies for whatever mission elements will be proposed to be nationally funded will be required (with the same deadline as for the full proposals). 

The “Call” will solicit proposals in any field of space science, and will be open to ESA-only missions as well as to missions in cooperation with international partners, whether ESA-led or partner-led. Any international cooperation scheme can be considered within the ESA CaC ceiling stated above. Letters of support from the potential international partners will be requested.

The “Call” will contain a technical annex illustrating a number of possible mission profiles that would be feasible within the foreseen cost ceiling. These will include both Vega-based and Soyuz-based mission profiles, and span a variety of mission profiles, from Earth-bound orbits to deep-space and planetary missions, covering the different areas of space science.

The “Call” will be published on the web site .



The first International Asteroid Impact Deflection Assessment (AIDA) Workshop will be held 15-17 October 2014 in Laurel, Maryland.

AIDA is a technology demonstration of the kinetic impactor concept. It is composed of the DART (Double Asteroid Redirection Test) and AIM (Asteroid Impact Mission) spacecrafts, each under consideration by NASA and ESA.The combination of both spacecrafts is referred to as AIDA.

Abstracts are solicited for participants to the workshop. Topics include studies relevant to the two concepts (DART projectile and AIM rendezvous spacecraft), knowledge of the Didymos binary system (the target of the AIDA demonstration), and on binary origins, dynamics and properties (e.g. regolith and surface characteristics, internal structure), impact observing strategies, additional science opportunities during an impact demonstration and associated payloads, impact modeling and momentum transfer of an artificial projectile, ejecta dynamics etc.

Abstracts are due 1 September 2014. Please visit for further details, including abstract format.

B) IPM-2014
November 4-7, 2014
Greenbelt, MD, USA

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

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. See hereafter for some planetary-related sessions.

– Cassini-related sessions :
Dear Colleagues,

         With Cassini’s Tenth Anniversary behind us and more exciting science opportunities yet to come, let’s keep up our momentum of informing the planetary community about the mission.  To this extent, I have compiled a list of sessions (see attached) occurring at the 2014 Fall AGU Meeting (San Francisco 15-19 December 2014) that are related to Cassini science.  I would like to encourage you to submit an abstract and present at this venue.

          Abstracts must be submitted by August 6 at 23:59 EDT (this is a hard deadline).  Submission fees apply ($65 or $35-Student).  The abstract submission website is

Best regards,
Scott Edgington

– Cassini at Saturn:  Science Today and in the Final Three Years
Session ID#: 3530
Session Description:
This session will focus on recent findings in the Saturn system and unique science investigations planned for Cassini’s final three years. It will highlight both theoretical and observational studies, including their significance for astrobiology, exoplanets, and giant planet formation and evolution. 
After ten years at Saturn, Cassini’s final three years extend its observational baseline by 30%, studying the Saturn system in a seasonal setting never before seen by any spacecraft, and visiting unexplored regions between the innermost ring and top of Saturn’s atmosphere. Outstanding opportunities include: observing seasonal processes on Saturn, Titan, icy satellites, rings, and magnetosphere as summer arrives at Saturn’s northern hemisphere; studying time variability of many phenomena, including Enceladus plume activity and ring system variations; determining Saturn’s internal structure using gravitational and magnetic field measurements; determining ring mass and its radial distribution; and sampling the composition of ring particles and upper atmosphere during the unique end-of-mission phase.

– Enceladus: A Habitable World
Session ID#: 1492
Session Description:
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.

– The Rite of Spring: The Changing Seasons on Titan
Session ID#: 2347
Session Description:
Intense scrutiny by the Cassini Saturn Orbiter (celebrating its 10th anniversary in orbit), combined with extensive ground based observing campaigns, has established Titan’s seasonal weather pattern over more than a third of a Saturn orbital period. Many of the changes seen in the atmosphere are associated with changes on the surface.  These changes are the product of atmospheric processes such as evaporation, rainfall and/or infiltration and fluvial activity most probably in combination with dynamic processes ongoing in Titan’s interior.  The relative contribution of each of these processes to Titan’s state at a given point in time is gradually being understood. The session will present recent spacecraft and ground-based results and test the veracity of the current models.

– Planetary Rings: Theory and Observation
Session ID#: 3091
Session Description:
This session will focus on theoretical and observational studies of planetary rings. Subjects to be covered include the structure, dynamics and composition of the rings; the interaction of the rings with the ionosphere, magnetosphere and interplanetary meteoroids; and the origin and evolution of the rings. Cassini observations obtained in the last decade will be highlighted, along with Earth and HST observations, theoretical models and laboratory results.

– Solar System Dusty Plasma
Session ID#: 3403
Session Description:
Dust has been identified as an important component in space plasma environments in the Solar System. Through various charging processes, the plasma properties can be significantly altered due to the presence of macroscopic charge carriers (dust). Dust dynamics, on the other hand, can be strongly, or even collectively, decided by ambient plasma conditions. This session seeks contributions on general dust science but with special focus on dusty-plasma studies in various environments, including: laboratory experiments, Noctilucent clouds and polar mesospheric summer echoes, the plume of Saturn’s moon Enceladus, planetary rings, surfaces of airless objects, and cometary environments. The goal of the session is to compare dusty-plasma phenomena under various conditions to improve our understanding of the processes responsible for dust charging, altering the properties of the plasma, and the emergence of dust collective behavior.

– In and Out of Jove: Giant Planet Interiors, Atmospheres, Aurorae, and Ionospheres
Session ID#: 2819
Session Description:
We solicit new research findings about the ionospheres, atmospheres and deep interiors of Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune.  A special focus of our session is on the processes that reflect the interior rotation rate of Saturn.  The sources of data to be covered in our session include the continuing observation by the Cassini spacecraft, now in its 10th year in orbit around Saturn.  We also cover results of the recent Saturn Aurora Campaigns that coordinated observations by Cassini, the Hubble Space Telescope, and ground-based observatories. For Jupiter, we solicit long-term monitoring using ground- and space-based telescopes, and studies in anticipation of the Juno spacecraft’s arrival in August 2016.  Observations of Uranus and Neptune are also within in our session’s scope.  In addition, we solicit modeling and theoretical presentations that address these observational findings.

– Moon-Plasma Interactions Throughout the Solar System
Session ID#: 1450
Session Description:
This session will focus on new observational and theoretical studies of the interaction between the moons of our solar system and the magnetized plasmas incident upon them. This includes plasma interactions with the solid surfaces, atmospheres, and intrinsic and induced magnetic fields of the moons, both inside and outside of their parent planets’ magnetospheres. Of special interest are results related to plasma and magnetic field observations near the terrestrial moon and from Cassini’s flybys of Saturn’s icy satellites Enceladus, Rhea and Dione. Studies deepening our understanding of the interconnection between Titan’s ionosphere and its highly dynamic magnetospheric environment are also very welcome. The interaction of Jupiter’s moons with the ambient magnetospheric plasma will be especially addressed with a view to provide support to the ongoing Juno Mission and the planning of synergistic measurements for the upcoming JUICE Mission. Comparative studies of the various moon-plasma interaction scenarios are particularly welcome.

– Bow Shock, Magnetosheath, and Magnetopause Processes
Session ID#: 2157
Session Description:
This session focuses on observations and modeling of the coupling of plasma from the bow shock, through the magnetosheath, and to the magnetopause at the Earth and other planets.  In recent years a significant number of spacecraft and ground-based instruments have sampled these regions both in situ (THEMIS, Cluster, Double Star, Geotail, Cassini, MESSENGER) and remotely (IBEX, SuperDARN, magnetometers).  These measurements coupled with modeling efforts have advanced our knowledge of a number of processes within these regions.  Understanding coupling between these regions includes bow shock physics, plasma flow and magnetic environment in the magnetosheath, as well as plasma entry through reconnection, wave instabilities, and other magnetopause dynamics.

– Magnetic Reconnection and its Universal Consequences in Magnetospheric and Solar Plasmas
Session ID#: 3111
Session Description:
Magnetic reconnection occurs in a vast range of different plasma conditions, but yet may have similar critical consequences for plasma transport and heating. At Earth and Mercury, the balance between dayside and magnetotail reconnection, sets up the conditions for spontaneous reconnection in the collisionless magnetotail, leading to fast inward flows and heating. At Jupiter and Saturn, there is strong evidence for tail reconnection and similar fast inward flows, but rotational centrifugal forces are likely to be the more important driver triggering reconnection on closed field lines. At high altitudes in the solar corona, reconnection appears to take place with subsequent phenomena such as Supra-Arcade Downflows (SAD) and other instabilities with intriguing similarities to those occurring in planetary magnetotails. This session invites contributions on experimental and theoretical work that addresses reconnection and its consequence in the context of the wide range of plasma environments throughout the heliosphere.

– Surface Boundary Exospheres: Comparing the Moon, Mercury, and Much More
Session ID#: 3480
Session Description:
Surface boundary exospheres are thin collisionless planetary atmospheres in which gas and dust constituents only collide with the surface.  This class of atmosphere may be the most common among solar system objects.  Mercury, the Moon, several outer planets moons, and Saturn’s rings are known to host such atmospheres, and it is likely that other moons and the larger asteroids do also, including trojans and centaurs. These bodies should also host tenuous shrouds of dust, whether from actively vented plume materials or ejecta from ongoing micrometeoroid bombardment of the surfaces and ring systems of such bodies.  The purpose of this session is to report results from recent missions, including MESSENGER at Mercury, LADEE and LRO at the Moon, Cassini at Saturn/Enceladus, Hubble and Galileo at Europa and Io, and Earth-based occultations of Chariklo.  Comparison of observations with modeling results of source, transport and loss processes are very welcome.

– Titan’s Enigmatic Atmosphere and Ionosphere
Session ID#: 3235
Session Description:
The processes that control Titan’s atmosphere and ionosphere remain in many ways enigmatic even after ten years of observations and study from the Cassini mission and the Huygens probe. The instruments onboard Cassini-Huygens have studied in-situ and remotely many aspects of Titan’s atmosphere and coupled ionosphere. In the mesosphere, stratosphere, thermosphere, ionosphere, and exosphere studies of atmospheric composition, structure, and chemistry have recently produced breakthroughs in our understanding of this complex system. In this session, we focus on recent and ongoing studies of Titan’s atmosphere and ionosphere. Papers focusing on atmospheric observations, modeling, and laboratory studies are welcomed.

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

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