Newsletter 14-2

Issue 14-2, January 22, 2014



Washington DC may be currently covered in snow, but warm fuzzies abound here as a 2014 budget has passed into law (more details in the note below from the Federal Relations Subcommittee).  Take a deep breath, and think about our DPS community’s successes. We’ve secured $1.3 Billion dollars to do planetary exploration. Our missions are healthy: Cassini, Curiosity, MESSENGER, JUNO, and more. ESA’s ROSETTA mission successfully reawakened from hibernation, ready to go comet hunting. Europa got a big boost with the news from the Hubble Space Telescope hinting at tidally-driven water geysers. What have you done to share this news with your family, your community, your representatives in Washington? Drop me a line; I’d like to share some of your stories.

Regarding NASA’s R&A reorganization, please communicate your thoughts with the members of the Planetary Science Subcommittee (PSS), as well as the members of the various assessment groups (OPAG, SBAG, VEXAG, MEPAG, LEAG, etc). The input will be considered soon, so take the time now to share your opinions about this draft rollout with the AG chairs and PSS, especially thoughts on how to improve the rollout.

Meeting update: we are happy to report that the Denver DPS broke almost exactly even, with a surplus of just $230 out of a ~$398K budget; total attendance was 692 registrants. Major thanks for this success go to Fran Bagenal, John Spencer, and Andrew Steffl, as well as to the AAS meeting support staff.  The DPS Committee is hard at work preparing for future DPS meetings.  For the November 2014 meeting in Tucson, Arizona, the Local Organizing Committee (headed by Joe Spitale) and the Scientific Organizing Committee (led by Faith Vilas) are both in full swing.  If you are asked to help, please do so. Better yet, volunteer!

Remember Carl Sagan’s TV show, Cosmos?  There is a new version, Cosmos – A Spacetime Odyssey (see its trailer at–9VMI) hosted by Neil deGrasse Tyson on Fox. Wait, why Fox, you ask, aren’t they anti-science?  The answer is: indeed Fox – because of the people who watch Fox. These are precisely the people we need to reach if we want to rekindle a fire for space science exploration in the heart of America. The premier episode airs on 9 March 2014. Leverage this: offer to be the host at a Cosmos kick-off event at your local library or middle school; invite your non-astronomy buddies over to watch an episode of Cosmos. Let me know some of your other ideas.

Finally, planetary science was featured in the New York Times today.  Kenneth Chang examined fiscal limitations that may affect some upcoming decisions, including the Senior Reviews of Cassini and Curiosity ( As Chang points out in his closing sentences, after the late 1980s when NASA planetary science was truly threatened and a ten-year-long cessation of planetary launches ensued, our community regrouped. The resultant priorities developed into the Cassini mission, and eventually the reinvigorated Mars program and all the missions in flight today. Those of us who were young planetary scientists during that dark decade of no missions (which encompassed my entire grad-school career) did not despair.  We kept the faith, we imagined the future robust program, and we worked to create the program we have now. I adjure you to keep the faith now. Focus on the future. Make your dreams real.

And please do remember to renew your DPS membership by paying your 2014 dues online at (see hereafter for details) !

Heidi B. Hammel
DPS Chair


It’s nice to be the bearer of relatively good news for once!

Congress has passed an omnibus appropriations bill for fiscal year 2014 (FY14). That means that the entire government has funding for the entire fiscal year. This removes threats of government shutdowns and sequestration for FY14. Considering that budgets across the government are decreasing, the Planetary Sciences Division fared well, receiving a top line budget of $1.345 billion. This is an increase of $127.5 over the FY14 Presidential Budget Request (PBR). Now that FY 2014 funds have been appropriated, NASA can begin work creating an operating plan to spend these FY14 dollars and the fiscal year 2015 (FY15) PBR process will move forward.

I want to thank each of you who responded to our call to action near the end of 2013. Your efforts, combined with those of other planetary science advocates, helped to secure this outcome. There is still work to do in the months ahead, but we are moving in a very positive direction. We will be closely monitoring the implementation of this appropriation, the NASA authorization bill, and the FY15 PBR, and we will be working to influence the process and outcomes wherever possible. If you have any questions, please contact Makenzie Lystrup, FRS Chair, at [email protected].

NASA top line: $17.6465 billion ($68.9 billion decrease from PBR)
Science top line: $5.1512 billion ($133.4 million increase from PBR)
Planetary science top line: $1.345 billion ($127.5 million increase from
R&A: $130.1 million (no change from PBR)
NEO observations: $40.5 million (no change from PBR)
Discovery: $285 million ($27 million increase from PBR)
New Frontiers: $258 million (same as PBR) — includes $218,700,000 for OSIRIS-REx
Outer Planets: $159 million ($80 million increase from PBR) — includes $80 million for Europa mission
Mars Exploration: $288 million — includes $65 million for Mars 2020 rover development
Technology: $146 million ($5M decrease from PBR) — includes requested level for Pu-238

On Europa (this is from the House bill, but is referenced in the Senate bill):
“…$80,000,000 shall be for pre-formulation and/or formulation activities for a mission that meets the science goals outlined for the Jupiter Europa mission in the most recent planetary science decadal survey.)

On the Discovery program:
“NASA shall use the funds provided for the Discovery program to support extended operations for the Messenger program and to increase the tempo by which Announcements of Opportunity (AOs) are released and missions are selected from those AOs. NASA is encouraged to initiate a new Discovery AO no later than May I, 2014 with final phase two selection and award of one or more missions by September, 2015.

On helping teams who proposed missions using ASRGs to previous AOs:
“NASA’s discontinuation of Advanced Stirling Radioisotope Generator (ASRG) flight system development activities may disadvantage individuals or teams whose Planetary Science mission proposals assumed, based on NASA’s previous AOs and development schedule, that ASRG technology would be available to them when needed. NASA shall take steps to mitigate the impact on such proposers and ensure that they have sufficient opportunities to compete for funds in the future with adjusted mission concepts that no longer rely on ASRG technology.”

On the Administration’s proposed education and public outreach restructuring:
“Consistent with longstanding NASA practice, the agreement maintains EPO funding within the Science Mission Directorate (SMD). The current method of distributing EPO funds within SMD, however, may not produce the most efficient allocation of limited resources. For fiscal year 2015 and future years, NASA shall consider consolidating EPO funding within each SMD division and allocating funds to individual activities based on an assessment of division-wide priorities and program effectiveness.”

On Congress’s frustration with NASA’s recent operating plan formulation that is perceived as ignoring the will of Congress; it should be noted that this is an issue that beyond planetary science into other divisions of NASA, but it is of note as it may affect the development of the next operating plan, including within planetary science:
“Reprogramming and transfer authorities exist so that NASA can respond to unexpected, exigent circumstances that may arise during the fiscal year, not so that NASA can pursue its internal priorities at the expense of congressional direction. If NASA persists in abusing its reprogramming and transfer authorities, those authorities will be eliminated in future appropriations acts.”

Makenzie Lystrup



Every year the DPS recognizes exceptional achievement in our field. It is time to consider nominating a respected colleague for one of the annual DPS prizes. Please note the earlier deadline than last year’s.

·         The Gerard P. Kuiper Prize honors outstanding contributions to the field of planetary science.
·         The Harold C. Urey Prize recognizes outstanding achievement in planetary research by a young scientist.
·         The Harold Masursky Award acknowledges outstanding service to planetary science and exploration.
·         The Carl Sagan Medal recognizes and honors outstanding communication by an active planetary scientist to the general public.
·         The Jonathan Eberhart Planetary Sciences Journalism Award recognizes and stimulates distinguished popular writing on planetary sciences.

Detailed descriptions of each of the prizes and the criteria for nominees for each can be found at prizes. The nomination form and instructions can also be retrieved from this website. The completed nomination form and supporting material should be emailed to [email protected].

Anyone may submit a nomination. A completed nomination will be retained and considered by the Prize Subcommittee for three years, or as long as the nominee is eligible, whichever is less. Past nominees may be re-nominated after the expiration of a prior nomination. A posthumous nomination is allowed for a limited time after the nominee’s death, except for the Sagan Medal. For specific details, see the URL noted above.

The deadline for nominations this year is April 1.

Consider for example the Carl Sagan Medal, which recognizes excellence in public communication in planetary science. Do you have a colleague that excels in reaching out to the public, who has a particularly effective way of communicating new findings in our field? We want to recognize those efforts that are so important to the health of our field!

The Masursky Award recognizes meritorious service to planetary science. Do you have a colleague whose efforts made a significant difference in the success of an endeavor you’ve been involved in through engineering, managerial, programmatic or public service activities? Consider nominating that individual!


You are receiving this e-mail because you have subscribed to DPS during the past 2 years.
You should have paid your 2014 membership dues online at by 31 December 2013. Please take the time to renew by logging in to your membership record (today !) and in any case before the membership lists are updated within a month or two from the beginning of 2014.  By renewing online and not receiving a paper renewal, you will help your Society save enormous costs.

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

Thank you for your urgent attention.

Send general replies to [email protected].


Through this Call for Missions, the Director of Science and Robotic Exploration solicits proposals from the broad scientific community for the competitive selection of mission concepts to be candidates for the implementation of the second large mission (L2) of the Cosmic Vision Plan, for a planned launch in 2028. See:


PSD has posted the draft versions of several of the R&A program’s solicitations for ROSES 2014 on the LPI website (where PSD has been previously posting updated information with regards to the reorganization of the PSD R&A portfolio).  The draft solicitations include all 5 new core programs, as well as solicitations for the Dawn Focused Research Analysis Program, the Cassini Data Analysis and Participating Scientist Program, and the Exoplanets Research Program.  Please send any constructive feedback to the Assessment Group (AG) chairs:

For CAPTEM, email Hap McSween  ([email protected])
For LEAG, email Jeff Plescia ([email protected])
For MEPAG, email Serina Diniega ([email protected])
For OPAG, email Candy Hansen ([email protected])
For SBAG, email Nancy Chabot ([email protected])
For VEXAG, email Lori Glaze ([email protected])

Please visit the LPI website to view these draft solicitations:

Jonathan Rall

Initial Landing Site Characterization for the Mars 2020 Rover Mission

The Mars Exploration Program has issued, in January 2014, a Request for Proposal for round IX of the Mars Critical Data Products program.  This RFP provides support for initial landing site surface, atmosphere, and gravity characterization for the Mars 2020 rover mission. The intent is to convert mission data and numerical simulations into products focused on specific landing site targets (to be provided by the program) that will be useful for reducing the risk to the Mars 2020 rover mission. Proposals are due on Wednesday, March 5, 2014.

Details of the RFPs are posted at: or


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]


James L. Green, Director, Planetary Science
NASA Headquarters

The Director of the Mars Exploration Program is responsible for successful implementation of NASA’s Mars Program and all Mars exploration robotic flight program activities in the Science Mission Directorate (SMD), beginning with mission formulation and continuing through design, development, launch, and mission operations and data analysis.

The USAJobs Vacancy number is HQ14S0005. The position opened on Friday, January 17, 2014 and closes on Wednesday, February 19, 2014. For instructions on how to apply and qualification requirements please access the full text vacancy announcement at:

U.S. citizenship is required. All applications must be received no later than midnight Eastern Time on the closing date of the announcement, and NASA is an Equal Opportunity Employer and Provider.

We have a number of exciting planetary mission milestones ahead, especially in the next 18 months. Come help us lead in this new era of discovery.


A workshop on Titan’s Past, Present and Future, 8-10 April, 2014
Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, Laurel, MD, USA

Abstracts, student support applications, and registration
(no cost, but required for limited-size facility) are due by
February 2nd, 2014. Go to:

Ralph D. Lorenz, Johns Hopkins APL
Conor A. Nixon, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Co-chairs, Science Program

First Announcement: The 2014 STScI Spring Symposium
April 28 – May 1, 2014

Abstract submission deadline: February 28, 2014
On-line registration deadline: March 28, 2014

Within a matter of years, humanity will know for the first time the frequency of terrestrial planets in orbit around other stars. This knowledge will pave the way for joining research from astronomy, Earth science, and biology to understand the past, present, and future of the Earth within its larger context as one of many habitable worlds. Such work seeks to understand the formation and fate of the Earth as well as predict where and when different bodies will be suitable for life.

In this four-day symposium, scientists from diverse fields will discuss the formation and long-term evolution of terrestrial bodies throughout the various phases of stellar and Galactic evolution. This symposium will include discussions about sites for Galactic habitability that have not yet been given much attention, such as around post-main sequence stars. The existence of these overlooked environments may provide motivation for novel astronomical observations with existing and next generation ground and space-based observatories.

For more information on the Symposium, please check the website:

June 30 – July 4, 2014
Helsinki, Finland


Asteroids, Comets, Meteors focuses on the research of small Solar
System bodies. Small bodies are the key to understanding the formation
and evolution of the Solar System, carrying signals from pre-solar
times. Understanding the evolution of the Solar System helps unveil
the evolution of extrasolar planetary systems. Societally, small
bodies will be important future resources of minerals. The near-Earth
population of small bodies continues to pose an impact hazard, whether
it be small pieces of falling meteorites or larger asteroids or
cometary nuclei capable of causing global environmental effects.

The conference series entitled “Asteroids, Comets, Meteors”
constitutes the leading international series in the field of small
Solar System bodies. The first three conferences took place in
Uppsala, Sweden in 1983, 1985, and 1989. The conference is now
returning to Nordic countries after a quarter of a century. After the
Uppsala conferences, the conference has taken place in Flagstaff,
Arizona, U.S.A. in 1991, Belgirate, Italy in 1993, Paris, France in
1996, Ithaca, New York, U.S.A. in 1999, in Berlin, Germany in 2002, in
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 2005, in Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.A. in
2008, and in Niigata, Japan in 2012. ACM in Helsinki, Finland in 2014
will be the 12th conference in the series. 

The ACM’2014 Call for Abstracts and Registration is now open at :
(e-mail: [email protected])

Abstracts and registration are due by  : March 31, 2014

Looking forward to seeing you in Helsinki!
Happy New Year 2014!

Karri Muinonen
Chair, ACM’2014 Scientific Organizing Committee,
Department of Physics, University of Helsinki &
Finnish Geodetic Institute

D) EWASS 2014
Opening of registration and abstract submission
30 June to 4 July,
Geneva, Switzerland

Registration and abstract submission is now open for the European Week of
Astronomy and Space Science (EWASS) :

Fees and other information on the registration are given on this web
site :

The deadline for early registration is: April 15, 2014.

Abstract submission for an oral or poster contribution to a given session is
also open with the information given here :
To allow the scientific committees of the sessions to evaluate the abstracts
before the early registration deadline, the abstract submission deadline had to
be set relatively early on: March 15, 2014.

This is also the deadline for EAS grant requests to be submitted here:

Note that grants are preferentially given to young EAS members, students and postdocs, who present a talk.

July 6 (Sun) −July 11 (Fri), 2014
Nara, Japan,

The 2nd joint international conference of ISSOL (The International Society for the Study of the Origin of Life + the International Astrobiology Society) and Bioastronomy (Commission 51 of the International Astronomical Union)

Abstract Submission is now open!

Important dates
October 1, 2013: Registration open
November 20, 2013: Abstraction submission open
January 10, 2014: Hotel & excursion reservation open
January 31, 2014: Deadline for Early registration
February 21, 2014: Deadline for Abstract submission
March 31, 2014: Second circular
June 30, 2014: Deadline for Late registration
July 6-11, 2014: Origins 2014 conference (onsite registration will be available)

Please go to the website (, click the tab “Registration”, and enter the Registration system (

F) AOGS 2014 
28 Jul – 1 Aug 2014,
Royton Hotel, Sapporo, Japan

For further information see:

Submit Abstract/Apply For Reduced Fee (Deadline: 11 February 2014)

Abstract Submission<>

Please consider submitting an abstract to the following sessions:

– PS02 : Icy satellites and rings

This session will be devoted to outer planet satellites, rings and icy dwarf planets. The session will include solicited, contributed, and poster presentations addressing observational, laboratory, and theoretical studies relevant to past, ongoing, and future missions.
Relevant topics include:
(1) interior structure, composition and thermal evolution,
(2) surface geology and composition,
(3) orbital dynamics and satellite interactions,
(4) structure and dynamics of planetary rings,
(5) physical properties of ring particles and small satellites of
outer planet satellites.

Conveners: Jun Kimura (Earth-Life Science Institute, Tokyo Tech, Japan), [email protected]
Frank Postberg (Universitaet Heidelberg, Germany), [email protected]
Frank Sohl (German Aerospace Center (DLR), Germany), [email protected]
Juergen Schmidt (University of Potsdam, Germany), [email protected]
Athena Coustenis (Paris Observatory, France), [email protected]
Mathieu Choukroun (Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, United States),[email protected]
Steven Vance (Jet Propulsion Laboratory, United States), [email protected]

– PS03: Outer solar system satellites with an atmosphere

This session welcomes papers about the outer planets satellites with
atmospheres, with special emphasis on observations (both from space and
from the ground), modelling, and theoretical interpretation, with emphasis
on the moons that are geologically active, show time variable properties,
and have a tenuous or thick gaseous environments or plumes. Thus, Titan
with its thick nitrogen atmosphere is found to have seasonal changes as
monitored by the Cassini spacecraft since 2004. Enceladus radiates more
heat than can be fully explained (as does Io) and expels a plume of water
vapor and other constituents from its southern pole. Europa’s surface
shows signs of relatively recent geological activity and carries a tenuous
oxygen atmosphere. Similarly, Ganymede (and possibly Callisto), has a
small oxygen atmosphere, but also its own magnetosphere, and the internal
activity that is necessary to generate its magnetic field. Neptune’s moon
Triton has a nitrogen-methane atmosphere, much like Titan, but with a
pressure that is more Pluto-like. We would also like to have presentations
on the habitability potential of such environments. In addition, abstracts
on satellite interactions with their neutral environments, supporting
laboratory investigations and concepts for future spacecraft missions and
investigations are also relevant to this session. Other work on icy
satellites can be included in another PS Session.

Conveners : Athena Coustenis (Paris Observatory, France), [email protected]
Sushil Atreya (University of Michigan, United States), [email protected]
Steven Vance (Jet Propulsion Laboratory, United States), [email protected]
Jun Kimura (Earth-Life Science Institute, Tokyo Tech, Japan), [email protected]
Frank Sohl (German Aerospace Center (DLR), Germany), [email protected]

– PS08 : Outer planets and their analogs in exoplanets

Ten years ago the planetary science community was eagerly awaiting the successful Saturn Orbit Insertion (SOI) of the Cassini spacecraft. It is now time to celebrate the excellent scientific returns and great achievements of this international mission to Titan and the Saturnian system. In addition, the New Horizons spacecraft will be at Pluto in July 2015, the JUNO spacecraft is on its way to Jupiter, and new plans are being developed for a Uranus Orbiter with Probe mission in the 2020’s. Across the Atlantic Ocean, the preparation of the JUICE mission is in up-swing for launch in 2025. Following in the footsteps of successful lunar missions of Japan, China and India, planetary scientists in Asia may soon join forces with their European and American colleagues in exploring the outer solar system. Thus it is timely to organize an AOGS session on outer planets to review significant scientific achievements in the areas of planetary and satellite atmospheres, magnetospheres, icy moons and the rings, including especially results on the Saturn system obtained by Cassini-Huygens, prior and anticipated observations of other outer planets and moons, and theoretical modeling of planetary phenomena. Because of tremendous advances made in the study of extrasolar giant planets, we solicit also abstracts on related topics – with a view to promote interdisciplinary dialogs among scientists and astrophysicists, in an international setting, as most appropriately exemplified by the 11th annual meeting of AOGS in Sapparo. 

Conveners : Wing-Huen Ip (National Central University, Taiwan), [email protected]
Sushil Atreya (University of Michigan, United States), [email protected]
Athena Coustenis (Paris Observatory, France), [email protected]
Anil Bhardwaj (VSSC, India), [email protected]
Takehiko Satoh (ISAS/JAXA, Japan), [email protected]
Linda Spilker (NASA/JPL, United States), [email protected]

07 – 12 September 2014
Cascais, Portugal

First Announcement and Call-for-Sessions

The Ninth European Planetary Science Congress will take place at Centro de Congressos do Estoril, Cascais, Portugal, from 07 – 12 September 2014.

We thank you for making the last EPSC meeting in London, United Kingdom, a great success with 960 participants from 39 countries. In order to ensure a high scientific and technical quality of the next congress, we ask you to send any comments or feedback concerning the last meeting to Manuel Grande ([email protected]) or Maria Teresa Capria ([email protected]).

As with the previous highly successful EPSC meetings, EPSC2014 provides an attractive platform to exchange and present results, develop new ideas and to network the planetary science community in Europe. A forum you might say! It will have a distinctively interactive style, with a mix of talks, workshops and posters, intended to provide a stimulating environment for the community to meet. Lisbon is one of the world’s most delightful and historic cities. The conference centre is a state of the art facility near the sea, an easy half hour ride from the historic centre.

The success of EPSC is founded on the excellence of its sessions and conveners. So we encourage you to make session or workshop proposals on the conference website before 29 January 2014:

The meeting will cover the whole scope of planetary science with typically 50 sessions of different types.
We look forward to many proposals for exciting sessions and look forward to seeing you in Lisbon.

Best regards,
Manuel Grande and Maria Teresa Capria
Scientific Organizing Committee Chairs

Mario Ebel
Copernicus Meetings

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

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