Issue 14-22, September 07, 2014
1) RADIOISOTOPE POWER SYSTEMS PROVISIONING REPORT MADE PUBLIC
2) PLANETARY SCIENCE-RELATED HEARING IN CONGRESS -- WATCH ONLINE OR IN PERSON
3) "AMBASSADORS” OUTREACH WORKSHOP: DEADLINE EXTENDED; SOME TRAVEL SUPPORT AVAILABLE
4) JWST WORKSHOP ON POTENTIAL SCIENCE INVESTIGATIONS AT 46TH ANNUAL DPS MEETING
5) LSST USERS SURVEY
6) JOBS/POSITIONS OPPORTUNITIES
7) UPCOMING MEETINGS
RADIOISOTOPE POWER SYSTEMS PROVISIONING REPORT MADE PUBLIC
From Ralph McNutt: The last RPS Provisioning Study (completed over a decade ago) has finally been made publicly available and is posted at the PSD-RPS website (see
Though events of the last 13 years have changed the environment (e.g., additional security concerns triggered by the 9/11 attacks, economic downturn, etc), this report still gives valuable insight into the issues surrounding RPS power systems. For example, Appendix O provides insight into the evolution of funding arrangements up to that time. The latter has, of course, evolved yet again with the language of the FY14 budget, which transferred responsibility of infrastructure costs to NASA.
DPS members who are interested in RPS power will find this document and the others on the PSD-RPS website (lpi.usra.edu/PSD-RPS) to be helpful context for understanding ongoing discussions.
PLANETARY SCIENCE-RELATED HEARING IN CONGRESS -- WATCH ONLINE OR IN PERSON
The Space Subcommittee of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee will hold a hearing next week on the ASTEROIDS Act, which was introduced in July by Rep. Bill Posey (R- FL) and Derek Kilmer (D-WA). The goal of the legislation is to establish and protect property rights for commercial exploration and exploitation of asteroids. The ASTEROIDS Act would apply only to U.S. companies and seeks to ensure that materials mined from an asteroid by a U.S. company are the property of that company. It would not confer ownership of the asteroid itself. Although the hearing is focused on this specific bill, other planetary science matters should be discussed. Five witnesses have been announced for the hearing:
• Jim Green, Director of NASA's Planetary Science Division;
• Phil Christensen, an Arizona State University (ASU) professor who co-chairs the National Research Council's (NRC's) Committee on Astrobiology and Planetary Science (CAPS) and was a member of the NRC's Decadal Survey for planetary science;
• Jim Bell, another ASU Professor who is President of the grass-roots space advocacy group The Planetary Society; and
• Mark Sykes, CEO and Director of the Tucson, AZ-based Planetary Science Institute
• Joanne Gabrynowicz, who before her retirement headed the National Center for Remote Sensing, Air and Space Law at the University of Mississippi and was editor of the Journal of Space Law; she is currently a member of the NASA Advisory Council's Planetary Protection Subcommittee
The hearing is at 10:00 am ET on September 10, 2014 in 2318 Rayburn House Office Building and can be seen streaming at http://science.house.gov/hearing/subcommittee-space-exploring-our-solar-system-asteroids-act-key-step
"AMBASSADORS” OUTREACH WORKSHOP: DEADLINE EXTENDED; SOME TRAVEL SUPPORT AVAILABLE
Introduction to Outreach for Early Career Planetary Scientists:
A Day-long Hands-on “Astronomy Ambassadors” Workshop
Sunday, 9 November at the JW Marriot Starr Pass, Tucson
Update: We anticipate some travel support will be available for some participants, for example towards the additional hotel night. Accepted participants will be polled for financial need and those selected notified by 16 September.
We invite graduate students, post-docs, and early-career faculty or research scientists to a workshop providing training and resources for effective outreach to K-12 teachers and students, families, and the public. The workshop will take place on the Sunday preceding the annual Division for Planetary Sciences meeting in Tucson. It’s based on based on the popular and successful AAS Astronomy Ambassadors program run at the AAS meetings. Participants will be introduced to discussion and questioning strategies, ways to avoid technical jargon, specific hands-on activities usable in a variety of settings, and ways of finding outreach partners in their own communities. They will also learn about and receive a set of written and electronic resources, including The Universe at Your Fingertips 2.0 (which features 133 classroom tested astronomy activities and much background material) and The MOOSE (“Menu of Outreach Opportunities for Science Education” which covers existing astronomy outreach programs, directories of useful organizations, training and evaluation resources, websites for images and further activities, and guides for scientific presenters.)
Participants will gain some basic communication skills for bringing planetary science to the public, will discover a wealth of existing resources (and thus lose the desire to reinvent the wheel), and will network with other early-career professionals who would like to make outreach an integral part of their professional identities. Some of the discussion will focus on how to establish on-going partnerships with local schools, museums, parks, fairs, and community centers. The workshops will include presenters from the Astronomical Society of the Pacific and the DPS.
The number of participants is limited, and we ask you to apply as early as possible. To apply, we ask you to register for the DPS meeting and complete the application here:http://aas.org/content/dps-46-astronomy-ambassadors-workshop-application . Applications are due by August 27. You will be notified of your acceptance by September 9. We especially want to encourage applications from groups that are under-represented in science and those who are new to outreach. For more information, seehttp://aas.org/meetings/dps46/aasdps-astronomy-ambassadors-workshop.
Nick Schneider, DPS Education & Public Outreach Officer
Suzy Gurton & Andy Fraknoi, Astronomical Society of the Pacific
JWST WORKSHOP ON POTENTIAL SCIENCE INVESTIGATIONS AT 46TH ANNUAL DPS MEETING
When: Sunday, 9 November from 1:00 pm- 4:00 pm
Where: JW Marriott Starr Pass, Tucson, AZ
The Science Working Group of the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) has a dedicated effort to establish the scientific capabilities of this facility for Solar System Science and would like to invite you to participate in a workshop being held at the 46th Annual DPS Meeting in November. In order to fully realize the potential of JWST for Solar System observations, we have recently organized 10 focus groups including: Asteroids, Comets, Giant Planets, Mars, Near Earth Objects, Occultations, Rings, Satellites, Titan, and Trans-Neptunian Objects, to explore various science use cases in more detail. The findings from these groups will help guide the project as it develops and implements planning tools, observing templates, and data pipeline and archive so that they enable a broad range of Solar System Science investigations. This workshop will consist of: 1) Presentations of findings from the focus groups, and 2) Discussion with the broader community to identify gaps in the focus-group science use cases and in envisioned observatory capabilities. These outputs from the workshop will be used to inform ongoing development and pre-launch operational studies. More information on this workshop, including remote participation details, as well as more information regarding Solar System observations with JWST and other observatory capabilities can be found inhttp://www.stsci.edu/jwst/science/solar-system. Community input is essential and we hope you will consider attending this workshop in November.
We also want to encourage the community to consider supporting observations with current facilities, such as Spitzer, to prepare for future observations with JWST. The Spitzer Cycle 11 call is now available (Due October 29) and specifically addresses a priority for Solar System observations and developing the scientific landscape that JWST will explore.
LSST USERS SURVEY
Dear Future LSST User,
As you may know, LSST plans to have a system that will automatically identify various types of "events" appearing in the LSST data stream. These events will include things such as supernovae, moving objects, and many other types, and it is expected that there will be millions of events nightly. Our team at Vanderbilt and Fisk is working to design an external "events alert broker" that will generate real-time notification of LSST events based on user-specified criteria. For example, users will be able to specify that they wish to be notified immediately via text message of urgent events, such as GRB counterparts, or notified only occasionally in digest form of less time-sensitive events, such as eclipsing binaries.
We need to hear from you which features you need in such an alerts broker system to make it most useful to you! Please follow the link below to take a brief survey to let us know what you find most useful, what your wish-list would be for such system, and how you imagine you might interact with such a system, so that this notification service can be as optimal and user friendly as possible.
Gabriella Alvarez and Keivan Stassun
On behalf of the Vanderbilt/Fisk Team
You can send any comments, questions, or suggestions to the DPS Jobs Czar at: firstname.lastname@example.org
A) POST-DOC POSITION AT INAF – OSSERVATORIO ASTROFISICO DI CATANIA, ITALY
A post-doc position is available at the Laboratory for Experimental Astrophysics (INAF - OsservatorioAstrofisico di Catania, Italy) under the supervision of Dr Giuseppe Baratta.
The position is funded by the Italian Space Agency within the project “Photochemistry on the Space Station” and is open to researchers of any nationality.
The awarded fellow will be involved in the analysis of organic refractory residues obtained in the Laboratory for Experimental Astrophysics after ion irradiation of simple mixtures of icy molecules containing C, N, and O. These residues contain triple CN bonds that are considered relevant to pre-biotic chemistry. These samples are already on board the International Space Station (ISS) and will be exposed to solar radiation starting from mid-October for about one year.
In particular the awarded fellow will be in charge of:
-Laboratory experiments that, using an UV lamp, are aimed at simulate the solar irradiation of the samples;
-Analysis of the samples, by infrared spectroscopy, after the exposure to space and comparison with samples exposed in the laboratory or not exposed;
-Analysis of the results and preparation of manuscripts to be submitted to peer reviewed journals;
-Dissemination of the results by participating to scientific meetings and/or to outreach events.
The following knowledge, skills and experience will be considered as preferential qualifications:
-Experience with complex laboratory apparatuses with particular emphasis to ion bombardment, electron or UV irradiation;
-Knowledge of spectroscopic techniques, particularly IR;
-Familiarity with the physical-chemical properties of solid materials in space;
-Team working and communications skills.
The selection is based on the CV and qualifications of the candidates and could be possibly integrated by an interview (in case of an interview it can be done via teleconference).
The position is for 1 year but it is expected to be extended for 1 additional year after a positive evaluation of the scientific activity performed during the first year.
The call (in Italian and in English) is available at http://www.oact.inaf.it/weboac/concorsi_it.html#contratti%20a%20tempo%20determinato
The deadline for application is 15 October 2014 at 13.00 (CET).
Applications (in Italian or in English) must be sent by registered mail with acknowledgment of receipt and the deadline refers to the time when the envelope arrives at the Observatory in Catania. According to the Italian laws the application procedure for Italian citizens, EU citizens and non-EU citizens is slightly different.
Please read the call carefully and do not hesitate to contact for any question:
B) ESA POSTDOCTORAL FELLOWSHIPS IN SPACE SCIENCE
The European Space Agency awards several postdoctoral fellowships each
year. The aim of these fellowships is to provide young scientists,
holding a PhD or the equivalent degree, with the means of performing
space science research in fields related to the ESA Science and
Robotic Exploration Programmes. Areas of research include planetary
science, astronomy and astrophysics, solar and solar-terrestrial
science, plasma physics and fundamental physics. The fellowships have
a duration of two years and are tenable at the European Space Research
and Technology Centre (ESTEC) in Noordwijk, Netherlands, or at the
European Space Astronomy Centre (ESAC) in Villafranca del Castillo,
near Madrid, Spain.
Applications are now solicited for fellowships in space science to
begin in the fall of 2015. Preference will be given to applications
submitted by candidates within five years of receiving their PhD.
Candidates not holding a PhD yet are encouraged to apply, but they
must provide evidence of receiving their degree before starting the
The deadline for applications is 1 October 2014.
For more information see:
Questions, contact: Dr. Oliver Jennrich or Dr. Matteo Guianazzi,
A) FIRST JUPITER-SATURN INTERIORS WORKSHOP:
Sunday, Dec. 14th (Just prior to AGU)
This is the first announcement for the Jupiter-Saturn workshop. It is open to the Juno and Cassini science teams, with a limited participation from the broader community working on the interiors and the environments of the two giant planets. Invited and contributed talks will address Jupiter and Saturn interior structure from gravity and magnetic field measurements, chemical composition, radiation belts and outer environments, atmospheric circulation, gravity-induced ring dynamics. The topics are relevant to science in both Cassini's end-of-mission orbits and Juno's mission. This workshop will give the opportunity to learn about the current understanding of the formation processes, interior structure and dynamics of Jupiter and Saturn, and the attainable results at the completion of the Juno and Cassini missions.
B) ASTEROID IMPACT DEFLECTION ASSESSMENT (AIDA) WORKSHOP
15-17 October 2014 in Laurel, Maryland
REGISTRATION IS NOW OPEN, NEW ABSTRACT DEADLINE
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.
The registration is now open. Please visit: http://www.oca.eu/michel/AIDAWorkshop2014/AIDAWorkshop2014_Register/AIDAWorkshop2014_Register.html
The deadline for registration is October 8th.
Abstracts are also solicited for participants to the workshop. The final deadline for abstract submission is 15 September 2014 (23:59 EST). 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.
Please visit: http://www.oca.eu/michel/AIDAWorkshop2014/ for further details, including schedule, abstract format, registration, local information.
C) THE ASTROBIOLOGY SCIENCE CONFERENCE 2015
Hilton Chicago, Illinois,
June 15–19, 2015.
AbSciCon2015 is the next in a series of conferences organized by the
astrobiology community. The conference will convene scientists from all
over the world who work in the interdisciplinary field of astrobiology
— the study of the origin, evolution, distribution, and future of life
in the universe — to report on research findings and plan future
endeavors. The theme for AbSciCon2015 is "Habitability, Habitable
Worlds, and Life."
Astrobiology is an inherently interdisciplinary endeavor. Given the
wide variety of disciplinary tools and topics to be presented at the
conference, the success of AbSciCon2015 will be built upon the
community's involvement in the organization of topical sessions.
Community members are urged to be proactive in proposing sessions,
merging similar session topics, and organizing abstracts into selected
The Call for Session Topics and Organizers is open.
The deadline to submit Session Topics is October 22, 2014. Contact
email@example.com for more information.
Send submissions to:
Athena Coustenis, DPS Secretary (firstname.lastname@example.org)