Newsletter 14-26

Issue 14-26, October 20, 2014



Prof. Gerhard Neukum, our planetary scientist colleague, passed away on 21 September 2014. He was one of the most prominent planetary researchers in Germany and one of the world’s recognised experts in the field. He made a name for himself in his chosen field with the work he conducted on the chronology of Solar System bodies.

He was born in 1944 in the Sudetenland, he got his Ph.D. in physics on lunar craters at the University of Heidelberg, and his HDR in geophysics and planetary sciences at the University Louis and Maximilian in Munich in 1983, where he was appointed extraordinary professor in 1989. Since 1997, he occupied the position of professor of geosciences at the Free University of Berlin. He also headed the Institute of Planetology DLR between 1993 and 2002.

He was instrumental in the birth of ESA’s Mars Express Mission devoted to the in-depth study of the surface of Mars since late 2003, for which he instigated the development of the high-resolution stereo camera (HRSC) leading the team of scientists that analyzes the results of this experiment. G. Neukum was also part of the imaging team of the joint ESA-NASA Cassini- Huygens mission who is exploring the Saturnian system since 2004.  He was furthermore involved in the ESA Rosetta mission which is expected to land on the comet Churyumov – Gerasimenko in November 2014, and in NASA’s Dawn mission to study the asteroid Vesta and the dwarf planet Ceres.


Gerry Neugebauer, an astrophysicist who pioneered ways to peer into previously invisible sectors of outer space, helping to discover hundreds of thousands of planets, stars and galaxies, died on Sept. 26 in Arizona. Dr. Neugebauer was a former chairman of the division of physics, mathematics and astronomy at the California Institute of Technology and director of the Palomar Observatory there.

Gerhart Otto Neugebauer was born in Gottingen, Germany, on Sept. 3, 1932. He then changed his first name to Gerry. He graduated from Cornell with a degree in physics and earned a Ph.D. in physics from Caltech. From 1960 to 1963, Dr. Neugebauer served in the Army, which assigned him to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory where he designed the infrared equipment for the Mariner 2 mission to Venus in 1962, and then was hired at Caltech’s physics faculty.

Early on he worked with Robert B. Leighton of Caltech, who in the early 1960s developed a telescope that Dr. Neugebauer used to sweep the sky from the Mount Wilson Observatory. His persistence was rewarded when he found an object the size of the solar system. It turned out to be a newborn star, a discovery that shed light on how stars are formed. He and his colleagues went on to locate the exact center of the Milky Way.

He was considered a father of the field of infrared radiation, along with Frank J. Low of the University of Arizona. Dr. Neugebauer’s biggest achievement was in detecting and interpreting infrared radiation emanating from outer space. A major advance came in 1983, when he was the scientific director of the Infrared Astronomical Satellite, or IRAS, sponsored by NASA, Britain and the Netherlands, when he helped develop instruments sensitive enough to detect a 20-watt light bulb on Pluto or a speck of dust from a mile away. His team pinpointed more than a half-million sources of infrared radiation in the sky, many of them galaxies. It found rings of debris and dust around stars that were an early clue that planets exist beyond Earth’s solar system.

Dr. Neugebauer was a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Philosophical Society and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He received the Space Science Award of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, and the Herschel Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society in Britain, of which he was a member.

[Condensed and edited extract from the NY Times –]


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]


The Maunakea Spectroscopic Explorer (MSE) Project Office is actively
recruiting two key positions, the Project Manager (PM) and Project
Scientist (PS). Details for these positions can be found at the CFHT’s

These positions offer an exciting opportunity to provide scientific
and engineering leadership roles in the development of this proposed
replacement for CFHT. The MSE project involves upgrading the CFHT 3.6
meter general-use facility with a new telescope of 10 meter aperture,
new enclosure, and incorporating dedicated leading-edge technology and
highly-multiplexed spectrometers. A summary of the project can be
found here :

The PM will manage the MSE Project Office to achieve its objectives,
initially including the generation of a comprehensive Construction
Proposal in collaboration with other members of the Project Office
team. The PS will be responsible for leading the scientific
development of the MSE in collaboration with team
members. Responsibilities include the development of a detailed
science case, science requirements and operational concept for the


The Smithsonian Institution is now accepting applications for graduate students, pre-doctoral, and post-doctoral fellowships in earth and planetary sciences. 
The award for graduate students is $7,000 for ten weeks (usually summer appointments).
The annual award for pre-doctoral fellows is $32,700 annually with a research allowance of $4,000. 
The annual awards for post-doctoral fellows is $53,000 per year with a research allowance of $4,000.
Deadlines are December 1, 2014. 

Geologic research is conducted at both the Center for Earth and Planetary Studies located in the National Air and Space Museum and the Department of Mineral Sciences located at the National Museum of Natural History. The fellowship application is submitted online and can be found at:

Other links interested people should investigate before applying include:

Center for Earth and Planetary Studies

Department of Mineral Sciences


The NASA Postdoctoral Program (NPP) provides opportunities for
scientists and engineers to conduct research largely of their own
choosing, yet compatible with the research opportunities posted on
the NPP Web site.

Selected by a competitive peer-review process, NPP Fellows complete
one- to three-year Fellowship appointments that advance NASA’s
missions in earth science, heliophysics, planetary science,
astrophysics, space bioscience, aeronautics and engineering, human
exploration and space operations, and astrobiology.

A sample research opportunities is:

Applicants must have a Ph.D. or equivalent degree in hand before
beginning the fellowship, but may apply while completing the degree
requirements. U. S. citizens, Lawful Permanent Residents, and
foreign nationals eligible for J-1 status as a Research Scholar
may apply.

Stipends start at $53,500 per year, with supplements for high cost-
of-living areas and for certain academic specialties. Financial
assistance is available for relocation and health insurance, and
$8,000 per year is provided for professional travel.

Applications are accepted three times each year: March 1, July 1,
and November 1.

The latest NPP Newsletter:

For further information and to apply, visit:

Questions: [email protected]


University Academic Fellow in Chemistry of Planetary Atmospheres
School of Chemistry, Faculty of Mathematics and Physical Sciences
University of Leeds, UK

This University Academic Fellowship (UAF) is a tenure track equivalent
post for future academic leaders which provides an excellent
opportunity to establish an academic career at a research intensive
University and play a key role in our ambitious plans for the future.
You will embark on a structured five year development programme,
successful completion of which will lead to your appointment as a
grade 9 Associate Professor. The School of Chemistry has an
international reputation in observing, modelling and performing
laboratory experiments to understand the Earth’s atmosphere. We are
seeking to expand our research and teaching expertise in chemical
studies related to the atmospheres of other solar-system bodies and
the atmospheres of extra-solar planets. Our current work in this area
includes a laboratory and modelling study of Titan’s organic photo-
chemistry and the impacts of cosmic dust in the upper atmospheres of
several planets.

Closing Date: Sunday 16 November 2014

Required: PhD, or the equivalent degree from a foreign university, in 
Geosciences, Planetary Sciences, Astronomy, Physics or related field. 
Applicant must have successfully defended their dissertation prior to 
the start date. Course work or research experience in remote sensing 
and/or geospatial analyses and planetary geology. 

Preferred: Research experience related to geology of Mars. Experience 
in processing and analyzing infrared spectral datasets from spacecraft. 
Experience with scientific programming in IDL, Python, Matlab, C+-based 
language, or similar. Effective writing and verbal communication 
skills. Demonstrated outstanding research ability, with an emphasis on 
critical thinking skills and high productivity. 

Duties: Conduct research in Planetary Science, with emphasis on 
quantitative studies of Martian surface and crustal materials through 
analysis of spacecraft data. 

Responsible for: Process, analyze and interpret visible and infrared 
images from Mars. Summarize findings in conference presentations and 
publications. Process, analyze and interpret supporting data sets and 
models such as elevation, geologic maps, and general circulation 
models. Read and synthesize information from relevant scientific 
literature to inform geologic interpretations of planetary data. 

This position is full-time.  Application deadline is 29 October 2014.

Application Procedure: For a complete description and instructions on 
“how to apply”, please visit: 

and select the reference # WC-R-9213-14-09-S. 

The University of Toronto Centre for Planetary Sciences (CPS) is a centre for the study of all planets. The CPS expects to offer several postdoctoral fellowships of up to three years. The starting date will be September 1, 2015. Salaries and funds for travel/research expenses will be competitive. A Ph.D. in any field of earth and planetary sciences or astrophysics is required. Fellows are expected to carry out original research in observational or theoretical planetary/exoplanet science under the general supervision of the CPS-affiliated 
faculty at U of T.

Electronic submissions only. Applicants are asked to submit a curriculum vitae, statement of research interests (3 pages) and arrange for three letters of recommendation (note that two different websites are used for the application and for the submission of reference letters). 

The University of Toronto is strongly committed to diversity within its community and especially welcomes applications from visible minority group members, women, Aboriginal persons, persons with disabilities, members of sexual minority groups, and others who may contribute to the further diversification of ideas.

CPS Information Website:

CPS Fellows Application Website:

The deadline for applications and all letters of recommendation is December 1, 2014.

The Department of Earth Sciences at VU University Amsterdam, is offering a four-year PhD studentship focused on providing new constraints on the structure and evolution of the crust of the Moon. 
The studentship is funded by an NWO User Support Programme Space Research grant. You will collaborate with researchers at ESA’s ESTEC (European Space Research and Technology Centre) in Noordwijk (Netherlands) and at the IPGP (Institut de Physique du Globe) in 
Paris. Candidates need to have completed a MSc degree in the field of planetary science, physics, geophysics, geology, or similar relevant field. Starting date is negotiable, preferably no later than January 2015. There is no constraint on citizenship; all applications are welcomed.

More information can be found at:

Interested candidates are encouraged to contact Dr. Prof. dr. Wim van Westrenen and Dr. Jessica Flahaut for additional information 
([email protected][email protected]). 

To apply, email Mrs. Fenny Bosse ([email protected]) with the subject “Vacancy #14320”. Please provide a cover letter, CV, and the names and contact information of at least three references. 

Deadline for applications is October 30, 2014.

Course: “Planetary Protection: Policies and Practices”
Dates: February 24-26, 2015
Location: Kennedy Space Center, Florida

We cordially invite all interested parties to participate in the
upcoming course on Planetary Protection Policies and Practices, which
is designed to familiarize current and future practitioners with
NASA, ESA, and COSPAR planetary protection programs. The course
provides an overview of applicable policies, practices and procedures
necessary to implement a successful planetary protection program,
emphasizing integration of managerial, administrative, and laboratory
activities. It is supported by the NASA Planetary Protection Officer.

Enrollment: 14 participants
Application: contact [email protected]

Amy Baker (owner)
Technical Administrative Services


The Lunar and Planetary Institute invites undergraduates with at least 50 semester hours of credit to experience cutting-edge research in the lunar and planetary sciences. As a Summer Intern, you will work one-on-one with a scientist at the LPI or at the NASA Johnson Space Center on a research project of current interest in lunar and planetary science. Furthermore, you will participate in peer-reviewed research, learn from top-notch planetary scientists, and preview various careers in science.

Deadline for application : January 9, 2015


The Conference on Spacecraft Reconnaissance of Asteroid and Comet Interiors (AstroRecon) will be held January 8–10, 2015, at Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona. The conference begins the day after the conclusion of the 12th Meeting of the NASA Small Bodies Assessment Group, which will be held January 6–7, 2015, in Phoenix.

We have entered an era of detailed spacecraft reconnaissance of asteroids and comets. This exploration is motivated by a growing curiosity about our closest celestial neighbors, the hazards these bodies present, our desire to understand how planets form, and our vision for a human future in space. The goal of AstroRecon is to identify and evaluate the best technologies for spacecraft robotic reconnaissance of comets, asteroids, and small moons — paving the way for advanced science missions, exploration, sample return, in situ resource utilization, hazard mitigation, and human visitation.

The first announcement for the Conference on Spacecraft Reconnaissance of Asteroid and Comet Interiors 2015 is now available. Information about the call for abstracts is included in this announcement.

Abstract Deadline:  November 6, 2014

The Venus Instrument and Laboratory Measurements Workshop will be conducted January 27–28, 2015, at the National Institute for Aerospace near the NASA Langley Research in Hampton, Virginia.  

The objectives of this two day workshop are to (1) present, discuss, and document the status of the instrument technologies and the definition of new instruments; and (2) present, discuss, and document the status and needs of laboratory experiments in support of fundamental science as well as mission preparation. The objectives will be worked as guided by the recently released VEXAG Goals and Objectives, Pathways, and Technology Plan documents. The workshop presentations and discussions will form the basis of peer-reviewed papers or other documents that capture the relevant technologies and their readiness. These documents will be made available to the broader science and technology communities to enable them to attack the necessary problems. Participation by science, technology, and mission communities will be sought and encouraged for this workshop.

The latest announcement with call for abstracts is available on the conference website:

Houston, TX, USA
February 4-6, 2015

Dear Colleagues,
The third edition of the “Workshop on Early Solar System Bombardment” is scheduled for February 4-6, 2015.  The scope of the workshop encompasses both the giant impact hypothesis and the lunar cataclysm hypothesis.  Example topics relevant to lunar origin include cosmochemical and geophysical constraints on lunar formation; giant impact simulations; the chemical, thermal, and/or dynamical evolution of the proto-lunar disk; and the accretion and early evolution of the Moon.  Example topics relevant to the lunar cratering record include an assessment of the geologic record of impact cratering throughout the solar system, cosmochemical constraints on any early bombardment, dynamical models that might explain the flux of debris and potential changes in the flux of debris; and consequences for the Hadean Earth.   The goal is to investigate the range of collisional events from the late stages of terrestrial planet accretion to the end of the basin-forming epoch on the Moon. Although the Moon will be a central component of the workshop, the discussion will include observations elsewhere, such as the Earth, Mercury, Mars, the asteroid belt, and outer solar system moons. 

The abstract deadline is November 18, 2014. 

Details are available at

We hope you will consider attending. 
Best regards,
David Kring

We are pleased to announce a conference on “WISE at 5: Legacy and Prospects” to be held February 10-12, 2015, at the Beckman Institute Auditorium of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.

The conference will celebrate what has been done with WISE, what is being done with NEOWISE, and what will be done in the future.

NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) was launched into orbit 5 years ago, and surveyed the entire mid-infrared sky in 2010. The satellite resumed surveying as NEOWISE in December 2013, and by the time of the conference will be on its fifth pass over the sky. Over 1,000 refereed papers based on the data have now been published, with results ranging from the discovery of the first Earth Trojan asteroid, to challenging the standard paradigm for quasar unification.

For further information, see the conference website:

March 2-5, 2015
Santiago, Chile


Registration has now open for the ESO/ESA/ALMA/NRAO-NAASC workshop on: “Ground and Space Observatories: A Joint Venture to Planetary Science”

The goal of this workshop is to explore synergies between ground and
space-based observatories with planetary missions for exploring the
Solar System and planets, and to foster collaborations between the
different communities by sharing scientific and technical knowledge,
needs, requirements, and techniques.

The meeting will be held at the ESO office in Santiago, and will be
limited to around 100 participants. The registration fee is 250 euros,
which will cover coffee breaks, lunches at ESO, and a winery tour and
conference dinner on Wednesday, March 4. For students, the registration
fee is 150 euros. We have financial support for a limited number of

Abstract submission deadline: November 24, 2014.

We hope to see you in Santiago!

The Astrobiology Science Conference 2015 (AbSciCon2015) will be held at the Hilton Chicago in downtown Chicago, Illinois, on 
June 15–19, 2015.

The Science Organizing Committee is soliciting community input for Session Topics and Session Organizers.

Astrobiology is an inherently interdisciplinary endeavor. Given the wide variety of disciplinary tools and topics to be presented at the conference, the success of AbSciCon 2015 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 sessions.

The Call for Session Topics and Organizers is now open. The deadline to submit Session Topics is October 22, 2014.

Prague, Czech Republic
June 22-July 2, 2015

The 26th General Assembly of the International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics (IUGG) will be held in Prague, Czech Republic, from the 22nd of June to the 2nd of July 2015, at the Prague Congress Center.

On line registration is now open and until June 15, 2015 (early deadline is April 10, 2015). Abstract submission deadline is January 31, 2015.

Please consider submitting an abstract to the IAMAS/ICPAE-related symposia, as follows:

– M08 Comparative Planetary Atmospheres within and beyond the Solar System
Convener: Feng Tian (Beijing, China)
Co-conveners: Sanjay Limaye (Madison, USA), Leigh Fletcher (Oxford, U.K.), Darrell Strobel (Baltimore, USA), Athena Coustenis (Paris, France)

Topics include all aspects and characteristics of atmospheres from terrestrial worlds to giant planets; the evolutionary paths of various atmospheres, especially exoplanets thought to be habitable. Planetary origins both in our solar system and in exoplanetary systems will also be featured. Contributions should focus on the comparative aspect of these research topics, and broader relevance to atmospheric sciences.

– M09 Solar System Exploration of Atmospheres with Ground-Based and Space-Based Platforms
Convener: Sanjay Limaye (Madison, USA)
Co-conveners: Ralf Greve (Tokyo, Japan), Leigh Fletcher (Oxford, U.K.), Darrell Strobel (Baltimore, USA)

Topics include recent contributions from missions and space-based observatories including, but not limited to, atmospheric composition and chemistry; density and thermal structure; dynamics and energetics; clouds, aerosols and haze. Themes include climate and seasonal variations, surface atmosphere interactions, “hydrological” cycles, atmospheric escape and evolution.

Observatoire de Haute Provence, France
5-9 Octobre, 2015

First announcement :

After twenty years of investigations, hundreds of giant exoplanets have now been identified with several of them deeply characterized, from both ground- and space-based observations. Radial velocity and photometric surveys have considerably changed our vision of gaseous planets, and the emerging capabilities of direct imaging, astrometry and spectroscopy of atmospheres provide precious new parameter space. Fundamental properties of giant exoplanets are now measured with increasing precision, offering unprecedented constraints on formation and evolution scenarios. Moreover, numerous observational constraints have lead to considerable improvements on the modeling of their internal structure, dynamics, and interactions.

The Colloquium “OHP-2015’’ will be hosted to review all observed characteristics of giant gaseous exoplanets, from 51 Peg b up to distant giants including Jupiter-like exoplanets, and theoretical works that relate to the measured properties. We propose to discuss the key questions regarding giant planets and how to solve them in the coming years, exploring the synergies between current and new facilities, and confronting the predictions of theories.

Main topics of this colloquium include:
– Transiting giant exoplanets
– Jupiter-like planets from long-term radial velocity surveys
– Directly imaged planets
– Atmosphere characterization
– Internal structure modeling
– Dynamics of systems, link from observations to theory
– Formation and migration scenarios
– Star-planet interactions in transiting systems: tides, irradiation

The Observatoire de Haute Provence is located in southern France, near the village of Saint Michel l’Observatoire. It is the discovery place of 51 Peg b in 1995 with the ELODIE spectrograph. The 193-cm telescope is now equipped with SOPHIE, which carries a large contribution to the exoplanet studies. Up to 80 participants are expected. 
Accommodation will be provided inside and close to the Observatory for the duration of the Colloquium. Students and post-docs are encouraged to participate and contribute their work, and can apply to a travel grant.

Important deadlines:
September 2014: first announcement
1st January – 1st May 2015: registration
1st January – 1st July 2015: abstract submission
5– 9 October 2015: Colloquium
15 January 2016:  publication of proceedings

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

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