Issue 15-27, July 16, 2015
- MESSAGE FROM THE CHAIR: ANOTHER VICTORY FOR PLANETARY EXPLORATION
- REMINDER: PLEASE VOTE IN THE 2015 DPS ELECTION
- IN MEMORIAM: CLAUDIA J. ALEXANDER (1959-2015)
- GRAVITY AND WORKING GROUPS FOR EUROPA SCIENCE TEAM
- SPITZER CYCLE 12 CALL FOR PROPOSALS
- JOBS/POSITIONS OPPORTUNITIES
- UPCOMING MEETINGS & WORKSHOPS
MESSAGE FROM THE CHAIR: ANOTHER VICTORY FOR
On July 14, 2015, exactly 50 years after Mariner IV’s exploration of Mars, the New Horizons spacecraft
flew by dwarf planet Pluto, sending back detailed images of an active and unique world, the first Kuiper
Belt Object closely observed in its native habitat. This historic event completes the first reconnaissance
of the Solar System and our initial view of the “Third Zone” of icy bodies beyond Neptune. The DPS
sends its congratulations to the entire New Horizons Team.
I have never seen the level of interest in science from the public exhibited by this flyby, illustrating again
how much support we have. Please seize this moment by talking about this event, and by giving public
talks on the mission and on planetary sciences in general. The White House has also set up a web site to
send your congratulations to the New Horizons Team, which includes many DPS members:
Bonnie J. Buratti
REMINDER: PLEASE VOTE IN THE 2015 DPS ELECTION
DEADLINE FAST APPROACHING: ONLY TWO MORE WEEKS!
The 2015 election for DPS Vice-Chair and Committee is now open, and will close on July 31st 2015.
Please remember to vote!
Go to http://aas.org/vote/
You will need your AAS member login ID (which defaults to your membership number), and your
password. If you haven’t registered or renewed your DPS membership recently, you are getting this
e-mail because we are using large recent DPS lists, but you may actually not be an active member
anymore… So, please check your status now and renew if you haven’t done so already at
(http://members.aas.org). This will allow you to vote and benefit from all membership advantages.
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 Lucy McFadden, Goddard Space Flight Center
o Ralph McNutt, Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory
The elected Vice-Chair will take his/her functions in November 2015
and will become the DPS Chair in October 2016.
You should also vote for two of the five candidates for DPS Committee:
o Adrienne Dove, Univ. Central Florida
o Gianrico Filacchione, Institute for Astrophysics and Planetary Science from Space
o Paul Hayne, Jet Propulsion Laboratory
o Carly Howett, Southwest Research Institute
o Joe Spitale, Planetary Science Institute
The successful candidates will serve on the Committee for three years after November 2015.
The detailed vitae and position statements for each of the candidates is linked from the main election page,
If you find you’re having difficulties voting, it may be that your registration with DPS has expired.
Please go to the Member Pages (http://members.aas.org) and click the Member Profile link to review
your information. Or ask [email protected]for assistance.
It is very important for all of us to participate to these elections, so please take a moment to vote!
IN MEMORIAM: CLAUDIA J. ALEXANDER (1959-2015)
Claudia J. Alexander (1959–2015), Ph.D. was a research scientist specializing in geophysics
and planetary science. She has worked for the United States Geological Survey and the
National Aeronautics and Space Administration. As member of the technical staff at the Jet
Propulsion Laboratory, she was the last project manager of NASA’s Galileo mission to Jupiter
and until the time of her passing had served as project scientist of NASA’s role in the European
led Rosetta mission to study comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Claudia was the 17th African
American woman to get a PhD in physics or astronomy (http://www.aawip.com/physics-astro-only-list.html)
and the winner was several awards, including the Emerald Honor for Women of Color in
Research & Engineering by Career Communications Group, Inc.at the National Women of Color
Research Sciences and Technology Conference. She was also very active in education and outreach,
and a mentor to several younger scientists. Our condolences go out to her family, co-workers and friends
at this time.
GRAVITY AND RADIATION WORKING GROUPS FOR THE EUROPA SCIENCE TEAM
NASA recently selected the science payload for the Europa Multiple Flyby mission and approved
the mission to begin formulation. As part of the formulation effort, NASA seeks to form science
working groups to provide guidance on using engineering subsystems and/or elements of the
selected science instrumentation to conduct additional high priority science.
To that end, NASA is seeking individuals to serve on two working groups for gravity science
and radiation science. The gravity and radiation groups will work with the project and the Europa
science team to determine how engineering subsystems (specifically, the communications subsystem
and the radiation monitoring subsystem), the selected instruments, and the overall mission architecture
can be utilized under their existing and evolving designs to conduct investigations on the interior
structure of Europa and the radiation environment present at the moon, respectively. Interested persons
should send a curriculum vitae and a cover letter to Dr. Curt Niebur, the Europa Program Scientist
([email protected]) by July 27, 2015.
These two groups will join the Europa science team for the remainder of Phase A (approximately one
year). Travel expenses to participate will be provided by NASA up to an appropriate level and consistent
with regulation and policy. Near the end of Phase A, these working groups will be disbanded and NASA
will competitively select permanent science team members in these areas. Members of the working
groups will be eligible to compete for these permanent positions.
Gravity Science Working Group Charter
The Gravity Science Working Group (GSWG) will define and recommend to the science team science
investigations related to understanding the response of the satellite to gravity, specifically, but not
limited to, understanding the tidal distortion of Europa, its internal structure, precession, and moments
of inertia. Carefully delineated measurement and mission requirements supporting these investigations
will be defined by the GSWG, discussed with the full Europa science team and the project, and integrated
with the mission’s science. The GSWG will consider the capabilities of the selected science instruments,
the communications subsystem, the tour, and other mission elements to evaluate, in a detailed manner,
their ability (or inability) to meet the measurement and mission requirements necessary to support the
defined gravity science investigation(s). The GSWG will consult with the Europa project office and the
Europa science team to consider adjustments to mission elements that will enable the mission to meet
the requirements for gravity science investigation(s), as needed. NASA appointees to the GSWG will
serve as members of the Europa mission science team for the duration of their appointment only.
Radiation Working Group Charter
NASA appointees to the Radiation Science Working Group (RSWG) will define and recommend to
the science team science investigations related to understanding the Europa radiation environment.
Some members of the RSWG will join the existing Radiation Advisory Board created by the Europa
project. As members of the RSWG, appointees will seek to define the science measurement capabilities
provided by, and the broad science investigations enabled by, the mission’s Radiation Monitoring
Subsystem (RMS). The primary purpose of the RMS remains to monitor and preserve the health and
safety of the spacecraft and the mission; the potential science enabled by the RMS will not be a driver
for the subsystem design. In addition to serving on the RSWG, NASA appointees will also serve as
members of the Europa mission science team for the duration of their appointment only.
Point of Contact
Dr. Curt Niebur
Program Scientist Europa Clipper Formulation
Science Mission Directorate
300 E Street, SW
Washington, DC 20546
Tel (202) 358-0390
E-mail: [email protected]
SPITZER CYCLE 12 CALL FOR PROPOSALS
Dear Planetary Community,
On behalf of NASA and the Spitzer Space Telescope Project, the
Spitzer Science Center (SSC) at Caltech is pleased to announce
the release of the Cycle-12 Call for Proposals (CP). Both the NASA
Astrophysics and the Planetary Science Divisions are providing
support for Spitzer operations. The Cycle-12 CP solicits ~1,000 hours
of General Observer (GO) and Snapshot proposals. Innovative investigations
with scientific high risk/gain are particularly encouraged. The Director plans
to select up to 250 hours of high risk/gain programs.
The maximum proposal size for Cycle-12 is 100 hours and
Cycle-12 programs will execute in the December 2015 – September 2016 timeframe.
Priority in the selection of Cycle-12 will be given to programs that highlight
— Astro2010 science themes
— Planetary science programs observing targets in our Solar System.
• — Investigations that concentrate on developing the scientific landscape that JWST will explore,
or will help maximize the JWST scientific return.
All programmatic and technical information for Cycle-12 is available electronically from
the Proposal Kit section of the Spitzer Science Center website at
Joint HST or Chandra observations can be proposed as part of a
Spitzer Cycle-12 proposal.
Proposal Deadline: 11 September 2015, 4:00 PM PDT
All proposals must be submitted electronically using Spot, the
SSC proposal planning and submission software. Spot is available
from the SSC proposal kit website and a new version is expected
to be available in late July. The required Cycle-12 proposal templates
are available now at theProposal Kit website. The proposal submission
system will open by August 1.
Any questions should be addressed to the Spitzer Helpdesk at
Spitzer Science User Support
A) PLANETARY SCIENTIST AT ESTEC
Applicants should have a PhD or equivalent degree in the field of planetary geosciences
with a strong background in geology, geophysics and geochemistry. They should have substantial
experience in processing and interpreting planetary mission data from a range of instruments such
as visible and multi-spectral imagers, radars, etc. but also from the instruments typically found in
landed missions. A research background in areas such as comparative planetary evolution, terrestrial
or planetary sedimentology and volcanology, surface/atmospheric interactions and astrobiology would
be an advantage. Expertise in instrument development, operations and calibration would be an asset.
Deadline 21 July 2015
B) POSTDOCTORAL RESEARCH ASSOCIATE AT UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN ANN ARBOR
Opening exists for a postdoctoral position in planetary science at the University of Michigan.
Highly qualified senior scientists may be considered also. The research focus will be on atmospheric
processes and the origin and evolution of planetary volatiles. The work involves preparation for,
analysis and interpretation of the data from the microwave radiometer (MWR) investigation on the
Juno Jupiter Polar Orbiter and the ongoing sample analysis at Mars (SAM) investigation on the
Curiosity Rover, Mars Science Laboratory (MSL). Many of the required software tools and numerical
codes are in place, and others can be developed as needed. Frequent interactions with the MWR, SAM
and the larger Juno and MSL science teams are an integral part of the job.
The position will be initially for one year, with a good possibility of extension for one or more years,
subject to satisfactory performance and availability of funds. Salary and benefits are competitive.
Send application with current CV, names of three references and proposed starting date to Sushil
Atreya at [email protected]. All documents should be combined into a single pdf with your name.
UPCOMING MEETINGS & WORKSHOPS
A) AGU SESSION P020 – PLANETARY ATMOSPHERES
AND THEIR EVOLUTION
To understand the nature, the spatial and temporal variabilities, the
governing physical processes, and the evolution of planetary
atmospheres in and outside our solar system are important contents of
planetary sciences and strong driving force of planet exploration/
observations. While the long-term evolution of the Earth is
constrained by geological and geochemical data, the evolution of other
planetary bodies must be reconstructed from planetary mission data and
astronomical observations. The discoveries of exoplanets greatly
expand the interests of the scientific community on planetary
atmospheres and provide a new opportunity for interdisciplinary
collaborations between geoscientists, astronomers, and planetary
scientists. The session welcomes both observational and theoretical
studies relevant to current physical states of planetary atmospheres
(including the Earth) and their evolution.
Deadline to submit an abstract: 5 August 2015, 11:59 P.M. EDT
To submit abstracts to this session, visit:
Feng Tian, Tsinghua University
David Brain, University of Colorado at Boulder
Michael H. Wong, University of California at Berkeley
B) AGU SESSION P003 – DIRECT IMAGING OF HABITABLE EXOPLANETS:
PROGRESS AND FUTURE
This session consists in a discussion on the potential of new and future facilities and
modeling efforts designed to detect, image and characterize habitable exoplanets, studying
their formation, evolution and also the existence of possible biospheres. Topics to be
covered in this session include signs of exoplanet habitability and global biosignatures
that can be sought with upcoming instrumentation; instrument requirements and
technologies to detect these markers; strategies for target selection and prioritization;
and impacts of planetary system properties, ground-based and space telescope architectures,
and impacts of instrument capabilities on the yield of potentially inhabited exoplanets.
Deadline to submit an abstract: 5 August 2015, 11:59 P.M. EDT To submit abstracts to
this session, visit:
Conveners: Franck Marchis, SETI Institute Mountain View, Mountain View, CA, United States
Ramses M Ramirez, Cornell University, Astronomy, Ithaca, NY, United States
David Black, SETI Institute Mountain View, Mountain View, CA, United States
C) AGU SESSION P029 – SOLAR SYSTEM SMALL BODIES:
RELICS OF FORMATION AND NEW WORLDS TO EXPLORE
The composition and physical properties of Small Solar System Bodies (SSSBs), remnants of the
formation of planets, are key to better understand our solar system. Increased knowledge of their
surface properties and their potential as resources are also necessary to prepare for robotic and
human exploration. Hints about the internal structure and composition of SSSBs have been acquired
recently thanks to flyby/rendezvous data from space missions, study of complex multiple asteroid
systems, or close encounter between asteroids. This session welcomes abstracts on the remarkable
results bringing information on the internal structure and composition of SSSBs based on space and
ground-based data, numerical models, AS WELL AS instrument/mission concepts in the prospect
of future exploration. Deadline to submit an abstract: 5 August 2015, 11:59 P.M. EDT To submit
abstracts to this session, visit:
Franck Marchis, SETI Institute Mountain View, Mountain View, CA, United States
Padma A Yanamandra-Fisher, Space Science Institute Rancho Cucamonga, Rancho Cucamonga, CA,
Julie C Castillo, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA, United States
Send submissions to:
Anne Verbiscer, DPS Secretary ([email protected])
To change your address email [email protected].
Anne J. Verbiscer
Research Associate Professor
Department of Astronomy
University of Virginia
Charlottesville, Virginia 22904-4325