Issue 15-53, December 20, 2015
- MESSAGE FROM THE CHAIR: DPS REPRESENTATION AT AAS
- MESSAGE FROM THE FEDERAL RELATIONS SUBCOMMITTEE CHAIR
- RENEW YOUR AAS/DPS MEMBERSHIP TODAY
- SOUTHEASTERN ASSOCIATION FOR RESEARCH IN ASTRONOMY (SARA)
- JWST EARLY RELEASE SCIENCE REQUEST DUE JAN. 15
- NASA DUE DATE EXTENDED FOR COMMENTS ON STANDARD AO
- JOBS, POSITIONS, OPPORTUNITIES
MESSAGE FROM THE CHAIR: DPS REPRESENTATION AT AAS
As you know, the DPS is a subunit of our parent organization, the American
Astronomical Society. The AAS hires the staff that help us run our meetings,
keep track of our finances, and provide legal help as well as lots of useful
services. While I would characterize our relationship with the AAS as very
good today, the same hasn’t always been true historically.
Part of the communication barrier between us and the AAS derives from a
lack of DPS representation on the AAS governing body, the AAS Council.
When I mentioned this to present AAS President Meg Urry, she recommended
that we use the democratic process to win representation by voting in the
traditionally low-turnout AAS elections. Since that time, a DPS member,
Nancy Chanover, was appointed to the DPS Council to serve out the term of a
Councilor who stepped down. But I still want to take Meg up on her
recommendation to win representation democratically.
To that end, several of us signed a petition to nominate DPS Member
Stefanie Milam to stand for election for AAS Council this year. Stefanie
is the Deputy Project Scientist for Planetary Science for JWST at Goddard.
With her diverse research interests including comets, stars, and laboratory
studies, she is well placed to bring planetary interests to the table at the AAS.
The AAS elections open Monday at
Please take the time to vote, even if you normally don’t!
Note that you must be an AAS Member to vote — affiliates are ineligible.
Finally, let me note a point of electoral strategy. The AAS ballot allows up
to three choices for the AAS Councilor positions. In a case where a voter
might prefer a single candidate far and above all others, the most influential
option would be to vote for that single preferred candidate alone, leaving the
other two voting lines blank. Such an approach maximizes the net effect on
the vote totals.
Merry Earth Northern Winter Solstice,
Jason W. Barnes
PS: I am *very* excited about the potential NASA Planetary Budget
being over $1.6B!!!!! See the next post for details.
MESSAGE FROM THE FEDERAL RELATIONS SUBCOMMITTEE CHAIR
As you likely know, on Friday Congress passed an omnibus appropriation bill.
The omnibus, once signed into law by the President, funds the entire federal
government throughout Fiscal Year 2016. Not only does the bill avoid the threats
of government shutdowns and continuing resolutions for the coming year, it is
generally great news for planetary science – and science in general.
The planetary sciences division received a 13.44% increase over FY2015 for a
total of $1.631 billion. This is the highest level of funding for planetary science
in 10 years. The science mission directorate as a whole received a 6.57% increase
to $5.5894 billion. NASA got a 7.08% increase in its overall budget, bringing
it to an overall $19.285 billion.
As we have seen more and more in recent years, there are a number of
Congressional mandates in the bill (carrying the force of law) and in the report
langauge (which does not carry the force of law but expresses guidance and the
intent of Congress), including:
* $448 million for Mars Exploration, with $250M for Mars 2020
* $50 million for NEO observations
* $189.7 million for OSIRIS-REx
* $189 million for Discovery; includes $19 million for Lunar Reconnaisance
Program and funds to enable a 2017 Discovery AO
* Increase to New Frontiers to accelerate the next AO, targeting before
* $261 million for outer planets research, including $175 million for the
Jupiter Europa Clipper
* Mandate that the Clipper “…shall include an orbiter with a lander that will
include competitively selected instruments…with a target launch date of 2022″
and the expectation that the Clipper will be launched on the SLS
* Direction to create an Ocean World Exploration Program with the primary
goal “to discover extant life on another world”
* $197 million for planetary science techonology, with at least $25 million
for icy satellites surface technology and $15 million for plutonium-238
For more specifics go to:
After years of Administration-proposed cuts to planetary science and work in
Congress to build back the budget, we are now seeing the highest level of
funding for planetary science in a number of years. It is cause for celebration
and expressing appreciation to our supporters in Congress. But we as a
community must stay engaged in order to maintain and build on these gains.
If you want more information on the bill, report, etc. or for other questions
or comments on policy matters please contact Makenzie Lystrup at
RENEW YOUR AAS/DPS MEMBERSHIP TODAY
With no dues increase and a “stellar” lineup of benefits, there isn’t a better
time than now to renew your commitment to the AAS/DPS.
AAS emailed members in early September announcing the start of membership
renewal season, and many took notice. Online renewals are arriving at a steady
pace. If you have already paid your dues, thanks for your continued support.
To help reduce costs and the Society’s carbon footprint, we encourage you to
renew online today for fast, easy self-service. Simply log in to pay your dues,
to confirm or update your journal subscriptions and Division memberships,
and to lock in savings for 2017 by renewing for two years at the current rate.
(Note: That last option isn’t available to junior members, who instead get two
years for the price of one — currently $80 —when first joining the Society,
then renew annually thereafter.)
Renew before 31 December to maintain your benefits and receive additional
savings: the AAS will extend a one-time 15% discount off your portion of the
author charges for one paper published in the Astronomical Journal, the
Astrophysical Journal, ApJ Letters, or ApJ Supplement. Eligible members
can double their savings: if you renew by 31 December for two years, you will
receive the 15% author discount on one paper each in 2016 and 2017.
The Society has much planned for 2016 — including the 227th meeting of the
AAS in Kissimmee in January — so you won’t want to miss out on the latest
science, member communications, and career and networking opportunities.
Supporting the AAS is supporting your discipline. Renew today!
If you have any questions about your dues or benefits, or need assistance
when logging in, please contact the membership team by email at
[email protected]or by phone at 202-328-2010. Thank you!
SOUTHEASTERN ASSOCIATION FOR RESEARCH IN ASTRONOMY (SARA)
The SARA Consortium is seeking to engage at least one new institutional
member in 2016. Currently our 13-member consortium operates 1-m-class
telescopes at Kitt Peak National Observatory in Arizona, Cerro Tololo
Interamerican Observatory in Chile, and Roque de los Muchachos Observatory
in the Canary Islands, Spain. All three SARA telescopes support remote access
observing programs and are equipped for imaging at optical wavelengths.
The telescopes in Arizona and Chile are also equipped with moderate resolution
echelle spectrographs. Guaranteed observing time (approximately 60 nights
per year distributed across three telescopes) is proportionately assigned to
SARA member institutions based on an initial capital investment of $100K
and annual operational dues of $15K. Letters of interest received before
March 1, 2016 will be reviewed at the spring 2016 SARA Board meeting and
invitation(s) for full proposal(s) will be extended shortly thereafter. Additional
information about SARA and our facilities can be found at www.saraobservatory.org
Inquiries should be directed to the Chairman of the SARA Board of Directors,
Dr. Terry Oswalt at [email protected].
JWST EARLY RELEASE SCIENCE REQUEST DUE JAN. 15:
The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) is scheduled for launch in
October 2018, and the first call for proposals will be released in 2017.
The Space Telescope Science Institute, following the recommendations
of the JWST Advisory Committee
is now defining the parameters for an Early Release Science (ERS) program.
The primary objective of the ERS program is to provide community access
to a broad suite of JWST science observations as early as possible in Cycle 1.
The observing programs will be chosen by peer review to provide
representative datasets and to address technical challenges related to the
major instrumental modes available on JWST. ERS observations are expected
to seed initial discovery and to inform Cycle 2 proposals, which will be
submitted just months after the start of Cycle 1.
We are gathering community input to inform our preparations for the
program and invite your participation in our brief survey at:
The survey will be open until 15 January 2016 and consists of four pages;
it should take 10-15 minutes to complete. More information on the general
framework and timeline for the ERS program can be found on the ERS
webpage (http://www.stsci.edu/jwst/science/ers). Questions and/or comments
are welcome via email (jwst_ers [at] stsci.edu).
DUE DATE FOR COMMENTS ON THE NASA SMD
STANDARD AO EXTENDED TO JANUARY 15, 2016
The Science Mission Directorate (SMD) has extended the open period for
comments on the Standard Announcement of Opportunity (AO) until
January 15, 2016.
For reference information regarding the current Standard AO Template
and a copy of the previous message inviting comments please see:
Modifications that could result in shortening and/or simplifying Step 1
proposals submitted for two-step flight mission acquisitions and other
suggestions may be submitted via email by January 15, 2016 to Thomas
Wagner at [email protected] and Washito Sasamoto at
JOBS, POSITIONS, OPPORTUNITIES
A) POSTDOC POSITIONS, UNIVERSITY OF HAWAI’1 AT MANOA
The Reaction Dynamics Group, Department of Chemistry, University of
Hawai’i at Manoa, invites applications for four postdoctoral positions.
The appointment period is initially for one year, but can be renewed
annually based on availability of funds and satisfactory progress. The
salary is competitive and commensurate with experience. Successful
applicants should have a strong background in one or more of the following:
experimental reaction dynamics, molecular beams, combustion chemistry,
low temperature condensed phase, UHV technology, pulsed laser systems.
2 Positions: Reaction Dynamics & Combustion Chemistry (Gas Phase).
The prime directive of the experiments is to investigate the formation of
carbonaceous molecules (PAHs) in combustion systems exploiting crossed
molecular beams along with mass spectrometry and ion imaging (Hawaii)
and a pyrolytic micro reactor (Advanced Light Source, Lawrence Berkeley
2 Positions: Planetary Chemistry & Astrobiology (Condensed Phase). The
goal of these experiments is to probe the formation of alkylphosphonic acids
via interaction of ionizing radiation with low temperature interstellar and
cometary analog ices. Reaction products will be probed via tunable vacuum
ultraviolet photoionization of the subliming molecules.
Solid communication skills in English (written, oral), a publication record
in internationally circulated, peer-reviewed journals, and willingness to
work in a team are mandatory. Only self-motivated and energetic candidates
are encouraged to apply. Please send a letter of interest, three letters of
recommendation, CV, and publication list to Prof. Ralf I. Kaiser, Department
of Chemistry, University of Hawai’i at Manoa, Honolulu, HI 96822-2275,
USA [[email protected]]. Applicants must demonstrate their capability to
prepare manuscripts for publications independently. The review of applications
will start December 15, 2015, and continues until the position is filled.
A description of our current research group can be found at http://www.chem.hawaii.edu/Bil301/welcome.html.
Examples of recent publications can be seen at
Int. Rev. Phys. Chem. 34, 461-514 (2015).
Annu. Rev. Physical Chemistry 66, 43-67 (2015).
The Astrophysical Journal 814, 45 (2015).
Chemical Communications 51, 11305-11308 (2015).
Angewandte Chemie – International Edition 54, 5421-5424 (2015).
Angewandte Chemie – International Edition 54, 195-200 (2015).
Angewandte Chemie – International Edition 53, 4608-4613 (2014).
Angewandte Chemie – International Edition 53, 7440-7444 (2014).
The Journal of the American Chemical Society (2014).
Chem. Soc. Rev. 43, 2701-2713 (2014).
B) POSTDOC AT LIEGE UNIVERSITY, BELGIUM
A two-year research contract will start in early 2016 at the Laboratoire
de Physique Atmosphérique et Planétaire (Liège University, Belgium).
We are looking for a postdoc to work on a new project on the Martian
atmosphere in relation with the Mars Express and the upcoming
TGO/EXOMARS ESA’s missions. The candidate should be familiar with
analysis of optical observations related to emission and absorption of
radiation in terrestrial planets’ atmospheres. If you know of researcher(s)
who could be interested by this position, please contact JC Gerard
(at [email protected]).
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