Newsletter 17-08

Issue 17-08, February 19, 2017










1. Next OPAG meeting is Feb 22-23 in the grand ballroom of the Georgian 

Terrace Hotel in Atlanta.  See final agenda at  

Highlights include updates on Juno, Cassini, and Europa Clipper, 

Europa Lander SDT report and community discussion, report from the 

Roadmaps to Ocean Worlds study, and presentations on seven New Frontiers 

mission concepts to outer planets and ocean worlds.  



OPAG Workshop 2017 

Wednesday, February 22, 2017  | 7:00 am Eastern Standard Time 

(GMT-05:00)  | 12 hours 50 minutes  | 

Recurrence: Every day, from Wednesday, February 22, 2017, to 

Thursday, February 23, 2017


Meeting Link:

Meeting number: 998 698 611

Meeting password: W@lc0m31


Audio connection:
Conference Number: 1-888-324-7108
Participant Code: 3118411​


Please use the link below to test your connection prior to the meeting.


2. Summer OPAG meeting:  Please join us September 6–7, 2017 in 

La Jolla, California, at the Samuel H. Scripps Auditorium 

(, next to the 

largest ocean in the inner solar system. Additional details will be 

posted on the OPAG website ( as 

they become available.


-Alfred McEwen and the OPAG steering committee





The SDT report for the pre-Phase A study of a Europa lander 

mission concept has been released and is available at


Community members are encouraged to read the report and attend a 

town hall event on Sunday, March 19, from 12:30 to 5:00 p.m. LPSC. 

The town hall is intended to provide an extended opportunity to 

communicate the science content of the report to the scientific community 

and, equally importantly, to engage in constructive discussion with the 

scientific community. A second town hall will take place on the afternoon 

of Sunday, April 23, at AbSciCon. 


For questions please contact Dr. Curt Niebur at [email protected].





The 2017B NASA Keck call for proposals is available with proposals

due March 16, 2017


Highlights for 2017B (see guidelines for complete details):

1.  Keck Observatory Archive (KOA) Check: In an effort to use the NASA 

time on the Keck telescopes as efficiently as possible, starting in 2017B we 

will ask proposers to verify to the TAC that their science goals cannot be met 

through public observations already in the KOA.  To accompish this, the PI 

must enter text into a box on the submission page explaining why the data in 

KOA are not sufficient to meet their science goals.  Please see 

this section in the call guidelines for more information and instructions.


1.  Time Domain Astronomy:  Observers now have the ability to propose both

cadence/Time Domain Astronomy (TDA) and Target of Opportunity (ToO) 

programs following the policies outlined here (TDA policies) and 

here (ToO policies).  For Semester 2017A, four Keck partners (UC, Caltech, 

UH, and NASA) have agreed that TAC-approved ToO/TDA projects may 

interrupt observers at any of the four institutions.  Each TAC can award up 

to a combined total of six ToO/TDA observations which interrupt any of the 

other institutions.  PIs may ask for their time to be uninterruptable, i.e. as 

exempt from ToO or TDA interrupts.  Programs scheduled as half nights or 

smaller will not be interrupted.  It is anticipated that interruption-free time 

will be rarely granted.

2.  Information on strategic grading of NASA Keck proposals.

3.  Letter for Mission Support proposals must be requested from NASA HQ 

by March 1, two weeks before the submission deadline. 

4.  Check the WMKO instrument page for the current list of available instruments.


NASA intends the use of the Keck telescopes to be highly strategic in support 

of on-going space missions and/or high priority, long-term science goals.

Proposals are sought in the following discipline areas: (1) investigations in support 

of EXOPLANET EXPLORATION science goals and missions; (2) investigations 

of our own SOLAR SYSTEM; (3) investigations in support of COSMIC ORIGINS 

science goals and missions; and (4) investigations in support of PHYSICS OF THE 

COSMOS science goals and missions.  Direct mission support proposals in any of 

these scientific areas are also encouraged.

The proposal process is managed by the NASA Exoplanet Science Institute 

(NExScI) at Caltech.


Complete proposal call information:

Questions: [email protected]







Dear Colleagues, 


We announce that registration is open for Astrobiology 2017. 

This conference will take place in beautiful Chilean Patagonia at

Coyhaique (November 26th-December 1st, 2017). 


The astrobiology community in the IAU has the tradition to hold

a series of scientific meetings every three years.  For a truly multidisciplinary

discussion, we welcome researchers at the frontier of science from the

fields of astronomy, planetary and space science, chemistry, biology,

geology, philosophy, sociology and ethical issues, among others.  



* Early Registration deadline: May 19th 

* Oral contribution submission deadline: July 28th 

* Regular registration deadline: Oct 13th 

* Poster contribution deadline: Oct 13th 

* Late registration deadline: Nov 17th 

* Conference starts: Nov 26th  



* Star and planet formation 

* Extrasolar planets / Habitable zones and habitable planets 

* Planets in the solar system / Comets and meteorites 

* Prebiotic molecules in the ISM and protoplanetary disks 

* Early Earth environments and the emergence of life 

* Life in extreme conditions and early life 

* Search for life in the Universe 

* Societal and ethical issues linked to astrobiology 

* Education in Astrobiology  


INVITED SPEAKERS    Over 20 superb invited speakers have already

confirmed.  The updated list can be found at:  


TRAINING SCHOOL    We are also preparing a two day training

school with lectures on basics of Astrobiology open to all participants. 

This school will precede the conference and take place on Santiago

during Friday 24th and Saturday 25th. There is no extra cost for

participants of the conference but space is limited.  Interested

participants of the TS should reserve a seat during registration.  


STUDENT SUPPORT     We expect to be able to provide a reduced

number of travel funds for students. Instructions to apply for it will be

provided on the webpage during coming March.




Dear Colleague

The 1st IUGG Symposium on Planetary Sciences (IUGG-PS 2017), 

​i​nterdisciplinary observation and understanding of the Solar System 

will be held in Berlin, Germany, July 3-5, 2017. More information 

can be found​ at

Best Regards
On behalf of Organizing Committees





Abstract submission (and registration) for the 2017 LAD meeting, held 

with the 230th AAS meeting (June 4-8th, 2017, in Austin TX) are now 

open!  Please go to for all the details.


The LAD meeting will begin in the afternoon of Monday June 5th and end 

with a morning session on Thursday June 8th, with morning and afternoon 

sessions Tuesday and Wednesday.  There will also be a LAD plenary talk 

on Tuesday morning by Dr. Bonnie Buratti of JPL on results from the 

ROSETTA mission, with a focus on the importance of laboratory measurements 

to our understanding.  Session topics & confirmed invited speakers include:


Dust & Ices – with invited speaker Dr. Christine Joblin (IRAP)

Plasmas – with invited speaker Dr. R. Paul Drake (UMich) on upcoming 

major challenges and opportunities in plasma physics studies in the lab

Molecular Physics – with invited speaker Dr. Catherine Walsh (Leeds), 

speaking on chemical complexity in protoplanetary disks in the era of 

ALMA and Rosetta

Planetary Physics – with invited speaker Dr. Michael A’Hearn (UMd), 

speaking on studies of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko

Atomic Physics – with invited speaker Dr. Stuart Loch (Auburn) speaking 

on methods for generating error estimates for theoretical calcuations

Nuclear/Particle Physics – with invited speakers Dr. Annika Peter (OSU) 

talking about Dark Matter searches and detection techniques


Substantial room has been left in the schedule for contributed talks (and posters), 

so please plan to attend and present your latest results at what will be a top 

meeting for Laboratory Studies in 2017!

Also, if you are interested in laboratory studies applicable to either 

Astrophysics or Planetary Science, please consider joining the LAD division:




Radisson Blu Hotel Latvija
17–22 September 2017, Riga, Latvia

Abstract deadline: 3 May 2017, 13:00 CEST.

Dear colleagues,

We invite the world-wide community of planetary scientists to submit 

an abstract for presentation of their recent work at the EPSC 2017 Meeting, 

which will take place at Radisson Blu Hotel Latvija, Riga, Latvia, 

17–22 September 2017.

The previous meeting joint meeting with DPS in Pasadena, CA, United 

States, was hugely successful and enjoyable.

The EPSC2017 will revert to the traditional EPSC structure, with sessions 

for industry and amateurs and this year’s outreach theme will be enlarging 

our community. We expect a very well attended meeting, with many high 

quality presentations.

The meeting will consist of oral and poster sessions, as well as

workshop-style sessions. 

The current list of sessions is organized around the following topics:

TP Terrestrial Planets
LSE Lunar Science and Exploration
OPS Outer Planet Systems
MG Magnetospheres and Space Physics
MT Missions, Techniques and Industry
EX Exoplanets and Origins
AB Astrobiology
SB Small Bodies 
LF Laboratory and Field Investigations
OEP Outreach, Education, and Policy
AM Amateur Astronomy

The scientific programme and abstract submission are accessible at:
Please browse the list of sessions and identify the session that most closely 

matches your area of interest; your abstract can be submitted directly to that session.  

Information on registration and social events will become available soon 

on the meeting web site.

Please forward this message to colleagues who may be interested. 

We look forward to seeing you in Riga.

With best wishes,
Manuel Grande and Maria Teresa Capria
on behalf of the Scientific Organizing Committee

Mario Ebel
on behalf of Copernicus Meetings




Join us at the upcoming AAS Topical Conference Series (AASTCS) meeting 

Radio Exploration of Planetary Habitability, to be held in Palm Springs, 

California, 7-12 May 2017.


The idea of this meeting has grown out of the need to better understand 

star-planet interaction and its impact on habitability of planetary companions, 

especially those in close orbits around low-mass stars. The meeting will 

address a wide range of the related topics, broadly divided into the following 

three categories: 

  • Stellar activity and planetary habitability
  • Detection of planets and planetary magnetic fields
  • Relevant theoretical considerations 

Emphasis will be placed on a potential impact of radio astronomy, especially 

the existing and planned large radio telescopes, in this area of research.


Registration is open and abstracts are being accepted: Early registration

and abstract submission deadline: 8 March. 


Hotel reservations in the meeting room block are now open, as well. 

Reserve your room by 5 April to ensure the group rate.


More information will be added to the meeting website as it 

becomes available. 


Hope to see you in Palm Springs!




The basic structures and compositions of our solar system were set 

during its First Billion Years — a time of planetary accretion and 

differentiation, intense impact bombardment, and the beginnings of 

habitable environments. To encourage transdisciplinary study of this 

formative era, the Lunar and Planetary Institute is excited to announce 

a new initiative:  The First Billion Years


The initiative’s core will be a coordinated series of topical conferences, 

2017–2019, emphasizing fundamental processes during The First Billion Years:  

Accretion, Differentiation, Bombardment, and the Rise of Habitability. 

These conferences will include input from all relevant disciplines, 

provide venues for cross-fertilization of ideas across disciplinary boundaries, 

and facilitate major advances in our understanding of that seminal time. 

Beyond the conferences, we anticipate spinoffs of special sessions at other 

meetings, focused special publications, and topical workshops. 


Become a key contributor and help shape the course of important 

discussions surrounding The First Billion Years by participating in 

the four topical conferences!


Accretion:  Building New Worlds
Conference Date:  August 22–25, 2017
Location:  LPI, Houston, Texas

Differentiation:  Building the Internal Architecture of Planets
Conference Date:  April 23–27, 2018 
Location:  San Gabriel Valley, California


Bombardment:  Shaping Planetary Surfaces and Their Environments
Conference Date:  September 30–October 3, 2018
Location:  Barringer Crater, Winslow, Arizona


Habitability in the Early Solar System
Conference Date:  October 7–11, 2019
Location:  Yellowstone National Park 





     Department of Materials Science and Engineering

     University of Virginia

     Charlottesville, Virginia


The Department of Materials Science and Engineering at the University 

of Virginia is seeking outstanding candidates for a Research Scientist. 

This position is term-limited. Primary responsibilities include participating 

with the Cassini team members to develop rarefied gas dynamics models 

to provide planning, data analyses and data interpretation of measurements 

to be made by the Cassini spacecraft of Saturn’s Atmosphere during its 

proximal orbits. This will include disseminating the scientific results at 

national conferences and in peer reviewed scientific journals. Secondary 

duties include writing scientific proposals to NASA and NSF to obtain 

funding to further research in the area of planetary evolution.


Skills in the following areas are essential: Knowledge of Direct Simulation 

Monte Carlo modelling for rarefied gas dynamics, Monte Carlo modeling 

of ballistic exospheres on planetary bodies, familiarity with the data from 

the INMS and CAPS instruments on Cassini, good oral and written 

communication skills, as well as attention to detail and good record keeping.


A Ph.D. in Engineering Physics or a related field with at least two years 

post-doctoral experience is preferred.


To apply, visit and search job posting number 0620345. 

Complete an online candidate profile and attach a cover letter, detailed 

curriculum vitae, and contact information for three references.


The University of Virginia is an equal opportunity / affirmative action 

employer committed to developing diversity in faculty at all levels and 

welcomes applications from women, minorities, veterans, and persons 

with disabilities.




Applications are invited for a postdoctoral position at Lowell

Observatory to work on the physical characterization of near-Earth

objects. This position will be supervised by Dr. Nicholas Moskovitz.

The position is to be split with 80% of the time dedicated to the main

program and 20% for any other research of the postdoctoral associate’s

choosing. The start date is negotiable, but the preference would be for

late Summer or early Fall 2017.


The postdoctoral associate will work in collaboration with

Dr. Moskovitz and other project team members on an ongoing physical

characterization survey of near-Earth objects. This survey is working

to build a comprehensive dataset of astrometry, rotational light

curves, and spectra for hundreds of newly discovered NEOs. In addition

to assisting with target management and conducting regular (1-2 nights

per month) observing runs, the postdoctoral associate will be expected

to take a leading role in the survey’s spectroscopic observations,

reductions, and analysis.



Send submissions to:

Anne Verbiscer, DPS Secretary ([email protected]


To unsubscribe visit or email [email protected].

To change your address email [email protected]