Newsletter 18-19

Issue 18-19, May 14, 2018










The DPS is pleased to announce its 2018 prize winners.


Gerard P. Kuiper Prize – Julio Ángel Fernández Alves


The DPS awards the 2018 Gerard P. Kuiper Prize for outstanding contributions

to the field of planetary science to Julio Ángel Fernández Alves (Facultad

de Ciencias, Universidad de la República, Montevideo, Uruguay) for his

research focusing on the origin of the solar system and the physical and

dynamical evolution of comets.   Prof. Fernández’s 1980 paper “On the 

Existence of a Comet Belt Beyond Neptune” inspired the search for and

discovery of the Kuiper belt. In the same year he published another seminal

paper showing that Oort cloud comets should come from the Neptune-Uranus

region, having been scattered by those planets’ perturbations; this population

of scattered disk objects has also been found. His third seminal contribution

introduced the fundamental concept behind the present formation models

involving massive migrations of the planets in the early solar system. In

addition to his scientific contributions, Dr. Fernández has been tireless in

inspiring and promoting the interaction and integration of South American

planetary scientists with colleagues around the world.


Harold C. Urey Prize – Francesca E. DeMeo


The DPS awards the 2018 Harold C. Urey Prize for outstanding achievement

in planetary research by a young scientist to Francesca DeMeo (MIT). We

award this in recognition of the broad foundational understanding of the study

of solar system bodies using the modern system of asteroid classification that

bears her name. With reflectance spectra of thousands of asteroids she used

the Bus-DeMeo taxonomy as a tool leading to our modern understanding of

the geologic structure of the asteroid belt. The compositional complexity revealed

by her analysis provides independent, observational evidence fully supporting

dynamical models demonstrating greater mixing of bodies in the early solar

system than previous observations indicated.


Carl Sagan Medal – Bonnie J. Buratti


The DPS awards the 2018 Carl Sagan Medal for excellence in public

communication to Bonnie J. Buratti (Jet Propulsion Laboratory)

for her effective education and public outreach with a measured

and demonstrably, high impact. She is noted for conducting teachers’

workshops, delivering popular public talks, and written work appearing

in encyclopedias, blog posts, and a recently published, popular book,

“Worlds Fantastic, Worlds Familiar.” She brings personal anecdotes

combined with clear explanations of science, accompanied by stunning

images that bring our science to the public for their enlightenment and

enjoyment. Buratti also advocates for others to engage with the public

and initiated the DPS program called “Trick or Treat and Telescopes,”

a program the division hopes will grow.


Harold Masursky Award – Faith Vilas


The DPS awards the 2018 Harold Masursky Award for meritorious service

to planetary science to Faith Vilas (National Science Foundation). During a

time of national duress following the chaos of the 9/11 attack, she insured

the integrity of the Discovery program selection process. As the first Chair

of the NASA Small Bodies Assessment Group, she established its operational

practices and made it the viable entity that continues today. As Chair of the

DPS, Vilas played a key role in establishing the Carl Sagan Medal, which

was the first major statement in support of the importance of communicating

our science with the public. She has mentored and inspired young people who

have become well-known figures in our profession, and others who have taken

an appreciation of our science into other careers. She has served on numerous

Academy and NASA panels. Her service to the field and to society has been



Jonathan Eberhart Planetary Sciences Journalism Award – Alexandra Witze


The DPS presents the 2018 Jonathan Eberhart Planetary Sciences Journalism 

Award for distinguished popular writing to Alexandra Witze for her article 

“Next Stop, Mars” in the January 19, 2017, issue of Nature. After setting the 

high stakes involved in bringing back samples from Mars, Witze describes 

how NASA plans to tackle the daunting task of keeping the samples pristine. 

Witze takes readers on a wonderful journey through the Jet Propulsion Lab, 

where the Mars 2020 rover is being built, and introduces some of the people 

leading the immense project. She beautifully conveys the extreme levels of 

cleanliness essential to detecting life on another planet and the rigorous planning 

that goes on behind the scenes. Witze ends the article by describing the rationale 

behind selecting the landing site for the Mars 2020 rover and looks ahead at 

potential missions that would carry the precious samples back to Earth. 





Dear colleagues,


We would like to bring to your attention to the following sessions related

to Outer Planet Systems taking place at the upcoming EPSC meeting in Berlin.

Please consider submitting an abstract.


Abstract deadline is May 16th.



Outer planets systems and Pluto

Conveners: Athena Coustenis, Glenn Orton , Sushil K. Atreya ,

Leigh Fletcher , Nicolas Altobelli         



Cassini’s Legacy: One Year Later

Conveners: Scott Edgington, Sushil K. Atreya , Athena Coustenis ,

Norbert Krupp , Linda Spilker         



Ocean worlds and Icy Moons

Conveners: Alex Hayes, Jean-Pierre Lebreton , Olivier Witasse ,

Athena Coustenis , Elizabeth Turtle , Federico Tosi         



Juno at Jupiter and Supporting Earth-Based Observations

Conveners: Scott Bolton,  Alberto Adriani , Jack Connerney ,

Tristan Guillot , Alessandro Mura 



Send submissions to: 

Anne Verbiscer, DPS Secretary ([email protected]


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