Issue 18-22, June 16, 2018
- IN MEMORIAM: MICHAEL J. S. BELTON (1934-2018)
- SOFIA CYCLE 7 CALL FOR PROPOSALS RELEASED
- SOFTWARE SYSTEMS FOR ASTRONOMY 5 – UPDATE
- NASA POSTDOCTORAL FELLOWSHIP APPLICATION DEADLINE JULY 1, 2018
- REMINDER – REGISTER FOR CASSINI SCIENCE SYMPOSIUM AND HOTELS
- JOBS, POSITIONS, OPPORTUNITIES
IN MEMORIAM: MICHAEL J. S. BELTON (1934-2018)
Michael J.S. Belton was the President of Belton Space Exploration Initiatives, LLC,
and an Emeritus Astronomer at the National Optical Astronomy Observatory (NOAO).
Born in Bognor Regis, England, he received his Bachelor’s degree at the University of
St. Andrews in Scotland, and earned his Ph.D. at the University of California, Berkeley.
He joined Kitt Peak National Observatory (the precursor to NOAO) in 1964 and carried
out research on nearly all objects that fell under “planetary science.”
Belton was a member of the Mariner 10 team that flew a space probe by Mercury and
Venus. As a member of the Mariner Jupiter/Uranus Science Advisory Committee he
helped define what became the Voyager missions to the outer solar system. He was the
Leader of the Galileo Mission Imaging Science Team. Galileo studied the Earth’s Moon,
made the first close-up observations of an asteroid, Gaspra, and discovered the first moon
of an asteroid, Dactyl, as it passed the asteroid Ida on its way to Jupiter. Before arriving,
the team observed the impact of the fragments of comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 into the
Jupiter atmosphere and later studied the aftermath in detail. At Jupiter, Belton and his
team delved into the nature of the Galilean satellites, the population of small satellites,
the Jovian ring system, and the planet’s atmosphere.
He was particularly interested in the origin and evolution of planetary systems, the
physics of planetary atmospheres, high-resolution ground-based spectroscopy, and
had a special affinity for comets. He studied them from ground-based and space-based
telescopes and missions. His contributions were focused on understanding the
mechanisms of cometary outbursts, determination of rotational states, exploring the
interiors of cometary nuclei, how cometary activity can be used to probe the nucleus,
and the size-distribution of comets. He was Deputy Principal Investigator of the Deep
Impact mission to P/Tempel 1, a Co-investigator on the EPOXI mission to P/Hartley 2,
and a Co-Investigator on the Stardust NExT mission that returned to P/Tempel 1.
Belton was also a leader of the planetary science community, most notably chairing
the first National Research Council Decadal Survey of Solar System Exploration.
For his contributions to the exploration of the solar system, in 1991 an asteroid was
designated 3498 Belton by the International Astronomical Union and in 1995 the
Division for Planetary Sciences of the American Astronomical Society awarded him
the Gerard P. Kuiper Prize.
In 2000, he founded Belton Space Exploration Initiatives, LLC.
Among the young astronomers who worked with him on his many projects Mike Belton
was a mentor who unselfishly encouraged their professional growth. He was an engaging,
interested and positive colleague. He was an out-of-the box thinker and visionary in the
truest sense. He is deeply missed.
Predeceased by his wife, Helyn, Mike Belton leaves behind his daughter, Lise Myra Belton
(John Prader), his son, Scott Alexander Belton, and 3 grandchildren: Emily Prader, John
Prader and Elizabeth Rose Prader. For the past 20 years he has been married to Anna Don
whose family has embraced him as their father. This family includes Drs. Michael (Sandy)
Don, Norman (Tricia) Don and Damon (Kacy) Don. The Don grandchildren he leaves are
Lindsay, Kristin, Colin, Abby, Tony and Ben.
A memorial will be held 10:30 AM Saturday, June 30, 2018, at the University of Arizona,
Kuiper Space Sciences Building, Room 308. Remembrances are welcome and may be sent
SOFIA CYCLE 7 CALL FOR PROPOSALS RELEASED
The SOFIA project has released two calls for proposals (CfP) for observing
time in the Cycle 7 period.
The regular call solicits proposals of any size and combination of instruments.
A total of 400 hours of observing time and approximately $4 million of funding
is available to support these programs. There is a separate call for those affiliated
with German institutions administered by the German SOFIA Institute (Deutsches
SOFIA Institut; DSI) on behalf of the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches
Zentrum für Luft und Raumfahrt; DLR) that will offer an additional approximately
70 hours of observing time.
A complementary call for proposals for “SOFIA Legacy Programs” (SLP) has also
been released, soliciting large coherent programs aimed at high-impact science that
also have a significant promise of valuable archival data sets. Programs up to 100
hours of observing time are solicited in this category. In addition to observing time,
these programs are invited to deliver higher level data products (including supporting
data, software and theory). Nominally, two SLP programs are expected to be selected
per cycle, with observations carried out over two cycles, and a third year included for
completion of the higher-level data processing and analysis. Up to $1 million per
cycle is available for support of the SLPs.
The main parts of the Cycle 7 calendar are:
CfP release: June 1, 2018
CfP update: July 16, 2018
Proposal Deadline: September 7, 2018 (9 p.m. PDT)
Selections announced: November 2018
Cycle 7: April 27, 2019 – April 27, 2020
The Call for Proposals documents can be found at
Any questions about the Cycle 7 Calls for Proposals can be directed to
SOFTWARE SYSTEMS FOR ASTRONOMY 5 – UPDATE
SSfA at UH Hawaii – 4 seats available – This year we so far have 18 students and
therefore plan two sessions for Software Systems for Astronomy 5 on the Big Island
of Hawaii. This leaves 4 seats still available.
SSfA covers software design and implementation of telescope and instrument
control systems, observation planning tools, and software for analyzing and
archiving astronomical data. SSfA-5 will be offered as a two week intensive
course, 23-Jul to 03-Aug, 2018.
Please find special instructions for off-island participants here:
More information about Software Systems for Astronomy 5 is here:
More detail about the course is given in the UHH catalog (the course number is 385):
If you have questions, send email to [email protected]
NASA POSTDOCTORAL FELLOWSHIP APPLICATION DEADLINE JULY 1, 2018
The NASA Postdoctoral Program offers US and international scientists
the opportunity to advance their research while contributing to NASA’s
scientific goals. The NPP supports fundamental science; explores the
undiscovered; promotes intellectual growth; and encourages scientific
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.
Current NPP research opportunities in planetary science can be viewed
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.
UPDATED! Stipends now start at $60,000 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 $10,000 per year is provided for professional travel.
Applications are accepted three times each year: March 1, July 1, and
For further information and to apply, visit:
Questions: [email protected]
REMINDER – REGISTER FOR CASSINI SCIENCE SYMPOSIUM AND HOTELS
Dear speakers, poster presenters and chairpersons,
As you are scheduled to be at the Cassini Project’s final Cassini Science Symposium,
August 12-17 at the University of Colorado in Boulder, we’d like to remind you to
register and get your hotel room if you haven’t done so already.
- 29 June: Early registration deadline – $300 (Students $150)
- 30 June: Late registration begins – $400
- 3 August: Cancellation deadline (last day for refunds)
Please go to the website to register, sign up for events, and get hotel information:
Hotel courtesy rates were offered while space is available, and the Millennium and
Boulderado may already be booked up. See the hotel pages for more information.
The website includes the revised program, logistics and presentation guidelines.
If you are giving an oral talk, you may email your presentation by July 31 to avoid
coming in early to load it and to help avoid any last minute issues—see guidelines
for details. Posters may be up all week.
The symposium includes a reception Sunday evening before the sessions, a public
talk Tuesday evening, and a banquet on Wednesday for those who are interested.
Invited and contributed talks will include the latest Cassini findings on the Saturn
system, including the interpretation and synthesis of results. Sessions will cover
the following disciplines: Rings, Icy Satellites, Titan, Magnetospheres and Saturn.
This Symposium can serve as a springboard for future studies and space missions.
We hope to see you there.
Larry W. Esposito
Chair, Symposium Organizing Committee
JOBS, POSITIONS, OPPORTUNITIES
A) ESA RESEARCH FELLOWSHIP IN PLANETARY SCIENCE
The European Space Agency awards several postdoctoral fellowships each year.
The aim of these fellowships is to provide scientists in their early career,
holding a PhD or the equivalent degree, with the means of performing research
in fields related to the ESA Science Programme.
Areas of research include planetary science, astronomy and
astrophysics, solar and solar-terrestrial science, plasma physics and
fundamental physics. The fellowships have a duration of two years, with the
possible extension to three years, and are tenable at the
European Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC) in Noordwijk, Netherlands,
or at the European Space Astronomy Centre (ESAC) in Villafranca del Castillo,
near Madrid, Spain.
Applications are now solicited for fellowships in space science to begin in
the fall of 2019. Preference will be given to applications submitted by
candidates in an early stage of their career. Candidates not holding
a PhD yet are encouraged to apply, but they must provide evidence of
receiving their degree before starting the fellowship.
ESA fellows are enrolled in ESA’s Social Security Scheme, which covers
medical expenses. A monthly deduction covers these short-term and long-term risks.
The deadline for applications is 1 October 2018.
More information on the ESA Research Fellowship programme in Space Science,
on the conditions and eligibility, as well as the application form can retrieved from
Questions on the scientific aspects of the
ESA Fellowship in Space Science not answered in the above pages can be sent
by e-mail to the fellowship coordinators, Dr. Oliver Jennrich or Dr. Bruno
Altieri at the address[email protected]
Send submissions to:
Anne Verbiscer, DPS Secretary ([email protected])
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