Issue 20-09, March 1, 2020
- MESSAGE FROM THE CHAIR: NOMINATE YOUR COLLEAGUES FOR PRIZES … AND REMINDER ABOUT UPDATED DPS PRIZE DESCRIPTIONS
- 2020 NASA PLANETARY SCIENCE SUMMER SCHOOL APPLICATIONS OPEN
- PREVENTING HARASSMENT IN SCIENCE: BUILDING A COMMUNITY OF PRACTICE TOWARD MEANINGFUL CHANGE WORKSHOP
- 2020 INTERNATIONAL SUMMER SCHOOL IN ASTROBIOLOGY: SEARCHING FOR LIFE ON MARS: TECHNIQUES AND CHALLENGES
- NASA PLANETARY SCIENCE DIVISION PROGRAM SCIENTIST POSITION(S)
MESSAGE FROM THE CHAIR: NOMINATE YOUR COLLEAGUES FOR PRIZES …
AND REMINDER ABOUT UPDATED DPS PRIZE DESCRIPTIONS
All DPS members are strongly encouraged to submit prize nominations (due April 1)!
The community relies on YOU to submit nominations – please don’t expect that others
will take care of this important task. We would like to have a large, diverse pool of
nominees for each prize.
Just a reminder that the DPS Prize descriptions have been updated, as reported at the
DPS business meeting in September 2019 in Geneva. The updated descriptions include
the prize requirements that will be used by the DPS prize subcommittee and DPS
committee to award the prizes. When preparing nomination letters, you are strongly
encouraged to provide examples and evidence to support your statements for the nominee.
Since this is the first year that the new requirements are in place, we recognize that
the eligibility windows may have shifted for some individuals. During this period
of transition to the new (simpler) system, please email the DPS Prize subcommittee
at [email protected] if there are any mitigating circumstances concerning eligibility
for a given prize, and they will be taken into consideration as part of the transition
to the new prize requirements this year. Also, any active prize nomination package
can be updated if needed in light of the new requirements.
From the business meeting report in Geneva: The Prize description changes were
proposed by a DPS subcommittee, iterated with the full DPS committee and then
ratified. Here is a brief summary of those changes:
1. More consolidated information is now provided on the Nomination Page, including:
• What is meant by ‘Planetary Science’
• Expectation that a candidate for nomination follows the AAS Code of Ethics
and actively promotes AAS core values.
2. A new page on Prize Subcommittee Procedures is added, which describes the selection
3. The Harold C. Urey Prize candidates now have NO age requirement and the time
since PhD has increased from 6 to 8 years. Also, some text on criteria for consideration
4. The Gerard P. Kuiper Prize: A description of some criteria for consideration was added
(innovative and creative nature of the work, leadership in the field, and collaboration).
5. The Harold Masursky Award: We removed: ‘The Masursky Award is generally
given for accomplishments outside of the normal work duties of the nominee’. This
was not the original intention of the award.
6. The Carl Sagan Medal: No significant changes.
7. The Jonathan Eberhart Planetary Sciences Journalism Award: No changes.
Detailed information about each DPS prize can be found at: prizes/
Please remember to submit your DPS prize nominations by April 1st.
2020 NASA PLANETARY SCIENCE SUMMER SCHOOL APPLICATIONS OPEN
Now through March 30, 2020, NASA is accepting applications for its 32nd Annual
Planetary Science Summer School. Offered by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in
Pasadena, California, PSSS is a 3-month long early career development experience
to help prepare the next generation of planetary science and engineering mission leaders.
Participants learn the process of developing a hypothesis-driven robotic
space mission in a concurrent engineering environment while getting an in-depth,
first-hand look at mission design, life cycle, costs, schedule and the trade-offs
inherent in each.
Science and engineering doctoral candidates, recent Ph.D.s, postdocs, junior faculty,
and certain master’s degree students, who are U.S. Citizens or legal permanent residents
(and a very limited number of Foreign Nationals from non-designated counties), are eligible.
Applicants from diverse backgrounds are particularly encouraged to apply.
Partial financial support is available for a limited number of individuals.
Session 1: Preparatory Sessions May 11-July 17. Culminating Week at JPL July 20-24
Session 2: Preparatory Sessions May 11-July 31. Culminating Week at JPL August 3-7
Roughly equivalent in workload to a rigorous 3-hour graduate-level course, participants
spend the first 10-11 weeks in preparatory webinars acting as a science mission team,
prior to spending the final culminating week at JPL being mentored by JPL’s Advance
Project Design Team, or “Team X” to refine their planetary science mission concept
design, then present it to a mock expert review board.
The deadline is March 30, 2020. To apply and learn more about the NASA Science
Mission Design Schools:
PREVENTING HARASSMENT IN SCIENCE: BUILDING A COMMUNITY OF PRACTICE
TOWARD MEANINGFUL CHANGE WORKSHOP
We cordially invite you to participate in the Preventing Harassment in Science:
Building a Community of Practice Toward Meaningful Change. This 2.5-day
workshop will feature a variety of talks, panels and trainings on topics that range
from community surveys, grass roots efforts to improve culture, effective anti-
harassment training techniques, and discussion of how institutes react to harassment
claims. Confirmed speakers include researchers in the field of psychology and
social science, legal experts, and scientists who have created anti-harassment and
inclusive trainings, groups, and culture surveys. Additionally, this event includes
a half-day workshop by Dr. Kate Clancy, a noted anti-harassment researcher and
Professor of Anthropology, focusing on how to build an inclusive environment.
If you are interested in sharing your anti-harassment or inclusivity efforts and/or
research, you may submit an abstract to participate in a poster session here.
Where: BLM National Training Center; Phoenix, AZ
When: March 31 – April 2, 2020
2020 INTERNATIONAL SUMMER SCHOOL IN ASTROBIOLOGY: SEARCHING FOR
LIFE ON MARS: TECHNIQUES AND CHALLENGES
June 15 – 19, 2020, Santander, Spain
2020 is the year when two Mars spacecraft, one from the USA and the other from
Europe, will launch towards Mars. Both are expected to significantly advance our
search for life on Mars. The NASA Mars 2020 Rover is the first step of Mars Sample
Return (MSR). Based on the Mars Curiosity design, Mars 2020 carries a Deep UV
Raman mapping spectrometer, named SHERLOC, that will be able to detect organic
molecules in spatial context. In addition, samples will be collected and cached for
future return to Earth where they can be analyzed in our laboratories. ESA’s Rosalind
Franklin rover carries a drill that can collect samples from depths of up to 2 m for
onboard analysis. The retrieved samples will be analyzed using a Raman spectrometer
(the RLS instrument) as well as analysis using a coupled Gas Chromatograph- Mass
Spectrometer (GCMS) of desorbed materials using the MOMA instrument. Although
their results alone cannot prove that biosignatures are present, they will be able to identify
carbon-containing compounds and the types of molecular frameworks and functional
groups that are present.
The 2020 summer school will review and assess the types of techniques that are
necessary for detection of biosignatures on Mars, including Raman spectroscopy,
the isotopic and chirality analyses that the ESA and MSL rovers will perform, and
the techniques that can analyze samples both in-situ and also on Earth-based laboratories
for follow-up analysis. The central question will be “how can we unequivocally
detect biosignatures on Mars?” and the discussions will involve in-situ rovers, optimal
sample collecting and return, laboratory analyses with returned samples here on Earth,
follow-on robotic exploration, and the experiments that future human explorers may
be able to perform. The lectures will be focused on instrumentation and techniques.
In addition to the lectures, during the week the students will participate in discussions
about the theme, participate in group projects, and take part in an excursion to a local
and relevant geological site near Santander.
The school is primarily aimed at graduate students in science or engineering, but is
open to anyone interested in the origin of life and astrobiology.
Applicants must be students affiliated with US institutions.
The deadline is March 16 and selections will be made by April 15.
1) Fill out and submit an application form.
2) Have your advisor submit a letter of recommendation.
Questions can be directed to Melissa Kirven at [email protected].
The participation of students from ESA Member States, Canada and Slovenia can be
funded by the European Space Agency (ESA). Furthermore, students enrolled in
Universities from European Union (as well as from other countries belonging to the
European Higher Education Area, EHEA: http://www.ehea.info/page-members) could
also be directly funded by the UIMP (Universidad Internacional Menéndez Pelayo).
Interested students please contact J. Miguel Mas-Hesse ([email protected]) for
The application deadline is TBD.
NASA PLANETARY SCIENCE DIVISION PROGRAM SCIENTIST POSITION(S)
NASA’s Science Mission Directorate has an immediate need for one or more scientists
with expertise in planetary science to serve as Program Scientists in the Planetary Science
Division at NASA Headquarters in Washington, DC. The Division is responsible for
the scientific exploration of our Solar System and for improving our understanding of
planets. These opportunities are being made available under a standard detail arrangement
if you are a NASA civil servant, or under the Office of Personnel Management’s (OPM)
Intergovernmental Personnel Act (IPA).
NASA Program Scientists tackle a wide variety of challenges. These include: developing,
operating, and maintaining Research & Analysis grants programs; serving as the Headquarters
scientific lead for one or more Planetary Science missions; and helping implement and
communicate the Planetary Science Division’s strategic goals. Program scientists can
have substantial influence on strategic planning and can help shape the long-term scientific
direction of missions and programs that they oversee.
Under authority granted to NASA in the NASA Flexibility Act of 2004 (Pub. L. 108-201,
118 Stat. 461 (5 U.S.C. 9801 et seq.)), the initial IPA appointment will be for up to two
years, with the possibility of reappointment up to a total of six years. The Intergovernmental
Personnel Act provides for the temporary assignment of personnel between the Federal
Government and state and local governments, colleges and universities, Indian tribal
governments, federally funded research and development centers, and other eligible organizations;
all applicants must be from an IPA-eligible organization.
This provides a unique opportunity for scientists to gain insight into Planetary Science
policy and programs, to better understand the proposal review process, and to run scientific
programs with multimillion-dollar budgets.
The time spent at NASA Headquarters allows visiting scientists excellent career growth:
some return to their home institutions to continue academic research, while others move
on to management and leadership positions in the Federal government, academia, at observatories,
or in the non-profit sector. Training and mentoring programs are available,
on both a formal and informal basis, which further enables our visiting scientists to advance
their careers. NASA also offers its visiting scientists regular travel back to their home institutions.
It is preferable for most Program Scientists in the Planetary Science Division have at
least 6 years of post-Ph.D. experience. The ideal candidate will be skilled at working
in a collaborative team environment; will be able to adapt to work simultaneously on
numerous programs and missions; and will be able to foster productive relationships
with staff working on the space missions they oversee, and with the US astrophysics
community at large. Disciplinary expertise in one or more areas of planetary science
is essential, but the ability to place this knowledge in the broader context of planetary
science is equally important for the success of the Division’s programs.
Not every employee of a non-Federal entity is eligible to participate in the IPA program.
The following lists indicate which employees of eligible non-Federal entities are eligible
and which are not eligible to participate in the IPA program:
· Employees of non-Federal entities provided that they occupy a career position and
have been with the entity for at least 90 days.
· If an employee changes from one non-Federal entity to another, he or she does not
have to begin a new 90-day period provided that both organizations are eligible to
participate in the IPA program.
· Since non-Federal entities do not always use the precise terms that are used in the
Federal Government, it is important to examine the actual situation. For example,
a university professor may not be called permanent, but may have worked at an
institution for many years and is expected to continue working there. In such a
case, the individual would be eligible to participate.
Students employed at institutions of higher education in research, graduate, or teaching
Elected officials of state and local governments.
Conflicts of interest
Duties and responsibilities to be performed for NASA must take into account possible
conflicts of interest that may arise as a result of the assignee’s continued employment at
his or her home institution. Before selection of an assignee, SMD will consider the particular
matters on which the assignee would work, the interest of the assignee’s home institution
in those matters, and how the assignee’s participation may affect the home institution’s
interest. SMD will also consider whether the applicant is involved in any outside activities
that may create additional conflicts. These conflicts of interest arise as part of the Program
Scientist’s role in the proposal review process, flight project lifecycle reviews, and policy
implementations that may affect future procurements.
Additionally, assignees will not communicate on NASA’s behalf with their home institution,
continue to work on matters for their home institution, or represent their home institution
or other third party to NASA or any other federal agency. Part-time IPAs may present unique
conflict and representational concerns given their continued work with their home institution.
As previously mentioned, these opportunities may also be filled by NASA employees on
detail from their Center. Individual research time while serving as a visiting scientist is negotiable.
Positions are available from June 2020, though the start date is flexible.
Applicants should email a curriculum vitae and cover letter as a single PDF file by
April 10, 2020 to EMAIL. For more information about the position, please contact
Stephen Rinehart at [email protected].
Send submissions to:
Anne Verbiscer, DPS Secretary ([email protected])
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