DPS Mailing #01-44: Decadal survey, astrobiology workshop

Status Report From: American Astronomical Society
Posted: Monday, October 29, 2001


The NRC Large Satellites Panel of the Solar System Exploration Survey solicits your input with regard to science themes and key questions in our draft outline. It is available in word95, html, and text formats at:

The original format is word95, so the text and html versions contain some formatting errors.

We have not yet attempted to prioritize future missions or other initiatives, but further comments about these important issues continue to be welcome.

The tasks of the Large Satellites panel are: to conduct a broad survey of the current state of knowledge about the large outer planet satellites; to inventory the top-level scientific questions that should provide the focus for large satellite exploration in the coming decade and beyond; and to produce a prioritized list of the most promising avenues for flight investigations and supporting ground-based activities.

The NRC Large Satellites Panel consists of Alfred McEwen (Chair), Bob Pappalardo (Vice-Chair), Caitlin Griffith, Torrence Johnson, Krishan Khurana, and Bill Moore. For the purpose of this survey, a "large" satellite is defined as those satellites of Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune >300 km diameter. The smaller (generally irregular) satellites of these planets and Pluto/Charon are covered by the Primitive Bodies panel; Triton will be considered by both the Large Satellites and the Primitive Bodies panels.

Please send your comments to:

or fax to 520-621-9628

I will forward all correspondence to the other panel members.

We also encourage you to post your comments at the DPS website: Cheers,
Alfred McEwen

California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California, USA
December 17-19, 2001

The California Institute of Technology and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory are hosting a multi-disciplinary workshop to identify what observations of the composition of the Mars atmosphere would allow the detection of extant subsurface life, remnants of life, or signatures of past climate supportive of life. A key question is how to distinguish between actual biosignatures and atmospheric composition resulting from volcanic emissions and other non-biological natural processes that might be occurring on Mars.

Members of the scientific community are invited to participate in plenary session discussions and present poster talks. The proceedings of the workshop will be published.

Further information may be found at the workshop website

( Registration will be through this website.

The NASA Astrobiology Institute will entertain requests for travel support. See the workshop website for additional details.


Planetary Volcanology & Astrobiology tenure track faculty positions, Dept. of Geology & Planetary Science, Univ. of Pittsburgh. See also AAS Job Register:

Melissa McGrath, on behalf of the DPS Committee (submissions to Al Harris:

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