Tuesday, January 18, 2011

PSURF, January 14, 2011

This isn't a review since, well, PSURF #2 of 2011 was actually me! CPSX was kind enough to record the talk for me and you can watch it by downloading the avi from this page:

(direct link to avi here)

The title was "The 2008 Phoenix Lander: A Scientist's Perspective on a Space Mission." My intent in the talk was to shed some light on what goes on inside of a space mission and how they are put together, rather than focusing on the science results or engineering design. 

A note of clarification for the "how to get on the science team" part of the talk: I mention the NASA Participating Scientist program (There's still time to sign up for MSL's version of this BTW). For this, my understanding is that you need to be associated with a US institution. That is one thing that most of my CPSX colleagues cannot say. However, we Canadians do have one big advantage - we cost nothing, at least not to the Americans, and so it makes us easier to add to space mission proposals on the front end. The hitch there is that CSA needs to pony up your funding, which doesn't always happen.

As a young career scientist, that's probably my surest route to getting on another mission. Thus, partially for selfish reasons I would love to see CSA continue to fund Canadian participation on all significant US Planetary Mission Science Teams. I would even accept a bit of a smaller role for us on flagships, if that's what it took to pay for that kind of participation. The reason is that this kind of a program helps us to spread the wealth and encourage the upcoming generation of planetary researchers in Canada.

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