Thursday, September 29, 2011

Getting Ready for DPS 2011

My two posters for DPS 2011. On the left is a description of the ILSR Analogue Mission Control Architecture, on the right I discuss some suggested atmospheric measurements for MSL and argue for pre-processing on-board landed spacecraft in order to improve the temporal coverage of this dataset. You can get a preview of the Analogue poster here and the Atmospheric/MSL poster here.

It's almost time for the 2011 edition of the AAS's (American Astronomical Society's) Division for Planetary Sciences Conference, better know to us in Planetary Science as DPS. Next week, those of us interested in planets will descend upon the conference centre in Nantes, France. As happens every five years or so, this conference is being held in concert with our European counterparts, the EPSC (The European Planetary Science Congress) who have shared the organizing duties. This has meant, among other things, an extended abstract process which is reminiscent of LPSC's famous 2-page behemoths. Yes, these abstracts have abstracts! But the end result of that extra work is that we all have a better idea of what will be presented by our colleagues.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

A new name in Radio

September 29 Update:

Shane Martin of has provided some really beautiful looking graphics! You can even make a weekly theme depending on who is presenting!

Other versions below the cut!

In Memoriam: A Tough Year for Planetary Science in Tucson

The ephemeral Ocotillo flower as photographed by the author in 2005 on Tower Peak in the Tucson Mountain Range. The spiny stalks of the Ocotillo appear dry and dead to the casual observer for most of the year, but within hours of rainfall they burst into life.

Until a couple of years ago, my planetary science heart belonged entirely to that little valley in Arizona tucked in between the Santa Catalinas, the Tucsons, the Rincons and the Santa Ritas. But it has been a difficult year for that city and for my alma mater. This past year has seen the passing of several great planetary scientists from the Tucson community both from the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory and the Planetary Science Institute.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Teaching is in the air

A mathematics lecture, courtesy of Wikimedia user Tungsten. Teaching is an area I greatly enjoy and seek out the opportunity to contribute. This fall, I will get to do more of it than I ever have before!

One of the aspects of preparing for a life in academia in Canada vs the United States is the prominence accorded to teaching. In the US, you could probably get away with not teaching until after receiving an assistant professorship appointment as long as your research and grant acquisition were top notch. In Canada, you really need to have shown an ability to hold your own in front of a classroom.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Springtime for Mars

It's that time of year again! The days are getting longer, the temperature is getting higher and there's a breeze in the air as the dry ice is evaporating away. Layers of terrain, stable for millenia are beginning to collapse in avalanches:

Hi-Rise catches the start of "Avalanche Season" on Mars.

Monday, September 12, 2011