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Congratulations to the New Horizons and OSIRIS-REx Teams

January 2, 2019

Just when you think space can’t get any cooler, both New Horizons and OSIRIS-REx got just a little bit closer to targets that will most likely answer questions about the origin and evolution of our solar system.

On December 31, 2018 (7:43 UTC), OSIRIS-REx entered a 62-hour orbit that carries it to within ~1 mile of asteroid Bennu’s surface.  Read more about the insertion here and see the list of OSIRIS-REx team members here.

Around the same time, New Horizons was flying by Kuiper Belt Object 2014 MU69, aka Ultima Thule or “Peanut”, the most distant object ever visited by a spacecraft. The New Horizons team is also pretty cool: women make up ~30% of the staff and ~25% of the mission’s science leadership. See pictures and read interviews with some of our colleagues here.


Best wishes to you all in 2019!fireworks.3


Pellas-Ryder Student Paper Award Nomination Deadline January 31st 2019

December 20, 2018

It is time again to nominate deserving students for this award!   The 2019 Pellas-Ryder award, which is sponsored jointly by the Meteoritical Society and the Planetary Geology Division of the Geological Society of America, will be awarded to an undergraduate or graduate student who is first author of the best planetary science paper published in a peer-reviewed scientific journal in 2018. The award has been given since 2001, and honors the memories of meteoriticist Paul Pellas and lunar scientist Graham Ryder.

To nominate a student-led publication that was published in 2018, two letters of certification are required: (1) From the student’s department head attesting that the individual was a student at the time of paper submission to the publishing journal; (2) From the student’s advisor detailing the portion of the work done by the student and contributed by others including the advisor. Additional details are provided here:

Nominations can be made directly to the Chair of the Selection Committee. Submissions for consideration should be sent (as PDF documents) by email to Prof. Jon M. Friedrich.

Zonta International Amelia Earhart Fellowship – due Nov. 15th

November 1, 2018

Hello All,

Just a reminder that the deadline for the Amelia Earhart fellowship is approaching – several planetary scientists have been awarded fellowships in the past :).

Thanks to Ella Sciamma O’Brien for sharing this info.



Cross-post: A personal recommendation for the AAS to collect data to determine participation of underrepresented groups

October 18, 2018

Hi All,

Please see the following post at the Women in Astronomy blog:

Reminder to Register for the WiPS Discussion hour at DPS – Knoxville – deadline today (Sept. 30th)

September 30, 2018

We still have a few spots left for the Women in Planetary Science Discussion Hour at DPS in Knoxville (Tuesday lunchtime, details at the link) – registration deadline for catering is TODAY (Sept. 30th) but we can take a few more after that :).

Announcement of DPS Workshop on Proposal Writing – Friday Oct. 26th

September 1, 2018

The success of scientists depends upon their ability to obtain funding. Using Research Opportunities in Space and Earth Sciences (ROSES) from NASA as a primary example, this workshop will focus on teaching the audience key points to writing a successful proposal.

Topics to be covered include:

  • 8:00-8:15- General introduction and welcome
  • 8:15-9:15- Proposal lifecycle, guidance on writing for specific audiences, compliance checklist
  • 9:15-9:30: Break
  • 9:30-10:30- Evaluation criteria, the review process, programmatic balance, debriefs and appeals, and making changes to address review concerns
  • 10:30-11:00- General wrap up and group Q&A
  • 11:00-11:30- One-on-One Q&A as needed.

Read more…

Survey of interest in Planetary Science Engagement Institute for later this year

August 24, 2018

The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory’s VORTICES program and the Lunar and Planetary Institute are considering offering a Planetary Science Engagement Institute for planetary scientists and engineers interested in engaging public audiences in planetary science and solar system exploration. This free 1½ day institute would be scheduled for late 2018. Content may include common solar system misconceptions, techniques for addressing controversial topics, simple activities and demonstrations for engaging audiences, and more. This scientist engagement event would be geared towards current researchers, college faculty, and graduate students and postdocs in planetary science.

To help us determine the best dates and location, please fill out our survey of interest at

Thank you for your help! Please contact us with any questions:
Christine Shupla, shupla at
M. Alexandra Matiella Novak, Ph.D., Alexandra.Matiella.Novak at