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Congressional Gold Medal Nomination for the FLATs

February 13, 2019

Starting in 1960, 13 experienced female pilots underwent many of the same physical and psychological tests as the Mercury 7 astronauts and often performed better. Though they never flew in space, the First Lady Astronaut Trainess (FLATs), also known as “the Mercury 13”, provided evidence that women would be able to tolerate space’s extreme environments.

The Congressional Gold Medal, our nation’s highest civilian honor, has been given over 200 times. Fewer than 10% of the medals have been received by women, however, and just five have been awarded for outstanding contributions in air and space exploration. The good news is that legislation to award Gold Medals to the “Hidden Figures” is moving forward and the better news is that momentum is building to also support a nomination for the FLATs.

Learn more about the nomination and these trail-blazing women here, or visit the Women in Astronomy page and the NASA History Office.

You could also watch the 2018 Netflix documentary or read Martha Ackmann’s book.

If you think these women are worthy of a nomination and a Medal, please sign the petition and/or contact your representative to let him/her/them know you support this effort. And please help to spread the word. Thank you!

Summary of DPS 2018 Planetary Allyship Meeting

January 20, 2019

The following article was written by the event organizers, Brian Jackson, David Grinspoon, Bob Pappalardo, and Matt Tiscareno.

On Thursday, Oct 25, during the 2018 annual Division of Planetary Sciences (DPS) conference in Knoxville TN, the Planetary Science Allyship group held its fourth annual meeting to discuss how people in non-marginalized groups can support equity in the scientific community. The meeting was included in the official DPS schedule and advertised in the program:

Please join us for discussion about harassment, bias, and what we can do to help change the culture. All DPS members are welcome, with the goal of continuing a conversation among men about how we can raise awareness and be proactive on these issues.

The gathering attracted 13 attendees, roughly split between men and women, and the discussion lasted for about 1.5 hours and was facilitated by Matthew Tiscareno and Brian Jackson. The meeting was less formal than previous meetings — Tiscareno had assembled a rough outline of discussion topics, but attendees were invited to interrupt with their thoughts and ideas.

Read more…

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 :).