Planetary Systems Laboratory (693) Local News Archive

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Poster Blowout 2018

Note from the Director:
I would like to thank the Director’s Science Committee for putting on an amazingly successful event where scientists and engineers across Goddard shared their work and made new contacts. The interdisciplinary interactions were especially exciting and crossed all four science disciplines.

Click the title of this news item or the image below for more images from the poster party. scientists standing in front of a poster

The Search for Habitability

How many planets could support life? In a TEDx talk, Goddard’s Geronimo Villanueva explains how scientists look for conditions suitable for life on Mars and other rocky or icy objects, and how they can take the search beyond our solar system.

Cassini's Grande Finale

The Cassini spacecraft investigated Saturn, its rings and moons from 2004 to 2017. Goddard’s Conor Nixon spoke at the Library of Congress about Cassini from its earliest phases to its ‘Grand Finale.’

Goddard Planetary Instruments Win Development, Maturation Funding

Three instrument proposals led by researchers in Goddard's Solar System Exploration Division were selected for funding by the PICASSO and MatISSE programs. The PICASSO selection was "Development of a Prototype for the Thermal Infrared Composite Imaging Spectrometer (TIRCIS) Instrument," with Terry Hurford as the PI. Selected for MatISSE funds were the "Mars Lidar for Global Climate Measurements from Orbit (MARLI)" with James Abshire as the PI, and "Picture this SELFI: A Maturation Project for a Submillimeter Enceladus Life Fundamentals Instrument (SELFI)" with Gordon Chin as the PI. Read more here.

More Goddard CubeSat Mission Concepts Selected for Study

Researchers in Code 690 have leadership roles in six studies selected under the Planetary Science Deep Space SmallSat Studies (PSDS3) program to develop mission concepts for small satellites. 1. Valeria Cottini, PI: the CubeSat UV Experiment (CUVE); 2. Timothy Stubbs, PI: Bi-sat Observations of the Lunar Atmosphere above Swirls (BOLAS); 3. Tilak Hewagama, PI: Primitive Object Volatile Explorer (PrOVE); 4. Noah Petro, PI: Mini Lunar Volatiles (MiLUV) mission; 5. Mike Collier, PI: Phobos Regolith Ion Sample Mission (PRISM); and 6. Barbara Cohen, co-Investigator: Lunar Water Assessment, Transport, Evolution, and Resource (WATER) mission. Read more here.

Goddard CubeSat Mission Concepts Selected for Study

Two studies led by researchers in Code 690 were selected under the Planetary Science Deep Space SmallSat Studies (PSDS3) program to develop mission concepts using small satellites to investigate Venus, Earth’s moon, asteroids, Mars and the outer planets. Timothy Stubbs leads the Bi-sat Observations of the Lunar Atmosphere above Swirls (BOLAS), which would use tethered 12-unit CubeSats to investigate the moon's hydrogen cycle. Valeria Cottini leads the CubeSat UV Experiment (CUVE), a 12-unit CubeSat orbiter to measure ultraviolet absorption and nightglow emissions to understand Venus’ atmospheric dynamics.

Science Jamboree event photos

The 2016 Science Jamboree was a great success! A collection of 50 photos from the event are available now.

NASA Employees Among Finalists for Prestigious Heyman Medal

This year’s finalists for the Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medal include Goddard scientist Dennis Reuter and his team, nominated for contributions to the New Horizons mission, which flew past Pluto in July 2015.

Paul Mahaffy Named Director of the Solar System Exploration Division

Paul Mahaffy has been named the new Director of Goddard’s Solar System Exploration Division. Paul served for nearly 10 years as Chief of the Planetary Environments Laboratory, leading this group’s study of planetary atmospheres and surface environments with emphases on the modeling of atmospheres and surface environments, advanced instrument development, the study of terrestrial planetary analogs, and the development of space-qualified instruments. Paul is currently Principal Investigator of the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) investigation on the Curiosity rover and of the Neutral Gas and Ion Mass Spectrometer (NGIMS) on the MAVEN Mars orbiter. He previously participated in a wide range of planetary missions, including those to Jupiter, Saturn, comets, and the moon.

AAAS Names NASA Goddard Scientists 2015 Fellows

Three scientists in the Sciences and Exploration Directorate have been named Fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Lucy McFadden (693), Jose Rodriguez (614) and Compton Tucker (618) are among 347 AAAS members awarded this honor for their scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications. Congratulations!

NASA Scientist to Discuss "New Horizons: Journey to Pluto and Beyond" at Library of Congress Lecture

The Dec. 8, 2015, talk will be given by Dennis Reuter, the instrument scientist for Ralph -- the New Horizons color imager and infrared spectrometer. Reuter will discuss the New Horizons mission and the first close-up images of Pluto.

Goddard Scientist to Discuss Dawn Mission at Library of Congress

Goddard researcher Lucy McFadden will speak in the Madison Building of the Library of Congress on Thursday, Nov. 19, at 11:30 a.m. The title of her talk is “Dawn: A Journey to the Beginning of the Solar System.”

Special Titan Lecture: 101 Flybys and Counting

Goddard scientists will host a free public lecture on Apr. 8, 2014, to celebrate the science and exploration Saturn's moon Titan, including the milestone of the Cassini mission's 101st flyby.

Anne Kinney wins a Presidential Rank Award

Anne Kinney received a 2012 Presidential Rank Award (Meritorious Executive). These awards are given to high-performing senior career employees for "sustained extraordinary accomplishment." Executives from across Government are nominated by their agency heads, evaluated by citizen panels, and designated by the President. Winners of these awards are deemed to be strong leaders, professionals, or scientists who achieve results and consistently demonstrate strength, integrity, industry, and a relentless commitment to excellence in public service.

Dr F. Michael Flasar wins Lindsay Award

Dr F. Michael Flasar of the Planetary Systems Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, was awarded the John C. Lindsay Memorial Award for Space Science, in recognition of his very substantial and fundamental contributions to planetary and atmospheric science as Principal Investigator of the Cassini Composite Infrared Spectrometer (CIRS) instrument. Dr. Flasar is an active, hands-on leader involved in every aspect of the instrument operations and analysis, and the scientific output of this instrument would be greatly diminished without his capable direction and leadership. Mike is perhaps best known for his insightful work on Saturn¹s giant moon Titan using Voyager and Cassini data, and he is rightly regarded as one of the foremost experts on the meteorology of Titan.

Congratulations to the OSIRIS-REx Team!

Today we heard that the Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security - Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) mission was selected as the next New Frontiers class mission. OSIRIS-Rex is a sample return mission to an asteroid that will launch in 2016, and spend over a year exploring 1999 RQ36, acquire samples while providing geologic context, and return to Earth in 2023. GSFC will manage the mission and provide the OSIRIS-REx Visible and Infrared Spectrometer (OVIRS) instrument.

Saturn's Atmospheric Oscillation


Michael Flasar of the Planetary Systems Laboratory recently co-authored two manuscripts that will be published in Geophysics Research Letters. The papers concern an evolution of the equatorial oscillation in Saturn's stratosphere between 2005 and 2010 studied with the Cassini-CIRS and Radio Science instruments. This new work provides important constraints on Saturn's atmospheric waves.

Planetary Systems Lab Member Discusses Titan



Goddard planetary scientist Carrie Anderson discusses her work involving Titan in a newly-released NASA video. Dr. Anderson is a member of the Planetary Systems Laboratory working with scientists on the Cassini mission to Saturn and its moons.

ESA article on Martian Atmosphere

European Space Agency writes a web feature on the ground based observations of the Martian atmosphere by a team code 693 scientists.

Drake Deming awarded the Beatrice Tinsley Prize

Drake Deming has been awarded the Beatrice Tinsley Prize, announced at the AAS meeting today. The Tinsley Prize recognizes an outstanding research contribution to astronomy or astrophysics, of an exceptionally creative or innovative character. This prize is for Drake's innovative and pioneering work detecting thermal infrared emission from transiting extrasolar planets using the Spitzer Space Telescope.
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