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NASA Committee for Planetary Science with Astrophysics Assets

Committee Members:

  • James (Gerbs) Bauer (Co-Chair; UMD)
  • Stefanie Milam (Co-Chair; GSFC)
  • Cristina Thomas (NAU)
  • Gordon Bjoraker (GSFC)
  • Leigh Fletcher (University of Leicester)
  • Carrie Nugent (Olin College)
  • Walt Harris (University of Arizona)
  • Andy Rivkin (APL, JHU)
  • Christine Hartzell (University of Maryland)
  • Scott Wolk (CfA, Harvard)
  • Paul Hartogh(MPI - SSRG)
  • Sean Carey (IPAC)
  • Amanda Hendrix (PSI)
  • Doris Daou (NASA HQ)



to compile a uniform set of basic capabilities and needs to maximize the yield of Solar System science with future Astrophysics assets while allowing those assets to achieve their Astrophysics priorities.


PSAA Notional Timeline, 2018 dates:

  • Mid April – object discipline preliminary reports
  • Mid May – technical capability reports
  • Mid June – start drafting white paper
  • September -- Full Draft of White paper
  • December – submit white paper draft (in time for winter SBAG meeting)

Public Presentations and Announcements

Small Bodies Assessment Group (Tucson, Jan 16, 2018)

Public meeting presentations: PSAA - Public_Presentations

WFIRST white paper:

JWST PASP articles:

PSAA Meetings

Regular Meetings are to be held the 1st and 3rd Tuesdays of the month.

PSAA telecon - dial-in info:

The 1st Tuesday of every month, from Tuesday, March 6, 2018, to no end date 11:55 am | Eastern Standard Time (New York, GMT-05:00) | 1 hr 10 mins
Meeting number (access code): 736 771 985 Meeting password: planets

The 3rd Tuesday of every month, from Tuesday, March 20, 2018, to no end date 11:55 pm | Eastern Daylight Time (New York, GMT-04:00) | 1 hr 10 mins
Meeting number (access code): 735 053 590 Meeting password: planets

4th regular meeting - Tuesday, April 17, 2018

meeting webex...

NOTE - LPSC and other meetings conflicted with March 20... meeting was canceled.

3rd regular meeting - Tuesday, April 3, 2018

meeting webex ...

Attendees: Milam, Nugent, Wolk, Hendrix, Rivkin, Hartogh, Thomas, Harris


  • News/Updates
    • LPSC - no one on call to report.
    • WFIRST - back in budget at $150M --> Class A mission. SW noted that we should consider for missions with small/no GO program, what a large program for the Solar System may look like.
    • JWST launch delay
    • Large Missions - impact from JWST? Consider instead of full scale large missions (e.g. LUVOIR, OST, etc) more of capability vs science. We may be in a realm where we are dealing with smaller missions in the future. Consider detector/mode/capabilities - break apart the large mission concepts.
  • New Members - Amanda Hendrix
  • Leads for topics of study: Volunteers or Volunteered. Please look and see where you have been volunteered. We are missing some expertise in terrestrial planets. Also, someone should be appointed the imaging lead. Finally, SW will provide some feedback on x-ray interactions/science with each topic.
  • Aim for next meeting (April 17) for Science leads to organize their groups and come up with key science objectives to cover and determine where expertise is needed from the community. The technical groups are also encouraged to start organizing. Members of PSAA should determine where they can contribute in the technical capabilities groups.

Object/Science Categories:

Small Bodies (lead): Hendrix

- MBAs - Rivkin

- Comets - Milam

- NEAs - Nugent

- KBOs/Centaurs - Bauer

- Hyperbolic Objects - Thomas

Giant Planets (lead): Fletcher

- Atmospheres - Bjorker

- Satellites/Rings - Hendrix

- Interiors - ?

Terrestrial Planets (lead): Harris

- Surfaces - ?

- Hydration - ?

- Satellites - ?

- Atmospheres - ?

Technical Categories:

Non-Sidereal Tracking (lead): Thomas

- Range of Objects - Milam, Bauer

- Size of SC

Broad-Band Imaging (lead): ?

- Band passes

- Spatial Resolution

- Read-out times

- Dynamic range

- Detector type

Spectroscopy (lead): Bjorker

- Wavelength resolution


- Wavelength range

MOS/GDS/Scheduling (lead): Carey/Milam/Bauer

- TOO for Solar system and penalties

- Single-Frame data/sampling

- Station keeping for Astrometry

2nd regular meeting - Tuesday, March 6, 2018


  • News/Updates
  • Future Meetings
  • Topic Categories of Study
  • Leads – Volunteers?

Upcoming meetings:
  • AOGs
    • Honolulu, HI, June 3-8
    • A number of telescopes are presenting here: WFIRST, OST, JWST
    • Pasadena, CA July 14-22
  • IAU
    • Vienna, Austria, August 20-31
    • PSAA update

DD will be at AOGS and possibly IAU. SM and GB at AOGS, GB at COSPAR and IAU. Opportunities to meet with PSD leadership at AOGS and COSPAR.

Object/Science Categories:
  • Small Bodies
    • MBAs
    • Comets
    • NEAs
    • KBOs/Centaurs
    • Hyperbolic Objects
  • Giant Planets
    • Atmospheres
    • Satellites
    • Interiors
  • Terrestrial Planets
    • Surfaces
    • Hydration
    • Satellites
    • Atmospheres

Technical Categories:
  • Non-Sidereal Tracking
    • Range of Objects
    • Size of SC
  • Broad-Band Imaging
    • Band passes
    • Spatial Resolution
    • Read-out times
    • Dynamic range
    • Detector type
  • Spectroscopy
    • Wavelength resolution
    • IFS
    • Wavelength range
  • MOS/GDS/Scheduling
    • TOO for Solar system and penalties
    • Single-Frame data/sampling
    • Station keeping for Astrometry

Comments: AR - Somewhere moving object pipelines should be discussed. GB- intended for MOS/GDS/Scheduling category.
DD- perhaps a survey should be held to make sure all the topics are covered that need be... this is a good start, but needs input from community. Offered to set it up. GB - would probably want to develop things a little before executing the survey... maybe around early Summer? CT/CN/AR various - should get an idea of the questions to ask in the survey.

Overall categories OK to start... the major categories won't disappear, but may be added to. GB- Asked for volunteers to lead the major categories... email GB and SM to volunteer... or people may be volunteered next time.
NB: Major categories are what are considered here ... [sic]:

  • Major
    • minor/sub-categories (exemplary, not comprehensive)

Three science and four technical major categories.

1st regular meeting - Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Topic: Logistics

  • meeting times
  • website and email lists
  • suggestions for new membership
  • News/Updates
  • Next: Defining tasks and possible leads

Summary: Co-Chair S. Milam gave an overview of recent news regarding astrophysical assets, including an update on WFIRST. Its status in the recent proposed budget plan was noted, as was its upcoming SRR in April.
A rough notional timeline was introduced (see above), and A. Rivkin and C. Hartzel noted that the white paper draft notional deadline will be in time for the winter Small Bodies Assessment Group (SBAG) meeting.
NASA HQ rep. D. Daou noted that when ready, it would also be good to address the Planetary Science Advisory Committee (PAC) and Astrophysics Advisory Committee (AAC).
A rough sketch of the structure of future focus areas of study was started. The idea would be to break things up into science disciplines and technical components. Some examples...

Sample Science Disciplines:

  • Small Bodies
  • Giant Planets
  • Satellites
  • Terrestrial Planets (W. Harris noted that some notional space telescopes are planning on being able to view elongations capable of reaching Venus)

Sample Technical Components:

  • Non-sidereal Tracking
  • Brand-band imaging
  • Spectroscopy
  • Scheduling

Kick-off Meeting Thursday, January 25, 2018 11:00 am | Eastern Standard Time (New York, GMT-05:00) | 1 hr
Meeting number (access code): 737 050 224
Meeting password: astroph
Topic: Some review and context for the PSAA, concentrating on logistics.

  • Introductions, and brief overview/history of PSAA
  • Some Past Examples of AA missions that yielded big planetary science
  • Near and Far term, and future missions
  • NASA HQ Program Scientist
  • Future meeting times and Cadence, next meeting: schedules and topical considerations (various).
  • Conclusions

Meeting presentations
Future Missions

Notes (most comments were in context of the Overview and Future mission presentations above):

  • For the "Actions" of the committee, we should also present to AAS and DPS, as well as submit the white paper to BOTH The Astrophysics and Planetary Decadal Committees.
  • We should consider astrophysics assets, not Only space assets; IRTF, SOFIA, LSST, etc.
  • Expand membership to include expertise
    • DD(NHQ) suggested possibly an open call, but in any case a means of soliciting input from the community, possibly through a Google Doc/form or some email, and can provide help.
    • SNM(Co-Chair) suggested need to keep membership manageable, but emphasized the need for a method of input, Google Doc good idea.
    • DD (NHQ) noted the balance was weighted towards small bodies, SNM noted that the Giant Planet scientists were not attending today.
    • AR(APL-JHU) suggested reaching out to other communities, including Japan mission input, to expand the committee to include a few more intl. scientists.
    • GB(Co-Chair) suggested a committee size of over 20 gets unwieldy. Bi-weekly Cadence for meetings, to prepare in time for input to Decadal committees.
  • Action Items:
    • All - expect an email in the next week to establish account for wiki edit permissions... update contact and affiliation information. Also, think of a few key members (will need to down-select to 3-5 additions).
    • Co-Chairs - Come up with some options for soliciting input. Draft Schedule and Milestones. Set up Doodle poll for regular meeting times.