I depart tomorrow for Houston and the annual Lunar and Planetary Science Conference (LPSC). This is my favorite meeting of the year, a couple of thousand planetary geologists gathering to share their latest work and also just to catch up with friends. In a story that Casey is following, there will be significantly fewer federally-funded scientists attending LPSC than expected, due to travel restrictions imposed by the stupid, stupid sequester. (If you have been denied LPSC travel, I want to hear from you -- I'm thinking about ways to get your science out there.) But there'll still be too much great science going on for me to follow it all.
Thankfully, I'll be getting more help this year in following what's going on than I have done in past years. LPSC is trying out a new thing, having officially sanctioned "microbloggers," attendees who get access to the limited available wireless bandwidth in exchange for having promised to put out information about the conference through a variety of social media channels. (This is a challenge because the Woodlands Waterway Marriott is in all ways an excellent meeting venue except that there's like no network or cellular data capacity for some reason.) I am working on a list of people who I know will be Tweeting from the conference (not all of whom are officially blessed ones); it contains about 45 people now, and I'll add to it continuously. Here are a few others that I know of who will be sharing the conference through other means. If you know of any others, please let me know in a comment or email, and I'll update this post. I, of course, will be tweeting like a maniac.
OK, now for the schedule. This is going to be an especially Mars-heavy LPSC for me, so I'm hoping that some of those fine microbloggers will be sharing notes from other sessions. Here's where you'll find me during the week:
Monday: Curiosity all day long. Morning and afternoon sessions with a press briefing in between. Press briefings will be Livestreamed, so you can watch them, at noon Central time on Monday and Tuesday. Because Curiosity is such a hot topic I can't even consider going into other rooms like the lunar session in the morning or the planetary cartography, volcanism, or tectonics sessions in the afternoon, so I'm looking forward to people's tweets from those rooms.
The meeting day is followed by "NASA Night" at 5:30, which will be unusual this year because Jim Green and other people from NASA HQ are not going to be able to attend physically, due to the aforementioned travel restrictions. (Obviously as NASA leaders they could've chosen to attend, but they gave up their spots to allow more scientists to travel. Good on them.) So conference attendees will be there physically, but Jim will be Skyping in his presentation. That will also be Livestreamed.
Tuesday afternoon is going to be super hard. I have to choose among Opportunity at Endeavour; GRAIL; or Titan. Since I will have seen the GRAIL press briefing and I covered it extensively from AGU, I think I will skip GRAIL, but the choice between Opportunity and Titan is going to be painful. I might start in Opportunity and then go to Titan. Following that is the poster session.
Thursday: I'll spend the morning in a session on mineralogy and water on Mars, the afternoon in a session on ice on Mars. (I'm working on an article for Sky & Telescope on water on Mars, thus this day's focus.) And then the poster session.