Doug EllisonAug 23, 2007

Europlanet : Conference - First Person Perspective

by Doug Ellison in Potsdam

Another sunny day in Potsdam! Today was the big day - my first ever conference presentation. So this should be an easy blog write-up! I thought I'd use this as an opportunity to explain to the rest of the world what the process of getting to this morning is like. It's a big, rambling, indulgent recollection of a roller-coaster ride from invitation to inquisition

I was asked if I would give a presentation by Alice Wessen, the Outreach Manager for Cassini-Huygens at JPL. This meant writing an abstract of my presentation ( months before you actually prepare the presentation itself ) This was my abstract :Some recent science missions have committed to a policy of the rapid release of un-calibrated images onto the internet from instruments onboard spacecraft exploring the solar system. The Mars Exploration Rovers, Cassini-Huygens and New Horizon missions have all committed to this practice. The author has observed the emergence of a group of spaceflight enthusiast that is the primary consumer of these images. A large volume of rapidly produced and often beautiful or dramatic mosaics and other products has thus been published into the public domain and occasionally featured on popular websites, magazine publications and television programs. These activities provide a new bridging point for engagement between space science and the general public.

Once you've written your abstract it is submitted to the conference and reviewed along with the others in its category. Because this was an Outreach session it might be hard to write an abstract that doesn't get accepted, but in other categories such as Small Bodies, Magnetospheres, Missions and Techniques, Atmospheres and Oceans etc etc - your abstract has to demonstrate some scientific competence before they will accept it. Alice was a part of the committee that reviewed the submitted abstracts for this session so it was just about academic that it would be accepted - but a part of me was still a little nervous waiting for the email to tell me it had been accepted. But it arrived. So I had to start making my presentation and organize my travel arrangements. Fortunately, because of the support of the Planetary Society (and if you're a member - that means you) I was attending under a press pass. If I were just attending to present a talk, it's surprisingly expensive, several hundred Euros.

I had my presentation fairly

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