Before I explain DPS to people, a call for help: hey scientists! I know you're out there. I know some of you will be at DPS. I know I will not be able to be in three places at once to cover oral sessions. If you are sitting in a session listening to a talk, and you think, "hey, that's a fun fact," please consider sending me an email. I love guest blog entries but don't demand that you write something formal. Send me some notes and I will be more than happy to convert them to prose. Or consider signing up for Twitter and sending out little 140-character notes on interesting stuff. If you will be Tweeting, let me know, and/or use the hashtag #DPS2010. I will, I hope, be doing a lot of Tweeting, provided there is good wireless access. There may not be good wireless access though.
To back up a little bit, next week is the annual meeting of the Division of Planetary Sciences of the American Astronomical Society, which most people refer to as DPS. It is in Pasadena, which means I actually get to go! This meeting, which is always in October, and the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference meeting in March, are my two favorite planetary meetings of the year. They are big enough to seem as though they provide a good overview of the status of planetary research, yet small enough to feel like you have a chance to meet and greet people as you wander back and forth between the sessions. The two meetings are slightly different in personality; DPS is the meeting for planetary astronomers, while LPSC is the meeting for planetary geologists. Consequently there is slightly more of a laid-back, get-beer-with-your-buddies atmosphere (and more big planned parties) at LPSC than there are at DPS. Still, even DPS is as much about social interaction as it is about presenting science. (By the way, while researching unsuccessfully whether beer and/or wine will be served at the poster sessions this year, I stumbled across this interesting "guide for first-time attendees" of DPS that might amuse you readers.)
The meeting runs all week, with three concurrent oral talk sessions from 8:30 to 3:30 (with a break for lunch) most days, and a poster session from 3:30 to 6. Here is a block program with links to full session titles, talk titles, and abstracts. This year, there are relatively few missions whose first results will be announced at the meeting. One of the things I don't recall seeing at a scientific meeting before are the first results from WISE on comets (on Monday) and asteroids (on Friday). The other is some talks on the first results from Rosetta at Lutetia, which is Thursday morning. In observational astronomy, there's those new Jupiter impacts, which will be discussed Wednesday morning, and some new data from two occultations of stars by Pluto in 2010, on Tuesday morning. Of course there are sessions all week long featuring the mountains of data from Cassini, and there are even talks on the Moon, Mercury, and Mars though you have to remember this is an astronomy meeting, not a geology one; there aren't many presentations on the surfaces of these worlds.
I currently plan to attend four of the five days, skipping Wednesday. Most days I will have to leave at 3:30 in order to pick up the kids, which sadly means I will miss the poster sessions and the best opportunity to shmooze. Maybe next year.
One extra thing I will be attending -- in fact, participating in -- is a special Career Pathways Panel at 10:30 on Sunday, part of the Early Career Scientist Workshop being organized by Rachel Mastrapa, from 9 am to 5 pm Sunday. (Thanks, Rachel, for the invitation!) Here's the announcement:
Career Pathways Pane
0:30 am in room 211 at the Pasadena Convention Center
The purpose of this panel is to provide advice to early career scientists regarding the challenges associated with following a career in planetary science and to introduce them to options that they may not be aware of.