DPS 2001 meeting, November 2001
Session 14. Decadal Survey Posters
Displayed, 9:00am Tuesday - 3:00pm Saturday, Highlighted, Tuesday, November 27, 2001, 5:00-7:00pm, French Market Exhibit Hall

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[14.13] Comparative Understanding of Planetary Atmospheres

D. L. Huestis (SRI), S. K. Atreya (U. Michigan), S. J. Bolton (JPL), S. W. Bougher (U. Arizona), A. Coustenis (Paris-Meudon Obs.), S. G. Edgington, A. J. Friedson (JPL), C. A. Griffith (NAU), S. L. Guberman (ISR), H. B. Hammel (SSI), J. I. Lunine (U. Arizona), M. Mendillo (Boston U.), J. Moses (LPI), I. Mueller-Wodarg (U. Col. London), G. S. Orton (JPL), K. A. Rages (NASA Ames), T. G. Slanger (SRI), D. V. Titov (MPI Aeronomy), R. Yelle (NAU)

Observing, characterizing, and understanding planetary atmospheres are key components of solar system exploration. A planet's atmosphere is the interface between the surface and external energy and mass sources. Understanding how atmospheres are formed, evolve, and respond to perturbations is essential for addressing the long-range science objectives of identifying the conditions that are favorable for producing and supporting biological activity, managing the effects of human activity on the Earth's atmosphere, and planning and evaluating observations of extra-solar planets.

Our current knowledge, based on very few observations, indicates that the planets and moons in the solar system have diverse atmospheres with a number of shared characteristics. Comparing and contrasting solar system atmospheres provides the best means of addressing the broad scientific goals. Additional space missions with specific atmospheric objectives are required. At the same time, investment of additional resources is needed in the infrastructure of observation and interpretation of planetary atmospheres.

The Planetary Atmospheres Community Panel is considering and prioritizing potential recommendations in two broad categories. Possible recommendations that apply to multiple planets include creation of a new Comparative Planetary Atmospheres program, establishing a mechanism for secure funding for analysis and interpretation of mission data, creation of a new "Super-Discovery" program for more ambitious planetary missions, enhancement of laboratory and theory research, and deployment of space- or ground-based telescopes dedicated to planetary observations. Possible recommendations for specific planetary missions with atmospheric goals include deep-penetration multiprobes to determine elemental compositions of giant planet atmospheres, Venus and Mars atmospheric explorer missions, and a Post-Cassini atmospheric/surface mission to Titan.

If you would like more information about this abstract, please follow the link to http://www-mpl.sri.com/decadal/patm-home.html. This link was provided by the author. When you follow it, you will leave the Web site for this meeting; to return, you should use the Back comand on your browser.

The author(s) of this abstract have provided an email address for comments about the abstract: david.huestis@sri.com

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