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22 October 2015

Dr. Vishnu Reddy
DPS Press Officer
+1 808-342-8932

Pluto and its moons, Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, and potentially hazardous asteroids will have their day in the Sun when they're featured in four press conferences at the 47th annual meeting of the Division for Planetary Sciences (DPS) of the American Astronomical Society (AAS). The meeting convenes Sunday-Friday, 8-13 November 2015, at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center, 201 Waterfront St., National Harbor, MD, just outside Washington, DC, and is expected to draw more than 500 astronomers and planetary scientists. Other topics featured in the briefings include new observations of planets in our solar system and beyond; changes on moons of Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn; and new ideas about planetary-system formation and evolution. Twitter hashtag: #dps15

The DPS offers complimentary press registration to bona fide working journalists and public-information officers (PIOs); see details below.

Meeting links:

Complimentary Press Registration

Registration is free for bona fide media representatives, as described on our press-credentials page. Please contact DPS Press Officer Dr. Vishnu Reddy to reserve your meeting badge prior to your arrival in National Harbor. Onsite press registration is also available.

Press Office & Contact Info

A press office will be set up at the Gaylord in Azalea 2 and will be open to journalists and PIOs during normal conference hours Monday-Thursday and on Friday morning. Among other amenities, it will offer workspace and wireless Internet connectivity.

During the meeting you may reach DPS Press Officer Dr. Vishnu Reddy via cell phone at +1 808-342-8932. Assisting in the press room is AAS Press Officer Dr. Rick Fienberg (cell +1 857-891-5649).

Press-Conference Schedule, Topics & Speakers

News briefings for the media will be conducted during the lunch break (12:00 pm to 1:30 pm EST) each day Monday-Thursday, 9-12 November, in Azalea 3, which will be equipped with a sound system, mult-box, and Internet connectivity.

Following is the preliminary press-conference program, which is subject to change. In [square brackets] under each speaker’s name is the session or paper number on which their presentation is based, where applicable.

All findings are embargoed until the time of presentation at the meeting. “Time of presentation” means the start time of the oral or poster session in which the paper will be given, or the start time of the corresponding press conference (if any), whichever comes first. The complete AAS/DPS embargo policy is online here:

Note: All new discoveries are subject to confirmation by independent teams of scientists. Inclusion here does not imply endorsement by the American Astronomical Society or the Division for Planetary Sciences. The AAS and DPS do not endorse individual scientific results.


The New Horizons Encounter with the Pluto System: Overview
Alan Stern (Southwest Research Institute)
[100, 101, 102, 105, 200, 210] 

New Horizons Geology Discoveries
Oliver White (NASA Ames Research Center)
[102.03, 210.06]
New Horizons Atmospheric Discoveries
Leslie Young (Southwest Research Institute)
Pluto’s Small Satellites Surprise
Mark Showalter (SETI Institute)
Cratering on Pluto and Charon
Kelsi Singer (Southwest Research Institute)
Cratering Implications
Alex Parker (Southwest Research Institute)
A Seasonal Feature in Mercury’s Exosphere Caused by Meteoroids from Comet Encke
Apostolos Christou (Armagh Observatory, UK)
Surface Evolution from Orbital Decay on Phobos
Terry Hurford (NASA Goddard Space Flight Center)
Lunar Volatile Depletion Due to Incomplete Accretion Within an Impact-Generated Disk
Robin Canup (Southwest Research Institute)

A Quantitative Criterion for Defining Planets
Jean-Luc Margot (University of California, Los Angeles)
NEOWISE Reactivation Mission Year One: Preliminary Asteroid Diameters and Albedos
Carolyn Nugent (Caltech/IPAC)
Main-Belt Source Regions for Potentially Hazardous Near-Earth Asteroids and Sample Return Targets
Richard Binzel (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)
ChemCam at Gale Crater: Highlights and Discoveries from Three Years of Chemical Measurements on Mars
Diana Blaney (NASA/JPL-Caltech)
Monstrous Ice Cloud System in Titan’s Present South Polar Stratosphere
Carrie Anderson (NASA Goddard Space Flight Center)
Under an Orange Sky: The Many Implications of Organic Haze for Earth-like Planets
Giada Arney (University of Washington)
Large Binocular Telescope Observations of Europa Occulting Io’s Volcanoes at 4.8 Microns
Michael Skrutskie (University of Virginia)
Evidence for an Impact Event on (493) Griseldis
David Tholen (University of Hawaii)
The 67P Nucleus Composition and Temporal Variations Observed by the OSIRIS Cameras Onboard Rosetta
Sonia Fornasier (LESIA-Observatoire de Paris, CNRS)
Observed Changes in the Physical Environment and Chemistry in the Inner Coma of 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko
Dennis Bodewits (University of Maryland)

Discovery and Follow-up of 51 Eri b, a Directly Imaged Jupiter-like Exoplanet, and Status of the GPIES Campaign
Franck Marchis (SETI Institute)

Remote Access to Press Conferences

Journalists unable to attend the meeting in person should be able to tune in to our Monday-Thursday briefings streamed live on the Web. We will be using a new audiovisual contractor and possibly a different streaming service than we’ve used in the past, but we still expect to provide audio, video, and PowerPoint slides via the webcast, so you will need a broadband (high-speed) Internet connection to watch and listen.

The webcast should also include a provision whereby remote participants may ask questions. We won’t be able to guarantee that all questions received from webcast viewers will be asked aloud — it depends on how much time we have and how many questions we’re getting from onsite reporters.

Details of the webcasts will be included in a subsequent media advisory and online on our press-information page.