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2 November 2015 (updated 4 Nov.)

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

The 47th annual meeting of the Division for Planetary Sciences (DPS) of the American Astronomical Society (AAS) convenes Sunday-Friday, 8-13 November 2015, at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center in National Harbor, MD, just outside Washington, DC. Hashtag: #dps15.

Remote Access to Press Conferences

As noted in an earlier media advisory, news briefings for the media will be held during the lunch break (12:00 pm to 1:30 pm EST) each day Monday-Thursday, 9-12 November (NOTE: Monday's briefing will begin at 12:15 pm EST and may run till 1:45 pm). These will be webcast live to accredited journalists and public-information officers (PIOs) who are unable to attend in person. Here's what you need to know to tune in.


  • The webcast includes audio, video, and PowerPoint slides, so you must have a broadband (high-speed) Internet connection to watch and listen.
  • Also, your Web browser must have the free Adobe Flash plug-in installed.
  • Finally, you need the meeting-specific password to access the webcast. Email AAS Press Officer Rick Fienberg for the password, which is for journalists and PIOs only. After the meeting, archived webcasts will be freely available publicly via our online archive.


  • Go to
  • Make sure your pop-up blocker is disabled or that it allows pop-ups from
  • Enter the password. The screen will refresh, loading a video and displaying an Open Chat Window button above it. If the video doesn't start playing automatically, press the Play () button.
  • Press the Open Chat Window button. You'll be asked to enter your name; please use your real first and last names, not a cutesy Internet nickname.
  • You can resize the chat window and move it to any convenient position on your screen.
  • To ask a question, type it into the input box near the bottom of the chat window and click the Send button.

Press-Conference Schedule, Topics & Speakers

News briefings are in Azalea 3, which will be equipped with a sound system, mult-box, and Internet connectivity. Following is the updated press-conference program, which remains subject to change but isn't likely to change much. 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.

MONDAY, 9 NOVEMBER 2015 (start time: 12:15 pm EST)

Opening Remarks
Curt Niebur (NASA Headquarters)

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)

Complimentary Press Registration

Registration for the meeting 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; alternatively, you may register onsite.

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).

AAS Press-Release-Distribution Service

If you don't already receive astronomy-related press releases forwarded by email from the AAS Press Office, you should sign up now to guarantee that you receive future meeting advisories as well as electronic copies of all press releases issued during the meeting. To sign up for the AAS press-release-distribution service, for which there is no charge, please send an email to AAS Press Officer Rick Fienberg with your name, media affiliation, mailing address, and phone, fax, and mobile numbers; if you're a journalist (not a public-information officer), please also state that you will respect any publication embargoes. Only accredited journalists and PIOs are eligible to receive press releases forwarded by the AAS, as described on our press-credentials page.