53rd DPS Meeting

DPS 53 Press Information

DPS 2021
53rd Annual Meeting of the Division for Planetary Sciences
Virtually Anywhere
3 – 8 October 2021

30 September 2021 (updated 7 October)


Dr. Shantanu Naidu
DPS Press Officer
+1 917-373-8840 (cell)

Dr. Susanna Kohler
AAS Communications Manager & Press Officer
+1 202-328-2010 x127

The 53rd annual meeting of the American Astronomical Society (AAS) Division for Planetary Sciences (DPS) will be held virtually Sunday, 3 October, through Friday, 8 October 2021. The AAS/DPS offers complimentary press registration to bona fide working journalists and public information officers (PIOs); see details below. We will hold daily press conferences via Zoom Monday–Thursday, 4–7 October, to showcase some of the most exciting discoveries being presented at the meeting.

In addition to the briefings, the meeting will feature a rich science program including plenary sessions with live panel discussions, prerecorded oral presentations, digital interactive iPosters on the Web, and Q&A/discussions with presenters and fellow attendees via Slack.

Some 600 planetary scientists, journalists, and others are already registered, with many more expected to register by the time the conference begins. The meeting hashtag is #DPS2021; you may also wish to follow @DPSMeeting and @AAS_Press on Twitter.

DPS 53 Meeting Links:

Press Registration

To request complimentary press registration, first check our eligibility criteria, then send an email message to DPS Press Officer Dr. Shantanu Naidu with your name and media affiliation (or “freelance” if applicable). Upon confirming your eligibility, he’ll email you a special promotional code that you can use to register for the meeting the same way regular attendees do, i.e., via the DPS 53 registration page. For step-by-step instructions on what to do next, see the DPS 53 press information page.

Please register as soon as possible. Advance press registration deadline: Sunday, 3 October 2021. If you wait until the meeting is under way, we may not be able to process your registration in time for you to attend that day’s events. See our current list of press registrants to find out which of your fellow science writers are already planning to join us online.


Thanks to the Universities Space Research Association (USRA) for generously sponsoring the DPS 2020 virtual press office!

Press Conference Schedule, Topics & Speakers

Daily press conferences will be conducted via Zoom for press registrants and any other meeting registrants wishing to attend. They’ll also be live-streamed on the AAS Press Office YouTube channel for other interested people who have not registered for the meeting. You will not be able to ask questions via YouTube — to do that, you need to register for the meeting and join the briefings via Zoom. The briefings will be archived on the AAS Press Office YouTube channel afterward.

Following is the press-conference program, which remains subject to change. Corresponding abstract numbers are shown in [square brackets]. Briefings are scheduled as follows (all times are EDT = UTC – 4 hours); each briefing will last 1 hour, including time for Q&A:

All findings are embargoed until the time of presentation at the meeting. “Time of presentation” means the start time of the session in which the paper will be given, or the start time of the corresponding press conference (if any), whichever comes first. See the complete AAS/DPS embargo policy for more information.

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.

Added 4 October 2021: Within 24 hours after each briefing, we add a link to the archived video on the AAS Press Office YouTube channel. We also link presentation titles to the speakers' presentation files (PDFs) when provided. These files are for personal use only. If you wish to publish or otherwise reproduce any of the content in these files, you must obtain permission from the presenters — otherwise you may be in violation of copyright law. If you need help contacting a presenter, email AAS Press Officer Susanna Kohler.

Monday, 4 October 2021, 11:00 am EDT  YouTube Video

Recurrent Activity from a Main Belt Comet
Colin Chandler (Northern Arizona University)
[110.03] | Press Release

The Nucleus and Dust Tail of an Active Asteroid
Henry Hsieh (Planetary Science Institute)
[110.04] | Press Release

More Evidence that Pluto's Atmosphere Is Freezing Out
Eliot Young (Southwest Research Institute)
[114.06] | Press Release

Telescopic and Lab Investigations of the Surfaces of Active and Cometary Near-Earth Objects 
Theodore Kareta (University of Arizona)

Tuesday, 5 October 2021, 11:00 am EDT  YouTube Video

Col-OSSOS: The BrightIR and FaintIR Taxonomy for Kuiper Belt Objects
Wesley Fraser (Herzberg Astronomy and Astrophysics Research Centre)

Possible Connections Between an Unusual Micrometeorite and Dwarf Planet Ceres
Maitrayee Bose (Arizona State University)
[204.05] | Press Release

Lightcurve Observations in Support of the DART Mission: Understanding the Orbit of the Didymos-Dimorphos System
Cristina Thomas (Northern Arizona University)
[113.02] | Press Release

The Exotic Atmosphere of an Extreme World: Detection of Ionized Calcium in WASP-76b
Emily Deibert (University of Toronto) and Jake Turner (Cornell University)
[302.04D] | Cornell U. Press Release | U. of Toronto Press Release | Queen's U. Belfast Press Release

Wednesday, 6 October 2021, 11:00 am EDT  YouTube Video

Tight Twins in the Kuiper Belt
Hal Weaver (Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory)

Active Asteroids Citizen Science
Colin Chandler (Northern Arizona University)
[507.04] | Press Release

NASA’s OSIRIS-REx Team Discovers Why Bennu and Asteroids Like It Have Surprisingly Rugged Surfaces
Saverio Cambioni (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)
[104.05] | U. of Arizona Press Release | CNRS Press Release | INAF Press Release (in Italian)

Thursday, 7 October 2021, 11:00 am EDT  YouTube Video

Evaluation of Bioburden Requirements for Mars Missions
Amanda Hendrix (Planetary Science Institute)
National Academies Press Release | Planetary Science Inst. Press Release

The NASA Lucy Mission and Its Newest Target
Simone Marchi (Southwest Research Institute)

All registrants should have received email instructions for navigating the meeting program and accessing the live and prerecorded sessions. If you don’t receive instructions for logging in to the meeting by Friday, 1 October, please contact the AAS Press Officer and/or the DPS Press Officer (contact info appears at the top of this page).

Join the AAS Press List

If you don't already receive press releases by email from the AAS Press Office, you should sign up now to guarantee that you receive future meeting advisories as well as other important announcements. To sign up at no charge, please fill out and submit the form you'll find linked from our Join the AAS Press List page. With few exceptions, only accredited journalists and PIOs are eligible to receive press releases from the AAS, as described on our press-credentials page.