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Conference on the Exploration of Phobos and Deimos

March 14, 2011 @ 12:00 am PDT - March 16, 2011 @ 12:00 am PDT

Meeting Location and Date

The Second International Conference on the Exploration of Phobos and Deimos will be held at NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA, USA, on 14-16 March 2011.

Purpose and Scope

The Second International Conference on the Exploration of Phobos and Deimos, subtitled The Science, Robotic Reconnaissance, and Human Exploration of the Two Moons of Mars, will be the second international meeting focused on Phobos and Deimos, and on how their exploration relates to that of Mars and the Solar System. The conference will be an open international forum gathering scientists, engineers, space exploration professionals and students interested in discussing the status and advancement of the exploration of Mars’s satellites, the investigation of Near-Earth Objects (NEOs) and other small bodies in relation to the exploration of Phobos and Deimos, and the exploration of Mars itself through its moons.

The conference is being convened at a time of renewed interest in the exploration of Phobos and Deimos, with several international spacecraft missions and concept studies underway. Important new scientific data have also been obtained on Phobos by NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and ESA’s Mars Express spacecraft since the first conference at NASA Ames Research Center on 5-7 Nov 2007.

The human exploration of Phobos and Deimos has also entered the realm of programmatic possibilities recently. In the United States, the human exploration of Phobos was considered an attractive goal in the Augustine Commission’s “Flexible Path” option. And on 15 April, 2010, President Barack Obama announced: “Early in the next decade, a set of crewed flights will test and prove the systems required for exploration beyond low Earth orbit. And by 2025, we expect new spacecraft designed for long journeys to allow us to begin the first-ever crewed missions beyond the Moon into deep space. So we’ll start — we’ll start by sending astronauts to an asteroid for the first time in history. By the mid-2030s, I believe we can send humans to orbit Mars and return them safely to Earth. And a landing on Mars will follow. And I expect to be around to see it.”

The conference will be an opportunity to:

1.Review our scientific knowledge and key remaining unknowns regarding Phobos and Deimos, including their connection to Mars and the Solar System and its processes;

2.Hear updates and coordinate upcoming robotic reconnaissance efforts to Phobos and Deimos;

3.Discuss the exploration of other small bodies in the Solar System that may help advance our understanding and exploration of Phobos and Deimos.

4.Discuss the human exploration of Phobos and Deimos and their potential role in future human Mars exploration.

The anticipated outcome of the conference will be a clearer definition of the place Phobos and Deimos should hold in current plans for deep space and planetary exploration, robotic and manned, and of how their future exploration might be tied to the exploration of NEOs and Mars.

Conference Format

The Second International Conference on the Exploration of Phobos and Deimos, or “2nd PhD Conference”, will be held in sunny California at the NASA Ames Research Center on 14-16 March 2011.

The conference will be held just a few days after the 41st Lunar and Planetary Science Conference in The Woodlands, Texas (7-11 March 2011), to allow international participants to attend both events in a single trip to the United States should they desire to do so.

The conference is intended primarily for space scientists, engineers, space exploration professionals and students, but it will be open to the public (registration required for all to attend technical sessions). Abstracts are solicited in any one of three themes relating to the exploration of Phobos and Deimos: Science, Robotic Reconnaissance, and Human Exploration. Submissions pertaining to the exploration of NEOs will also be considered, as long as their relevance to the exploration of Phobos and Deimos is clearly described. Accepted abstracts will be collected in a Conference Abstracts book to be published by the Mars Institute and the SETI Institute.

The conference will comprise a single-track plenary venue for oral presentations (invited talks and selected oral contributions), and a poster gallery in which posters will remain on display for the duration of the conference. Four plenary sessions for oral presentations are planned. The first three will each be dedicated to one of the following themes: 1) Science; 2) Robotic Reconnaissance; 3) Human Exploration. The fourth plenary session will be dedicated to formulating a Synthesis & Recommendations for Next Steps. Each session will include an opening invited talk, a series of selected oral presentations, time for brief questions and answers after each talk, and additional time for an open plenary discussion at the end of the session.

The conference will also feature special events, including a Welcome Reception; a Keynote Talk by Dr. S. Peter Worden, Director, NASA Ames Research Center; a Space Art Exhibit sponsored by the International Association of Astronomical Artists (IAAA) and the Mars Institute; and a ceremony to present the Mars Institute’s “Asaph Hall Best Student Paper Award” to an undergraduate or graduate student.

Special Events

Special Events will include the following:

Welcome Reception in the afternoon of Monday, 14 March 2011, hosted by the Mars Institute.

Keynote Talks

15 March,

12:00 – 1:30 pm:

Dr S. Peter Worden


NASA Ames Research Center

“Near-Earth Objects, Phobos and Deimos in the Next Decade”

“Small Worlds” Space Art Exhibit relating to the exploration of NEOs, Phobos, Deimos, and Mars, sponsored by the International Association of Astronomical Artists (IAAA) and the Mars Institute. The exhibit will be co-hosted by planetary scientist and space artist Dr. William K. Hartmann of the Planetary Science Institute, and by space artist Walter Myers.

Mars Institute “Asaph Hall Best Student Paper Award” ceremony during which the Mars Institute will present an award certificate and a USD$500 prize to the student who will have first-authored the most noteworthy research abstract or poster relating to the exploration of Phobos and/or Deimos, as judged by the Conveners of the conference.

Call for Abstracts

Abstracts may be submitted for oral or poster presentation. Given the limited number of oral presentation opportunities available, not all requests for oral presentations are likely to be accommodated. Abstracts should be a maximum of 1 page in length and conform to the following standard format http://archive.seti.org/docs/PD2011_Abstract_Template.doc. Only electronic submissions will be accepted. The deadline for submission of abstracts is Monday, 24 January 2011, 9:00 pm Pacific Standard Time.

Note: Submission of an abstract or getting it selected is not required to attend the conference. All participants, however, must register in order to attend the conference.


Registration is required for all attendees of the technical sessions (i.e., participants of the conference), including members of the public who wish to attend the technical sessions. The “Small Worlds” space art exhibition at the conference venue will be open to the public and free.

Participants are encouraged to register as early as possible to benefit from the lowest possible registration fee. The conference registration fee schedule is as follows:

Registration (online)
Mon, 28 Feb 2011

On-Site Registration (14-16 Mar 2011)
15 March 2011

Student Registration
15 March 2011

Student participants are welcome. Students are encouraged to register online prior to the online registration deadline and must present documented proof of current enrollment in an academic program at the time of the conference to be admitted at Student Registration rates.

Transportation and Parking

All transportation to and from the conference site must be arranged by the conference attendees themselves. The nearest major airports to the conference site are San Jose International (SJC) located 10 miles to the southeast of Moffett Field, CA, and San Francisco International (SFO) located 30 miles to the northwest. Free parking will be available to all registered conference attendees outside the conference venue.


All accommodations for lodging must be made by the conference attendees themselves.

There are many hotels and motels in or near Mountain View, CA, near NASA Ames Research Center. A block of rooms at the NASA Lodge will be reserved for pre-registered conference attendees who wish to stay at the NASA Research Park, subject to availability.

Food and Beverages

Food and beverages may be purchased from an accredited vendor on site during regular business hours. No dinner service is available at the conference venue. Attendees with special dietary needs should contact Ms. Kira Lorber, Mars Institute Logistics Manager, regarding those needs by 28 February 2011 at: kira.lorber@marsinstitute.net


Foreign nationals wishing to participate in the conference will be required to provide passport information in order to be granted access to NASA Ames Research Center. Details about the procedure to follow will be provided via a later update to the present announcement on the conference registration website.

Travel Assistance

It is anticipated that a limited number of Travel Grants will be available for some categories of students with selected abstract submissions. Students needing travel support in order to participate in the conference in person should indicate so on their abstract submission form. Both US and International students may qualify for student travel support, although only limited support may be awarded. Additional details regarding available travel assistance will be provided at a later date at the conference registration website.

Contact Info

Dr. Pascal Lee

Mars Institute, SETI Institute & NASA Ames Research Center

NASA Ames Research Center, MS 245-3

Moffett Field, CA 94035-1000, USA

Tel: +1 408 687-7103

E-mail: pascal.lee@marsinstitute.net

Posted by: Soderman/NLSI Staff



March 14, 2011 @ 12:00 am PDT
March 16, 2011 @ 12:00 am PDT
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