Preliminary press conference program for planetary science meeting
September 15, 2016

The latest discoveries in planetary science, from comets to the Kuiper belt, will be featured in four press conferences at the joint 48th annual meeting of the Division for Planetary Sciences (DPS) of the American Astronomical Society (AAS) and 11th annual European Planetary Science Congress (EPSC). The meeting takes place at the Pasadena Convention Center, 300 East Green Street, Pasadena, California, from Sunday, 16 October, through Friday, 21 October 2016. More than 1,000 astronomers and planetary scientists from the United States, Europe, and around the world are expected to attend, and they’ll give some 1,200 presentations to communicate new results on our solar system as well as on extrasolar planetary systems from both ground- and space-based studies.

The AAS offers complimentary press registration to bona fide working journalists and public-information officers (PIOs); see details below. Meeting hashtag: #dpsepsc; you may also wish to follow @DPSMeeting, @europlanetmedia, and @AAS_Press on Twitter.

Main meeting website (including information on travel & lodging):

Science schedule & program:

Press information:

Complimentary Press Registration

Registration is free for bona fide media representatives, as described on our press-credentials page ( To request complimentary press registration, send an email message to AAS Press Officer Dr. Rick Fienberg ( by Monday, 19 September, with your name and media affiliation (or “freelance” if applicable). Upon confirming your eligibility, he’ll send you the URL of an online registration form and the required press-registration code. After 19 September you’ll have to stand in line and register on site at the meeting.

Press Facilities

A press office will be set up at the Pasadena Convention Center in room C208 and will be open to journalists and PIOs during normal conference hours. Among other amenities, it will offer workspace and wireless internet connectivity. Thanks to the Universities Space Research Association (USRA, for generously sponsoring the press office with refreshments and lunch vouchers for press registrants.

We will also have a quiet/interview room, C205, for use by press registrants. To reserve this room at a particular date and time, please fill out the sign-up sheet that will be posted on the door.

During the meeting you may reach DPS Press Officer Dr. Vishnu Reddy via cell phone at +1 808-342-8932 and EPSC Press Officer Anita Heward at +44 (0)77 5603 4243. Assisting in the press room is AAS Press Officer Dr. Rick Fienberg, +1 857-891-5649.

Press-Conference Schedule, Topics & Speakers

News briefings for the media will be conducted daily Monday-Thursday, 17-20 October, during the midday lunch break in room C211, which will be equipped with a sound system, mult-box, and wireless internet connectivity. Note that lunch is 12:30 to 2:00 pm PDT (UTC – 7h) on Monday but 12:00 to 1:30 pm PDT Tuesday-Thursday. The briefings themselves will begin at 12:45 pm PDT on Monday and at 12:15 pm PDT on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday; each will each last 1 hour. There is no press conference on Friday.

Following is the preliminary press-conference program, which is subject to change; several prospective speakers have yet to confirm their participation, and some presentations may be moved to different days. 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. Please review the complete AAS/DPS embargo policy ( before coming to Pasadena.

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, 17 October, 12:45 pm PDT

Recently Active Lava Flows on the Eastern Flank of Idunn Mons on Venus
Piero D’Incecco (German Aerospace Center)

On the Origin of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko
Mattia Galiazzo (University of Vienna)

A Creaking and Cracking Comet
Stubbe Hviid (German Aerospace Center)

Tuesday, 18 October, 12:15 pm PDT

Possible Clouds on Pluto
Alan Stern (Southwest Research Institute)
[103.01, 224.03]

Pluto’s Extreme Surface Reflectance Variations
Bonnie Buratti (NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory)

Landslides on Charon
Ross Beyer (NASA Ames Research Center)

Hubble Reveals that New Horizons Flyby Target 2014 MU69 Is Red
Susan Benecchi (Planetary Science Institute)

Wednesday, 18 October, 12:15 pm PDT

ExoMars 2016 Arrives at Mars
Olivier Witasse (European Space Agency)

NOMAD on ExoMars: First Results from Near Earth Commissioning and Mid-Cruise Checking
Ann Carine Vandaele (Royal Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy)

Science Highlights from MAVEN/IUVS After Two Years in Mars Orbit
Nicholas Schneider (University of Colorado, Boulder)

Early Results from the Juno Mission at Jupiter
Scott Bolton (Southwest Research Institute)

Corralling a Distant Unseen Planet with Extreme Resonant Kuiper Belt Objects
Renu Malhotra (University of Arizona)

The Search for Planet Nine
Michael Brown (Caltech)

Thursday, 17 October, 12:15 pm PDT

Search for New Molecules in Titan’s Stratosphere from Cassini
Athena Coustenis (Paris Observatory)

Going Out in a Blaze of Glory: Cassini’s Grand Finale
Linda Spilker (NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory)

Remote Access to Press Conferences

Journalists unable to attend the meeting in person may tune in to our Monday-Thursday briefings streamed live on the Web. Since the webcast includes audio, video, and PowerPoint slides, you must have a broadband (high-speed) Internet connection to watch and listen.

The webcast also includes a chat window whereby remote participants may ask questions. We can’t 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. Instructions for connecting to the webcast will appear in a subsequent advisory.

JPL Press Tour, Friday, 21 October

DPS/EPSC press registrants are invited to join us for a behind-the-scenes tour of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), operated by Caltech for NASA, on Friday morning, 21 October. Likely stops on the tour include the Space Flight Operations Facility (“mission control”) and the Spacecraft Assembly Facility, birthplace of many famous spacecraft and site of current work on NASA’s Mars 2020 mission. We should be back at the Pasadena Convention Center by midday, in time to attend the Friday-afternoon sessions at the DPS/EPSC meeting.

To sign up for the press tour, please email AAS Press Officer Rick Fienberg (, who will send you the URL of the sign-up form, which is separate from the press-registration form. International press registrants who wish to join the press tour must sign up by this Friday, 16 September, to give JPL time to process your security clearance.

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

Anita Heward
EPSC Press Officer
+44 (0)77 5603 4243

Rick Fienberg
AAS Press Officer
+1 857-891-5649