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2010 Annual Science Report

NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory - Titan Reporting  |  SEP 2009 – AUG 2010

NAI Focus Group: Icy Satellites Environments Focus Group (ISEFoG)

Project Summary

This focus group provides a forum for cross-team multidisciplinary discussions related to icy outer solar system satellite processes.

4 Institutions
3 Teams
0 Publications
0 Field Sites
Field Sites

Project Progress

Carl Pilcher requested that Pat Beauchamp and Kevin Hand organize a focus group with emphasis on the icy moons. Pat submitted a proposal to do this and it was accepted. A lively first meeting was held during lunchtime on the first day of AbSciCon. Over 30 people attended, and many more emailed their interest but were unable to attend. A name for the group–Icy Satellites Environments Focus Group (ISEFoG)–was decided upon by the participants and several actions were initiated, the first being the establishment of quarterly virtual seminars by students and experienced researchers. Two of these occurred—one in June and one in September. It was also decided that we have a cross-cutting icy satellite workshop in 2012 and some of the topics suggested were:

Comparison of oceans on icy satellites; Age dating of icy satellites; Chemical processes on icy satellites; Nature of astrobiologically useful orbital measurements; Sea-ice and sea-water interactions. There was a strong sentiment to have the workshop in conjunction with an OPAG meeting, so Pat took the action of coordinating this. OPAG is enthusiastic about it. People also felt that the interaction of this group to OPAG should be strong and indeed to any other NASA or international group that was interested in this topic. To this end, we had the Chair of OPAG, Bill McKinnon talk at the second virtual seminar and Pat Beauchamp was asked to speak about ISEFoG at the last OPAG meeting. A third topic of interest at the first meeting was the possibility of a Europa Surface Science Package, so the ISEFoG community was polled for their inputs, which were taken back to the Jupiter Europa Orbiter pre-project team.

Minutes from the first meeting were circulated, and an email list of participants and interested parties has been generated and maintained at JPL. All ISEFoG material, including seminar charts, has been posted on the NAI website under the focus group tab. The one open action remaining from that first meeting is to strengthen the international collaboration, which Pat has agreed to undertake this coming year.

    Jesse Beauchamp
    Project Investigator

    Objective 1.1
    Formation and evolution of habitable planets.

    Objective 2.2
    Outer Solar System exploration

    Objective 3.1
    Sources of prebiotic materials and catalysts

    Objective 3.2
    Origins and evolution of functional biomolecules