- We took at look at six more abstracts submitted for next month's Lunar and Planetary Science Conference. We saw how Jani Radebaugh's research group up at Brigham Young University have looked at the distribution of dark-floored paterae on Io and how that might relate to tidal heating models as well as temperature estimates of a few of the fainter hotspots seen in Cassini eclipse data acquired at the turn of the millennium. We saw how Julie Rathbun and John Spencer continue to delve into their ground-based observations of Io taken during the New Horizons encounter and this data puts the NH results in context. We saw how McDoniel et al.'s DSMC modeling of Ionian volcanic plumes have shown that even irregularly-shaped vents can produce roughly symmetric plumes (except for close to the vent) and plume deposits. Finally, we took another look at the Io Volcano Observer proposal and the proposal team's work to optimize their thermal instrument's bandpasses to best support Io science.
- The NASA/ESA Outer Planet Flagship Mission downselection panel meeting took place on Thursday, February 12. While the panel's decision (whether they picked one mission or passed the buck to yet another committee...) has not been publicly announced, the more detailed final reports for the different NASA and ESA components of these two mission were finally publicly released. The release of these reports has allowed me (and Van Kane over at Future Planetary Exploration) to report on the instruments and potential scientific return of these two missions. So far I have primarily focused on the possible science results at Io, particularly of JEO in general and by the Ice-Penetrating Radar in particular.
Sunday, February 15, 2009
Well, the flagship mission downselection wasn't announced last week, but that doesn't mean last week wasn't quite busy as we took at look at several more LPSC abstracts and the more detailed reports for the Europa/Jupiter System Mission. So let's take a look back at the week that was at the Gish Bar Times for those who are just joining us: