Cassini, Cassini, Cassini

Cassini, Cassini, Cassini

Here at the Lunar and Planertary Sciences’ Conference, I think it is safe to say that Cassini is in the house. From weather on Titan, to seasonal variations on Enceladus, to cracking of Dione, you can’t throw an iPad (those are also in the house) without hitting a Cassini scientist. I’ve seen so much, I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed and don’t quite know where to start. Emily Lakdawalla and Nancy Atkinson are also here, and maybe the best place to start is to send you to their stories (but come back when you’re done?) Can NASA’s budget be saved (by Nancy Atkinson) first ever geologic map of Io (by Nancy Atkinson Notes from Titan Talks (by Emily Lakdawalla) Ready for the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference? (by Emily...

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Of NASA and Budgets

Of NASA and Budgets

Fine print: While I receive funding from NASA for some of my work, this blog post written by me as a private citizen. Today was the NASA Town Hall; that 1 or more hour window of time when some official from NASA stands at the podium and tells us how NASA will grow or crush our dreams. The very first NASA town hall meeting I attended was in 2003, at an LPSC meeting very much like the one I’m attending now, but that was a different economic time. It was actually the same week that we started bombing Iraq after 9/11. At that NASA Town Hall a woman whom I don’t remember stood up and outlined how over the next 10 years everything the planetary sciences field asked for in their Decadal Survey planning document was going to be built and flown. It was glorious. For every...

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Slow Science & Peer-Review

Slow Science & Peer-Review

Science moves slowly. That may seem like an odd statement when the pace of press releases and breaking news seems to imply that new discoveries are flying fast and furious, with labs making discoveries and publishing them almost before they’re ready for prime time. What is missing from this perspective are the realities of the funding cycle and publishing cycle. I just had to fill out a form that required me to list all my recent publications, and I realized that every publication I had submitted, first author or not, in 2011 has to be resubmitted to another journal because either no rational referee could be found (one paper included in the referee report “But I’m a biologist, not a social scientist, so maybe I just don’t get this.”...

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