This year’s conference will feature the following special sessions:
Special Session on MESSENGER at Mercury: As of the time of the conference, MESSENGER will have completed its primary orbital mission at Mercury, and the MESSENGER Extended Mission will have just begun. The session will provide a forum for the presentation of new findings from one year’s worth of global monochrome, color, stereo, and targeted high-resolution imaging of Mercury’s surface; global maps of surface elemental composition; global spectral reflectance measurements from ultraviolet to near-infrared wavelengths; the global determination of Mercury’s topographic, magnetic, and gravitational fields; a first assessment of the composition of Mercury’s polar deposits; four Mercury years of observations of Mercury’s changeable exosphere; and a continuous sampling of Mercury’s extraordinarily dynamic magnetosphere and charged particle environment as our Sun approaches its next maximum in activity. These global observations now enable a broad range of investigative comparisons of Mercury with the Moon and other inner planets.
Special Session on Dawn at Vesta: Dawn has been orbiting Vesta since July 2011 and mapping its surface morphology and composition at ever-increasing resolution using visible, infrared, and gamma-ray mapping tools. Vesta is one of three planetary bodies from which we have known samples (for Vesta, in the form of HED meteorites). This special session will include a broad range of investigations into cratering history, geologic formations, and interior structure. The role of the large impact basins at the south pole has also been revealed by orbital mapping. The session will also focus on surface composition, how those different compositional units relate to HED meteorites, and how they might have been ejected from the surface. Geologic maps of the surface based on imaging from the high-resolution mapping orbit will be included, as well as initial gamma-ray and neutron and initial gravity data obtained from the low-altitude mapping orbit.
Dawn Over Vesta I, Thursday Afternoon, March 22, 1:30 p.m., Waterway Ballroom 5
Dawn Over Vesta II, Friday Morning, March 23, 8:30 a.m., Waterway Ballroom 5
Dawn Over Vesta III, Friday Afternoon, March 23, 1:30 p.m., Waterway Ballroom 5
Special Session on A Season in the Saturn System: New Discoveries and Seasonal Changes: Titan and the icy satellites of Saturn have been under careful observation by the Cassini spacecraft for seven years, from southern summer into northern spring. Observations have yielded detections of change in surfaces, plumes, clouds and lakes, as well as important snapshots in time data on moons such as Dione and Rhea. This special session will include presentations (both invited and contributed) concerning new results in the Saturn system, and observations, modeling, and predictions of active processes on the surfaces of satellites in light of seasonal change.
Special Session on Planetary Hydrology: Earth, Mars, Titan, and Beyond: Hydrological processes involving the transport of volatiles in liquid form (including non-water chemistries based on methane and ethane) in the subsurface, across the surface, and through the atmosphere are known to have been active on the Earth, Mars, and Titan, and are speculated to have occurred on other solar system bodies as well. Such fluid activity has resulted in both physical and chemical modification of the surface and subsurface of these worlds, including surface erosion and alteration, sedimentary deposition, precipitation and dissolution reactions resulting in evaporitic and karstic activity, hydrothermal activity, and metamorphism. This session will cover planetary hydrology and analogous hydrocarbon processes from both theoretical and observational standpoints. Contributions may include geological and remote sensing evidence for past and present hydrological activity, modeling and experimental studies of hydrological processes, laboratory and theoretical investigations of hydrologically mediated chemical reactions, and Earth analog studies. The scope of the session will include the subsurface, surface, and atmospheric components of the liquid volatile cycles on different solar system bodies, with an emphasis on big-picture and comparative studies.