Final Announcement — August 1998
Where and When
The Mars Polar Science and Exploration Conference is now scheduled to begin on Sunday, October 18, 1998, at the Episcopal Conference Center at Camp Allen near Navasota, Texas. Dinner will be served from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. (one hour earlier than previously announced) so that we can begin the first session at 7:30 p.m. in the large meeting room at the Conference Center. The last bus departing from Houston Intercontinental Airport to Camp Allen will leave the airport at 5:00 p.m. (not at 6:00 p.m. as previously announced) to accommodate the early start of the technical sessions on Sunday evening.
In response to the high level of interest expressed by potential participants from both the terrestrial and Mars polar science communities, the program committee has advanced the official start of the Mars Polar Conference by scheduling a special keynote session, to be held Sunday evening, October 18, from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. This special session will include invited talks by Michael Carr (Water on Mars) and Helgi Björnsson (Glaciology of Iceland: Ice, Fire and Water, Processes and Landforms) that will provide important summaries of some of the latest work relevant to Mars and terrestrial polar research.
Purpose and Scope
The purpose of this conference is to assess the current state of Mars polar research; discuss what is likely to be learned from upcoming missions; and identify potential science objectives, spacecraft platform options, and instrument suites for a Surveyor-, Discovery-, or Micro-class mission to the north polar cap within the next decade. This meeting is intended to advance such a mission and serve as an important resource for those scientists wishing to develop instruments, propose spacecraft, or participate as a member of a science team, in response to any future NASA Research Announcement or Announcement of Opportunity.
In recognition of the broad scope, interdisciplinary nature, and strong international interest in this topic, a concerted effort was made to expand beyond the traditional Mars research community and encourage the participation of scientists engaged in terrestrial polar science and climate research. This effort has been tremendously successful, with terrestrial scientists accounting for roughly half of the submitted indications of interest, conference abstracts, and invited speakers.
To promote the exchange of new ideas, and rigorously assess our current understanding of the martian polar regions, the conference format will place a heavy emphasis on discussion. Each morning will begin with a review of that day's agenda and key questions. Formal talks will be kept to a minimum and will emphasize both the current state of research and important issues that remain outstanding. These talks will be presented in, and supplemented by, a number of special sessions that are scheduled throughout the meeting. These include:
Special Oral Presentations
- Keynote Session (Sunday night)
- Summary of Our Current Understanding of the Martian Polar Regions (Monday morning, I)
- Overview of Planned Investigations (Monday afternoon, II)
- Exploration Technologies and Platforms (Tuesday afternoon, I)
- Future Exploration (Wednesday afternoon, II)
Conference Reception and Poster Session (Tuesday night)
Moderated Panel Discussions on Key Issues and Needed Observations
- Geology, Composition, Age, and Stratigraphy (Monday afternoon, II)
- Seasonal and Climatic Evolution (Tuesday morning, I)
- Glaciology and Hydrology (Tuesday morning, II)
- Exobiology (Wednesday evening)
- Exploration Technologies and Platforms (Wednesday afternoon, I)
Summary Panel Discussions
- Key Issues and Needed Observations: Critique and Reality Check (Wednesday morning, I)
- A Road Map for Mars Polar Science and Exploration (Thursday morning, I)
Altogether, approximately 50% of the program has been set aside for questions and answers and moderated discussion.
OPPORTUNITIES FOR PARTICIPATION
To maximize the time available for discussion and debate, and to ensure that the scope of the meeting is kept sufficiently narrow to productively address several key issues, invited oral presentations have been kept to a minimum. Those talks that have been scheduled are intended to provide a common foundation and framework that the conference participants will explore and flesh out during the subsequent discussion. Attendees will have the opportunity to offer substantive oral comments during the Q&A period following each presentation, and during the many moderated and open discussion periods identified throughout the program.
The restricted number of oral presentations has significantly heightened the importance of contributed posters as a means of presenting in-depth discussion of new ideas and the results of late-breaking research. For this reason, all posters will remain on display throughout the duration of the conference and will be the focus of a special two-hour session Monday night. Additional details are described in the section below.
SPEAKER AND POSTER INFORMATION
Speakers will have two slide projectors and two overhead projectors for dual-screen projection to support their talks. Poster presentations will be assigned a space 44" × 44" on display boards with white backgrounds. You may install your poster beginning Sunday, October 18, at 5:00 p.m., and all posters may remain on the display boards until noon on Thursday, October 22. Posters may be installed with push pins that will be available at the conference registration desk. If you have any questions or special requests concerning equipment support for your presentation, please contact LeBecca Simmons no later than October 5 through e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, by telephone at 281-486-2158, or by fax at 281-486-2160.
On Wednesday evening conference participants will be treated to a Texas-style barbecue dinner. The dinner will be held from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. at an outdoor pavilion near a small lake at Camp Allen. Casual clothing and light jackets or sweaters are suggested attire for this event.
The preregistration fee is $160 for professionals or $100 for students. Members of the press will not be charged a fee. Any participant who chooses to stay at one of the motels or "bed and breakfast" facilities in Navasota instead of arranging for accommodation at Camp Allen will be charged an additional fee of $120 to cover their group meals (see the "Meeting Location/Accommodation" section). The deadline for registering at this rate is September 18, 1998. Starting September 19, all registrations will be assessed a $20 late charge. The downloadable preregistration form must be accompanied by your payment. Foreign participants who state on the preregistration form that they have a currency exchange problem may pay in cash at the meeting and avoid the $20 late fee if they return the form by the September 18 deadline. An electronic preregistration form is available for those participants registering by credit card. Note: Cancellations with requests for refunds will be accepted only through October 9.
Walk-in registration will be allowed at the fees shown above, plus the $20 late charge. Registration will be held beginning on Sunday evening, October 18, in the Episcopal Conference Center lobby at Camp Allen from 5:00 to 7:30 p.m. Light refreshments will be served during this evening registration period. Dinner will be served from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Registration will continue the following morning at 7:30 a.m. at the same location.
CONFERENCE CENTER HOUSING
The meeting will be held at the Episcopal Conference Center at Camp Allen near Navasota, Texas. Camp Allen is located on an 800-acre forested site that includes a 12-acre lake. The facility is located about one hour (by car) from Houston Intercontinental Airport. The location is designed to allow groups to work in a relaxed and isolated setting. Guests are encouraged to bring casual clothing in order to enjoy the outdoor activities and relaxed environment at Camp Allen.
This facility has guest housing available at $75 per night for single occupancy and $65 per person, per night, double occupancy. These nightly rates include tax. The rooms are motel-like accommodations with private baths. The nightly rate includes three meals each day and use of the swimming pool, tennis courts, basketball and volleyball courts, nature trails, and sports pavilion. Room reservations at Camp Allen must be made no later than September 18, 1998. You may call the Conference Center at 409-825-7175 or send a fax to 409-825-8495. Accommodations at Camp Allen are available to conference participants only for the nights of October 18-22. If you plan to arrive in the Houston area on Saturday, October 17, or if your return flight is not until October 23, you will need to have your travel agent make hotel reservations for you in Houston.
If you prefer to stay in Navasota (~20 miles from Camp Allen), we have provided a list of available hotels. Please note that your conference registration fee will be higher to allow you to participate in the group meals served during the meeting at Camp Allen. No transportation will be provided to and from the Conference Center from the Navasota hotels.
TRANSPORTATION — Note Critical Change in Bus Schedule!
Buses have been chartered to take participants to the conference facility from the George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston. Buses will now depart from the airport at 3:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. (changed from 6:00 p.m.) on Sunday, October 18. You will find these buses at the baggage claim level of Terminal C at the George Bush Intercontinental Airport. The buses will have a "Camp Allen" sign in the front window. The drivers will have a list of people who plan to ride the bus for each scheduled departure time. If you have questions, or if you miss your bus, call Camp Allen at 409-825-7175. Buses will leave Camp Allen to return participants to the airport on Thursday, October 22, at 2:00 p.m. The trip will take about 1.5 hours.
If you are arriving at Houston's Hobby Airport and wish to take one of these buses to Camp Allen, you can get a shuttle service from Hobby Airport to Intercontinental Airport with Express Shuttle USA. The rate for this airport-to-airport service is $17 per person, one way. The Express Shuttle USA operates daily from 7:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. with shuttles leaving every 30 minutes from Hobby Airport to Intercontinental. If you have questions regarding this service, the telephone number is 713-523-8888.
Please indicate on the preregistration form if you plan to take one of the chartered buses to the meeting location. If you are renting a car or driving your own vehicle to Camp Allen, please see the maps and detailed instructions for locating the facility.
When you are planning your travel, please remember that Sunday night registration will be held from 5:00 to 7:30 p.m., and that dinner will be served from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. that evening. If your arrival at the meeting location will be later than 7:00 p.m., you may want to have dinner in Houston before driving to Camp Allen. This is a remote site and there are no restaurants convenient to the Conference Center. The conference dates have been changed to reflect the fact that the conference begins at 7:30 p.m. on Sunday, October 18. The first session will begin immediately following dinner.
While you are at the conference, you may be reached by telephone at 409-825-7175, or by fax at 409-825-8495. Messages will be posted on a message board in the Conference Center lobby, and will not be delivered to your sleeping room or to the meeting room except in the event of an emergency.
Those who bring a laptop computer will have accessible telephone jacks to make Internet connections in their motel room.
For information regarding the format and scientific objectives of the conference, contact:
Questions concerning meeting logistics should be directed to:
Mars Polar Conference
Lunar and Planetary Institute
3600 Bay Area Boulevard
Houston TX 77058