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Lunar and Planetary Institute


National Aeronautics and
Space Administration


NASA Mars Program Office


International Space
Science Institute


Swiss Federal Institute for Snow
and Avalanche Research

SLF Davos


European Space Agency




Stephen Clifford,
Lunar and Planetary Institute


Walter Ammann,
Swiss Federal Institute for Snow
and Avalanche Research


Kathryn Fishbaugh,
International Space
Science Institute


David Fisher,
Geological Survey of Canada


James Head III,
Brown University


Science Organizing Committee


Nobuhiko Azuma,
Nagaoka University of


Christine Hvidberg,
University of Copenhagen

Dorthe Dahl-Jensen,
University of Copenhagen


Bernard Schmidt, 
Laboratorie de Planétologie
de Grenoble


Lonnie Thompson,
Byrd Polar Research Center


Thorsteinn Thorsteinsson,
National Energy Authority
and University of Iceland


Eske Willerslev,
University of Copenhagen


David Beaty,
Mars Program Office, NASA JPL


Jean-Pierre Bibring,
Institut d'Astrophysique

Spatiale, Orsay


William Boynton,
University of Arizona


Mike Carr,
U.S. Geological Survey,
Menlo Park


Francois Costard,
Université Paris-Sud


Peter Doran,
University of Illinois
at Chicago


William Durham,
Lawrence Livermore
National Laboratory


Francois Forget,
Université Paris 6


Robert Haberle,
NASA Ames Research Center


Ken Herkenhoff,
U.S. Geological Survey,


Ralf Jaumann,
Deutches Zentrum für Luft-
und Raumfahrt (DLR


Oleg Korablev,
Russian Space Institute (IKI)


Gian-Gabrielle Ori,
International Research
School of Planetary
Sciences, Universita'


Jeffrey Plaut,
NASA Jet Propulsion


James Rice Jr.,
Arizona State University


Patrick Russell,
University of Bern


David Smith,
NASA Goddard Space
Flight Center


Peter Smith,
University of Arizona


Leslie Tamppari,
NASA Jet Propulsion


Ken Tanaka,
U.S. Geological Survey,


Peter Thomas,
Cornell University


Maria Zuber,
Massachusetts Institute
of Technology





Final Announcement — August 2006

Meeting Update

The response to the call for abstracts for the conference has been excellent. However, due to the combination of the large number of submitted abstracts, an unexpectedly high percentage of requested orals, and our desire to preserve significant amount of time for discussion and debate, it was necessary to limit the number of oral presentations to about one-half of those requested. Selections were made to minimize duplication and maximize the diversity of views presented at the meeting. The resulting program (consisting of a mix of invited and contributed talks, panel discussions, poster presentations, several special sessions, a field trip, and a variety of social events) represents our best effort to balance the time available for discussion with the opportunities for individual participation.


In light of the above, we are placing a much greater emphasis on the poster sessions scheduled for Monday and Tuesday nights, combining them with evening socials that should greatly enhance the opportunities for interaction among the conference participants. In addition, all posters will remain on display throughout the duration of the meeting (additional details regarding poster preparation and these sessions are described later in this announcement).


If you are planning to attend the meeting, we ask that you register and reserve your room as soon as possible. Conference attendance and hotel rooms are limited and will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. Registration will also ensure that you will receive any reminders and late-breaking announcements related to the meeting via e-mail.

Purpose and Scope

The Fourth International Conference on Mars Polar Science and Exploration is the latest in a continuing series of meetings intended to promote the exchange of knowledge and ideas between planetary and terrestrial scientists interested in Mars polar and climate research. In recognition of the broad scope, interdisciplinary nature, and strong international interest in this topic, the participation of any interested scientist with relevant theoretical, experimental, or polar field experience is strongly encouraged.


The purpose of the conference is to assess the current state of Mars polar and climate research; discuss what might be learned from investigations of terrestrial analogs and the data returned from current and future missions; and identify the potential science objectives, platform options, and instrument suites for robotic missions to the martian poles within the next decade. This meeting is also intended to advance such missions and to 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 Announcement of Opportunity.

Time and Location

This five-day meeting will be held from October 2–6, 2006, at the Davos Congress Center in Davos, Switzerland (the site of the 2006 World Economic Forum, see Davos was chosen as the site of the fourth conference because it is the home of the Swiss Federal Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research (one of the world's leading centers for snow, ice, and cold climate research) and is readily accessible to Europe's planetary, polar, and glacial science communities. Furthermore, the Alps provide numerous opportunities for spectacular alpine field trips of interest to both planetary and terrestrial scientists.


To take full advantage of the opportunities the Davos area provides, the conference technical sessions will be held Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday, with optional field trips to local sites of geologic and glacial interest on Wednesday. The meeting will be held in the Aspen Room, which is located in Wing C, Promenade Level of the Congress Center.

Conference Highlights

Special Sessions:

  • Mars and Terrestrial Radar Investigations (Monday)
  • The Phoenix Scout Mission and the Nature of the
  • Near-Polar Environment (Thursday)
  • Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Investigations of the
  • Martian Polar Regions and Climate (Friday morning)


Poster Sessions and Evening Socials:

  • Session I (Monday evening, first author last names A-O)
  • Session II (Tuesday evening, first author last names P-Z)


Mid-Conference Field Trip to Flüelapass (Wednesday)


Conference Dinner (Thursday evening)


Panel Discussions:

  • Key Issues in Mars Polar Science and Exploration (Thursday afternoon)
  • New Perspectives on Mars Polar Science and Exploration (Friday morning)

Oral and Poster Presentations

Contributed oral presentations are scheduled to allow 10 minutes for speaking and 5 minutes for discussion. Invited presentations vary in length and speakers should plan their talks to conform to the times specified in the program. Audio-visual equipment available for oral presentations includes two overhead projectors and a laptop PC with an LCD projector. Dual projection will NOT be available for electronic presentations. Please read carefully the instructions for electronic presentations.


All speakers with electronic presentations must upload their presentations onto the conference laptop before the beginning of the session -- USE OF PERSONAL LAPTOPS FOR PRESENTATIONS WILL NOT BE PERMITTED. To ensure sufficient time for uploading your presentation, morning presenters are urged to contact the projectionist and upload their files the day before. For those who have presentations scheduled for Monday morning, the conference laptop will be available for uploads Sunday evening at the registration desk from 6:00–8:30 p.m. in front of the Aspen Room at the Congress Center.


Poster presentations will be on display throughout the entire week of the conference. Posters may be installed beginning on Monday morning, October 2, at 7:30 a.m. and may remain up through Friday noon. Poster display space available to authors is 119 cm (width) × 84 cm (height) or ~48.85" × 33". Posters will be on display in Foyer C2.

Abstract Volume

The abstract volume will be in CD-ROM format and distributed to the participants at the conference. You can view the program with abstracts or download abstracts in alphabetical order. Author notification letters will NOT be mailed out, so authors will need to check the online program to see where their presentation has been scheduled.

Travel to Davos, Switzerland

To get to Davos, the cheapest and easiest way is usually to fly into Zürich and take the train from the Zürich airport train station. (Follow the signs for the Exit and the Railbahn.) The train ride takes about 2 hours and 40 minutes and requires two train changes, one at the Zürich main/central station (Zürich Hauptbahnhof) and one at Landquart (a small town). The train conductor, who checks your ticket, will usually remind you where you should get off and change. As elsewhere in Europe, check the yellow posters in the train stations to find out from which track your next train will leave. You usually have at least five minutes to change trains. Unless it is late at night, upcoming train stops are always announced in German, French, and English.


A second-class, round-trip ticket between Zürich and Davos costs about 100 CHF (approximately $83). You can buy this ticket from a ticket window during regular business hours. You can also buy it from blue automats (ticket machines) using an ATM or credit card that has a pincode. These machines operate in several languages. When asked to choose the type of ticket ("1/2" or "1/1"), select "1/1" since the other option is for individuals with special discount cards. (Sometimes you can buy the ticket on the train, but there is usually an extra fee involved.)


When arriving in Davos, there are several possible stations from which to choose, but the two main stations are Davos Dorf and Davos Platz. You may also want to ask your hotel at the time of booking which train station is closest to the hotel.

Schedules and other information about the trains are available at


If you are planning to take some extra time for vacationing in Switzerland, either before or after the meeting, it may be a good idea to buy a "Swiss Card" from the ticket window at the Zürich airport train station (or whichever Swiss station from which you start). The "Swiss Card" costs 100 CHF, but allows you to buy all train tickets for half price for up to one month after the card is purchased. Once you have this card, you can select the "1/2" option at the ticket automats.


Because buses and trains will take you almost any place in Switzerland, a rental car is often unnecessary.

While specific instructions can be obtained from your hotel, you can usually take a taxi to any hotel from the main Davos train stations (Davos Dorf and Davos Platz). However, because Davos is a small town, you may have to look for the taxi call phone and order a taxi that way.


It is best to try to arrive in Davos before evening since it is not guaranteed that a taxi will be available at very late hours of the night, and buses in small mountain towns sometimes stop running in the early evenings. Also, many restaurants will stop serving dinner at ~22.00, and groceries, kiosks, etc., will likely be closed by 18.30.


Davos Tourism has made arrangements for a wide range of hotel accommodations for conference participants, including low-cost rooms for students and a broad range of rooms for individual participants and those who are bringing their spouse. Note that breakfast is included in the daily rate (per individual) for all hotels. Note also that the term half-board also adds dinner (but not lunch). Since there will be refreshments served during the poster sessions Monday and Tuesday night, and the conference dinner is Thursday, the standard individual hotel rate is probably the best option for most attendees. Hotel reservations can be made at


Public transportation is very good in Davos, with most hotels located within a five-minute bus ride from the Congress Centre; some hotels are located within walking distance of the Centre. City maps of Davos, including bus stops, can be found at

Field Trip

On Wednesday, October 4, in place of the regular conference technical sessions, there will be an all-day mid-conference field trip, the cost of which is included in the conference registration fee. This one-day excursion will take us to Flüelapass above Davos, one of the most important passes connecting the Northern Swiss Alps to the Engadin Valley.


The highlight of the excursion will be the viewing of an azonal permafrost occurrence at Flüelapass and the management of natural hazards such as avalanches, debris flows, and rock falls. Phenomena such as the distribution of permafrost adjacent to a warm lake, its effect on vegetation distribution, and interesting occurrences of snow algae will be seen.


Field Trip Itinerary:

  • Bus trip from Davos to Flüelapass (20 minutes). Azonal permafrost occurrence, monitoring techniques, lake temperatures, rock glacier occurrences, avalanche activity, snow algae occurrence, and vegetation patterns (1.5 hours).
  • Hike to Wägerhus (1 hour). Rock glaciers, rock fall, geomorphology of an alpine glacial valley.
  • Bus transport to Alpenrösli (10 minutes). Avalanche dynamics, debris flow occurrence.
  • Hike (1 hour) or bus transport (10 minutes) back to Davos.


A box lunch will be provided to all participants.


Recommended clothing:  Because the weather can be quite cool at the Flüelapass, field trip participants should be sure to bring a warm sweater or fleece jacket, with a wind- and water-resistant shell. Hiking boots (or other firm footwear) will also be required. Participants might also wish to bring anything else they would like to have with them during these short hikes (e.g., extra snacks, water bottle, hat, and sunscreen).


The early registration deadline is Friday, September 1, 2006. Until that date the registration fee will be $300.00 (375 CHF) for both professional participants and students. After September 1, the registration fee increases to $375.00 (470 CHF) for professional conference participants, although it will remain $300.00 (375 CHF) for students. Registration for accompanying individuals (e.g., spouses) is $90.00 (115 CHF), both before and after September 1. Participants may register for the meeting by submitting the electronic registration form. The cut-off for online registration is Sunday, September 17, 2006. After that date, late registration will be held on site at the meeting on a space-available basis.


All registration fees cover attendance at the meeting, the Monday and Tuesday evening poster sessions (which include refreshments), and participation in the Wednesday field trip (which includes a box lunch).


Tickets for the conference dinner, which will be held Thursday evening, are $60.00 (75 CHF) per person.


Please note:  Although the above prices are listed in U.S. dollars, actual payment must be made in Swiss Francs (CHF); some credit card companies may assess a small additional currency exchange fee.


Special note for U.S. students who have applied for NASA travel assistance: 
Students who are applying for travel assistance should not pay the registration fee until they either (1) have been notified that they have not received an award or (2) have been notified that they have received an award and have successfully completed NASA's foreign travel approval process. Students receiving support who pay their registration fee before they have completed NASA's foreign travel approval process will NOT be reimbursed.

Contact Information

For further information regarding the format and scientific objectives of the meeting, contact


Lunar and Planetary Institute
Phone: 281-486-2146

For information regarding meeting logistics and announcements, contact


Lunar and Planetary Institute
Phone: 281-486-2151


September 1, 2006 Deadline for registration at reduced rate
September 17, 2006 Deadline for registration in advance of the conference
October 2–6, 2006 Fourth International Conference on Mars Polar Science and Exploration