May 2000


University of Iceland


Geological Survey of Canada
International Glaciological Society
Lunar and Planetary Institute
National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Reykjavík — European City of Culture in the Year 2000
University of Iceland


Helgi Björnsson
Science Institute, University of Iceland

Stephen Clifford
Lunar and Planetary Institute

David Paige
University of California, Los Angeles

Thorsteinn Thorsteinsson
Alfred Wegener Institute and University of Iceland

This conference is jointly organized by:

Iceland Travel/Conference Department
Lágmúli 4, IS-108 Reykjavík
Phone: 354-585-4300
Fax: 354-585-4490

Lunar and Planetary Institute
3600 Bay Area Boulevard
Houston TX 77058-1113
Phone: 281-486-2146
Fax: 281-486-2160


Terrestrial Members

Nobuhiko Azuma  (Nagaoka University of Technology)
Dorthe Dahl-Jensen  (University of Copenhagen)
David Fisher  (Geological Survey of Canada)
Ralf Greve  (Darmstadt University of Technology)
Einar H. Gudmundsson  (University of Iceland)
Magnus T. Gudmundsson  (University of Iceland)
Sigfus Johnsen  (University of Copenhagen)
Thor Jakobsson  (Icelandic Meteorological Office)
Werner Kuhs  (University of Gottingen)
Heinz Miller  (Alfred Wegener Institute)
Valerie Masson  (Laboratory of Climate and Environmental Sciences)
John Nye  (University of Bristol)
Helgi Torfason  (National Energy Authority, Iceland)
David Wynn-Williams  (British Antarctic Survey)

Planetary Members

Wendy Calvin  (U.S. Geological Survey, Flagstaff)
Michael Carr  (U.S. Geological Survey, Menlo Park)
David Crisp  (Jet Propulsion Laboratory)
James Cutts  (Jet Propulsion Laboratory)
William Durham  (Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory)
Fraser Fanale  (University of Hawai'i)
Jack Farmer  (Arizona State University)
James Garvin  (NASA Goddard Space Flight Center)
Rejean Grard  (European Space Agency/ESTEC)
Robert Haberle  (NASA Ames Research Center)
Ken Herkenhoff  (U.S. Geological Survey, Flagstaff)
Alan Howard  (University of Virginia)
Hugh Kieffer  (U.S. Geological Survey, Flagstaff)
Ralph Lorenz  (Lunar and Planetary Laboratory)
Daniel McCleese  (NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory)
Michael Malin  (Malin Space Science Systems)
James W. Rice Jr.  (University of Arizona)
David Smith  (NASA Goddard Space Flight Center)
Carol Stoker  (NASA Ames Research Center)
Susan Smrekar  (NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory)
Peter Thomas  (Cornell University)
Aaron Zent  (NASA Ames Research Center)
Maria Zuber  (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)

The response to the Second Mars Polar Conference has been overwhelming. For the First Conference, that was held in October 1998, we received 50 abstracts. For the Iceland meeting, we have received 116. For this reason, we strongly advise that you make your travel and hotel reservations early. We expect a full house.

In addition to travel information, we are also providing a preliminary conference program. The program consists of a mix of invited and contributed talks, panel discussions, and poster presentations, and includes several special sessions, field trips, and social events that are scheduled throughout the meeting.

To promote the exchange of new ideas and rigorously assess our current understanding of the polar regions, approximately 40% of the conference program has been set aside for questions and answers and moderated discussion. Because of this emphasis on discussion and debate, it was necessary to substantially restrict the number of oral presentations — significantly heightening the importance of the poster presentations scheduled for Monday and Tuesday nights. For this reason, all posters will remain on display throughout the duration of the conference (additional details for poster preparation are described later in this announcement). The resulting program represents our best effort to maximize the time available for discussion and offer other opportunities for participation in the conference.

It must be emphasized that this is a preliminary program whose content is likely to undergo minor revisions up through the actual conference. For this reason, potential participants are strongly advised to access the conference's Icelandic Web site for the latest news about the meeting and to download the most recent update of the conference program in PDF format.

The Second International Conference on Mars Polar Science and Exploration is the latest in a continuing series of meetings that are intended to promote the exchange of knowledge and ideas between planetary and terrestrial scientists interested in Mars polar research. The purpose of the conference is to assess the current state of Mars polar research; discuss what might be learned from upcoming missions; and identify potential science objectives, spacecraft platform options, and instrument suites for robotic missions to the poles within the next decade. This meeting is 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.

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 various areas of terrestrial polar science and climate research. This effort has been tremendously successful, with terrestrial scientists accounting for roughly half of the indications of interest and submitted abstracts.

The decision to hold the conference in Iceland was strongly influenced by the country's large number of glacial, hydrologic, and volcanic analogs to potential past or present conditions in the polar regions of Mars. These include the occurrence of shield volcanos, subglacial volcanism, table mountains, subglacial lakes and jökulhlaups, and landscapes carved by wind erosion. A special session at the meeting will address these phenomena and several field trips have been arranged to visit various sites of scientific interest (described in further detail elsewhere in this announcment).

A variety of international conferences are held in Reykjavík each year. The city and its surroundings offer many attractions, including museums, theaters, galleries, and numerous opportunities for sight-seeing and outdoor activities. Reykjavík has also been selected as one of the cultural capitals of Europe during the year 2000 and will host a major series of cultural events and festivities that are described in greater detail at the program's Web site.

Registration and Informal Evening Social Event (Oddi Building, Sunday night)
    6:00–8:00 p.m.      Registration
    8:00–10:00 p.m.    Social

Special Events:

  • Sightseeing tour of city for accompanying persons (Tuesday)
  • Reception at City Hall and Conference Dinner on Harbor Island (Thursday night)
    A reception for participants and accompanying persons will be held in the City Hall, Thursday, August 24, from 6:00 to 7:30 p.m. This is included in the registration fee. Following the reception participants will be transferred by bus to the harbor and taken by boat to the island of Videy, where the conference dinner will be held. The dinner is not included in the registration fee.

    Special Sessions (Conference Center, Háskólabió):

  • Early Mars (Monday morning, I)
  • Latest Results from Mars Global Surveyor (Monday morning, II)
  • Icelandic Analogs (Tuesday afternoon, I)
  • Planned Future Missions (Friday morning, I)
  • Exploration Technologies and Platforms (Friday morning, II)
  • Potential Future Missions (Friday afternoon, I)

    Poster Sessions:

  • Session I (Oddi Building, Monday evening 8:00–10:00 p.m., First author last names A–K)
  • Session II (Oddi Building, Tuesday evening 8:00–10:00 p.m., First author last names L–Z)

    Panel Discussions:

  • Icelandic Analogs (Tuesday afternoon, II)
  • Mars Polar Geology, Glaciology, and Hydrology (Tuesday afternoon, II)
  • Mars Polar Science Summary Discussion (Thursday afternoon, II)
  • New Perspectives on Mars Polar Science and Exploration (Friday afternoon, II)

    Field Trips (discussed in greater detail later in this announcement):

  • One-day midconference field trip (Wednesday)
  • One-day postconference field trip (Saturday)
  • Three-day postconference field trip (Saturday–Monday)

    A detailed program, including the abstracts submitted to the conference, is available in PDF format.

    Invited talks are 20 minutes long with 10 minutes for questions and answers. All other talks are 10 minutes long with 5 minutes for questions and answers. Poster sessions are scheduled for Monday (First authors A–K) and Tuesday (First authors L–Z) nights. Posters may be put up after 7:30 p.m. on Sunday and may remain up through Friday afternoon. Individual posters must fit within an area of 90 x 120 cm.

    Three guided field trips to areas of scientific interest will be organized in connection with the conference. Please note that no scientific sessions will be held on Wednesday, August 23. Note also that Iceland Travel offers a variety of other guided trips. The tour descriptions given below may be subject to minor changes. All fees listed are in USD.

    1. One-day midconference trip on Wednesday, August 23. This tour starts with a visit to the historical site Thingvellir, where the Icelandic parliament, Althingi, was founded in the year 930. In this region, which is near the main boundary between the North American and Eurasian continental plates running through Iceland, clear evidence of volcanic activity and tectonic plate drift can be seen. From Thingvellir the route goes along a mountain track north of the shield volcano Skjaldbreidur, with a view to the Langjökull ice cap, passing between several tablemountains and moberg-ridges formed by subglacial eruptions. The tour includes visits to the majestic waterfall Gullfoss, located in a canyon that was probably carved during a catastrophic flood toward the end of the ice age, and to the site of the famous hot spring Geysir. Duration:  ~10 hours. Cost:  $75 (includes transportation, tour guide, and lunch).

    2. One-day postconference trip on Saturday, August 26. Day trip by plane to the Westman Islands (Vestmannaeyjar), off the south coast, a 35-minute flight from Reykjavík airport. In 1973 a sudden volcanic eruption forced the evacuation of the island's 5000 inhabitants in one drama-filled night. When the eruption finally ended the town was buried under ash and lava. Today it is once again a thriving fishing community. We'll explore the island, rich in birdlife and wonderful sights, see how the town was excavated and rebuilt, and witness some remains of the eruption. If weather conditions allow, the plane will make a detour and circle over the volcanic island Surtsey, formed in a submarine eruption 1963–1966. Duration:  ~10 hours. Cost:  $160 (includes flight, bus transportation on the island, tour guide, and lunch).

    3. Three-day postconference tour in the South of Iceland, August 26–28. This tour is focused on sites of catastrophic flooding, volcanism, and glacial landforms.

    Note that a specialized field trip to sites of subglacial volcanism will be arranged in the week before the conference, in connection with the "Workshop on Volcano/Ice Interactions on Earth and Mars," which will be held in Reykjavík during the week of August 13–18. For further information on this please contact Magnus T. Gudmundsson at the University of Iceland (

    Icelandair connects Reykjavík to the following cities in the U.S. and Canada:  New York, Boston, Baltimore, Minneapolis, Orlando, and Halifax. Please note that no other airline offers flights from North America to Iceland. Connections are available with Icelandair and other airlines (during summer) from most major European cities. Conference participants are strongly advised to book early and take advantage of Apex fares. See the Web site for further information or contact your local travel agency. Since flights from North America leave in the evening and arrive in Iceland in the early morning hours, participants from the U.S. and Canada are advised to arrive one day before the start of the meeting, to adjust to the time difference (Iceland is on GMT all year round). Please note that you are not able to check in at your hotel until 2:00 p.m. the first booking day.


    Venue and Dates
    The Conference and Cultural Center of the University Cinema "Háskólabió," August 21–22 and 24–25, 2000. Háskólabió is on the University campus, adjacent to Hotel Saga and close to the City Center. Additional information regarding the local area is available at

    The official language of the Conference is English. No simultaneous translation will be provided.

    Ground Transportation
    The Flybus leaves the airport in Keflavik 35 minutes after grounding time. The drive to Reykjavík takes 40 minutes and the bus will take passengers to their hotels upon request. The price is 700 ISK (10 USD). Participants staying in guesthouses will have to get there by bus or taxi from one of the hotels.

    The Icelandic currency is the "króna" (crown). At the time of writing, the exchange rates are:  1 USD = 75 ISK, 1 GBP = 118 ISK, 1 DM = 35 ISK, 1 EURO = 69 ISK.

    Additional Local Information
    All additional information, including more detailed information on the city, the campus, maps, etc., will be posted on the local Web site.

    Slides or Overhead Presentations
    Only 5 x 5-cm slide format can be used. Slides should be handed in at the slide center no later than 30 minutes before the beginning of each session. Facilities for preview of slides will be located at the slide center. Two overhead and two slide projectors will be available.

    The poster boards are 90 cm wide x 120 cm high. Fittings will be provided. The poster sessions will be held August 21 and 22 from 8:00–10:00 p.m. in the Oddi Building at the University.

    A fee of $300 will be assessed each participant to cover conference services. The fee includes conference admission, printed materials, coffee breaks, the evening social event on August 20, and the reception at City Hall on August 24. The Thursday evening dinner is NOT included in the fee. Your registration form and your payment must be received by May 21, 2000, to avoid a $75 late fee.

    A fee of $90 is assessed each accompanying guest, and includes the social event on August 20, the reception on August 24, and the city sightseeing trip. The provided registration form should be used for conference registration, the social program, field trips, and hotel reservations. Registration for events included in the registration fee must also be marked on the form. You can also reserve various excursions in advance. All fees given are in USD.

    Please complete the registration form and send it together with your payment to:

    On Sunday evening, August 20, registration tables will be open from 6:00–8:00 p.m., followed by a social gathering from 8:00–10:00 p.m. This event will be held in the Oddi Building at the University. This building is across the street from the Conference Center (about a 3-minute walk). Registration will be held again on Monday and Tuesday morning in the Conference Center, Háskólabió.

    Accommodation and Confirmation
    The conference organizer, Iceland Travel/Conference Department (IT), arranges for hotel accommodation for participants. Reservations should be made on the registration form, and are booked on a first-come, first-served basis. IT reserves the right to book another hotel if the desired accommodation is fully booked.

    All reservation requests should be sent to IT. If you contact the hotels directly they might inform you that they are fully booked, since the rooms are reserved for the conference. Special conference rates are available only through IT.

    Accommodation can only be confirmed if the hotel deposit accompanies the registration form. Please note that the accommodation is to be paid in full to Iceland Travel/Conference Department.

    Payment of registration fees and hotel deposit should be made in advance by:

    After having received the payment, IT/CD will send you a confirmation of your reservation, payment, and balance. We would appreciate it if you could settle your balance in advance. If that is not possible, the balance may be paid upon registration at the conference. Reservations by telephone cannot be accepted. You are, however, welcome to make your reservation by telefax.

    Cancellation and Refunds
    Preregistered participants who are unable to attend the conference will have their fees and hotel deposit refunded less an administrative fee of $40.00, provided that written notice of nonattendance is received at least one month prior to the conference (no later than July 21). After that date no refund may be expected. All refunds will be processed after the conference.

    If you have preregistered and you find that you are unable to attend, you may transfer your registration to send a colleague in your place. An administrative fee of $28.00 will be charged.

    For further information regarding the format and scientific objectives of the meeting, please contact Stephen Clifford (phone:  281-486-2146; or Thorsteinn Thorsteinsson (

    Questions concerning the meeting logistics should be addressed to Asa Hreggvidsdottir, Mars Polar Conference, Iceland Conferences, Lagmula 4, IS-108 Reykjavík, Iceland (phone:  +354-585-4400; fax:  +354-585-4490; e-mail:; Web site:

    August 21–25, 2000Second Mars Polar Conference
    August 26, 2000Postconference field trips

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