2021 Annual Meeting of Planetary Geologic Mappers

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The Annual Meeting of Planetary Geologic Mappers (PGM) was held virtually on June 14–15, 2021. As in previous years, this meeting provided the opportunity for NASA-funded investigators to give an update on their progress towards completing their geologic maps that will be published by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). The meeting was also attended by community members who conduct geologic mapping outside of the USGS review and publication process.

Thanks to the virtual aspect of the meeting this year, we were fortunate to have 35 participants from outside the United States (27 of whom were from Europe), with a total of 115 attendees. Much of the meeting was devoted to 10-minute presentations related to mapping on many planetary bodies, including Mercury, Venus, the Moon, Mars, Io, Europa, Titan, Triton, Dione, Ceres, Pluto, and Comet 67P. In addition, participants selected for poster presentations gave a 3-minute summary of their work, with numerous discussion sessions after each set of topics.

The meeting began with an update on the NASA-USGS Planetary Geologic Mapping Program from Jim Skinner (Planetary Map Coordinator, USGS). There are 31 maps in progress, 11 in revision, and 8 in production. The number of maps in production is the highest in two decades and results in part from a revised technical review process consisting of a coordinated panel review that has sped up the review and production efforts.

Discussions beyond the scientific content of the presented maps included updates on a pair of mapping workshops. The first workshop already took place at the University of Padova, Italy. The second will be held at the University of Northern Arizona next year before the 2022 Annual Meeting of Planetary Geologic Mappers. The goal of these workshops is to introduce planetary geologic techniques to a broader community. Other meeting discussions included further updates to the crater chronology software to produce age estimates of planetary surfaces, the production of seamless controlled mosaics from CTX images, and improving the accessibility to planetary maps via web-based resources.

Next year’s meeting is planned to be held in person in Flagstaff, Arizona, the week of June 20, 2022. It will be a challenge to maintain the strong participation of European investigators who benefitted from the virtual aspect of this year’s meeting. At this year’s meeting, the consensus was that future PGM meetings should be held as a hybrid meeting (in-person and virtual elements) to promote convenient international participation.

For more information about the 2021 Annual Meeting of Planetary Geologic Mappers, including links to the program and abstracts, visit the meeting website at https://www.hou.usra.edu/meetings/pgm2021/pdf/pgm2021_program.htm

— Text provided by Peter Mouginis-Mark (University of Hawaii)