Optimizing Planetary In Situ Surface-Atmosphere Interaction Investigations

Optimizing Planetary In Situ Surface-Atmosphere Interaction Investigations

The Optimizing Planetary In Situ Surface-Atmosphere Interaction Investigations (#planetinsitu22) hybrid workshop was held in Boise, Idaho, and online June 28–July 1, 2022. This workshop aimed to advance opportunities for in situ studies of planetary surface-atmosphere interactions and foster collaborations (including for mission concept and instrument development over the next decade) through discussion about how to collect the most needed measurements and optimize their science value. The ~20 in-person and ~50 virtual registrants hailed from the U.S., U.K., Europe, and Australia; from terrestrial and planetary science communities; and from instrument and spacecraft development. Attendees also spanned career levels — of the in-person participants, ~10 were students or postdoctoral scholars, and many of these had travel supported through NASA via a ROSES TWSC grant (grant # 80NSSC22K0852).

The PlanetInsitu22 workshop was an experiment, with a topical focus on measurement methodology rather than science questions, a discussion-focused program with no live abstract-driven presentations, and an effort for engagement of both in-person and virtual attendees. In general, this experiment was successful — we gainfully filled all of our discussion time, covered all planned topics in-depth, and saw potential collaborations starting among participants. At the conclusion of the workshop, when discussing next steps, folks were very interested in continuing these types of discussion through other forums. Additionally, ~70% of post-workshop survey respondents thought that PlanetInsitu was a better hybrid and/or discussion-focused workshop than others they had attended (and zero thought it was worse).

Furthermore, all plenary discussions and presentations, along with pre-recordings for abstract-submitted topics, are available to the general public via the workshop website at https://www.hou.usra.edu/meetings/planetinsitu2022/. These videos, especially those from the field trip, have been accessed numerous times since the workshop, demonstrating the broad community interest in these topics.

To foster the discussion, the workshop started with several short, invited overview talks to introduce a shared understanding of in situ studies and their value for studies of terrestrial processes and to identify the measurements most needed to advance planetary process studies. The remainder of the first day and an additional full day were devoted to group discussion. This discussion was generally conducted using small groups, divided based on specific thought prompts, followed by a plenary discussion that brought together and expanded key points raised within the small groups. For all discussions, both remote and in-person attendees contributed questions, comments, and ideas.

The mid-conference field trip enabled detailed exploration of instrument and mission concepts, an experience that many of the in-person participants found valuable. Unfortunately, it was not possible to enable remote participation in the field trip as the field site had no Wi-Fi and limited cell service. To mitigate this omission for the remote participants and enable them to be aware of the general field trip activities and discussions, we (1) reviewed the instrument demonstrations and field trip plans at the conclusion of the first day, (2) posted short videos from the field trip upon our return from the trip, and (3) provided a brief summary of the field trip at the start of the workshop on the next day. (As reflected in our post-workshop survey, these efforts were generally appreciated by remote attendees.)

To summarize the present capabilities, gaps, and critical considerations from the groups, discussion chairs presented a brief summary of key points on Friday morning. These summaries fed into our final discussion, identifying next steps for the workshop conveners, the relevant community groups, and interested individuals. Based on this discussion, we aim to develop a mailing list and regular telecon to build further collaborations and forward momentum.

In all aspects of the workshop, we sought to create an inclusive and accessible environment that fostered equitable participation and collaboration among all workshop attendees and learned many valuable lessons about what works and what doesn’t in a hybrid meeting.

— Text provided by Serina Diniega, Jet Propulsion Laboratory