This year’s conference will feature the following special sessions:
Special Session on MAVEN First Results: The MAVEN spacecraft will have been in its primary science mission for several months at the time of LPSC. During this time, we should have had time to understand the behavior and calibration of the instruments, and we should have collected sufficient observations to reach preliminary conclusions regarding processes in the upper atmosphere, interactions with the solar wind, and implications for long-term evolution of the atmosphere. Preliminary results from the mission will be presented.
Special Session on the Rosetta Mission So Far: The Rosetta mission is the third cornerstone mission of the ESA program Horizon 2000. The aim of the mission is to fully characterize Comet 67-P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko by remote sensing, to examine its environment in situ and its evolution in the inner solar system. Launched in March 2004 and following a 6-billion-kilometer journey through the solar system, the spacecraft entered deep space hibernation in June 2011. In January 2014 the spacecraft woke up from hibernation and in subsequent months carefully approached and mapped the comet, finally rendezvousing in August and in November deploying a lander, Philae. Since then, the mission has been in its comet escort phase, which lasts through the end of 2015. The session welcomes papers on results from the Rosetta comet phase, including simulation and theory papers, implications for comets and solar system origins, as well as results from groundbased observations of the Rosetta target Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.
Special Session: How Young Is Young? With the advent of global high-resolution imaging for the Moon [e.g., SELENE’s Terrain Camera (TC) and the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera (LROC)’s Narrow Angle Camera (NAC)], the question of accurate age dating (relative and absolute) of small young units is brought to the fore. The youngest units are not well represented in the Apollo collection and are small in areal extent, both resulting in large uncertainties in derived ages. Sharp morphology, steep slopes, and small numbers of craters are commonly used indicators of relative ages for young units. Absolute ages derived from crater size frequency distributions suffer from not only small areas, but also a paucity of craters above 10 meters in diameter (crater model ages rely on craters >10 meters in diameter). And, of course, secondary and auto-secondary craters further confuse the issue. Improvements to current methods are needed to make intercomparison of the ages of young features reliable, and to guide future sample returns required to fully answer the question, “How young is young?”
Special Session on Tracing the Evolution of the Ancient Martian Atmosphere and Climate: This session will explore the evolution of the Mars atmospheric and climate based on geomorphological, geochemical, and geophysical constraints. Abstracts are solicited that address this question from a wide range of disciplines, bringing together data returned from orbital and landed missions to Mars as well as martian meteorites. The format of the session will be designed in a brand new format that differs from traditional oral sessions in order to focus on interdisciplinarity, discussion, and participation. The session will be arranged into six 30-minute blocks, each of which will focus on a particular aspect of the evolution of the martian climate. Each block will contain four 4-minute talks followed by 14 minutes of discussion led by the session chairs and the speakers as panelists, allowing for 24 individual speakers. Each 30-minute block will correspond to two of the traditional 15-minute talks, which will allow the schedule to stay remain synced with the other sessions. The six blocks will address the following topics: (1) Geochemical Constraints on Early Atmosphere (Isotopes and Geochemistry); (2) Climate Modeling and the Faint Young Sun Paradox; (3) Geomorphological and Mineralogical Indicators of Sedimentary Early Mars (In Situ Data); (4) Geomorphological and Mineralogical Indicators of the Late Noachian Climate (Remote Sensing); (5) Sources and Sinks for the Martian Atmospheric Reservoir (Interior Volatiles, Petrochemistry, Impact of MAVEN Results); and (6) Synthesis and Synergies. The focus of the session will be on interdisciplinarity and therefore we will seek to reveal synergies whenever possible. Both invited and contributed abstracts will be included.