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Special Sessions

This year’s conference will feature the following special sessions:

MSL Curiosity at Vera Rubin Ridge and Glen Torridon:  The Promised Land
After six years traversing across Gale Crater, the Curiosity rover has reached two major targets areas identified by orbital spectroscopy:  the hematite ridge (now Vera Rubin ridge), and the clay-rich trough (now Glen Torridon). Both areas show significant (albeit different) effects of liquid water early in Mars’ history and enlarge our understanding of Gale’s habitable environments. This session will highlight new data and results on the areas and place their sedimentary rocks into the broader contexts of Gale Crater, early Mars, and Curiosity’s coming travels toward the sulfate-rich sediments farther up Mt. Sharp.

Asteroids Ryugu and Bennu:  Siblings, Cousins, or ?
The results from Hayabusa2 and OSIRIS-REx have provided unprecedented constraints on the origin and evolution of asteroids Ryugu and Bennu. Hayabusa2 will finish data collection by the end of 2019 and return to Earth in late 2020. OSIRIS-REx continues to reveal the secrets of Bennu with the goal of collecting a sample during the summer of 2020. The session will explore the origin and evolution of Ryugu and Bennu, their potential relationship to other asteroids, and the implications of orbital remote sensing observations for future sample analyses.

Current Lunar Exploration:  Chandrayaan 2 and Chang’E 4
This session will highlight results from ongoing robotic exploration of the Moon. Chandrayaan 2 is performing remote sensing observations from lunar orbit, including observations at infrared, X-ray, and radar wavelengths. Chang’E 4 and its Yutu 2 rover are performing the first in situ observations on the lunar farside in Von Karman Crater on the floor of the South Pole Aitken basin, including observations of mineralogy and regolith structure.

50 Years of Planetary Research in Antarctica:  Meteorites, Morphology, and Missions
The year 2019 marks more than the 50th anniversary of the first Apollo landings; it also marks the 50th anniversary of systematic meteorite recovery in Antarctica. Over the course of those 50 years, an amazing, diverse array of Antarctic research topics have shed light on other worlds. Meteorites, cosmic dust, and microtektites show how Antarctica serves as an extraterrestrial rain gauge. The Dry Valleys, sub-ice lakes, and glacial features provide ground truth for Mars, Europa, and other places, both morphologically and exobiologically. Antarctica is also a testbed for the technological and human components of space missions. This session will explore Antarctic contributions to our understanding of other worlds.

Scientific Exploration of the Lunar South Pole
Scientific studies of the lunar south polar environment are being pursued at a frenzied pace to provide information needed to land humans safely on the lunar surface in 2024. Remote sensing of the lunar surface and analyses of analog materials in terrestrial laboratories are also providing physical and chemical parameters needed for successful mapping of volatile reservoirs. The purpose of this special session is to capture those fast-paced research results, disperse them to the community, and spark additional scientific studies that have the added benefit of ensuring the best science is accomplished when surface operations commence. The session will provide access to cutting-edge polar science and outline opportunities for others in the community to contribute.

Special Session Abstract Submission Rules —

Authors submitting abstracts for one of these sessions should select the appropriate “Special Session:” topic on the abstract submission form. Abstracts submitted to a special session constitute one of the two abstracts allowed per first author. Remember that even though first authors can submit two abstracts, only one abstract per first author can be considered for oral presentation.