Department of Terrestrial Magnetism,
Carnegie Institution for Science

Universities Space Research Association


Linda T. Elkins-Tanton
Carnegie Institution for Science

Conel M. O'D. Alexander
Carnegie Institution for Science

Bruce G. Bills
NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Doris Breuer
Deutsches Zentrum für Luft-und Raumfahrt e.V. (DLR)

Kathryn Gardner-Vandy
Smithsonian Institution

William B. McKinnon
Washington University

David Nezvorny
Southwest Research Institute

Andrew S. Rivkin
Johns Hopkins University

Edward R.D. Scott
University of Hawaii at Manoa

Holger Sierks
J Max-Planck-Institut für Sonnensystemforschung

Benjamin P. Weiss
Massachusetts Institute of Technology


Second Announcement — June 2013

Meeting Location and Date

The Workshop on Planetesimal Formation and Differentiation will be held October 27–29, 2013, at the Department of Terrestrial Magnetism, Carnegie Institution for Science, 5241 Broad Branch Rd. NW, Washington DC 20015.

Carnegie’s Department of Terrestrial Magnetism is located in the northwest quadrant of the District of Columbia. The Red Line/Friendship Heights station is the closet metro stop. The walk from Friendship Heights to DTM is 1.5 miles. Parking is available on campus and on the street nearby. Campus scientists tend to fill the parking lots, so prepare to park on nearby streets.

Purpose and Scope

Evidence from meteorites and, increasingly, from asteroids indicates that some early-forming bodies had sufficient heat to melt and differentiate into a core and mantle. Partial or complete melting can allow core formation and silicate differentiation, and can also remove volatiles. Other small bodies are apparently primitive (i.e., undifferentiated). We are now at a point where targeted interdisciplinary work can create a leap in our understanding.

  • What bulk compositions and time frames of accretion would have allowed differentiation?
  • Where in the solar system did these bodies originate?
  • What can we observe of differentiated bodies in the asteroid belt today?
  • Can we link asteroid observations to meteorites from differentiated parent bodies?
  • What was the history and large-scale structure of meteorite parent bodies?

These questions bear on the critical transition from a protoplanetary disk to a solar system with rocky planets, on the habitability of those planets, and on resources in our solar system today for future space exploration.

Progress in understanding these processes will depend upon communication among the fields of meteorite and asteroid/icy body observations including space missions, theory, and modeling. The goal of this workshop is to bring together researchers on all these subjects as they pertain to differentiation, asteroid observations, and meteorite compositions.

Workshop Format

The two-day meeting (plus an evening plenary on Sunday) is designed to bring together researchers from several tangential communities into newly interdisciplinary communication.

Contributed abstracts are highly encouraged and should be designed to be inclusive to people in the fields listed in the Purpose and Scope.

Preliminary Schedule

Day 1, Sunday October 27
Evening Welcome Session and Plenary Talk

Day 2, Monday October 28
Dynamical and Chemical Evolution:  From Planetesimals to Planets
Core Formation and Magnetic Dynamos on Planetesimals and Planetary Embryos
Evening Poster Session and Optional Dinner

Day 3, Tuesday October 29
Meteorites as Records of Formation and Differentiation
Asteroids as Records of Formation and Differentiation

Workshop Product

The major product of this workshop will be an edited volume about planetesimals, and a proposal has been submitted to Cambridge University Press at their invitation.

Beyond that goal, we hope this workshop will be the first in a series, encouraging interdisciplinary progress in this field and linking to missions.

Call For Abstracts

Abstract Deadline — Thursday, August 29, 2013, 5:00 p.m. U.S. Central Daylight Time
(GMT -5)

  • No late abstracts will be accepted, regardless of the reason.
  • Abstracts sent by e-mail will NOT be considered, they must all be submitted using the electronic abstract submission form.
  • Abstracts are limited to one page.
  • All abstracts must be submitted in PDF format.
  • All abstracts must be submitted in U.S. letter size format (8.5" × 11") and must include a one-inch margin on all four sides; A4 submissions will be rejected by the system.
  • Abstract file sizes must be no larger than 1.0 MB; larger files will be automatically rejected by the system.
  • If not using the template provided, leave a one-inch margin on all four sides of your document.

Authors are encouraged to start the submission process early so the USRA staff will have time to provide assistance in the event of technical problems. For technical assistance, contact Linda Tanner (281-486-2142), or send an e-mail message to

Unable to Produce PDF Files?  Authors who are unable to produce a PDF file may send their source files (must be in Word or PostScript format) to USRA no later than August 22, 2013. A PDF file will be created and returned to the author, but it is the author's responsibility to submit that PDF file by the time of the abstract deadline. Source files should be sent to

Preparation and Submission of Abstracts —

Step 1:  Download the appropriate template
Step 2:  Write the abstract (no more than one page) using the format shown in the template
Step 3:  Create a PDF file (no larger than 1.0 MB)
Step 4:  Fill out the electronic abstract submission form and upload the abstract file

Information For Presenters

Oral Presentations —

A Mac Mini Intel Core 2 Duo/2.4 GHz running 10.6.8 (Snow Leopard) and VMware Fusion running Windows 7 Professional with VGA connector, LCD projector, and clip-on as well as hand-held microphones and a laser pointer that doubles as a remote control to advance slides are available for oral presentations during the scientific sessions. In order to facilitate a smooth transition between speakers, all preloaded presentations will be tested in advance. To aid the preloading process, create a folder on your flash drive/CD called "PLANETESIMAL 2013" and place your PowerPoint presentation and any other necessary files in that folder. Please include your last name in the naming of your files. An IT technician will be available each morning before the session begins to assist in loading your talk.

Any additional time needed to set up your laptop will be deducted from your allotted presentation time. Slides will show up better for video streaming (broadcasting and recording) with preloaded presentations since otherwise the camera is just taking a picture of the screen at the front of the room.

Hardware and Software Specifications

The plenary room will be equipped with the following minimum hardware and software:

Intel Core 2 Duo/2.4 GHz
Memory:  4 GB RAM
Video:  1024 × 768

Operating Systems:  Windows 7 Professional 32-bit (with VMWare Fushion) and MacOS 10.6.8 (Snow Leopard)
Microsoft Office 2010 (including PowerPoint 2010) and Microsoft Office 2011 (including PowerPoint 2011)
QuickTime Player 10.0
Adobe Acrobat 9 and 11
Keynote 09
Safari 5.1.9

Poster Presentations —

A dedicated poster session will be held on Monday, October 28. Poster presenters should be at their posters during that time to be available for discussion.

Poster Presentations:  Designing Effective Posters

  Poster Setup: Details will be provided in the final announcement
  Poster Removal: Details will be provided in the final announcement
  Poster Size: 44" × 44" (110 cm × 110 cm)
  Materials Provided: Pushpins 


Through October 14, 2013
Professional $200.00
Working Press No charge

Credit card registrations:  Participants registering by credit card MUST use the secure electronic registration form.

Other methods of payment:  Those registering using any other method of payment (check, money order, traveler’s check, or wire transfer) must contact the USRA Meeting Registrar for detailed instructions.

Third-Party Payments:  Participants required to register using a third party (e.g., SATERN for NASA civil servants) should still register in advance using the electronic registration form. The confirmation e-mail you receive after registering will include payment instructions to submit to the third party. Please be aware, however, that your registration will not be considered complete until the funds have been received.

Cancellations:  Requests for cancellation with a fee refund (less a $25.00 processing fee) will only be accepted through October 14, 2013. Those who fail to attend and do not notify USRA prior to the October 14 deadline will forfeit their full fee.

Check-in:  The conference registration desk in the Greenewalt Building at the Department of Terrestrial Magnetism, Carnegie Institution for Science, 5241 Broad Branch Rd., NW, Washington DC, will be open from 4:00 to 8:00 p.m. on Sunday and from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday and Tuesday.


Participants are responsible for making their own travel arrangements and hotel reservations. Room blocks have been set aside at the hotels listed below. Reservations can be made through the link provided or by calling the hotel directly and mentioning the reservation code and the meeting name (USRA/Planetesimal Formation Workshop).

You are encouraged to make your reservations early. The room rates will only be guaranteed through September 25, 2013. After this date, the room rate may increase, and space may no longer be available. Check-in times at the properties listed are 3:00 p.m.; check-out is 12:00 p.m.

Hilton Garden Inn Bethesda
7301 Waverly Street
Bethesda MD 20814
Phone:  301-654-8111
Nightly Room Rate:  $189.00 (plus 13% sales tax) (Reference Code:  USRA)
Nearest Metrorail Stop:   Bethesda Metrorail Red Line
Online Reservation Form

Courtyard Marriott
5520 Wisconsin Avenue
Chevy Chase MD 20815
Phone:  301-828-3364 x7010
Nightly Room Rate:   $226.00 (plus 13% sales tax) (Reference Code:  USRUSRA)
Nearest Metrorail Stop:   Friendship Heights Metrorail
Online Reservation Form for Double Queen Room
Online Reservation Form for King Room

Contact Information

For more information about the scientific program, contact

Dr. Lindy T. Elkins-Tanton, Director
Dept. of Terrestrial Magnetism
Carnegie Institution for Science
5241 Broad Branch Road
Washington DC  20015
Phone:  202 478-8828

For more information about logistics or announcements, contact

Gail Pacetti
USRA Houston
Meeting and Publication Services Department
Phone:  281-244-2016
Fax:  281-486-2125

For more information about abstract submission or registration, contact

Linda Tanner
USRA Houston
Meeting and Publication Services Department
Phone:  281-486-2142
Fax:  281-486-2125

Important dates

August 29, 2013 Abstract deadline
September 20, 2013 Final announcement and program with abstracts available on this website
October 14, 2013 Deadline for registration
October 27–29, 2013 Workshop on Planetesimal Formation and Differentiation in Washington, DC