Final Announcement — April 2014

Meeting Location and Date

The 2014 Venus Exploration Targets Workshop will be held May 19–21, 2014, at the Lunar and Planetary Institute, located in the Universities Space Research Association (USRA) building, 3600 Bay Area Boulevard, Houston TX 77058.

Purpose and Scope

Venus and Earth were formed under strikingly similar conditions: similar size, similar composition, and comparable distances from the Sun. Yet the Venus that has been revealed through exploration missions to date is hellishly hot, devoid of oceans, lacking plate tectonics, and bathed in a thick, reactive atmosphere. A less Earth-like environment is hard to imagine. Why and when did Earth’s and Venus’ evolutionary paths diverge? The answer to this fundamental and unresolved question is central to understanding Venus in the context of terrestrial planets and their evolutionary processes, including Earth-sized planets around other stars. Additionally, Venus, more than any other planetary body, holds important clues to understanding our own planet — how it has maintained a habitable environment for so long and how long it can continue to do so. Given this potential and the current state of knowledge, there is compelling need for a vigorous new Venus exploration campaign.

The primary goal of this workshop is to identify and evaluate key locations, transects, and regions (on the surface or within the atmosphere) for future exploration of planet Venus. Appropriate candidate targets include those requiring landers, atmospheric probes, gliders, or balloons, and orbital missions. Topical breakout groups will evaluate proposed targets against planning documents — particularly VEXAG’s Goals, Objectives, and Investigations for Venus Exploration 2013 — as well as the baseline instrument and mission characteristics (e.g., sensitivities, precisions, resolutions, operational duration, risk management strategies) required by the science. The list of targets vetted by workshop participants will be compiled and published shortly after the workshop.

Student Poster Competition

Undergraduate and graduate students will have the opportunity to participate in a VEXAG-sponsored competition at the workshop. Participants must submit an abstract and present a poster during the workshop. The student with the best poster will win travel assistance to a future conference to present their poster.

Student posters should demonstrate an understanding of Venus as a potential mission target, the technology required to answer current questions about Venus, and consistency with the VEXAG goals and objectives. Questions can be directed to Stephanie Johnston at

Student Travel Support

JPL will provide support for travel of up to four (4) students from any city in the U.S. to the workshop. Expenses for airfare, accommodation, meals, and airport transfers will be covered. Graduate students and exceptionally qualified undergraduate seniors are eligible.

The deadline for applications for student travel assistance has now passed.

Meeting Format

The three-day workshop will consist of an opening plenary session of oral presentations invited from submitted abstracts, followed by an evening poster discussion session. Topical break-out sessions, organized around science conducted from the surface, within the atmosphere, and from orbit, will begin the second day and extend through the morning of the third day. Results of each breakout will be reported and discussed during a capstone plenary session beginning after lunch on the final day.

For more details about the meeting format, view the detailed program and abstracts.

Information for Presenters

Oral Presentations —

A PC laptop, LCD projector, and speaker remote will be available for presentation of oral talks during the scientific sessions. Please note the guidelines below for your presentation.

  • In order to facilitate a smooth transition between speakers, and provide each speaker their allotted time, we will preload and test all presentations in advance. All presentation slides must be pre-loaded in order to stay on schedule and ensure a smooth transition between speakers.  Please provide your PowerPoint presentation on a flash drive upon your arrival at the workshop.  An IT staff member will be available to assist you from 8:00–8:45 a.m.
  • To expedite the loading and testing of your file:
    • Create a folder called “Venus Exploration Targets Workshop” and place your presentation in this folder.
    • Please include your last name in the file name.
  • The use of personal laptops is strongly discouraged.
  • No Mac laptops will be provided.

Hardware and Software Specifications —

The plenary room will be equipped with the following minimum hardware and software. If you anticipate the need for any other software for your presentation, please notify USRA immediately at

PC Hardware: PC Software:
Lenovo ThinkPad T420
Core i5 2520M/2.5 GHz
Operating System:  Windows 7 Professional 32-bit
Memory:  4 GB RAM Microsoft Office 2010 (including PowerPoint 2010)
Video:  1600 × 900 Internet Explorer 8, Windows Media Player 12, QuickTime 7, Adobe Acrobat Reader X, FireFox 5.5

Poster Presentations —

A session has been organized to allow you to give a 2–3-minute summary highlighting the main points of your poster. You may include one or two slides in either PowerPoint or PDF format. All presentation slides must be pre-loaded in order to stay on schedule and ensure a smooth transition between speakers. An IT staff member will be available to assist you load your slides from 8:00 to 8:45 a.m. You may not use personal laptops for these short presentations.

Poster location assignments will be provided to presenters at the workshop. All posters will be available for viewing during the entire workshop.

Poster Size:

44” × 44” (maximum)

Materials Provided:


Poster presenters can begin setting up their posters at 8:00 a.m. Monday, May 19, 2014. For examples of tips on how to best prepare a poster presentation, visit

Poster Presentations:  Designing Effective Posters
Epic Fail:  What a Perfectly Putrid Poster Can Do for You


Through April 18, 2014 April 19–May 14, 2014
Professionals $150.00 $180.00
Students $75.00 $75.00
Working Press $0.00 $0.00

Note that there will be NO onsite registration for this workshop.

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 10% processing fee) will only be accepted through May 5, 2014. Those who fail to attend and do not notify USRA prior to the May 5 deadline will forfeit their full fee.

Check-in:  Workshop registration and check-in will open at 7:45 a.m. on Monday, May 19, 2014.


Participants are responsible for making their own travel arrangements and hotel reservations. A limited block of guest rooms has been reserved at the hotels listed below.

Hilton Houston NASA Clear Lake (3000 NASA Road One, Houston TX 77058-4322)

Rate:  Prevailing government rate (currently $118.00) plus sales tax; includes complimentary high-speed Internet access.
Location:  See the area map.
Cut-off Date:  Reservations must be made on or before April 21, 2014.  Reservations made after this date will be subject to availability and prevailing rates.

Reservations —
      By phone:   Call the hotel at 281-333-9300
      Online:   Use the  group reservation page  “USRA”
      Check-in/check-out:   Check-in time is 3:00 p.m.; checkout is 12:00 p.m.

Courtyard by Marriott–Houston NASA/Nassau Bay (18100 Saturn Lane, Houston TX 77058)

Rate:   $80 per night plus sales tax including breakfast; complimentary Wi-Fi is available to all guests via wired AND wireless connections in all guest rooms.
Map:  See the area map.
Cut-off Date:   Reservations must be made on or before April 27, 2014. Reservations made after this date will be subject to availability and prevailing rates.

Reservations —
      By phone:   Call the hotel at 281-333-0220 and refer to group code USRA
      Online:   Use the group reservation page  “USRA”
      Check-in/check-out:   Check-in time is 3:00 p.m.; checkout is 12:00 p.m.

For a list of other hotels in the area, refer to the Bay Area Houston Hotel Information. The location of the hotels in relation to the USRA building is shown on the area map.


For further information regarding the scientific content of the meeting:

Virgil L. (Buck) Sharpton
Lunar and Planetary Institute

For further information regarding meeting details or announcements:

Gail Pacetti, CMP
Meeting and Publication Services
USRA Houston
Phone: 281-244-2016

For further information regarding registration:

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


Early registration deadline (at reduced rate) April 18, 2014
Hotel reservation deadline at group rate April 21, 2014
Venus Exploration Targets Workshop May 19–21, 2014


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