Something unusual happened last week: space was in the news. The Cassini spacecraft captured head-turning shots of the vortex at the north pole of Saturn (see above). There was the announcement that —very cold water ice has been found on very hot Mercury. And, of course, there were headlines related to rumors of a major discovery on Mars.
This week has the potential to generate even more buzz. The American Geophysical Union, the world’s largest organization of Earth and space scientists, is holding its 45th annual Fall Meeting December 3–7 in San Francisco. More than 20,000 scientists, educators, and students are gathering to present the results of their research and connect with colleagues.
Among the many announcements expected to take place this week is an update on the Mars Curiosity rover’s latest findings (rumor: hints or evidence of carbon compounds in the soil) and news from the decades-long Voyager mission to the outer solar system (rumor: Voyager 1 has crossed the last boundary of our Solar System, and has ventured out into interstellar space).
Here are some of the best and easiest ways to keep up with all the news (all links open in a new window):
- Track the hashtag #AGU12
- Follow the official AGU account: @theAGU
- Follow the space agencies, including: @NASAJPL, @ESA and @CSA_ASC
- Follow space science blogs, such as the Planetary Society’s @exploreplanets and science writer Emily Lakdawalla @elakdawalla Update: see Emily’s video report from day one, and this detailed Curiosity report.
- Follow folks from every walk of life who will be on hand for the NASA social media event at the conference. Watch for the hashtags #AGU12 and #NASASocial. New: a Storify story with pictures and tweets from the event.
- Of course, you can always saddle up with the old standby: @ridingrobots
- All week: The AGU will generously be providing free information and live webcasts of several key sessions on its Virtual Meeting page throughout the conference. You can also see a complete list of scheduled press conferences.
- Monday, Dec. 3 at 9 a.m. PST (12 p.m. EST): News conference about the latest findings from the Mars rover Curiosity. Recorded replay. Press release with images: Mars Rover Fully Analyzes First Martian Soil Samples.
- Monday, Dec. 3 at 11 a.m. PST (2 p.m. EST): News conference to discuss the latest discoveries and travels of the Voyager 1 spacecraft. Recorded replay. Press release with images: Voyager 1 Encounters New Region in Deep Space.
- Tuesday, Dec. 4 at 10:30 a.m. PST (1:30 p.m. EST): Press briefing about Mars Rover Opportunity’s Investigations at Endeavor Crater. Recorded replay. Press release: NASA Opportunity Rover Finishes Walkabout on Mars Crater Rim.
- New Addition: Tuesday, Dec. 4 at 4:00 p.m. PST (7:00 p.m. EST): News conference about newly-announced 2020 rover mission to Mars. Recorded replay. Press release: NASA Announces Robust Multi-Year Mars Program; New Rover to Close Out Decade of New Missions
- Wednesday, Dec. 5 at 9 a.m. PST (12 p.m. EST): Press briefing covering NASA’s Lunar Twins: GRAIL First Science Results. Recorded replay. Press release: NASA’s GRAIL Creates Most Accurate Moon Gravity Map