AGU Fall Meeting: CURIOSITY UPDATE: Change in location, webstreaming for Mars Curiosity press conference; Press conference schedule additions

29 November 2012

Joint Release

Moscone Convention Center
San Francisco, California
3–7 December 2012

Contents of this message:

  1. Curiosity update: Change in location, webstreaming changed for Mars Curiosity press conference
  2. Where Do I Pick Up My Press/News Media Badge?
  3. Press conference additions – L’Aquila, induced seismicity

1. Curiosity update: Change in location, webstreaming changed for Mars Curiosity press conference

The location and webstreaming for the Mars Rover Curiosity press conference, at 9 a.m. PST Monday morning, have been changed.

**The Curiosity press conference will be held in Rooms 134 and 135 of Hall E of Moscone Center North, located in the 700 block of Howard Street between Third and Fourth streets.

**Webstreaming will be available at NASA’s U-Stream site Working members of the media may ask questions by emailing them to [email protected]. Please include your name and affiliation in the email.

All other press conferences remain in Moscone West, Room 3000. For instructions on webstreaming for other press conferences, visit

For more information about the Press Conference, visit:

2. Where and How Do I Pick Up My Press/News Media Badge and Ribbon?

**Press/News Media Registration has changed considerably since last year. To avoid lines on Monday morning, 3 December, we encourage all members of the news media go through the final steps of registering and picking up your badge by Sunday, 2 December. Unlike in previous years, you may register online throughout duration of the Fall Meeting. As always, press/news media registration is complimentary.

If you do not preregister online: This year, the main Fall Meeting registration area is in the lower level of Moscone South; the registration counters are located at the bottom of the long escalators immediately ahead of you as you enter the South building lobby. The Press/News Media registration counter will be on the far left, next to Exhibitor registration. To register on-site, you must go to this Press/News Media Registration Counter in Moscone South, fill out an onsite registration form, present your news media credentials or, if a freelance or blogger, provide three clips of articles/posts covering the Earth and space sciences that appeared in 2012.

If you preregistered and were mailed your badge: If you have your badge in hand, you can complete the registration process (picking up a badge holder, program book, and other materials) at booths at the entrance to the Moscone South Lobby and at locations in Moscone West, and in the San Francisco Marriott Marquis hotel (see hours at the end of this item). At those booths, you can hand in the voucher that came with your badge and you will be handed the badge holder and other materials. Then, at your convenience, please come by the Press Room (Room 3001A, Moscone West) for your green Press/News Media ribbon that gets attached to your badge. You will need a ribbon to have access to the AGU press rooms, but not to attend sessions or other venues at Fall Meeting.

For hours of the badge-holder-pickup booths and other registration counters, please see

If you preregistered (registered online) but didn’t receive your badge in the mail (or forgot to bring your mailed badge to the meeting): You may use the self-registration lines in the main registration area on the lower level of Moscone South (you do not need to use the press registration line). At the self-registration counters you can either type in your name and zip code or scan the barcode that you received in the email confirming your registration (either from a printout or a smart phone image).

The entrances to the Moscone South building are on Howard Street between Third and Fourth streets. The entrances to the Moscone West building are on Fourth Street between Howard St. and Minna St.

3. Press conference additions – L’Aquila, induced seismicity

Two press conferences have been added – Lessons Learned from the L’Aquila Earthquake Verdicts and Natural or Man-made? Triggers and Limits to Induced Earthquakes. The entire list of press conferences is below and also at
All Press Conferences, EXCEPT the Mars Rover Curiosity briefing, take place in the Press Conference Room (Room 3000, Moscone West, Level 3). Curiosity will be held in Rooms 134 and 135 of Hall E, Moscone North.
NOTE: Press Conferences and participants are subject to change, both before and during Fall Meeting. Please check back frequently for updates, additions, and other changes to the schedule. Changes will also be announced in the Press Room (Room 3001A, Moscone West, Level 3, adjacent to the Level 3 lobby).

Mars Rover Curiosity’s Investigations in Gale Crater
**This press conference will be held in Rooms 134 and 135, Moscone North**
Monday, 3 December
9:00 a.m.

NASA’s newest Mars rover, Curiosity, has been investigating past and modern environmental conditions in Mars’ equatorial Gale Crater since August. This briefing will offer findings from examining the composition and textures of targets touched by the rover’s robotic arm. Curiosity is the car-size rover of NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory mission. At the time of the AGU Fall Meeting, it will be four months into a two-year prime mission.

Michael Meyer, Program Scientist for Mars Science Laboratory; NASA Headquarters, Washington, D.C., USA;
John Grotzinger, Project Scientist for Mars Science Laboratory; California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California, USA;
Paul Mahaffy, Principal Investigator for Curiosity’s Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM); NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland, USA;
Ralf Gellert, Principal Investigator for Curiosity’s Alpha Particle X-Ray Spectrometer; University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, Canada;
Ken Edgett, Principal Investigator for Curiosity’s Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI); Malin Space Science Systems, San Diego, California, USA.

Session: U13A

Climate Change and Civilizations
Monday, 3 December
11:30 a.m.

The languages spoken today in the Middle East may owe themselves to a shift in climate change that happened over 4,000 years ago. The rise and fall of civilizations may follow patterns in climate change records. Finding these records, though, can involve negotiating not only with a national government, but also with the local chief. This briefing will offer findings from the Middle East and the Indian subcontinent to show how climate change played a part in the success and disintegration of several past civilizations.

Matthew Konfirst, Byrd Fellow, Byrd Polar Research Center, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, USA;
Sebastian Breitenbach, Postdoctoral Researcher, Climate Geology, ETHZ Geologisches Institut, Zurich, Switzerland.

Session: PP13D

Voyager press availability
Monday, 3 December
12:30 p.m.

Scientists with NASA’s Voyager mission will present the latest findings from the mission to the edge of the solar system, and will be available to answer questions from journalists.

Ed Stone, Voyager project scientist, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, Calif., USA;
Leonard Burlaga, Voyager magnetometer team scientist, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland, USA;
Stamatios (“Tom”) Krimigis, Voyager low-energy charged particle instrument principal investigator, Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, Laurel, Maryland, USA.

Improving forecasts of “Pineapple Expresses”
Monday, 3 December
1:30 p.m.

NOAA scientists and colleagues are installing the first of four permanent “atmospheric river observatories” in coastal California this month, to better monitor and predict the impacts of landfalling atmospheric rivers. These powerful winter systems, sometimes called “pineapple express” storms, can cause destructive floods and debris flows, and can also fill the state’s reservoirs. The coastal observatories – custom arrays of instruments installed in collaboration with the California Department of Water Resources – will give weather forecasters, emergency managers and water resource experts detailed information about incoming storms. The move to install the observatories comes after several winters of testing, during which the scientists determined the most effective arrays of instruments for collecting information useful for decision makers.


F. Martin (“Marty”) Ralph, research meteorologist and chief of the Water Cycle Branch, Physical Sciences Division of NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory;
Mike Anderson, California State Climatologist, California Department of Water Resources;
Kevin Baker, Meteorologist-in-Charge (MIC) of the San Francisco Bay area National Weather Service forecast office;
Michael Dettinger, research hydrologist with the U.S. Geological Survey and a research associate with the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, La Jolla, California.

Session: GC14B

Winter is coming… but what happens when it leaves early?
Monday, 3 December
2:30 p.m.

To some scientists working in the Rocky Mountains, the winter of 2011-2012 was one of the strangest observed in decades. The record-early snowmelt – about six weeks earlier than the previous year – caused plants to start growing earlier, and then get wiped out by hard frosts. The early spring disrupted the life cycles of plants, and the effects cascaded to animal species as well. Scientists, both funded by the National Science Foundation, will present new observations of what happens when the snow disappears early, and discuss the implications for alpine ecosystems.

Heidi Steltzer, Assistant Professor, Biology at Fort Lewis College, Durango, Colorado, USA;
David Inouye, Professor, Department of Biology, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland, USA.
Anjuli S. Bamzai, Program Director, Climate and Large-scale Dynamics Program, Geosciences Directorate, National Science Foundation, USA.

Sessions: B21I

Superstorm Sandy, Black Swan Cyclones and the Economic Toll to Come
Monday, 3 December
4:00 p.m.

As New Jersey still recovers from Superstorm Sandy, scientists continue to study how it and future storms of similar magnitude and frequency might affect U.S. coastlines. New data from the U.S. Geological Survey will be presented, along with forecasts of the economic impact of this and possible future storms. This briefing will also consider the possibility of Black Swan cyclones – bigger storms making landfall outside of typical tropical storm impact regions.

Ning Lin, Assistant Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Princeton;
Hilary Stockdon, Research Oceanographer, U.S. Geological Survey, St. Petersburg, Florida, USA;
Dylan McNamara, Assistant Professor, Department of Physics & Physical Oceanography, University of North Carolina Wilmington, Wilmington, North Carolina, USA.

Sessions: NH23C, OS24C

New Findings, New Enigmas: NASA’s Van Allen Probes Begin their Exploration of the Radiation Belts
Tuesday, 4 December
8:00 a.m.

The twin Van Allen Probes (formerly the Radiation Belt Storm Probes), launched by NASA on August 30, are already delivering data of unprecedented detail, gathered from within our planet’s dynamic radiation belts. The mission is the first to send two spacecraft to reside within the incredibly hostile environment of the belts, which are named for their discoverer, James Van Allen. Almost immediately following launch, the probes began to reveal fascinating new structures and surprising dynamics of the radiation belt region that have never before been observed.

Daniel Baker, Principal Investigator, Van Allen Probes Relativistic Electron Proton Telescope (REPT; part of the Energetic Particle, Composition, and Thermal Plasma Suite), Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP) at the University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado, USA;
Craig Kletzing, Principal Investigator, Van Allen Probes Electric and Magnetic Field Instrument Suite and Integrated Science (EMFISIS), University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa City, Iowa, USA;
Joseph Mazur, Principal Investigator, Van Allen Probes Relativistic Proton Spectrometer (RPS), Aerospace Corporation, Chantilly, Virginia, USA.

Sessions: SM24A, SM31C, SM34A, SM42B, SM43E, SM44A

Fire in a Changing Climate and What We Can Do About It
Tuesday, 4 December
9:00 a.m.

Land area burned by fires has increased in the United States over the past 25 years, consistent with a trend toward climate conditions more conducive to fire. In contrast, fires for agricultural and forest management show declining trends in the western U.S. despite overall increases in wildfire activity and associated carbon emissions. Looking ahead, new IPCC climate projections offer insight into potential changes to U.S. fire activity over the next 30-50 years based on the climate sensitivity of fires in recent decades. Scientists will present new data on which regions of the U.S. might see fire seasons become longer and more intense.

Louis Giglio, Research Associate Professor, University of Maryland College Park, Maryland, and Physical Scientist, NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland, USA;
Christopher Williams, Assistant Professor of Geography, andAdjunct Assistant Professor of Biology, Clark University, Worcester, Massachusetts, USA;
Doug Morton, Physical Scientist, NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland, and Adjunct Assistant Professor, University of Maryland, College Park, USA;
Hsiao-Wen Lin, Graduate Student Researcher, Department of Earth System Science, University of California, Irvine, USA.

Sessions: NH52A, B22B, B41B, B23F

Mars Rover Opportunity’s Investigations at Endeavour Crater
Tuesday, 4 December
10:30 a.m.

NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity, working on Mars since January 2004, has spent recent months examining outcrops in an area on the rim of Endeavour Crater. There, the rover has found unusual textures and orbital observations have suggested the possible presence of clay minerals. This briefing will offer an update about what has been found so far during these rover investigations at “Matijevic Hill” on the crater’s western rim and outline plans for continuing work by Opportunity.

Steve Squyres, Principal Investigator for Opportunity, Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y., USA;
Diana Blaney, Deputy Project Scientist for Opportunity, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, USA.

Sessions: P14A, P14B, P21C

An Unlikely New Tool for Spotting Clandestine Nuclear Tests
Tuesday, 4 December
1:30 p.m.

While countries such as North Korea may go to great lengths to conceal illegal nuclear weapons testing, others around the globe are finding new ways to detect those tests. In the search for rogue nukes, researchers have discovered an unlikely new tool. Like GPS before it, a new use for this common tool was born out of the discovery that even underground nuclear explosions leave their mark in unexpected places.

Dorota Grejner-Brzezinska, Professor of Geodetic and Geoinformation Engineering, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, USA;
Jihye Park, post-doctoral researcher in geodetic and geoinformation engineering, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, USA;
Joseph Helmboldt, Radio Astronomer, Naval Research Laboratory, Washington, D.C., USA.

Session: G11C

Science & Technology at Extreme Depths, with James Cameron and DEEPSEA CHALLENGE Scientists
Tuesday, 4 December
2:30 p.m.

Journalists can follow up on special session U22C with questions for James Cameron and three scientists from the DEEPSEA CHALLENGE Expedition. The panel will discuss the sub’s innovative design as well as preliminary scientific findings including identification of new species and discovery of deepest example to date of gigantism in deep-sea animals. Along with a team of scientists and engineers, Cameron co-designed the submersible in which he became the first person to descend alone to the Earth’s deepest known point. The expedition included multiple sub dives to explore the New Britain and Mariana Trenches where it collected video footage of unprecedented clarity, physical oceanographic data, water samples, biological samples and sediment.

James Cameron, Expedition Leader, DEEPSEA CHALLENGE; Chairman, Blue Planet Marine Research Foundation; Explorer-In-Residence, National Geographic Society, Washington, D.C., USA;
Douglas Bartlett, Professor of Marine Microbial Genetics, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UCSD, La Jolla, California, USA;
Patricia Fryer, Professor, Hawaii Institute of Geophysics & Planetology, University of Hawaii, Honolulu, Hawaii, USA;
Kevin Hand, Deputy Chief Scientist, Solar System Exploration, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, USA.

Session: U22C

NASA’s Lunar Twins – GRAIL First Science Results
Wednesday, 5 December
9:00 a.m.

First science results from NASA’s GRAIL moon gravity mapping mission. Launched on Sept. 11, 2011, the mission’s twin washing-machine-sized spacecraft, named Ebb and Flow, entered lunar orbit on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. During the prime mission science phase, which stretched from March 1 to May 29, the two GRAIL spacecraft orbited at an average altitude of 34 miles (55 kilometers). The data collected during GRAIL’s primary mission has generated the highest resolution gravity map of another celestial body.

Maria Zuber, GRAIL principal investigator, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, USA;
Mark Wieczorek, GRAIL co-investigator, University of Paris, France;
Jeff Andrews-Hanna, GRAIL co-investigator, Colorado School of Mines, Golden, Co., USA;
Sami Asmar, GRAIL project scientist, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Ca., USA.

Sessions: G32A, G33B, P33E

Earth at Night
Wednesday, 5 December
10:30 a.m.

A new cloud-free view of the entire Earth at Night, courtesy of a joint NASA-NOAA satellite program called Suomi NPP, will be unveiled at the press conference. This image is an order of magnitude more detailed than the wildly popular earlier Earth at Night image, and reveals new information scientists are using to study meteorology, natural and human-caused fires, fishing boats, human settlement, urbanization and more. Scientists will discuss the advancements now possible with these new images and detail a few examples of the features mentioned above – plus present images of Earth on moonless nights, lit only by “airglow” and starlight, as well as the vast difference moonlight makes on the Earth’s surface.

James Gleason
, NASA Suomi NPP project scientist, NASA Goddard, Greenbelt, Maryland, USA;
Christopher Elvidge, lead of the Earth Observation Group, NOAA’s National Geophysical Data Center in Boulder, Colorado, USA;
Steve Miller, senior research scientist and deputy director of the Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere (CIRA), Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado, USA

Sessions: A54F, IN33C

What’s going on in the Arctic?
Wednesday, 5 December
11:30 a.m.

Despite unremarkable air temperatures this year, the Arctic still set records for loss of summer sea ice, decline in spring snow extent, rising permafrost temperatures in northernmost Alaska, and duration and extent of melting at the surface of the Greenland ice sheet. Large changes in multiple indicators are affecting climate and ecosystems. What’s going on here? NOAA Administrator Jane Lubchenco and others will outline the changing conditions as part of the annual update of the Arctic Report Card, an international effort to assess the state of the Arctic environmental system.

Jane Lubchenco, Undersecretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere, and administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Washington, DC, USA;
Martin O. Jeffries, Program Officer & Arctic Science Advisor, Office of Naval Research, Arlington, Virginia, USA;
Donald Perovich, Adjunct Professor at Thayer School of Engineering, Dartmouth College;
Jason E. Box, Associate Professor, Department of Geography, Byrd Polar Research Center,
The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, USA.

Sesssions: C33F, C51E

Natural or man-made? Triggers and limits to induced earthquakes
Wednesday, 5 December
1:30 p.m.

For about three decades, Oklahoma averaged between 1 and 3 earthquakes big enough to be felt by people each year. Since 2010, residents have reported more than 250 quakes. Why the increase, there and elsewhere outside of typical fault zones? With increased earthquake monitoring, scientists are tracing the source of the seismicity – in some cases to hydraulic fracturing operations. At this briefing, researchers will present new results from Oklahoma and Texas – as well as the timing and cause of the biggest of these typically tiny quakes.

Art McGarr, Earthquake Science Center, USGS, Menlo Park, California, USA;
Austin Holland, Research Seismologist, Oklahoma Geological Survey, Oklahoma, USA;
Cliff Frohlich, Associate Director and Senior Research Scientist, Institute for Geophysics, University of Texas at Austin, USA.

Sessions: S32A; S34A; S51E; S51I

How Much Carbon Gets Stored In Western U.S. Ecosystems?
Wednesday, 5 December
2:30 pm

In a report to be issued at the time of this press conference, U.S. Geological Survey scientists estimate the ability of different ecosystems in the West to store carbon — benchmark data vitally needed for science-based land-use and land-management decisions and for future studies. The area examined extends from the Rocky Mountains to the Pacific coastal waters, and totals almost 2 million square miles of terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. Major findings include how much carbon is sequestered annually in this vast region, as well as the amount projected to be sequestered by ecosystem type under a range of land use and land cover, climate, and wildfire scenarios.

Marcia McNutt, Director, U.S. Geological Survey, Department of the Interior, Reston, VA, USA;
Benjamin Sleeter, Research Geographer, U.S. Geological Survey, Department of the Interior, Western Geographic Science Center, Menlo Park, CA, USA.

Sessions: GC23C, B33D, B33G, B34C

Setting boundaries for the Anthropocene
Thursday, 6 December
9 a.m.

Should the Age of Man be an official epoch? Scientists are debating whether the Anthropocene, the centuries during which humans have left our mark on the planet, should be an official unit of geological time. And if it is – how do we define it? When the geologists of the distant future dig test pits, what will they recognize that marks the boundary of the Anthropocene? The panel will tackle that question, discussing whether fossils, contaminants, or excavated ground ending up where it shouldn’t be would best mark the start of our geologic influence.

Tony Brown, Director of the Palaeoenvironmental Laboratory University of Southampton, United Kingdom;
Michael A. Kruge, Professor, Department of Earth and Environmental Studies, Montclair State University, Montclair, NJ, USA;
Colin Waters, Principal Mapping Geologist, British Geological Survey, Environmental Science Centre, Nottingham, United Kingdom;
Michael A. Ellis, Head of Climate Change Science, British Geological Survey, United Kingdom.

Sessions: GC51H, GC53C

Media Availability with NSF Director Subra Suresh
Thursday, 6 December
2 p.m.

Subra Suresh, director of the National Science Foundation, will be presenting AGU’s Union Agency Lecture. As director of this $7-billion independent federal agency since October 2010, Suresh leads the only government science agency charged with advancing all fields of fundamental science and engineering research and related education. Directly after his lecture, Suresh will be available in the press conference room to answer questions from members of the media.

Subra Suresh, Director, National Science Foundation

Lessons Learned from the L’Aquila Earthquake Verdicts
Thursday, 6 December
2:30 p.m.

Who is responsible for human suffering inflicted by earthquakes? What advice should scientists give and how should they communicate it when volcanoes erupt? What are the responsibilities and perils for researchers who estimate earthquake risks? In the wake of an Italian court’s convictions in October of seven scientists and one government official of manslaughter for allegedly mischaracterizing earthquake risk in the city of L’Aquila, natural-hazards experts are rethinking their role in society and the dangers that go with it – both for society and for themselves. The 6.3 magnitude earthquake that struck L’Aquila in April, 2009, killed more than 300 people.

Thomas H. Jordan, Director, Southern California Earthquake Center, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California, USA;
Stephen Sparks, Professor, School of Earth Science, University of Bristol, United Kingdom;
Max Wyss, Director, World Agency for Planetary Monitoring and Earthquake Risk Reduction, Geneva, Switzerland.

Sessions: U44B