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NASA Scientist to Present at Polar Gateways Arctic Circle Sunrise 2008 Conference
Scientists from NASA and organizations around the world will convene physically and electronically in Barrow, Alaska, the northernmost U.S. city, during the first week of Arctic sunrise at Barrow January 23 – 29. The discussions will focus on exploration of the polar and heliophysical environments of the Sun, Earth, Moon, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, and the outer Solar System as part of ongoing international research activities for International Polar Year and International Heliophysical Year (IPY/ IHY) 2007 – 2009.

There will be a mix of presentations on-site from Barrow and remotely via video conference or teleconference from other sites including Sweden, Norway, University of Alaska Fairbanks, University of California Berkeley, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. Most presentations will be openly accessible in real-time via web broadcast or later as recordings with access through the conference web site:

> Polar Gateways 2008

E-mail and phone contacts will be provided for submission of questions and comments in response to conference presentations.

"These gateways of intense international collaborative campaigns briefly open every fifty years, towards what might be called the International Planetary Year 2057-2059," said Conference Chair Dr. John Cooper of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md. "How far in the solar system will humanity have explored and settled in these later epochs, and what will we have learned from these voyages of discovery to improve our understanding of Earth’s past, present, and future?"

The conference program opens with historical perspectives on the first two International Polar Years, 1882 – 1883 and 1932-1933, and the International Geophysical Year 1957 – 1958.

In the following two days conferees address the present and changing environments of the Earth's polar regions, the magnetosphere (the region of space around Earth dominated by Earth's magnetic field), the Sun, and the Heliosphere (the space around our solar system permeated by the solar wind and solar magnetic fields). Late arrival of Arctic winter sea ice at Barrow clearly shows the impact of global warming trends and will be highlighted in the context of knowledge gained through the present epoch from remote satellite observations.

Science highlights will be discussed from the Ulysses, Themis, and Voyager missions including the first emergence of the latter into the boundary regions of the outer heliosphere and prospects for eventual entry into interstellar space. Ulysses is currently traversing polar heliospheric space over the north pole of the Sun. Themis is providing the first correlative multi-satellite and ground-based observatory measurements of auroral activity often directly visible from Barrow. The Interstellar Boundary Explorer (IBEX) mission will soon provide our first views of the polar heliospheric boundary regions far from the Sun.

After a weekend break for community outreach and field ice expedition activities, including testing of a robotic ice rover from Goddard, participants reconvene during January 28-29 to address science highlights from present and future missions of planetary exploration of the inner and outer solar system. Highlighted robotic planetary missions include Cassini/Huygens, New Horizons, Mars orbiters, the Phoenix mission now enroute to Mars, the upcoming Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, and currently evolving concepts for new flagship missions to the Jupiter system, Europa, and Ganymede. Also considered are NASA plans for human missions to the Moon as gateways to exploration and eventual habitation of Mars and beyond.

The conference is being hosted by the Barrow Arctic Science Consortium.


Dr. John F. Cooper, Conference Chair
(301) 286-1193

Dr. Glenn W. Sheehan, Conference Host
(907) 852-4881

Dr. Kirsti Kauristie, International Lead
+358-9-1929 4637

Dr. Allan T. Weatherwax, U.S. Lead

Dr. Roger W. Smith, Alaska Lead
(907) 474-7282

Nancy Neal-Jones / Bill Steigerwald
Goddard Space Flight Center