APL to Host Low-Cost Planetary Mission Conference

APL PR — Devising ways to explore space in tight fiscal times tops the agenda of the 9th International Conference on Low-Cost Planetary Missions, set for June 21-23, 2011, at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Md.

Sponsored by the International Academy of Astronautics (IAA), the conference is the leading forum for the world’s planetary science community to exchange ideas and experiences on scientifically effective and affordable space exploration. The program includes speakers, presentations and posters covering NASA’s newest missions – including the OSIRIS-REx asteroid sample-return mission and Discovery Program finalists Titan Mare Explorer (TiME) and Mars Geophysical Monitoring Station (GEMS); current or developing missions such as MESSENGER, Chandrayaan 1 and 2, Atasuki, Hayabusa, IKAROS, MAVEN, GRAIL, New Horizons, EPOXI and Stardust NEXT; and imaginative concepts for low-cost robotic excursions to planets, moons, asteroids and comets.

Session tracks covering new technologies, mission design, mission management and launch options are also planned, as is a panel discussion on balancing program requirements with mission efficiency.

APL hosted the first and fourth LCPM conferences in 1994 and 2000. “The Lab is a fitting place for planetary scientists, technologists, engineers, managers and agency officials to exchange information and forge ideas for exploring space within today’s budget constraints,” says John Sommerer, head of the APL Space Department. “Over the past half-century, starting with the Transit satellite navigation system and continuing with pioneering spacecraft such NEAR, ACE, MESSENGER and New Horizons, APL has shaped the paradigm of low-cost, high-return missions.”

For the latest information on session topics, abstracts and schedules, visit the conference website at http://lcpm9.jhuapl.edu/index.php. Registration is free for bona fide members of the media; contact Michael Buckley, APL Office of Communications and Public Affairs, at (240) 228-7536 or michael.buckley@jhuapl.edu for more information.

Conference sessions will be held in the Applied Physics Laboratory’s Kossiakoff Center, located at 11100 Johns Hopkins Road, about a half-mile west of US Route 29 in Laurel, Md. Directions are available in the APL Visitor’s Guide at www.jhuapl.edu/aboutapl/visitor/default.asp.

The Applied Physics Laboratory, a division of The Johns Hopkins University, meets critical national challenges through the innovative application of science and technology. For more information, visit www.jhuapl.edu