Thursday, June 4, 2009

Spring AGU Wrap-up

Spring/summer is always rough because of the number of conferences that take place. This year I have three week-long trips within five weeks, each requiring a good amount of preparation on my behalf. Before I take off for my second trip, here's the highlights from the AGU Joint Meeting (aka spring AGU) as far as space science:
  1. There was a good portion of presentations dedicated to the TWINS satellites, which are now pumping out data. These satellites carry instruments that detect high energy neutral atoms flying away from the magnetosphere, yielding interesting data products -- including temperature maps of the magnetosphere. While this is a data source I'm not familiar with, it could be a very powerful method for exploring magnetospheric dynamics.
  2. The space weather sections were mildly interesting. They served more as a show-and-tell session rather than a true science expo. Right now, there are three agencies working to convert science computer models to operational computer models: NASA's Community Coordinated Modeling Center (CCMC), NOAA's Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC), and the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL). How these entities will coexist has yet to be determined.
  3. There was a crazy guy there. See upcoming post.
Yeeeaaaah, that's about it, honestly. Typically, Spring AGU is under atteneded by the space group, and this year was particularly sparse. Add in the fact that the conference started on Sunday of Memorial weekend (U.S. citizens, anyway) and you get a whole lot of nuttin'. My presentations (one oral, one poster) were basically for naught (three people in the audience? C'MON!) Hopefully next year (Brazil!) will be better, but I may skip out.

I did enjoy Canada, however. Where else can you leave your wallet in an airport (yes, I did) and have it returned with every penny and every piece of plastic in place and unmolested (yes, that too)?

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