Group photo of participants at NASA workshop held at Dawson Jan. 9-11

SPACE students attend NASA workshop at Dawson


The first workshop on Ices in the Solar System: A Volatile-Excursion from Mercury and the Moon to the Kuiper Belt and Beyond, took place at Dawson College from Jan. 9 to 11. The workshop, the only NASA sanctioned event held outside of the United States, was co-convened by Dawson’s Richard Soare (faculty, Geography) and Jim Garvin, formerly NASA’s Chief Mars Scientist and currently the Principal Investigator of the DAVINCI Mission to Venus.

Twenty-four Dawson students were given the opportunity to participate in the workshop alongside an international gathering of career planetary scientists. The students, guided by SPACE coordinator Joel Trudeau, prepared for the workshop by doing exploratory research and preparing “what if?” questions in keeping with this year’s SPACE theme. Four of the students, who were co-supervised by Richard Soare and Nadim Boukhira (faculty, Physics), submitted an abstract entitled Pluto: Cold at the Surface, Hot Below, and presented their poster at an evening poster session Jan. 10.

This amazing exposure to the planetary sciences left the students brimming with ideas. There are ongoing and planned outcomes from the conference for venues such as the SPACE website, and SPACEweek taking place during the first week in May. A seminar series of talks on a range of planetary sciences is also being worked on.

The scientists who attended the workshop had a great time as well remarking that they came away learning a lot and feeling energized and noted that “bringing together ice people from across the Solar System was beneficial to the ice community as a whole.”  They also enjoyed the talks about the history of Montreal and Quebec and Joel’s opening talk entitled The SPACE Lens at Dawson College, describing them as a “cool unique experience that you normally don’t get at bigger meetings.”

Perhaps Jim Garvin said it best of all in a follow up email: “Clearly your meeting was a winner and having it at Dawson in Canada was brilliant.”

Last Modified: January 25, 2023