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IPPW 2020

17th International Planetary Probe Workshop 

Monterey Tides Hotel

Monterey, CA, U.S.

Webinar Series

IPPW 2020 Webinar Goals

The IPPW 2020 Webinar series was conceived as a result of cancellation of the IPPW 2020 meeting with the initial goal of sustaining the IPPW community through the period of the pandemic, and to lay the foundations for a successful IPPW 2021 meeting in Japan. However, it also provides an opportunity to explore new ways of achieving IPPW objectives. Instead of packing these activities into a single week in June, we have formulated a program of much shorter sessions at biweekly intervals beginning April 30 2020 and continuing to mid-July. It includes sessions on what has been learned from past missions, progress on missions under development, and concepts for future missions and technologies. One session focuses on outstanding ideas from young researchers and includes multiple breakout sessions where small groups of participants can gather to debate these ideas. The webinar series aspires to engage people in the IPPW community from across the globe, maintaining the international flavor of the workshop.

Full-Length Article Opportunities

We are excited to announce a new AIAA Journal of Spacecraft and Rockets (JSR) Virtual Collection for this year titled “Innovative Methods, Instruments, and Materials for Planetary Entry”, specifically looking for journal-quality full-length articles based on our IPPW 2020 material. Articles will go through JSR peer review. Technologies that improve the state-of-the-art of EDL are encouraged – including algorithms, validation techniques, measurement capabilities, and non-traditional system architectures. 

Due date is Sept 11, 2020, and the submission site is already live. Authors should go to, start a New Submission, and select the collection from the Special Issue dropdown in Step 1. Authors may submit full-length articles even if their IPPW 2020 abstract is already archived online.

Thank you to those who participated in our full-length article survey. We realize that not the full scope of IPPW will be appropriate for JSR, but we’re happy to have been able to organize a collection of articles relevant to a significant fraction of our survey responses. As always, we encourage our authors to submit follow-on work from our workshop to other venues, JSR or otherwise.

Webinar Program

Six sessions are planned each lasting no more than 90 minutes. All the sessions except Session 5 will begin at 8.00am Pacific Time to accommodate participants in the U.S. and Europe. Session 5 will begin at 5.00pm Pacific Time tailored to participation from the U.S. and Japan. 

  1. Lessons Learned from the Huygens probe landing on Titan

  2. Aerial Exploration of Mars, Titan and Venus

  3. Enabling Planetary Exploration through the use of Aerocapture

  4. Lightning talks from outstanding young researchers

  5. Surface Sample return from Asteroids and Mars

  6. New Concepts in Lunar and Planetary Surface Exploration

Session 1. Lesson learned from the Huygens probe landing on Titan

The Huygens probe developed by the European Space Agency descended through the Titan atmosphere and landed on its icy surface in 2004. The scientific findings of Huygens and the performance of the probe as it descended and landed successfully are proving important in planning the return to Titan by the Dragonfly rotorcraft lander later in this decade. 

Session 2. Aerial Exploration of Venus, Mars and Titan
Three solar system objects, other than the Earth, have significant atmospheres and solid surfaces, yet only Venus has been visited with flying vehicles. But this is about to change. Less than a year from now the Mars Helicopter will be delivered to the surface of Mars by the Mars 2020 (Perseverance) mission. Later in the decade, Dragonfly, another rotorcraft, will depart for Titan. And concepts are also being developed for a Venus Aerobot which would build upon the accomplishments of the two VeGa balloons of 1985. The systems engineers who have conceived and are implementing these concepts will describe the unique challenges of flying at each target body and how they have been addressed. 

Session 3. Enabling Planetary Exploration through the use of Aerocapture

The potential of aerocapture for orbiting planets and satellites has been understood for decades but has yet to be used in practice. Two leading researchers will be describing the opportunities that aerocapture offers and recent technology developments that is bringing it closer to realization. They will also invite participation in the White papers that they are submitting to the 2023 to 2032 Planetary Science Decadal Survey that NASA has recently commissioned to guide planning for that decade.  

Session 4. Lightning Presentations by Young Researchers

This session will include outstanding presentations by young researchers which would have been given at IPPW2020 in Monterey if the meeting had happened as planned. In this program, each presenter will be given 5 minutes to describe their idea to all the participants. Following completion of the five presentations, each presenter will give a more detailed presentation in splinter sessions. 

Session 5. Surface Sample return from asteroids and Mars

Hayabusa was the first spacecraft to land on the surface of the asteroid Itokawa and successfully return samples of that asteroid to Earth in June 2010. Hayabusa 2 sampled a second asteroid, Ryugu, and is now on its return to Earth and will arrive in late 2020. The return of samples from the surface of Mars is now being planned in a joint NASA-ESA project. This session compares and contrast the approaches to the Earth Entry Vehicle for bringing back asteroidal samples with those needed for Martian surface samples. 

Session 6. New Concepts in Lunar and Planetary Surface Exploration

In preparation for the Planetary Science Decadal Survey for 2023 to 2032, NASA has been conducting “Pre Decadal Studies” of potential mission concepts for that decade. This session includes presentations on three of these studies that involve landed missions to the Moon, Venus and Mercury. The engineers leading these studies will describe the unique challenges of landing on these bodies and operating over extended periods in their environments. 


Registration for these Webinars is free but you must register at least 24 hours before the date and time of the Webinar to be assured of being able to participate. The weblink in the tables below will take you to the registration page. Once approved for attending, attendees should join the session at least 5 minutes before the starting time. Attendees will be able to submit questions for the presenters prior to a 20 minutes question and answer period following the presentations. 

Future Plans

As currently, envisaged, the IPPW Webinar Series is purely a response to the COVID 19 crisis. However, we may find that efforts to create workable virtual alternatives mean that things are never quite the same again. We will be surveying the IPPW community to see if videoconferencing should have any role in the future of IPPW. 

IPPW Webinar Contact Information

The IPPW2020 Webinar Series has been organized by the IPPW2020 Virtual Workshop Task Team comprised of Jim Cutts (Lead), Andrew Ball, Jean-Marc Boullly, Athena Coustenis, Ken Hibbard, Jacob izraelevitz, Jean-Pierre Lebreton, Marcus Lobbia, Raj Venkatapathy and Al Witkowski. The IPPW Webinars are hosted by JPL with the assistance of Beth Verish and Tim Brice. If you have suggestions for content and implementation please contact Jim Cutts at

IPPW 2020 Webinar Schedules

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