The overriding objective of CLASS is to bring a large variety of experienced, multidisciplinary researchers together to cross-feed ideas, new approaches, and new collaborations to address issues in exploration science. To do this, CLASS will implement a series of programs to catalyze interaction and collaboration between CLASS Network members as well as the broader SSERVI and HEOMD communities. These programs include a virtual Colloquium Series, a Directed Discussion Series on exploration science topics, a Student Summer Research Exchange, an annual CLASS Science Conference for face-to-face interaction, and an annual Winter School in Exploration Science.

Colloquium Series

CLASS will host video-conference and web-cast colloquiums, featuring CLASS Network research, advances in the larger exploration science community, and invited speakers. All colloquia are advertised broadly, including on the CLASS website and by e-mail reminders to the CLASS Network, and made available to other SSERVI nodes, the wider SMD and HEOMD community, and all interested scientists. Colloquia are recorded and archived on the CLASS website for continued access on demand and to achieve the widest possible distribution. With our video-conferencing system, we will be able to support interaction with our remote audience via questions and discussion during each colloquium. This is part of the CLASS goal to develop a widely based interdisciplinary approach to exploration science questions.

Discussion Series on Exploration Topics

One of the ways to encourage the interchange of ideas and catalyze fruitful lines of research is the directed discussion of topics based on the informal “lunch discussion” model. Using the CLASS video-conferencing facility, network co-investigators and collaborators will be brought together to discuss aspects of selected exploration science issues and problems, with a moderator to manage the discussion and keep the virtual roundtable focused on the topic at hand. The objective is to attack exploration problems in an informal setting from a broad range of perspectives and a very diverse knowledge base: including specialists in cosmochemistry, meteorite physical properties, dynamics, regolith, microgravity, and any other relevant subspecialty. This virtual discussion is aimed at vetting novel ideas, developing alternative lines of approach, shepherding innovative research, energizing progress, and building new collaborations across disciplines. This kind of dynamic cross-feed of ideas between specialties is at the heart of CLASS. These topical discussions will be organized on a monthly basis and any CLASS Network member can suggest a topic that supports CLASS research goals.

Student Research Exchange

To support training of new researchers across the CLASS Network, CLASS will host and fund a research program for graduate and/or undergraduate students to work with CLASS Team Members. This program will be open to all members of the CLASS Network and will be allocated by competitive research proposal. Awarded proposals will include support for a summer stipend and necessary travel dependent on the scope of the research to be performed. This program is designed to allow CLASS Team Members to involve students in their research, to facilitate the interchange of students between CLASS institutes for the cross-feed of ideas and information, and to broaden the student’s research perspective.

CLASS Graduate Seminars

CLASS, together with our partners at UCF, SSERVI, and other SSERVI nodes sponsors a graduate capstone level course every year on a major topic in exploration science. This course covers a gap in the planetary science courses that addresses cutting edge, topical results, and current missions and/or observations. This is science that may be several years away from being incorporated into textbooks, but can be fundamental to understanding the evolving research directions in planetary science. Also included in this course are planetary science topics and skills that do not fit easily into other courses such as how experimental constraints can skew science results, how synergistic measurements and instrumentation can advance science return, and how one develops an attitude for critical analysis of results. The course is a full semester with lectures recorded on the CLASS AdobeConnect system and available for viewing. Previous topics include “New Horizons Approaches Pluto” lead by Dr. Alan Stern and “The Exploration of Phobos and Deimos” in partnership with Dr. Carle Pieters of SEEED. We are currently working on a seminar for Spring 2017 entitled “Exploration Enabled by In-Situ Resource Utilization”.