Workshop Goals

The NASA Infrared Telescope Facility (IRTF) will host a workshop to seek input from the astronomical community on the future directions of the facility. The workshop will be held at Biosphere 2 in Tucson on 12-14 February 2018.

The IRTF is a 3.0-meter infrared telescope located at an altitude of approximately 13,600 feet near the summit of Maunakea on the island of Hawaii. The available IRTF observing time is open to the entire astronomical community, with 50% of the time reserved for observations of solar system objects and the balance for observations outside the solar system. NASA established the IRTF in 1979 primarily to provide infrared observations in support of NASA's missions, in particular the Voyager mission to the outer planets. NASA’s strategy in operating a dedicated, ground-based observatory continues to be the support of NASA’s missions and science goals.

The IRTF is managed and funded by the Planetary Science Division for NASA. Since 2014, the IRTF has been fully funded by the Near-Earth Object (NEO) Observations Program and the facility is an important asset for NEO physical characterization to support the Planetary Defense Coordination Office (PDCO), which can schedule interrupts of observing time for characterization of high interest NEOs. Although time allocation and program balance remain unchanged for the IRTF, the planetary defense mission area is an important consideration in NASA’s strategic planning for the IRTF.

We seek input on ways to use IRTF to do new and improved science through improvements to the telescope, new instrumentation and potential new ways of operating the telescope. Your input in the form of talks, posters, and discussion sessions will be used to explore possible future directions, to prepare white papers for input into the upcoming planetary and astrophysics decadal reviews, and to inform plans through and beyond the lease that ends in 2033 for operations of all the Maunakea telescopes.


10/06/2017: First announcement distributed

10/04/2017: Web site opened

Scientific Organizing Committee

The Scientific Organizing Committee is composed of Vishnu Reddy (LPL; Chair), Christoph Baranec (UH), Joan Najita (NOAO), Lisa Prato (Lowell Obs), Geronimo Villanueva (GSFC), Leslie Young (SwRI, Boulder). Ex Officio members are Kelly Fast (IRTF Program Scientist, NASA HQ), Hashima Hasan and Mario Perez (NASA Astrophysics), John Rayner (IRTF Director).


  • 04 October 2017: First Announcement
  • T.B.D.: Registration Deadline
  • T.B.D.: Title and Abstract Submission Deadline
  • T.B.D.: Final Schedule Posted
  • 12-14 February 2018: Workshop in Biosphere 2-Tucson
  • T.B.D.: White Paper Contribution Deadline


Registration for the workshop will open soon


The meeting will be held at Biosphere 2, "A must see wonder of the world", which is located about 25 miles north of Tucson, Arizona. In addition to conference facilities B2 also offers accommodation and catering. Details about booking accommodation will be provided soon.

Scientific Program

The schedule of the scientific program will be posted here.

Contact Information

For inquiries, please contact John Rayner at john.thornton.rayner at gmail dot com.