The European Community for Planetary Sciences

Europlanet Society Briefing
April 2021

In this Briefing

Word from the President

Dear Colleagues, 

Sadly the consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic continue to influence all our lives, including our scientific ones. The Europlanet Science Conference (EPSC) 2021 will once again be a virtual event, and our visit to Helsinki is postponed to 2024.  Nevertheless, building on the successes of 2020 and taking into account your valuable feedback, we are confident that EPSC 2021 will be a vibrant and simulating meeting. We encourage you to submit abstracts to the many interesting sessions that have been proposed.  

The pandemic is similarly disrupting many of the scientific activities that Europlanet supports through its Research infrastructure. However, we are pleased to report funding to provide free access for another 76 projects to visit our suite of laboratory facilities and field sites (once travel restrictions are lifted in late 2021 and 2022) or conduct experiments virtually. I would also remind you of the open call for observations with the Europlanet Telescope Network, which includes 14 facilities that can be operated remotely.  

Please consider signing up as a mentor or mentee in the Europlanet Mentoring programme, which seeks to support the early career members of our community in these difficult times, or getting involved in our EPEC early career network. I would also draw your attention to our new Mars Collection of educational materials launched to support teachers and home schooling.  

Thus your Europlanet Society continues to support planetary science across the world and across all stages of careers and we encourage you to join or renew your membership.   

Take care of yourselves and your families  

Nigel Mason
President, Europlanet Society
Coordinator, Europlanet 2024 RI

Europlanet 2024 Research Infrastructure (RI) News

Results of Call 2 for Transnational Access to Europlanet 2024 RI facilities

Europlanet 2024 RI’s Transnational Access (TA) programme offers researchers the opportunity to apply to visit planetary analogue field sites, planetary simulators and sample analysis facilities. Following an anonymous peer review process, 76 projects will be funded through the second call for applications, of which 17 will be for visits to planetary field analogue sites and 57 to laboratory facilities
Find out more here>> 

The Mars Collection of Educational Resources

Exploring the possibilities of life on the Red Planet

Europlanet has produced a set of school resources exploring the possibilities of life on the Red Planet. The resources have been produced to be easily translatable in order to facilitate ease of dissemination across Europe and beyond. The resources link areas of the curriculum with research into past and present conditions on Mars and how we can study these conditions via planetary field analogue sites here on Earth.
Find out more here>> 

First Virtual Workshop on Fireball Databases and Machine Learning

11 June 2021 – 12 June 2021

Europlanet 2024 RI is supporting a series of four workshops to bring together different networks of fireballs observers as well as machine learning experts over the next two years. This series aims to culminate with the development of a common data format and/or common entry point to the observational data of the different fireballs networks, and machine learning science cases for meteor observations.

Registration for the first workshop closes 31 May 2021.
Know more here >>

Virtual Workshop for Amateur Astronomers 

Saturday, 15 May 2021, 11:00 CEST

On 15 May 2021, a virtual workshop will demonstrate the use of the telescopes within the Europlanet Telescope Network to amateur astronomers. The workshop will be held in Spanish and will include a practical demonstration of remote use of the Calar Alto 1.23m telescope, as well as a real-time observing session from 21:00-01:00 CEST.
Know more here >>

Europlanet Society News

EPSC2021 – Call for Abstracts

EPSC2021 will take place from 13–24 September 2021 as a virtual conference.

The Europlanet Science Congress (EPSC2021) is the annual meeting event of the Europlanet Society. The entire range of planetary sciences is covered through an extensive mix of talks, workshops and poster sessions and the event is a unique space for networking and exchange of experiences. 
Submit your abstracts by 26 May 2021, 13:00 CEST.
Find out more here>> 

A Pocket Guide to Mars

The Pocket Atlas of Mars 36 is a new collection of maps that present the physical geography of the Red Planet in thematic layers on a topographic base map, as well as albedo, cloud cover, weather and climate maps and climate diagrams. The atlas, which has been developed for use in astronomy clubs and schools, was funded by the Europlanet Society through its Central Europe Hub.
Find out more here>> 


#PlanetaryScience4All Video Contest 2nd Edition

Deadline: 1 August 2021

The Europlanet Early Career (EPEC) Communication working group is giving Bachelor’s and Master’s students and Doctoral Candidates involved in planetary science the opportunity to showcase their research through a 4-minute video contest called #PlanetaryScience4All. The winner will be announced at the Europlanet Science Congress (EPSC) 2021 in September.
Find out more here >>

Ariel Machine Learning Data Challenge 2021 

Deadline: 1st July 2021

The Ariel Machine Learning Data Challenge 2021 'Machine vs Stellar and Instrument Noise’ is now open. The Data Challenge is in support of the ESA Ariel mission, which will  study the atmospheres of 1000 extrasolar planets. Participants in the 2021 Data Challenge are asked to identify and correct the effects of stellar spots in noisy transiting lightcurves of extrasolar planets. The results will be discussed at the ECML PKDD 2021 conference in September.
Find out more here>> 

Europlanet Community Corner

EPEC Profiles

Julie Nováková

Julie Nováková is an evolutionary biologist with an interest in astrobiology and planetary science, educator and award-winning Czech author and editor of science fiction. She co-teaches an astrobiology class and co-organises an astrobiology seminar at her alma mater, the Faculty of Science, Charles University.
EPEC Profiles - Call for submissions
If you are an early career professional and want to showcase your research in an EPEC Profile: 
Find out how to participate here >>

Inspiring Stories

The Brilliant Club

In this EPEC Inspiring Outreach Story, Melissa Mirino, a Doctoral Candidate at the Open University, describes engaging school students with her thesis. Read it here >>

EPSC 2020 Planetary Science Wiki Edit-a-thon

Mary Proctor

The EPSC2020 Planetary Science Wiki Edit-a-thon, organised by the Diversity Committee of the Europlanet Society in collaboration with Women in Red and WikiDonne, aims to highlight diversity within the planetary science community. The Edit-a-thon has continued since EPSC2020, with new and translated Wikipedia profiles of planetary scientists continuing to be added.

This month, we are sharing the story of Mary Proctor, whose profile is now available in French, thanks to the Edit-a-thon participants.

Mary Proctor, born in Dublin in 1862, became well known for her books and articles written for the public – particularly her children's fiction. This earned her the nickname 'the children's astronomer'. She developed a career as an astronomy lecturer and her book-length debut, Stories of Starland (1898), was adopted by the New York City Board of Education. Proctor died in 1957. The Proctor crater on the Moon was named after her and Proctor on Mars was named after her father.

Read the Wiki page >>
Find out more here >>

‘Life Beyond Us’ Anthology

Life Beyond Us, a new anthology by the European Astrobiology Institute and Laksa Media, depicts the timeless quest for finding alien life in 22 science fiction stories and 22 short science essays and has just started its Kickstarter campaign
Find out more here>> 

Supermoon Rising

Join livestream on 26 May and share images

The 'Supermoon' on 26th May will be the closest Full Moon of the year. Facilities from the Italian National Institute for Astrophysics (INAF) are joining forces to carry out a live event on EduINAF’s social channels. During the streaming, INAF astronomers will guide the audience through the live observations of the Moon with images and insights from guests. The public, amateur observers and facilities from the Europlanet Telescope Network are invited to join the campaign and share views of the Moon across European skies.
Know more here >>
Image © Valeriano Antonini – EduINAF - Associazione AstronomiAmo

PLaNCK! Special Issue on Planetary Mapping 

Geomapping Other Worlds

'Geomapping Other Worlds' is a special issue of the magazine PLaNCK! describing the results of the European project, PLANMAP. PLaNCK! is a bilingual science magazine for children (8-12 years old) by the Accatagliato Association in collaboration with the University of Padua (Italy). The special issue on PLANMAP (sister project of the Europlanet 2024 RI GMAP activity) includes cartoons and interviews, and gives insights into how planetary maps are made and how 3D and virtual reality can be used to explore the surfaces of other planets. The magazine special issue can be downloaded free as a PDF:  
Know more here >>

 EXPLORE Report – April 2021 

The H2020 EXPLORE project has started a series of monthly blogs. The first 'EXPLORE Report' gives an overview of the project and progress since its launch in November 2020. EXPLORE is creating a series of scientific data applications that will use artificial intelligence and visual analytics to enhance science return and discovery from ‘big data’, initially focusing on data from the Gaia mission and from lunar exploration.   
Know more here >>

Ancient Asteroids 

Ancient Asteroids is an international observing campaign, launched in 2020, that aims to characterise asteroids and track their ancestry within asteroid families created from collisions of ancient bodies in the Main Belt of our Solar System.
Know more here >>

Events & Opportunities

International Spring School: Hydrothermal Vents

20 - 22 May 2021

Join the first EANA online school to learn about hydrothermal systems from interdisciplinary perspectives at the interfaces of geology, biology and chemistry. From 17–21 May 2021, there will be one or two talks each day on a particular aspect of hydrothermal systems.
Deadline for registrations: 14 May 2021 at 23:59 CEST.
Know more here>>

Terrestrial Analogs for Planetary Exploration workshop

16 – 18 June 2021

The USGS Astrogeology Science Center is hosting a virtual workshop 'Terrestrial Analogs for Planetary Exploration' on 16–18 June 2021. The meeting will bring together community members to discuss a wide range of scientific investigations of planetary analog terrains and processes, exploration strategies, and orbit-to-ground comparisons. 
Deadline for abstracts: 22 April 2021 at 17:00 CDT.
Know more here >>

Virtual OPTICON Archival School Using ESO and ALMA Data 

19 – 26 June 2021

The Virtual OPTICON Archival School will guide students through retrieving, reducing and analysing data from the ESO or ALMA archive. The emphasis is on hands-on work, but the school also includes basic lectures on ESO, ALMA and different aspects of multi-messenger astrophysics, including very high-energy gamma-rays, neutrinos and gravitational waves. 
Deadline for applications: Friday, 23 April 2021.
More information here>>

Early Careers Training and Education Platform

Search for your next opportunity on Europlanet's Early Careers Training and Education Portal, with information on PhD positions, job opportunities, summer schools, and meetings relevant to early career professionals working in planetary science and related fields.
Find out more here>>

Early career opportunities should be mailed to

Planetary Science Highlights

Sulfur Ice Astrochemistry: A Review of Laboratory Studies

Space Science Reviews

by Duncan V. Mifsud, Zuzana Kaňuchová, Péter Herczku, Sergio Ioppolo, Zoltán Juhász, Sándor T. S. Kovács, Nigel J. Mason, Robert W. McCullough & Béla Sulik 

In recent years there has been increased interest in the role of sulfur in astrochemical reactions and planetary geology and geochemistry. In this paper, the authors review the results of laboratory investigations concerned with sulfur chemistry in several astrophysical ice analogues. The report references the TA2 Facility 11 ATOMKI Ice Chamber for Astrophysics-Astrochemistry in Debrecen, which has been upgraded through the Europlanet 2024 RI project.
Find out more here>>

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Society Members' Area

Funding Opportunities and Policy Reports

The Europlanet Society will be providing information about upcoming calls and funding opportunities relevant to planetary science and space on its website. Members should log into their account to access details on funding opportunities and the full monthly policy reports.
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Europlanet 2024 RI has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 871149.