The European Community for Planetary Sciences

Europlanet Society Briefing
March 2021

In this Briefing

Word from the President

Dear Colleagues, 

Whilst we are all looking forward to a ‘reopening’ and travelling once again for research collaborations, we have to accept that this will still be some months away. Therefore, sadly, we will be holding EPSC2021 as a virtual event in September and postponing our visit to Helsinki until 2024. 

Nonetheless, we intend to ensure EPSC2021 is an exciting COMMUNITY event, building on last year's success but also taking into account your valuable feedback. 
We begin by announcing the EPSC2021 call for sessions. Please do suggest topics - we have so many exciting and rapidly developing areas to discuss - and help us to ensure an engaging meeting.

If you are an early career researcher, you can also develop your network and new skills by registering for the EPEC Annual Week 2021 virtual training school.

Nigel Mason
President, Europlanet Society
Coordinator, Europlanet 2024 RI

Events and EPSC 2021

EPSC2021 – First Announcement and Call for Sessions

Abstract deadline: 6 April 2021

The Europlanet Science Congress 2021 (EPSC2021) will take place from 13–24 September 2021 as a virtual conference in a hybrid format with live and asynchronous content.

The Europlanet Science Congress is the annual meeting event of the Europlanet Society. With a track record of 15 years and regularly attracting over one thousand participants, the Europlanet Science Congress is the largest planetary science meeting in Europe. 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. 

We encourage you to submit session proposals through the conference website by 6 April 2021. Read more here >>

Workshop - "Common Challenges and Actions for Distributed Research Infrastructures in Europe"

Online Event: 17-18 March 2021, 14:00-17:00 CET

On 17-18 March, 2021 from 14h00-17h00 CET, the European Science Foundation, in collaboration with Europlanet Society is organising a workshop on Common challenges and actions for distributed RIs in Europe. The event is mainly targeted at research infrastructure managers and operators but are open to a wider audience as well. 

Please note that the deadline for registrations is March 16th 2021, 17h00 CET. For more information, please see and register here

Europlanet 2024 Research Infrastructure (RI) News

All Eyes on Mars

Three missions converged on Mars in February to study the Red Planet from orbit and explore its surface. With the United States, United Arab Emirates and China all sending missions to Mars, we look at how Europe’s planetary research community is contributing to Mars exploration in 2021 and at its plans for the next few years. Find out more here>> 

Europlanet Partners Present… The Open University

Beneficiaries of the Europlanet 2024 Research Infrastructure (RI) project used the forum of the Europlanet Science Congress (EPSC) 2020 to present their activities and research on planetary topics. In this series, we have compiled playlists of EPSC2020 video presentations to showcase the contributions to Europlanet 2024 RI and wider research by our project partners.

This month, we feature presentations involving researchers from The Open University, UK. Find out more here>> 

SSHADE, the solid spectroscopy database infrastructure, evolves 

Over the last year, the content of the databases of the SSHADE solid spectroscopy infrastructure has evolved significantly, with now more than 3600 publicly available spectra on ices, minerals, rocks, organic matters and cosmomaterials.

About 140 new spectra are added to SSHADE every month. In particular, you can find more than 700 spectra recorded with different techniques on more than 200 different meteorites. Within Europlanet 2024 RI, two new partners have already started their databases in SSHADE and more will join before the end of the year. We are also about to release major improvements in the user interface, in particular in the dynamic plotting tool.

We encourage you to visit and use SSHADE

Planetary Mapping Winter School update

The 1st edition of the PLANMAP-GMAP Planetary Mapping virtual school, which took place from 1-5 February, was attended by 200 participants - 130 taking part in live sessions and 70 following online. The hybrid asynchronous format enabled students from all around the world to join in, with a sizeable participation from North and South America, India and Africa.

The material developed will be used for future schools and participants will join the GMAP community of geological mappers in the Europlanet 2024 RI project. Find out more or sign up to the the mailing list>>

Open call, rolling deadline: Funding for observations with Europlanet Telescope Network

Two more proposals to observe with the Europlanet Telescope Network have been approved, one to study a super-earth exoplanet and the other to study variable nebulae, for which observations are underway at Beacon Observatory at the University of Kent. The network provides access to 16 telescope facilities around the world, 14 of which are either robotic or provide service observations. Proposals are invited on any topic broadly related to Solar System or exoplanet observations. Short proposals can be submitted at any time and decisions on funding are made on a bi-monthly basis.

Proposals are also invited for support to host workshops on any topic related to observational planetary science. Europlanet 2024 RI is particularly keen to support meetings bringing together professional and amateur astronomers, and/or on observations supporting space missions. Contact with enquiries or to propose ideas.

Find out more here>>

Europlanet Mentorship Programme 

Sign up now to become a mentor or a mentee through the Europlanet Mentorship programme. Since August 2020, nine pairs have participated in a successful pilot programme. Feedback has been very positive and new applications are welcomed.

"For the past three months I had several meetings with my mentor as part of the mentorship program. We have discussed my career goals at length, and looked into current opportunities adequate to my personal plans. These meetings gave me an opportunity to have an open conversation about topics that I dread to have with my supervisor. I strongly advise any students or post-docs to try it." - Mentee
Find out more >>

JunoCam Images from Juno

The Planetary Virtual Observatory and Laboratory (PVOL) service has created a new set of webpages to make it easier to find and use JunoCam observations of Jupiter. The site contains links to mapped versions of the original images at the highest-spatial resolution of the original data.

Quick-look versions of the images are now searchable in the PVOL database with links to the highest spatial resolution data.
Find out more>> 

Europlanet Society News

3rd Europlanet Early Career (EPEC) Annual Week 2021 – Call for Applications

Apply before 15 April 2021

EPEC is pleased to announce the third edition of its training school for early career scientists who work in the field of planetary/space science and engineering.

The school is organised by the Europlanet Early Career (EPEC) network to form a strong network of young professionals by organising early-career-relevant events and by engaging in different projects through the nine EPEC Working Groups

To register for the EPEC Annual Week 2021, please complete this form by 15th April 2021.

Find out more here >>

EPSC 2020 Planetary Science Wiki Edit-a-thon

Jeanne Dumée

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 Jeanne Dumée, a remarkable French astronomer, whose profile is now available in Arabic, thanks to the Edit-a-thon participants.

Jeanne Dumée, born in Paris in 1660, was a French astronomer and the author of an astronomical text, Entretiens sur l’opinion de Copernic touchant la mobilité de la terre (Conversations on Copernicus’ Opinion on the Movement of the Earth).

Dumée was interested in astronomy since childhood. She was also known for her feminism, as she supported the idea that women were just as smart and useful in the science world as men were.

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

Prize Nominations

Call for Nominations - The eleventh Paolo Farinella Prize 2021

Deadline: May 15, 2021, 23:59 UT

The eleventh Paolo Farinella Prize 2021 will be awarded to a young scientist with outstanding contributions in the field of planetary science concerning ‘Terrestrial Planets and Super-Earths’, including work on the physics, dynamics and observations of terrestrial planets inside or outside of our solar system. The award winner will be honoured during the Europlanet Science Congress (EPSC) 2021.

Learn more about the prize here >>

Europlanet Community Corner

EPEC Profiles

Gavin Tolometti

Gavin Tolometti is a PhD student at the University of Western Ontario and uses radar data to study the surface roughness of lava flows on Earth, the Moon and Mars.

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 Diaries of Space Explorers Podcast

In this EPEC Inspiring Outreach Story, Gavin Tolometti, a PhD student at the University of Western Ontario in Canada, describes how he is making space science accessible through podcasts. Read it here >>


Astronet Science Vision & Infrastructure Roadmap

Astronet is a consortium of European funding agencies, established for the purpose of providing advice on long-term planning and development of European Astronomy. Setup in 2005, its members include most of the major European astronomy nations, with associated links to the European Space Agency, the European Southern Observatory, SKA, and the European Astronomical Society, among others.
Astronet is now developing a new Science Vision & Infrastructure Roadmap, in a single document with an outlook for the next 20 years. A delivery date to European funding agencies of mid-2021 is anticipated.

The first drafts of the chapters for the document are now available from the Panels asked to draft them, for you to view and comment on. 

Please leave any comments, feedback or questions on the website by 1 May.

Apply to the 5th NoRCEL Virtual Conference

Abstract deadline: 12 March 2021

The Network of Researchers on the Chemical Evolution of Life (NoRCEL) is inviting scientists to join the 5th NoRCEL virtual conference on 29-30 March 2021

The conference addresses the emergence and evolution of Life by offering both specialist origin of life scientists and those who are not necessarily practitioners in the same quest a relaxed and unhurried environment to seek answers to the ultimate questions of life, the Universe and everything.

You can submit your abstracts by emailing or clicking this link. Please note that the deadline is 12 March 2021

Job opportunity: Lecturer in Planetary Science

Apply before 19 April 2021

The School of Physical Sciences at the Open University, UK is hiring a Lecturer in Planetary Science for a permanent academic position
The post-holder will undertake research in analytical laboratory-based planetary science that aligns with the strategic research priorities of the School of Physical Sciences. They will be expected to obtain external funding to support a programme of internationally competitive research (commensurate with the level of appointment) and to contribute to future UK Research Excellence Framework (REF) assessments.
The full summary of duties and person specifications can be found within the Job Description here

The closing date for application is 19 Apr 2021. If you would like to discuss this role before applying, please email Mahesh Anand

Job opportunity: Project Scientist

Apply before 8 April 2021

The European Space Agency (ESA) is hiring a Project Scientist at ESTEC, Noordwijk, The Netherlands. 

The closing date for applying is 8 Apr 2021 
Learn more 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

Dwarf planet (1) Ceres surface bluing due to high porosity resulting from sublimation

Nature Communications

by Stefan Schröder, Olivier Poch, Marco Ferrari, Simone De Angelis, Robin Sultana, Sandra Potin, Pierre Beck, Maria Cristina De Sanctis, Bernard Schmitt

One of the mysteries of dwarf planet Ceres has been the blue color of fresh craters as observed by the Dawn mission. In a recent paper, Schröder et al. propose an explanation that is consistent with the unique environmental conditions on the surface.

In an experiment performed during a Europlanet TNA visit at the Cold Surface Spectroscopy facility at the University of Grenoble, the authors attempted to simulate what may happen when a large meteorite impacts on Ceres.
Find out more here>>

Geological mapping and chronology of lunar landing sites: Apollo 11


by W.Iqbal, H.Hiesinger, C.H.van der Bogert

The authors generated a new detailed geological map of the Apollo 11 landing region based on spectral characteristics, topography, and albedo maps, which shows several mare units adjacent to the lunar module.
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.