The European Community for Planetary Sciences

Europlanet Society Briefing
July 2021

In this Briefing

Word from the President

Dear Colleagues, 
        As we enter our second ‘Covid’ summer we are all faced with more uncertainty, including many travel restrictions. Nonetheless, both the Europlanet Society and the Europlanet 2024 Research Infrastructure are proceeding at pace as reported here. 
I again invite you to register for EPSC2021, the second fully virtual edition, before the early bird deadline. We have an exciting programme this year, so join the Europlanet Society to take advantage of membership rates for EPSC and participate in our active community.  If you would like to take a role in shaping the Society, we are looking for a new Treasurer for the Executive Board and Chair of the Central Europe Regional Hub.
June also saw the formal opening of the European Commission’s Horizon Europe programme. Opportunities are now open with deadlines in autumn 2021 and spring 2022. The planetary science community should be active in these calls, and we will be holding a webinar overview and guide with some suggestions for Europlanet Society Members next Wednesday. There will be follow up briefings at EPSC and in the autumn, so do join us online.
As we enter the summer holiday season may I wish you a good break – even if it may be a ‘staycation’.
‘See’ you at EPSC2021,

Nigel Mason
President, Europlanet Society
Coordinator, Europlanet 2024 RI

Europlanet 2024 Research Infrastructure (RI) News

Oldest fossils of methane-cycling microbes expand frontiers of habitability on early Earth

A team of international researchers, led by the University of Bologna, has discovered the fossilised remains of methane-cycling microbes that lived in a hydrothermal system beneath the sea floor 3.42 billion years ago. The study, published in the journal Science Advances, analysed microfossil specimens in two thin layers within a rock collected from the Barberton Greenstone Belt in South Africa. 
The research was carried out with the support of Europlanet 2024 RI.
Know more here >>
Image © Cavalazzi et al.

Space Olympics

Excited about the Tokyo Olympics? Edu INAF, Osservatorio Astronomico della Regione Autonoma Valle d'Aosta and Europlanet are running a campaign on social media for a Space Olympics, which include running on the 
International Space Station and playing football on Mars! 
Watch the campaign's trailer >>
Follow on Twitter >>

Media and Social Media Internships for EPSC2021

Application Deadline: Monday, 16 August 2021

We are looking for members of the community that would be willing to support the Europlanet media and social media teams during EPSC 2021. Successful applicants for the social media internship will support the social media team in covering live sessions during the meeting. Successful applicants for the media internship will support the press office team in preparing materials for the media.
Know more here >>

Europlanet 2024 RI Open Calls

Apply to participate in the Europlanet Expert Exchange Programme >>
Apply for observing time with the Europlanet Telescope Network >>

Europlanet Society News

Register now for EPSC2021

Earlybird Deadline: Tuesday 3 August 2021

2021 Calls for Europlanet Outreach Funding Scheme and Prize now open

Application Deadline: Wednesday, 18 August 2021

Are you looking for funding to kickstart an outreach or education project related to planetary science? Or have you run a successful public engagement project for which you deserve some recognition?

Calls for applications for the Europlanet Outreach Funding Scheme 2021 and nominations for the Europlanet Prize for Public Engagement 2021 are now open. 
Know more here >>

Introducing the new EPEC Chairs

Erica Luzzi and Ines Belgacem

Warmest congratulations to Erica Luzzi and Ines Belgacem, the new Co-Chairs of the Europlanet Early Career (EPEC) Network. We look forward to working with them in their new roles. Many thanks to Indhu Varatharajan, who is stepping down as EPEC Chair, having served in the role since 2017.
Find out more here>>

Executive Board Nomination – Treasurer

Submit your nominations by Sunday 15 August 2021

We are looking for a new Treasurer for the Executive Board of the Europlanet Society.

To propose a candidate, please fill this form. The two members proposing the nominations ("proposers") must be different from the nominee.
Find out more here>>

Central Europe Hub - Calling for a new chair

Submit your interest by September 2021

An opportunity to become the next Central Europe Hub chair. The Central Europe Hub was established in 2018 to promote planetary science and related fields for the benefit of the Austrian, Czech, Hungarian, Polish, Slovenian, Slovakian and wider European community, within the Europlanet Society.

If you're interested in applying, please reach out to the Central Europe Hub team


#InspiredByOtherWorlds Arts Contest 2021

Deadline: 6 September 2021

The Europlanet Society Congress 2021 (#EPSC2021) is inviting schools and space enthusiasts of all ages to get creative and share their artworks and performances on the theme of 'Ingenuity' in the #InspiredByOtherWorlds contest.
Find out more here >>
Contest FAQs>>

Europlanet Community Corner

EPEC Profiles

Ines Belgacem

Ines Belgacem is currently a research fellow at the European Space Agency in Madrid, Spain. She studies the icy surfaces of our solar system and, more particularly, Jupiter’s icy moons in preparation for ESA’s JUpiter ICy moons Explorer (JUICE) mission. 
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

Roving with Rosalind

In this EPEC Inspiring Outreach Story, Sara Motaghian, a doctoral student at the Natural History Museum (London), tells us about her experience organising ‘Roving with Rosalind’ for classrooms across the UK. Read it here >>

Inspiring Stories

#PlanetaryScience4All: A Video Contest for Virtual Science Communication

In this EPEC Inspiring Outreach Story, Melissa Mirino (doctoral candidate at The Open University and of the Chair EPEC Communications Working Group) shares how the extraordinary experiences of 2020 inspired her to launch a contest to bring together the early career community. This story is an extract from the first Issue of the Europlanet magazine. Read it here >>

EPSC 2020 Planetary Science Wiki Edit-a-thon

Maria Margaretha Kirch

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 Maria Margaretha Kirch, whose profile is now available in Italian, thanks to the Edit-a-thon participants.

Maria Margaretha Kirch was a German astronomer. She was one of the first famous astronomers of her period due to her writing on the conjunction of the sun with Saturn, Venus, and Jupiter in 1709 and 1712 respectively. 

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

Events & Opportunities

Astrophotometry Summer School

There is still an opportunity to attend the plenary lecture programme of the Europlanet virtual summer school on Asteroid Photometry, hosted by Vilnius University (Lithuania) and A. Mickiewicz University, (Poland) from 16-27 August 2021.
Register 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

The Europlanet Mentorship programme is looking for new mentors and mentees. We are particularly looking for mentors in fields related to:
  • Exoplanets and brown dwarfs
  • Planetary science, exploration missions, mission instrumentation
  • Space medicine, digital health, impact of space research on human life on Earth, life in extreme environments
  • Space debris observation and mitigation
  • Simulations/modelling
  • Observational astronomy.
Find out more or sign up here>>

Planetary Science Highlights

Planetary Aurorae

Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Planetary Science

by Steve Miller

Planetary aurorae are some of the most iconic and brilliant (in all senses of that word) indicators not only of the interconnections on Planet Earth, but that these interconnections pertain throughout the entire Solar System as well. They are testimony to the centrality of the Sun, not just in providing the essential sunlight that drives weather systems and makes habitability possible, but also in generating a high velocity wind of electrically charged particles—known as the Solar Wind—that buffets each of the planets in turn as it streams outward through interplanetary space. 
Substantive, peer-reviewed, and regularly updated, the Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Planetary Science combines the speed and flexibility of digital with the rigorous standards of academic publishing. This new chapter on Planetary Aurorae gives an overview of the very varied, variable, and exciting aurorae of the Solar System.
Find out more here>>

Do you want your own publication to be featured in the Europlanet Society Briefing?

If it has a link to Europlanet, we want to see it! Send a copy to so we can let the community know.

Society Members' Area

Webinar: Horizon Europe – what’s in it for me?

28 July 2021, 3pm CEST

Europlanet Society members are invited to attend a special webinar with our President, Prof Nigel Mason, who will give an overview of Horizon Europe and highlight some calls for 2021-22 that are relevant to the planetary and space exploration community.
Find out more>>

Funding Opportunities and Policy Reports

The Europlanet Society provides policy news and 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.
Did you know? As Europlanet Society member, you can share your planetary science news via our newsletter. Contact the editorial team!
Not a member yet? Click here to join the Europlanet Society!
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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.