The European Community for Planetary Sciences

Europlanet Society Briefing
June 2021

In this Briefing

Word from the President

Dear Colleagues, 
         As the pandemic still requires caution, the Europlanet Science Congress (EPSC) 2021 will proceed online. Nonetheless, with 845 abstracts accepted, there will be a wealth of exciting new science presented, alongside many community events. Don’t forget to book early-bird rates and take advantage of the lower registration fees for members and bursaries when registration opens on 1st July. In 2022 we will all hopefully meet again in Granada to share ‘lockdown’ stories over a drink and tapas! 
         We are also delighted to launch the first issue of the Europlanet Magazine, which is full of news from the community, information on opportunities provided by Europlanet 2024 RI and the Society, as well as features on hot topics and a look back at the founding of Europlanet some 16 years ago. With the recent announcement of a series of space missions to Venus, including ESA’s EnVision, and the continued exciting exploration of Mars, planetary science continues to be one of the most fascinating fields of modern science.
        The Europlanet Society needs more members to get involved in its activities, so please join your Regional Hub, the EPEC Network or volunteer to join a Committee or Working Group. 

Nigel Mason
President, Europlanet Society
Coordinator, Europlanet 2024 RI

Europlanet 2024 Research Infrastructure (RI) News

We just launched the Europlanet Magazine!

Read it now on the Europlanet Society website  

We are delighted to share with you the first issue of the Europlanet Magazine. The e-magazine will be published twice a year and aims to highlight the range of activities by Europlanet, our partners, and the wider planetary community.
This first issue has a strong focus on Mars, including European contributions to current missions, experimental research in labs and in the field, and outreach initiatives to engage the next generation. 
Take a look here>>

Europlanet Launches Expert Exchange Programme

A new Expert Exchange Programme, funded through Europlanet 2024 Research Infrastructure (RI), has been launched to support the mobilisation of the planetary community and the transfer of knowledge. The scheme aims to share expertise and best practice and prepare new facilities and services for integration into the RI. Apply now for funding for short visits (up to one week) or a virtual Expert Exchange. 
Know more here >>

‘NIGeL’ isotope geochemistry laboratory awarded 4.85M Euros

The Vrije University’s Department of Geology and Geochemistry, which leads the Europlanet 2024 RI Transnational Access (TA) Programme, has been awarded €4.85 million from the Dutch Research Council (NWO) to set up and equip a new laboratory for isotope geochemistry analysis. The facility, which will be called the Netherlands state-of-the-art Isotope GEochemistry Laboratory (NIGeL), is led by Prof Gareth Davies of VU, and involves partners from University of Groningen, Utrecht University, Leiden University, the Rijksmuseum, and the Netherlands Forensic Institute (NFI).
Know more here >>

BepiColombo Venus Flybys

The BepiColombo (ESA/JAXA) mission to Mercury will visit Venus this summer on 12 August 2021, flying at an altitude of about 550 km above the surface. BepiColombo will obtain information on the atmosphere and magnetosphere. This will be its second approach to Venus after a previous one on 15 October 2020. The Japanese Akatsuki mission, ground-based observatories and amateur astronomers will observe the planet to provide context to BepiColombo's observations in an August 2021 campaign.
Take part>> 

GMAP at Space Resources Week

Carolyn van der Bogert and the GMAP team recently presented a poster titled “Geological Mapping of Lunar Resources and Landing Sites” at Space Resources Week 2021.
Find out more>> 

Europlanet Partners Present... INAF

Can't wait for EPSC2021? Take a look again at some of the great presentations from last year in our series featuring research by Beneficiaries of the Europlanet 2024 Research Infrastructure (RI) presented at EPSC2020. This month, we feature EPSC2020 oral video presentations with involvement from the Istituto Nazionale di Astrofisica (INAF) in Italy.
Know more here >>

Europlanet Society News

Results of Committee Funding Scheme

Projects supported in this round by the Europlanet Society:

  • Community development and awareness around inclusion (2,500€, project proposed by the Diversity Committee)
  • Stairway to Space, the EPEC podcast (1,500€, project proposed by EPEC)
  • Light Fingerprints (2,000€, project proposed by the Spain and Portugal Hub)

Two further projects will be supported by the Europlanet 2024 Research Infrastructure. 

Call for applications for two EPEC Committee Co-Chairs

Submit your application by 28th June 2021, 7 PM CEST

Europlanet Early Career Network (EPEC) Committee is proudly announcing the ‘Call for applications for two EPEC Committee Co-Chairs‘. 
If you are interested to become EPEC Chair, please submit your application via this link by 28th of June, 7 PM CEST
Find out more here>>

EPEC Annual Week short review

The full report will be available in the next newsletter

The 3rd EPEC Annual Week, which took place virtually from 7-11 June, gathered more than 50 early career professionals from all over the world. The sessions - spanning topics from funding to workshops on how to do outreach or how to write a good paper - were very successful, with active participation and fruitful discussions. During the ice-breaker and the social event, the participants had also the opportunity to network in the typical friendly environment of EPEC Annual Weeks. The virtual event exceeded our expectations, with plenty of useful tips and information to engage and interest the participants. The EPEC network is growing strong, with new energies joining the group and collaborating in the wide variety of activities that EPEC carries out.

2nd Annual Ireland-UK Regional Hub Meeting

The 2nd annual meeting of the Ireland and UK Hub of the Europlanet Society took place online on 22 June 2021, with around 30 participants. This 2nd meeting aimed to reflect the broad range of research and outreach activities within the Ireland-UK planetary science communities, as well as showcase the ongoing development of planetary science infrastructures and facilities. The meeting included a mixture of invited and solicited talks and poster presentations.
Read more>>


SuperLuna! Challenge: And the Winner is…
The ‘supermoon’ on 26th May was the closest Full Moon of this year. To mark the occasion, Edu INAF and Europlanet challenged the public to observe and portray our satellite. More than 40 participants in the SuperLuna Challenge used their creativity to represent the Moon in its different phases through photos, videos, drawings.
Take a look at the winning entry>>

#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>>
#PlanetaryScience4All 2021

Deadline: 1 August 2021

#PlanetaryScience4All challenges PhD candidates, Master’s and Bachelor’s students and early career researchers to explain their research project to a general public audience in just 4 minutes. The videos will be judged on scientific content, communication skills and creativity.
Take part >>

Europlanet Community Corner

EnVision Mission Selection

Congratulations to the EnVision Mission Team

EnVision will be ESA’s next Venus orbiter, providing a holistic view of the planet from its inner core to upper atmosphere to determine how and why Venus and Earth evolved so differently. The mission was selected by ESA’s Science Programme Committee on 10 June as the fifth Medium-class mission in the Agency’s Cosmic Vision plan, targeting a launch in the early 2030s.
EPEC Profiles

Arianna Ricchiuti

Arianna Ricchiuti is a Biologist with a Master in Science Communication and Journalism. She is currently Editor of EJR-Quartz for the European Space Agency (ESA), working at ESA Communication Office in Noordwijk (Netherlands), where she is responsible for internal communications and events.
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

Outreach activities in a European project like PLANMAP

In this EPEC Inspiring Outreach Story, Gloria Tognon, a doctoral student at the Center of Studies and Activities for Space ‘G. Colombo’ of Padua (Italy), tells us about her experience of taking part in the European PLANMAP project. Read it here >>

CAMS - Crowdfunding Campaign to Close Gap in Meteor Tracking Network AND Support Planetary Science in India

The SETI Institute has launched a crowdfunding campaign to close a gap in the global Cameras for Allsky Meteor Surveillance (CAMS) network by helping to establish a world-class student-run meteor observatory in India.
Know more here >>
Image © SETI


Supporting Analysis and Discovery in Stellar Research

The EXPLORE project gathers experts from different science and technology domains to develop new tools that will enable the explotiation of space science data through machine learning and advanced visualisation. In this month's EXPLORE Report, there is an update on two Scientific Data Applications (SDAs) EXPLORE is preparing to offer useful and instructive ways of looking at datasets from Gaia and other missions and surveys. 
More information here>>

SoapBox Science

Women and non-binary scientists bring their research to the streets of Brussels

On Saturday, June 26, 2021, from 2-5 PM, 12 women and non-binary scientists in Belgium will talk to the public about their research during the Soapbox Science Brussels event at the Place de la Bourse/Beursplein. 
More information here>>

EPSC 2020 Planetary Science Wiki Edit-a-thon

Joan Feynman

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 Joan Feynman, whose profile is now available in Italian, thanks to the Edit-a-thon participants.

Joan Feynman was an American astrophysicist. She made contributions to the study of solar wind particles and fields, Sun-Earth relations and magnetospheric physics. In particular, Feynman was known for developing an understanding of the origin of auroras. She was also known for creating a model that predicts the number of high-energy particles likely to hit a spacecraft over its lifetime, and for uncovering a method for predicting sunspot cycles.

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

Events & Opportunities


The 44th COSPAR Scientific Assembly is scheduled to take place on 16-24 July 2022 in Athens, Greece. On behalf of the Chairs of the Local Organizing Committee, we encourage you to stay tuned for the program.  
Find out 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

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

Development and Prospect of Chinese Lunar Relay Communication Satellite

Space: Science & Technology

by Lihua Zhang

In this study, researchers explain the design of the relay communication satellite that enabled us to peek at the hidden face of the moon. 
China's Chang'e-4 probe marked the first soft-landing of a spacecraft on the far side of the Moon, which always faces away from Earth. To communicate with ground stations, Chang'e-4 relies on Queqiao, a relay communication satellite that orbits a point behind the Moon and bridges Earth and Chang'e-4. In a recent review, researchers explain the design of Queqiao and depict the future of lunar relay communication systems.
Find out more here>>

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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

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!
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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.