The European Community for Planetary Sciences

Europlanet Society Briefing
Welcome to EPSC2020!

In this Briefing

Word from the President

Dear Colleagues,

After a very busy few months and huge efforts by the organising committees, EPSC2020 is now almost upon us. We are delighted with the response from participants and appreciate very much your efforts to submit nearly 1000 presentations on time.

EPSC2020 is an experiment from which we hope to learn valuable lessons for future virtual or hybrid meetings. Our programme of live events is an opportunity to trial new and more established formats in a virtual setting and to draw attention to the asynchronous oral and poster presentations. Please do join the live morning and afternoon sessions over the first two weeks of the meeting.

While we are not able to see each other face-to-face this year, we encourage you to make good use of the discussion forums to make this a more interactive experience.  I particularly encourage you to join the Europlanet General Assembly on Wednesday 30 September, where we will be able to update you on all the activities of the Europlanet Society and Research Infrastructure over the last year and  plans for the coming year  - we want you to provide feedback.

I also remind you to renew your subscription if you haven't done so - not least because it will give you a free participant registration for this year's EPSC free.

I look forward to seeing you all next week!

Best wishes,
Nigel Mason
President, Europlanet Society
Coordinator, Europlanet 2024 RI
The teams in both Europlanet Offices are working remotely and will endeavour to respond to any queries you may have about the impact of Covid-19 on the Europlanet Society or Europlanet 2024 RI.


The Europlanet Society Congress (EPSC2020) - Virtual Meeting

21 September – 9th October

EPSC2020 is almost here! Nearly 1000 presentations have been submitted for the meeting, including over 700 videos and over 250 posters. Every weekday morning and afternoon from 21 September until 2 October, we will have a live programme of events to help you navigate the asynchronous content and catch up with news and views from the planetary community. Look out for:
  • Daily briefings and interviews
  • Session showcases
  • Plenary keynote lectures
  • Short courses
  • Dialogue with Agencies
  • Industry and Policy session
  • ScienceFlash competition
  • Prize lectures
  • Diversity lecture and Q&A
  • Europlanet General Assembly
Find out more on the EPSC2020 website >>

EPEC at EPSC2020

EPEC General Assembly. Monday, 21 September, 14:00 CEST

The Europlanet Early Career (EPEC) Network is the joint force of nine Working Groups (EPEC-EPSC, EPEC Annual Week, Outreach, Diversity, Future Research, Communications, New Frontiers, Early Career Help, and Finances). It is led by early-career researchers for early-career researchers across the Europlanet international community. The EPEC General Assembly will include presentations of activities by the Working Group Chairs. EPEC will also proudly announce the details of the 2021 EPEC Annual Week at the end of the meeting.

Early Career activities during EPSC2020

The EPEC-EPSC Working Group has organised diverse activities  in collaboration with EPEC’s Communication and Future Research Working Groups, the Europlanet Diversity Committee and the Europlanet Society to help early-careers have the best experience during EPSC2020. Activities include:
  • EPEC Booth
  • Short courses
  • Outstanding Student Poster Award (OPSA)
  • Social Event, Science Flash
  • Mentoring@EPSC
  • Discovery Challenge Game
  • EPSC-EPEC #PlanetaryScienceForAll video contest.
Find out more

Europlanet Society Regional Hubs at EPSC2020

CE11 - Highlights of Regional Hub activities. Friday, 02 October, 16:00 CEST.

Find out about the activities of the 10 Europlanet Regional Hubs.

SMW3 - Widening: How under-represented groups could profit from virtual conferences. Wednesday, 23 September, 14:00 CEST.

Why is there a geographic imbalance in Earth and space sciences? Why is almost half of Europe under-represented? The general answer has always been: lack of funding. The new virtual world could mean a solution for poorer regions but the talk on Monday (EPSC2020-948) will show that it is not the only problem. This splinter meeting will be a brainstorming session where we can search for answers together. Find out more

Diversity at EPSC2020

PL1/CE2 - Life Stories - a career in planetology (diversity lecture by Amelia Ortiz-Gil, followed by Q&A). Monday, 21 September, 16:20-17:00 CEST.

This lecture by Amelia Ortiz-Gil, organised by the Europlanet Diversity Committee, will be an opportunity to hear the speaker's story about her life in planetary sciences, her personal and professional challenges, and her work to make astronomy more accessible, both within the community and to the wider society.  Find out more

For more diversity discussions, join the  ODAA1 - Diversity and Inclusiveness in Planetary Sciences session showcase on Monday 21 September at 11:20 CEST and the Daily Interview on Wednesday 30 September at 10:20 CEST.

Industry and Policy at EPSC2020

The Europlanet Industry & Policy Session at EPSC2020 aims to bring together policymakers, planetary researchers, and entrepreneurs to debate on the future of planetary and space research in Europe. Join the discussion on Tuesday, 29 September at 15:20 CEST. Full details of session

#AskEsaNasa - Dialogue with Agencies at EPSC2020

As well as hearing from speakers from ESA and NASA during the “Dialogue with Space Agencies” session at EPSC2020, there will be an opportunity to put your questions to the panel. 

If you have questions for Lori Glaze (NASA), Luigi Colangeli (Head of the Science Coordination Office - Directorate of Science, ESA), and Loredana Bessone (Directorate of Human Space Flight and Operations, ESA), please submit them via this form, or Tweet us using the hashtags #EPSC2020 #AskEsaNasa

Daily Briefings and interviews

We are delighted to announce that Dr. Niamh Shaw will be hosting our daily briefings and interviews at EPSC. The briefings and interviews will cover a broad range topics from Voyage 2050 to Mars exploration and how the planetary science community is adapting to a fast changing world. Guests include Johannes Benkhoff (Project Scientist for BepiColomb)o, Chris Arridge (Co-Chair, Voyage 2050 Senior Committee) and May Chiao (Chief Editor, Nature Astronomy).

Niamh is a member of the Europlanet Outreach committee for Ireland & UK  and is delighted to be monitoring the daily briefings for this year’s EPSC conference. A polymath with 2 degrees in engineering, a PhD in science and almost 20 years of performance & writing experience, she has been providing events for the general public since 2014. Read more

Meet the #EPSC2020 Social Media Team

We had an amazing response to our call for social media interns. There were so many great applications it was hard to choose! However, we are delighted to welcome Arti Dumbrepatil @rtisciwrites, Mario Toubes-Rodrigo @micro_mario, James McKevitt @jemckevitt, 'Tunde Akinsanmi @tunde_astro and Luca Nardi @lucanardi_space to join o the regular @europlanetmedia team, Helen and Sarah, during EPSC.
My name is Arti, I am a Science Writer & Communicator. My passion is to build a communication bridge, between society and scientists, using language bricks and graphical cement. I believe in “Science For, By, and Of the People”.
My name is Mario, and I'm an astrobiologist in search of martian life following the gaseous trails. I spend my time between London, Milton Keynes and Colchester. My aim is making science accessible to everyone, so bringing you what goes on in #EPSC2020 is a dream
My name is Luca, I am an astrophysicist and a Martian PhD student in Rome working on the data of the Esa's Mars Express and ExoMars missions. I am very proud to have been selected for this role for #EPSC2020 to have a part in creating a network among who loves planetary science!

EPSC 2020 Planetary Science Wiki Edit-a-thon

Join the Diversity Committee of the Europlanet Society, in collaboration with Women in Red and WikiDonne, for a wiki edit-a-thon to highlight diversity within the planetary science community.
With a special emphasis on women and under-represented groups the team will add entries for planetary scientists who meet Wikipedia’s Notability criteria but are currently missing. Support and training will be available for those new to Wikipedia authorship.
Find out more here>>

EPSC 2020 goes live for schools

21 September – 9th October

For the first time, EPSC2020 is opening its doors to schools to give students a glimpse of how contemporary science is done. Teachers and students are invited to join us virtually (suggested age range 12-18 years old or older). Learn more here>>

#InspiredByOtherWorlds Arts Contest

Deadline 30 October 2020

EPSC2020 is inviting schools and space enthusiasts of all ages to get creative and share their artworks and performances inspired by other worlds. Learn more here>>

Europlanet Society News

Meet the Europlanet Society's Executive Board

Ewa Szuszkiewicz

Ewa Szuszkiewicz is a full professor at the University of Szczecin, coordinator of the Center for Advanced Studies in Astrobiology and Related Topics (CASA*) in Poland, and the Chairman of the Astrobiology and Medicine Section of the Space and Satellite Research Committee of the Polish Academy of Sciences. Her current research is focused on the origin and evolution of planetary systems, and planetary habitability, with an active role in research relating to the risks connected to space travel. 

Ewa is a keen proponent that observation should go hand in hand with modelling and experimentation, both on the ground and in the space, to reach a deeper theoretical understanding of phenomena and generate knowledge. She believes this goal can be achieved faster through cross-disciplinary collaborations. Through her role with the Society she seeks to foster an environment for fruitful collaborations, and to strengthen the science-industry connection as innovative technologies will be at the core of success.

Prof. Nichi D'Amico, 1953-2020

We are saddened by the news that Prof. Nichi D'Amico, President of the Italian National Institute for Astrophysics (INAF), passed away this week. The Europlanet Society offers its sincere condolences to his family and colleagues.

Europlanet Research Infrastructure News

Europlanet Mentorship Platform

In partnership with Vilnius University and the Europlanet SocietyEuroplanet RI has launched the Europlanet Mentorship Platform, which aims to help early career scientists to develop expertise, ask questions and discuss career plans with the support of more established members of the planetary community.

Open Calls for Applications and Nominations

Europlanet Telescope Network

Rolling Call for Submission

Europlanet 2024 RI provides the opportunity for funding observation nights at telescopes within Europlanet Telescope Network by reimbursing travel, accommodation and per diem of the observer, and service costs of the observatory.
Find out more here >>

Featured Events

DPS 2020

The AAS Division for Planetary Sciences will host their 52nd Annual Meeting this 26-30 October in a virtual platform. The Scientific and Virtual Organizing Committees have developed a rich program which will include five days of:
  • Plenary Sessions with Prerecorded Talks and Live Panel Discussions
  • Oral Sessions (Prerecorded Talks) and iPosters with Live Topical Discussions
  • Ongoing Asynchronous Topical Discussions via Slack
  • Exhibitors with Dedicated Visiting Hours
  • Exhibit, Partner and Sponsor Webinars 
  • Career Center
  • Social and Networking Events
  • Early Career Events

Europlanet Community Corner

Open Letter on Space Mining

On behald of the Europlanet Society and Europlanet RI 2024, Nigel Mason has signed the Outer Space Institute's open letter on Space Resource Utilization. We invite you to read the full text and consider adding your signature as well.
EPEC Profiles

Solmaz Adeli

Solmaz Adeli can tell you a thing or two about the past climate and surface conditions of Mars. A planetary geologist at the German Aerospace Center (DLR)'s Institute of Planetary Reasearch, Solmaz in involved in missions to the red planet, present and future. Read Solmaz's full Profile>>
EPEC Profiles - Call for submissions
The EPEC Communications Working Group is offering a new opportunity to early career professionals by showcasing their research. Each month, Europlanet will share on the Society website and on social media a short biography and a summary of your experiences.
This initiative aims to raise awareness about EPEC members’  involvement in the space sector and highlight their research and important contribution to the planetary community. Find out how to participate.
Voyage 2050 Viewpoints

Dr Patricio Becerra

This months interview by EPEC Future Research Working Group is with Dr Patricio Becerra, the author of a Voyage 2050 white paper entitled “Mars and the Science Programme: The case for Mars Polar Science.”
Read more here >>

Inspiring Stories

Explaining Seismology Through Comics

In this EPEC Inspiring Outreach Story, Petr Brož and Matěj Machek at the Institute of Geophysics of the Czech Academy of Sciences describe how they develped comics about seismology for teenagers.  Read it here>>


Early Careers Training and Education Platform

Search for your next opportunity on Europlanets 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

Blue Origin New Shepard Launch. Credit: Blue Origin.

New space Companies and Planetary Science

In their article for the Europlanet Society, Hans Huybrighs and Ottaviano Ruesch of the EPEC Future Research Working Group explore the ways in which new companies are creating oportunities for today's Planetary Scientists.

"In the news, we often hear about new space companies and their goals to “revolutionize” the access and use of space. Think, for example, of Blue Origin and their planned Blue Moon lunar lander. These new opportunities to access planetary bodies are not, however, always considered in the planetary science community as serious options.

We wonder: are private space companies overlooked because there is some uncertainty as to whether they will eventually launch? Is it worth considering such opportunities when we think of the future of planetary science?"

Read the full article here >>

Have your own publication you want 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

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
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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