The European Community for Planetary Sciences

Europlanet Society Briefing
October 2020

In this Briefing

Word from the President

Dear Colleagues,

First, an enormous thank you to all of you who participated in EPSC2020. Although it was a virtual event, attendance and participation was the largest ever for an EPSC not held jointly with the DPS, with 1168 participants and 1034 abstracts. Thanks to all the team that organized the meeting including members of the Scientific and Virtual Organizing Committees, the Europlanet Society Executive Office team at the ESF and Copernicus for an amazing achievement in delivering such a complex meeting online from scratch in less than six months. While we hope that EPSC 2021 will be held physically in Helsinki, virtual access will remain an important part of future meetings so please complete the survey and tell us what you liked and what you feel we could do better.

EPSC and related events are organized through the Europlanet Society, but the Society can only operate with your participation. We want to reach 1000 members in 2021, which will allow us to develop the Society's programmes and do more for the community. If everyone who participated in EPSC 2020 joined the Society, we would be able to reach this number. If you are not already a member, sign up and encourage your colleagues to joi today! We also need people to stand to lead EPSC committees, so please volunteer.

Finally, despite travel restrictions, you can still apply for access to facilities through the Europlanet 2024 Research Infrastructure (RI) and it's important that we demonstrate to the European Commission that there is demand from the community. The call for access to the Europlanet Telescope Network is open on a continuous basis and the next call for access to the Europlanet 2024 RI laboratory and field sites will open on 10th November, with additional facilities in South Korea on offer. Due to Covid-19 situation, we will extend the period of implementation of approved TA visits into 2022.

Nigel Mason
President, Europlanet Society
Coordinator, Europlanet 2024 RI

EPSC 2020 Wrap-up

EPSC2020 is over, but don't forget that all content will be accessible through the EPSC2020 website until September 2021, and there will be ongoing access to public videos on Vimeo. Here are some of our highlights from the meeting >>
We want your feedback from EPSC2020

EPSC2020 was our first virtual conference and we want your feedback. What went well? What could be improved? When you have a moment or two, please fill out our digital survey here to help us ensure we learn lessons and can make virtual access to future conferences work better for you.

Europlanet Society News

Meet the Europlanet Society's Executive Board

Livia Giacomini

Livia is a scientific journalist with a background in astrophysics working at the Italian National Institute for Astrophysics (INAF). She is the chief editor of EduINAF—INAF's official online magazine for education and outreach—and EPO manager at IAPS, in Rome.

She is deeply involved in science communication/education. Livia teaches Science Communication and Journalism at University, Masters and professional level courses for students and teachers. She has been involved in Europlanet since the first phases of the project, participating through the EPSC Press Office since 2014. She was elected in the Executive Board and is the Outreach Officer for the Italian Regional Hub. She is also a co-founder of the non-profit association Speak Science, developer of the Planets in a Room low-cost spherical projector. The small mainbelt asteroid 446644 Lagia was named after her.

Europlanet 2024 Research Infrastructure (RI) News

South Korean facilities join Transnational Access Programme

The Korea Basic Science Institute (KBSI) will be offering eleven state-of-the-art research instruments for Transnational Access (TA) through Europlanet 2024 RI for the remaining TA calls of the project. KBSI will cover the cost of 8 to 10 projects from European scientists each year. The second TA call will be launched on 10 November. Browse the TA facilities >>

Europlanet Mentorship Platform

The Europlanet Mentorship Platform has begun its pilot phase with 5 matched pairs of mentors and mentees. The scheme 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.

We are looking for more participants - particularly mentors - to sign up and start the main scheme in January. If you are interested, please fill out the mentor or mentee application form, or email with any questions.

Open Calls for Applications and Nominations

EPSC Chairs

Call for the next EPSC Chairs (deadline Sunday, 15 November 2020)

The next Chairs of the EPSC Committee, the Scientific Organizing Committee (SOC) and the Virtual Organizing Committee (VOC) will need to be appointed as soon as possible.

If you would like to step up, please submit your application on the Europlanet Society website, or encourage your colleagues to put themselves forward. Find out more >>

Europlanet Telescope Network - Rolling Call for Submissions

Since this summer, professional and amateur astronomers have had the possibility to apply for observations on the Europlanet Telescope Network. We currently provide access to 16 different telescope facilities distributed all over the world, ranging from small scale telescopes up to mid-class dishes with 2 meters in diameter.

While Covid-19 travel restrictions are in place, observations can still be performed through the network: 14 out of 16 facilities are either robotic or provide service observations for successful applicants, enabling remote performance of granted projects without visiting the respective telescope.

Apply now to the Call for funding for observations and to make use of the remotely available facilities. Our telescope table holds a broad range of information and contact data on all the facilities involved in the network. If you have questions on the call - or are interested in organizing a coordinated observations campaign using the Europlanet Telescope Network - please contact:

Find out more details on the call and how to apply here >>

Featured Events

DPS 2020 - Virtual Meeting

26 to 30 October 2020

The 52nd Annual Meeting of the AAS Division for Planetary Sciences is taking place this week (26-30 October) in a virtual platform.
Find out 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. To date, submissions have come from Europe, USA, South America and Asia.
Learn more here >>

And the winner is...

#PlanetaryScience4All EPEC-EPSC Video Contest

Congratulations to Grace Richards, the winner of the first #PlanetaryScience4All EPEC-EPSC Video Contest for her 4 minute presentation "VOC Analysis on Enceladus".
Watch Grace's video and all the contributions >>

Europlanet Community Corner

EPEC Profiles

Indhu Varatharajan

Indhu Varatharajan is a final-year PhD student at Planetary Spectroscopy Laboratory (PSL) group at Department of Planetary Laboratories, Institute of Planetary Research, German Aerospace Center (DLR) in Berlin. "Being a girl child from a village in southern India with a dream to pursue planetary career since 13 year old and with no adequate financial background, its been one hell of a ride until here."
Learn more about Indhu's journey and her work on spectral analysis techniques here>>
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

Make the wonders of space accessible to all

In this EPEC Inspiring Outreach Story, Ines Belgacem and the Sens’Astro team describe how they are creating resources to share the wonders of the Universe with those with disabilities through a multisensory experience.
Read it here >>

Soapbox Science

Seven women scientists in Belgium talked about their research during the first virtual Soapbox Science in Brussels. The event was supported by the Europlanet Society Benelux Hub.
Watch the videos 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

BepiColombo Flyby of Venus

Earlier this month, Europlanet 2024 RI coordinated a ground-based campaign to support the BepiColombo mission's flyby of Venus. The ESA/JAXA mission observed the planet from 13 October to 17 October with a closest approach on 15 October at 03:58 UT, at an altitude of 10,720 km above Venus's surface. This will be the first of two flybys to Venus, with the second one scheduled for 10 August 2021 at a very close altitude of 550 km.

The amateur observations from the campaign are available at the Planetary Virtual Observatory and Laboratory (PVOL) website, which is a general database of amateur observations of Solar System planets.

First results from Cheops

ESA’s new exoplanet mission, Cheops, has found a nearby planetary system to contain one of the hottest and most extreme extra-solar planets known to date: WASP-189 b. The finding, the very first from the mission, demonstrates Cheops’ unique ability to shed light on the Universe around us by revealing the secrets of these alien worlds. The results were presented at EPSC2020. Read more 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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Europlanet 2024 RI has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 871149.