The European Community for Planetary Sciences

Europlanet Society Briefing
May 2020

In this Briefing

Word from the President
Dear Members,

As we discuss how to reopen universities and laboratories across Europe and around the world, we must consider what the ‘new normal’ will mean for Europlanet.  To date, none of the activities of the Europlanet Society or the 2024 Research Infrastructure (RI) have been halted by the Covid-19 shutdown. However, we have needed to adapt and we must continue to find new ways of delivering services.

A European Commission web-conference organised last week by the Croatian Presidency highlighted research infrastructures as ‘agents of change’ and ‘catalysts’ for scientific and socio-economic advance. Europlanet must rise to the challenges posed in our changing society, e.g. by providing Transnational Access to facilities through remote access while travel is restricted or facing increased costs.

The cancellation of a face-to-face EPSC 2020 in Granada this year is an opportunity to develop new best practice in virtual conferencing, recognising that this will be an ongoing part of future meetings. We will be announcing our new plans for EPSC 2020 next week, and look forward to meeting in person again at EPSC 2021 in Helsinki!

Take care and keep safe,

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.

Europlanet Society News

Meet the Europlanet Society's Executive Board

Lora Jovanovic

Lora Jovanovic is a PhD student at LATMOS (France), interested in laboratory simulation of Pluto’s atmosphere and aerosols. In parallel with her research work, she likes to participate in science popularisation events or organise events dedicated to young researchers in the astrobiology field. Her keen interest in promoting planetary science across Europe through education and outreach actions led her to become actively involved at the European Society as a Member of its Executive Board.

Europlanet Research Infrastructure News

A successful first call for the Transnational Access

The first call for the Europlanet 2024 RI Transnational Access programme was a resounding success with 80 applications received with an overall a good spread across the proposed planetary analogue field sites (22 applications) and distributed facilities (58 applications). The list of funded applications will be announced over the summer. Find out more about the Transnational Access (TA) programme

Europlanet Telescope Network issues 1st Alert – A new North polar spot in Saturn

The new Europlanet Telescope has issued its first observational alert through the PVOL data service provided by Europlanet 20204 Research Infrastructure (RI) and the HST-Jupiter e-mail list. Amateur astronomers and planetary scientists were asked to follow up a discovery on 30 March 2020 by an Australian amateur astronomer, Andy Casely, who captured images of a white spot at Saturn’s North polar latitudes. Find out more.

From Planets to a Pearl Earring

One of Europlanet 2024 RI’s Transnational Access facilities has contributed to a new analysis of pigments used by Vermeer to add highlights to his famous painting, “Girl with a Pearl Earring”. Read the whole story!

Martian mud flows like lava

An investigation of how mud flows at very low temperatures and under the reduced atmospheric pressure of Mars, undertaken through a Europlanet 2020 RI Transnational Access visit, has been published in the journal Nature Geoscience.  Dr. Petr Brož from the Institute of Geophysics of the Czech Academy of Sciences visited the Open University's Mars Chamber in 2018. Watch a video of the results

Open Calls for Applications and Nominations

Paolo Farinella Prize

Call for Nomination - Deadline extended to 1 June 2020

The tenth Paolo Farinella Prize will be awarded to a young scientist with outstanding contributions concerning “Structure, Physics and Dynamics of Giant Planets”. Nominations are open to any researcher that works in the field of planetary sciences, following the indications in the form. Who will you nominate?

Europlanet Outreach Funding Scheme

Call for Applications - Deadline: 24 June 2020

Europlanet awards grants of between 5.000 and 15.000€ to fund an outreach or education project related to planetary sciences. Find out more and submit your project!

Europlanet Prize for Public Engagement

Call for Nominations - Deadline: 24 June 2020

Have you developed innovative and socially impactful practices in planetary science communication and education? The call for nominations is open to individuals and groups, apply now!

Featured Events

European Science Congress 2020

As a result of the pandemic, EPSC2020 will be held as a virtual meeting. Full details of the format of the meeting and the relaunch of abstract submission will be announced before the end of May. Stay posted

Europlanet Community Corner

EPEC Profiles - Dr Peter Brož

Dr. Petr Brož works as a researcher at the Department of Geodynamics of the Institute of Geophysics of the Czech Academy of Sciences, where he focuses about the volcanism across the Solar System. He's also very committed to popularising geosciences and the exploration of the Solar System. Read Peter's full profile.

EPEC Profiles - Call for submissions

The EPEC Communications Working Group is offering a new opportunity to early career professionals to showcase 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.

Motivational Journeys – the video series from EPEC

Interview with Amara Graps

Dr. Amara Graps has been involved in more than 10 international mission teams, including Voyager, Cassini and Rosetta. This amazing career wasn't without big challenges... She tells us about the opportunities she had to create for herself, but also the cultural differences between the US and Europe, self-funding, solo-parenting,... and the importance of taking care of one's body!
📽️ Join the journey and let the story motivate you!

Inspiring Stories – Science to go!

In this EPEC Inspiring Outreach Story, Dr. David Píša, a researcher studying the plasma waves in space at the Czech Academy of Sciences, tells us how he and other researchers are organising outreach talks across the country.

Inspiring Stories – Science to go!

A new freely-available anthology released by the European Astrobiology Institute (EAI) delves into the fundamental questions of astrobiology via science fiction stories by world-renowned authors, followed by essays about the science of each story. The anthology, titled Strangest of All (a nod to H. G. Wells' War of The Worlds), was edited by the author, editor and scientist Julie Nováková, who is also the outreach contact for the Europlanet Central Europe Hub. Find out more!

Planetary Science Highlights

Bepi in the sky with stars: competition results

On 10 April at 04:24:57 UTC, BepiColombo reached its closest approach to Earth, flying only 12 689 km above our planet’s surface. Over thirty observers around the world participated in a campaign to picture its first and only Earth flyby. The jury was most impressed by the quality of the pictures and wishes to thank all participants. Discover the winning photos!

Social distancing app uses space to save lives

Lanterne, a UK start-up company supported by ESA, is about to launch "Crowdless", a free app that helps people maintain social distancing, vital to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
Using satellite data and artificial intelligence technologies, it identifies where people are congregating so that users can easily avoid crowded locations! Find out how they developed it!

Policy Updates

European Parliament

During the European Parliament Plenary on 16-17 April, MEPs voted to adopt partial agreements concerning the 7-year priorities on research, space, transport, energy, telecom and digital Europe for 2021 – 2027. The partial agreement for the EU Space Programme was approved by 560 votes. It will continue to support the Galileo and EGNOS satellite navigation systems and the Copernicus Earth observation programme, as well as the competitiveness and innovation capacity of space sector industries and SMEs.

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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