1st Regional Hub Policy-Industry Officers meeting

1st Regional Hub Policy-Industry Officers meeting

The 1st Regional Hub Policy – Industry officers meeting took place on December 10, 2020, with the participation of 24 Europlanet policy and industry officers representing most regional hubs.

The local perspective’s importance to build the Europlanet policy strategy and links to the industry was raised. The collection of country-specific space strategies and building a directory of expertise were some of the issues discussed. 

Call for Nominations of Paolo Farinella Prize 2021 now open

Call for Nominations of Paolo Farinella Prize 2021 now open

** DEADLINE: May 15, 2021, 23:59 UT **

To honour the memory and the outstanding figure of Paolo Farinella (1953-2000), an extraordinary scientist and person, a prize has been established in recognition of significant contributions in one of the fields of interest of Paolo, which spanned from planetary sciences to space geodesy, fundamental physics, science popularisation, security in space, weapons control and disarmament.

The prize was proposed during the ‘International Workshop on Paolo Farinella, the scientist and the man‘, held in Pisa in 2010, and the 2021 edition is supported by the Europlanet Society.

The eleventh Paolo Farinella Prize 2021 will be awarded to a young scientist with outstanding contributions in the field of planetary science concerning ‘Terrestrial Planets and Super-Earths’, including work on the physics, dynamics and observations of terrestrial planets inside or outside of our solar system. The award winner will be honoured during the Europlanet Science Congress (EPSC) 2021.

For the 11th Paolo Farinella Prize, the terms and rules are as follows:

  1. Nominations must be sent by email to the following addresses:
    doris.breuer@dlr.de, acb@ua.es and david.lucchesi@inaf.it, using this form.
  2. The nominations for the Paolo Farinella Prize can be made by any researcher that works in the field of planetary sciences following the indications in the attached form. Self nominations are acceptable. The candidates should have international and interdisciplinary collaborations and should be not older than the age of Paolo when he passed away, 47 years, on May 15, 2021.
  3. The winner of the prize will be selected before June 20 by the Paolo Farinella Prize Committee composed of outstanding scientists in planetary sciences, with specific experience in the field. The Prize Committee will consider all the nominations, but it will be entitled to autonomously consider other candidates.

Previous recipients of the Paolo Farinella Prize were:

  • 2011: William F. Bottke, for his contribution to the field of ‘Physics and dynamics of small solar system bodies‘. 
  • 2012: John Chambers, for his contribution to the field of ‘Formation and early evolution of the solar system‘.
  • 2013: Patrick Michel, for his contribution to the field of ‘Collisional processes in the Solar System’.
  • 2014: David Vokrouhlicky, for his contribution to the field of ‘Non gravitational forces in the Solar System.
  • 2015: Nicolas Biver, for his contribution to the field of ‘Dynamics and physics of comets’.
  • 2016: Kleomenis Tsiganis, for his contribution to the field of ‘Applications of celestial mechanics to the natural bodies of our solar system’.
  • 2017: Simone Marchi, for his contribution to the field of ‘Physics and dynamics of the inner planets of the solar system and their satellites’.
  • 2018: Francis Nimmo, for his contribution to the field of ‘Giant planets satellite systems’.
  • 2019: Scott Sheppard and Chad Trujillo, jointly, for their contribution to the field of ‘The Trans-Neptunian Population’.
  • 2020: Heather Knutson and Jonathan Fortney, jointly, for their contribution to the field of “Structure, Physics and Dynamics of Giant Planets’.

Policy and Industry

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Europlanet Society Policy and Industry

For over a decade, Europlanet had actively engaged with both policy makers and Industry and Academia groups. We continue to leverage collaborations, synergies with experts and policy makers to engage them with the cutting-edge science and technological challenges of planetary science and exploration.

For more information about our Policy and Industry activities:

First successful observations at the Europlanet Telescope Network

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First successful observations at the Europlanet Telescope Network

One month after the first projects to observe at the Europlanet Telescope Network were granted in December, the first successful observations took place in January at the Moletai Observatoria in Lithuania.

The project “Reducing the selection effects in asteroid spins, shapes, and thermal parameters” is a long-term project aiming at determining physical parameters like spin, 3D shape, size, and thermal inertia of numerous asteroids that have been omitted by most of  the previous studies. Their slow rotation and small amplitudes of brightness variations make them difficult targets for photometric observations, thus creating an observing selection effect.

Through coordinated observations from multiple sites, the project is gradually decreasing bias. This results in detailed spin and shape models based on high-quality photometric datasets of these asteroids observed at various viewing geometries.

Additionally, the models are being scaled in size down to 5% precision by thermophysical modelling with infrared data obtained from space, and fitting the shape models to stellar occultations by asteroids (Marciniak et al. 2018, and 2019: Astronomy Astrophys. 610, A7; and 625, A139). The new photometric observations, as shown in the image, gathered recently at Moletai Observatory, complemented with data from other sites, will result in fully covered lightcurves for five asteroids with rotation periods up to 38 hours, and should soon lead to the determination of spin and shape models of these challenging targets.

While this project already successfully observed its targets, further observations at the Europlanet Telescope Network are soon to come. Additionally, the second Science Advisory Board meeting was already taking place at the end of January to evaluate three more projects that want to exploit the small telescopes network. While the decision on the funding of these proposals will be announced soon, we are in the meantime inviting interested observers to apply with their project to the NA2 Call for Observations at the Europlanet Telescope Network.

Illustration showing how the 58 km sized asteroid Ljuba changes its position relative to stars within 5 hours. The images were obtained on the 35/51 cm telescope at the Moletai Observatory of Vilnius University in 2021.

Further information can be found directly at the call website.

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Training in Storytelling and Theatre as a Tool for Science Outreach

Training in Storytelling and Theatre as a Tool for Science Outreach

The Europlanet Society’s Committee Funding Scheme provides awards of €1000-5000 to supports projects that further the aims of the Europlanet Society and actively involve its members. In 2020, the Society supported an application by the Benelux Hub for a project called ‘Planetary Atmospheres Accessible to All’ that would enable researchers to collaborate with performers and storytellers in producing unique augmented lectures that use performing arts techniques to engage public audiences.

This online workshop, aimed at 10 selected BIRA / IASB / Europlanet researchers, has provided the practical tools to become storytellers of science with a special emphasis on addressing a general audience and/or students.

The workshop was divided into three half-day sessions (11, 14, 18 December 2020, 09:00 → 13:00 ).

The first half-day focused on defining and prioritizing the key themes which help to communicate Aeronomy to target audiences, by connecting them to societal issues. A process of collective intelligence and design thinking has been used to facilitate the emergence of key themes that can be integrated in the Augmented Lectures, if they will be produced.

Based on the outcomes, the second session has provided training in the creation of a science outreach story and its delivery (storytelling). We focused on and applied the fundamental ingredients of stories (starting from a simplified Hero’s Journey). Each participant has had the chance to prepare one short story on his/her topic of interest.

During the third half-day session, these stories have been presented to invited artists, and possible collaborations have been explored between art-science pairs to cocreate Augmented Lectures to further enhance the project.

The online workshop by Dr Andrea Brunello and Dr Pierre Echard of Jet Propulsion Theatre (JPT) was supported by the Europlanet Society Benelux Hub.

Organisers: Dr Andrea Brunello (JPT), Dr Ann Carine Vandaele (BIRA-IASB), Dr Arianna Piccialli (BIRA-IASB), Karolien Lefever (Royal Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy), Dr Pierre Echard (JPT)