Announcing the Contenders for the #PlanetaryScience4All Video Contest 2021

Announcing the Contenders for the #PlanetaryScience4All Video Contest 2021

Earlier this year, the Europlanet Early Career (EPEC) Communication working group invited all early career researchers, including PhD, Master’s and Bachelor’s students, involved in planetary science the opportunity to showcase their research through a 4-minute video contest called #PlanetaryScience4All.

Watch the 2021 Contenders’ Entries

The winner is….

The winner of the 2nd edition of the #PlanetaryScience4All EPEC-EPSC Video Contest will be announced during the EPSC2021 session CE10 – Other Prize Lectures, at 14:20–14:50 (CEST) on Friday 24 September.

The Judging Committee for the second edition of the #PlanetaryScience4all includes eight members of the current EPEC Communications Working Group.  All members have been involved in planetary science research projects as well as several outreach activities. The group is made by people of different nationalities currently working for different institutions and universities.

The group is voting using  a Google form where is not possible to see scores assigned by the other judges. Videos are going to be evaluated according to the following criteria: Scientific content, Structure Presentation delivery Layout, and Visual quality. The scores have been given based on a scale from 0 to 5. The video with the highest score will be considered the winner of the competition.  

The winner of the video contest will receive free registration to EPSC 2022 which will be held in Granada, Spain. 

Help spread the word on social media #PlanetaryScience4All #PS4All #EPSC2021 and join us on Friday 24 September to find out if your favourite entry has won!

EPEC Profiles – José Eduardo Silva

EPEC Profiles – José Eduardo Silva

In this series from the EPEC Communication Working Group, we meet members of the Europlanet Early Career (EPEC) community and find out more about their experiences and aspirations.

José Eduardo Silva is a PhD Candidate in Astronomy and Astrophysics at the Instituto de Astrofísica e Ciências do Espaço (IA) in Lisbon, Portugal. He works with spacecraft imaging data of Solar System planets in order to study the dynamics and features of their atmospheres. 

Though I was curious and interested in other worlds throughout my childhood, my planetary journey only truly began shortly before I enrolled in a Bachelor of Physics course at the Faculty of Science of the University of Lisbon. My initial curiosity was guided towards stellar birth and interstellar medium (in part due to the seductive and beautiful imagery from Hubble Space Telescope), but I’ve found myself steered towards the study of Solar System planets ever since my Master’s course.

What struck me from the beginning as both magnificent and awe inspiring is the diversity of ‘little worlds’ within such a tiny corner of the Universe (our Solar System), from the scorching wasteland of the surface of Venus, to the icy plains of Pluto – taking a left turn into the strange configuration of the gas giants, planets without a surface and with mesmerizing atmospheric patterns.

Currently I’m close to the ‘end of the beginning’ of my astronomical journey (I hope), working to conclude a PhD in Astronomy and Astrophysics, still in sunny Lisbon. My main focus is on the study of the dynamics of atmospheres of several planets – most recently Venus, although I’m always eager to take a few jabs at other targets. This exploration includes using spacecraft and ground based data to study how the atmosphere behaves and find out about the driving mechanisms that sustain wildly different modes of circulation. To do this, I went in search of particular atmospheric features called atmospheric gravity waves on Venus, one possible key ingredient in powering the enigmatic super-rotion of Venus’ atmosphere (at the cloud top the atmosphere of Venus rotates about 60 times faster than the solid globe).

This bubbling curiosity usually spills over, which has made me find a second passion in my life: sharing this wonderful cosmos of astronomy and planetary sciences with whoever is willing to listen to me. I’ve been involved in outreach activities since 2012, usually stargazing with the general public with a little help from portable telescopes but also small lectures and even sailing across the stars as my Portuguese ancestors once did.

During my PhD I also took the opportunity to teach minor physics courses to Bachelor’s students in other areas, including computing engineering and geophysics. Though only an assistant, this adventure has been the seed of my third passion and ambition: teaching astronomy in an attempt to improve education and elevate this field in my country.

Today, as I’m writing this text and my thesis at the same time, I wonder where this road will lead. I can only hope that my skills in image-analysis and atmospheric characteristion will take me to many worlds in the Solar System, so that then I can share that knowledge back to the wider community because, in my view, science is truly for everyone!

In the meantime I’ll try to continue exploring this world, hiking through the landscape, or other worlds through storytelling around the table.

An essential component to scientific research is teamwork and collaboration. EPEC has provided a wonderful opportunity to meet and work with enthusiastic people who have inspired me in more ways than I can count. It is also the best place to cement the important influence early careers can have in shaping up the science of tomorrow. I’ve been continuously thrilled to be part of the team and give a hand to my fellow colleagues on all things concerning our field and hope for a better future for all of us!

José Eduardo Silva

More information about José Eduardo Silva:

Webpage

ResearchGate

Contact: jsilva@oal.ul.pt

José Eduardo Silva. Image credit: J. Silva

If you are an Early Career member of the Europlanet Society and would like to be featured in an EPEC Profile, find out more about how to submit your profile.

See all the EPEC Profiles.

Mentoring@EPSC 2021

Mentoring@EPSC 2021

The Europlanet Early Career (EPEC) network invites you to participate in the third edition of Mentoring@EPSC at the EPSC2021 virtual meeting. Mentoring@EPSC* is an activity organised by EPEC during the EPSC conference which pairs scientists in more advanced stages of their careers with early career scientists to offer the early careers a networking opportunity and a better EPSC experience.

Given the digital nature of the EPSC 2021 and that most of us are still struggling with the effects of the current pandemic, we believe that receiving guidance has become increasingly desired during these difficult times. Mentoring@EPSC aims to fulfill this need by enabling one-to-one meetings between master students, PhD candidates, postdocs and established researchers for informal conversation and exchange of experiences.

Sign up as a MENTEE: if this is your first EPSC conference and you are looking for guidance during the virtual EPSC 2021, if you are a student and are looking for an opportunity to get support in networking and career development, or if you are keen to meet an experienced researcher from a similar scientific field. We will put you in contact with a
suitable Mentor to guide you during the conference.

Sign up as a MENTOR: if you are an experienced scientist who has been to numerous international conferences, feel confident navigating them and are willing to share your own experience and networking tips with an early career. You will be requested to meet virtually at least once with your Mentee during the conference.

Sign up using this link.

The deadline to sign-up to the Mentoring@EPSC program is August 30, 2021.

If you have any queries, please contact us at EPEC.EPSC@gmail.com

If you are interested in a long-term mentoring program, please have a look at the Europlanet Mentorship Platform**. For more information on other resources to aid early careers, please check out the Europlanet Early Careers Training and Education Portal using the links below.

Looking forward to welcoming you to the Mentoring@EPSC,

EPEC-EPSC working group

*Mentoring@EPSC is complementary to both the Education Portal and the Europlanet Mentorship program. Mentoring@EPSC provides a short term mentoring opportunity to support early career professionals in navigating the annual EPSC conference and provides a stepping stone into the long term Europlanet Mentorship program.

**The Early Careers Training and Education Portal provides information on PhD positions, job opportunities, summer schools, and meetings relevant to early career professionals working in planetary science and related fields.

The Europlanet Mentorship program 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.

Introducing the new EPEC Co-Chairs

Introducing the new EPEC Co-Chairs

Warmest congratulations to Erica Luzzi and Ines Belgacem, the new Co-Chairs of the Europlanet Early Career (EPEC) Network. We are delighted to welcome them in their new roles. You can find out more about them in their EPEC profiles and their pitch presentations from the recent EPEC Annual Week.

Erica Luzzi
Erica Luzzi
 Ines Belgacem
Ines Belgacem
Indhu Varatharajan
Indhu Varatharajan

Warmest thanks too to Indhu Varatharajan, who is stepping down as EPEC Chair, having served in the role since 2017. We are indebted to Indhu for her work in developing the current structure of EPEC and all her efforts to support and raise the profile of early careers within the Europlanet community over the past three years.

EPEC Profiles – Ines Belgacem

EPEC Profiles – Ines Belgacem

In this series from the EPEC Communication Working Group, we meet members of the Europlanet Early Career (EPEC) community and find out more about their experiences and aspirations.

Ines is currently a research fellow at the European Space Agency in Madrid, Spain. She studies the icy surfaces of our solar system and, more particularly, Jupiter’s icy moons in preparation for ESA’s JUpiter ICy moons Explorer (JUICE) mission. Her main focus is looking at photometric data – i.e. how the light is reflected off of a surface w.r.t. the geometry of observation and illumination. This is directly linked to the surface microtexture (roughness, shape of particles, etc.) and can help us learn more about the evolution of a planetary body and the processes at play. 

She graduated with her PhD in November 2019 from the Université of Paris Saclay in France for which she was awarded the Amelia Earhart fellowship (Zonta international) in 2018. She completed the first part of her studies at ISAE-SUPAERO and Université Paul Sabatier in Toulouse, France in engineering and astrophysics. 

Ines is also very invested in outreach activities. She loves sharing her passion with the general public and especially getting kids engaged in space science and astrophysics. Recently, she co-created with fellow scientists he Sens’Astro association with the aim to share content to discover space through the 5 senses. Not only is it an original way of looking at astrophysics but the main objective is to make the wonders of space accessible to people with sensory disabilities.

Born and raised in Toulouse, France, she maintains strong ties to her hometown with her outreach and advocacy engagements. She is one of the ambassadors of the OSE l’ISAE-SUPAERO program of the ISAE-SUPAERO foundation aimed at promoting access to higher studies to children from rural and underserved areas. Diversity and representation are subjects very close to her heart. 

She has joined the Europlanet society and EPEC in 2019 as an Early Career Officer for the French hub and has since been very involved in the EPEC committee as well as the communications working group. She is part of the newly formed team managing the social media accounts of EPEC.

EPEC has been a great way to meet young planetary scientists from all over Europe that I would have never crossed paths with. I made new friends and I’m happy to keep building the network and its activities together.

INES BELGACEM

More information about Ines Belgacem:

Contact: ines.belgacem@esa.int

Ines Belgacem. Image credit: Ines Belgacem

If you are an Early Career member of the Europlanet Society and would like to be featured in an EPEC Profile, find out more about how to submit your profile.

See all the EPEC Profiles.

Inspiring Stories – #PlanetaryScience4All: A Video Contest for Virtual Science Communication

Inspiring Stories – #PlanetaryScience4All: A Video Contest for Virtual Science Communication

In this EPEC Inspiring Outreach Story, Melissa Mirino (doctoral candidate at The Open University and of the Chair EPEC Communications Working Group) shares how the extraordinary experiences of 2020 inspired her to launch a contest to bring together the early career community. This story is an extract from the first Issue of the Europlanet magazine.

The year 2020 will be always remembered as a year of isolation, disruption of the normal daily activities, and in extreme cases a year of loss. However, during this period we all did our best to find alternative solutions to carry on with our lives, jobs and activities and remain positive and connected with each other using the current available technologies. Research and academia have not been an exception. Both the Europlanet Society and the Europlanet Early Career Network (EPEC) did their best to remain active, and to guarantee the usual sharing of ideas and scientific results by transforming the EPSC 2020 Conference into a virtual meeting. 

As Chair of the EPEC Communications Working Group, I wanted to create an activity that could combine the EPEC goal of supporting early careers, our working group’s aim of communication, and the need to transform face-to-face activities into a shareable, interactive and online form to support the EPSC2020 virtual meeting. The idea of a video contest came to mind. This format is already considered by many universities as a good way to train and challenge students in science communication. Since the main subject of EPSC is planetary science, the topic of the video contest was easy to identify. With support from the EPSC2020 Outreach and Europlanet Communications teams, and many months of planning, creating and sharing the new activity, the #PlanetaryScience4All video contest became a reality. #PlanetaryScience4All challenges early career students to present their research in four minutes to a non-expert audience. 

The first edition (2020) of the contest was open to Ph.D. candidates involved in planetary science studies, asking them to explain their Ph.D. research using any type of creative video format (Lego movies, drawing, PowerPoint, storytelling, etc.). The videos were judged based on criteria of scientific content, communication skills, and creativity by a panel of experts from the Europlanet Community. All the contestants and their videos were featured in live sessions during EPSC2020, promoted on YouTube, and shared widely on social media. The winning video was highlighted through the Europlanet website and newsletters, and it has also been used for EPEC outreach activities. The winner of the 2020 edition, Grace Richards, received free registration to this year’s EPSC2021 meeting. Recently, Grace and Gloria Tognon, another contestant, have also joined the EPEC Communications Working Group to support our activities. Based on the success of the 2020 competition, I feel confident that #PlanetaryScience4All will become a traditional part of EPSC. 

The second edition is now open, this year welcoming Bachelor’s and Master’s students, as well as PhD candidates working on a thesis related to planetary science.

For more information FAQs, flyers, and the submission form visit: https://www.europlanet-society.org/early-careers-network/epec-communications-group/planetaryscience4all-video-contest/

Videos from the 2020 #PlanetaryScience4All contest can be found at: https://www.youtube.com/ playlist?list=PLPXeplhp1d00fmFd9vYXirNt_gyZrKOPA. The first Europlanet Magazine issue is available at: https://www.europlanet-society.org/europlanet-magazine/issue-1/?fbclid=IwAR38hwgnbbP6Y3Vn6RdQZNOZ_OPQhsFQuuvEGY5VhP4vUnebRRH_u9IJniQ#dearflip-df_16450/42/

Inspiring Stories – Roving with Rosalind

Inspiring Stories – Roving with Rosalind

In this EPEC Inspiring Outreach Story, Sara Motaghian, a doctoral student at the Natural History Museum (London), tells us about her experience organising ‘Roving with Rosalind’ for classrooms across the UK.

Roving with Rosalind is a series of curriculum-based activities which give students the opportunity to overcome challenges and solve problems based on the ExoMars mission. We have created 5 large practical kits to be housed at STEM hubs across the UK filled with engaging workshops and activities linked to space science. 

We applied to the UK Space Agencies Aurora Outreach funding in the summer of 2019 to make the Roving with Rosalind project a reality and were ecstatic to be awarded the funding at the end of that year. The project aims to reach to 7000 students across the UK in total during its primary funding period. At the end of the project’s nominal funding timeline, the kits and resources will be hosted indefinitely by STEM Learning ensuring the kits can be collected and used well beyond the first 7000 students. 

In total, 20 educational, curricula-mapped resources have been created to accompany the practical kits. The project funds the postage of the kits to schools in order to remove funding and geographical barriers to participation in STEM initiatives, improving opportunity and equity in STEM learning. This model helps us to reach schools and students that are geographically distant from science centres, universities and museums, and schools that don’t have the funding to engage with other initiatives. 

Roving with Rosalind breakdown

The main activity categories are: 

  1. Landing site selection, geology and remote sensing
  2. Rover and mission design
  3. Instrument design and building
  4. Analogue missions (the most fun!)
  5. Sample analysis
  6. Learn to code in Python
Romanby Primary School building programmable rovers to explore the Maps of Mars – our pilot school!

The main activity is the analogue missions where students explore a map of the ExoMars landing site, in one of three ways, to search for points of interest and data to analyse. First, students can walk around the map as the rover, communicating with their team as mission control. Secondly, they can utilise remote-control rovers with video feedback to simulate the difficulty in controlling a rover from afar. Or thirdly, they can build and program the included rovers to execute a path across the map. For every point of interest students locate they receive a data downlink from Mars to analyse!

Spectroscope the students build as part of the designing instruments activity and the solar spectrum you can see with them. 

We were really lucky to be able to launch Roving with Rosalind during National Astronomy Week and deliver a rover design and building workshop to over 200 school classes and ~5000 students! We have been able to send our kits to three classes so far, restricted due to COVID, and 100 students to date. We have been able to partner with several STEM equity programmes, like In2Science and Girls into Geoscience, to deliver out Python programming workshops to over 300 upper secondary students with amazing success, and the program has already received some great feedback:

“[It] has been one great interesting and informative experience. I enjoyed everything … provided for the participants. One particular event: I had never done coding before. It was a bit challenging since I had no idea where to begin but the mentors made it so easy to grasp. I’m very excited, it’s something I’ve always wanted to do, and I will definitely do it as an extracurricular activity in my free time. There were a lot of courses. I was clear about what I wanted to do, but the courses gave me a lot more information about the university and beyond. I want to study physics so I’m looking forward to University and onwards.”

As well as reaching students, the Roving with Rosalind programme also aims to improve teacher confidence in the delivery of STEM resources and has provided training to over 50 teachers, technicians, STEM ambassadors and lecturers. The Roving with Rosalind framework is also now being used as a basis for a Europe-wide outreach project run by the ESA Robotics Working Group. 

Example Downlink Target

Do you like this story and want more? Browse our archive of EPEC Inspiring Stories and get inspired!

EPEC Profiles – Arianna Ricchiuti

EPEC Profiles – Arianna Ricchiuti

In this series from the EPEC Communication Working Group, we meet members of the Europlanet Early Career (EPEC) community and find out more about their experiences and aspirations.

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.

Prior to this role, Arianna had been working as Planetarium Presenter and Outreach Officer at the Planetarium of Bari (Italy), creating and hosting shows and astronomical observations for schools and general public. Arianna has also been speaker at many science congresses and festivals all over Europe.

Her commitment towards science communication brought her different awards: from the victory in the 2016 national final of FameLab, worldwide competition about science communication, to the 2020 Space Factor Award from EANA, the European Astrobiology Network Association.

Arianna Ricchiuti with ESA astronauts Samantha Cristoforetti and Luca Parmitano during the ESTEC Open Day 2020.
Image Credit: Arianna Ricchiuti

I’ve always dreamt of working at ESA. During the first years of university, I had the chance to meet astronauts like Umberto Guidoni and Paolo Nespoli, who inspired me to pursue a career in the space field, particularly towards ESA. At the same time I started to work at the Planetarium of Bari, where I discovered the world of scicomm and outreach… and I fell in love with it! That’s why I went on with a Master in Science Communication and in 2019 I started a 6-months internship at ESA ESTEC, the main site of the agency, based in NL. It was such an exciting time, where I had the chance to live and work with people from all over the world and take part in unique activities (I even created an exhibition!). In 2020 I got a position as Editor with EJR-Quartz, an amazing company that offers communication, marketing and social media services to several institutions, ESA included… Literally what I’ve been dreaming of! I must say starting a new job abroad during a pandemic has been really tough, but I’m truly grateful to my company for the chance, support and lovely atmosphere.

Never give up guys, opportunities can come and change your life in unexpected ways.

I joined EPEC one year ago and it was the best decision of my life! I’ve found a community of passionate and dynamic young professionals, who are really trasforming the world of science communication and outreach through brilliant initiatives and networking opportunities. Looking forward to meeting you all!

Arianna Ricchiuti

More information about Arianna Ricchiuti:

Contact: arianna94ricchiuti@gmail.com

Arianna Ricchiuti. Credit: Marisa Di Pinto.

If you are an Early Career member of the Europlanet Society and would like to be featured in an EPEC Profile, find out more about how to submit your profile.

See all the EPEC Profiles.

EPEC Corner


Europlanet Magazine - Issue 1

The Europlanet Early Career (EPEC) network is open to all early-career planetary scientists and space professionals whose last degree (e.g. MSc or PhD) was obtained a maximum of 7 years ago (excluding parental leave, serious illness and similar delays).

In this issue, find out how you can join the network, share your profile, take part in the #PlanetaryScience4All video contest and learn what’s happening in the first virtual EPEC Annual Week.

Europlanet Early Career Network: A New Opportunity for Growing together

Read article in the fully formatted PDF of the Europlanet Magazine.

Melissa Mirino (doctoral candidate at The Open University and Chair of the EPEC Communications Working Group) explains how the EPEC network can support early career professionals.

We all know that the space sector offers plenty of career paths, from aerospace engineering to astronomy, and from geology and to astronautics, to name just a few. However, for young professionals, it can be difficult to find a way through this jungle to learn about opportunities that could boost their career prospects (funding, awards, job position etc) or to gain the range of skills they need. In 2014-15, a group of young volunteer professionals decided to address these challenges by creating short courses at the Europlanet Science Congress (EPSC) designed to benefit students or professionals at the beginning of their career journey. Based on the success of these activities, the initial members decided to involve more young scientists and create a permanent early career network within the European planetary community. At EPSC 2017 in Riga, initial members launched the Europlanet Early Career (EPEC) Network and at EPSC 2018 in Berlin, EPEC was offic ally adopted as the early career branch of the new Europlanet Society.

Since then, increasing numbers of people have shown an interest in EPEC, and more and more volunteers have subscribed to our network. Today, hundreds of early career professionals have joined EPEC to share their passion for space and to create something wonderful together. EPEC is committed to building a strong network between young professionals in an enthusiastic and friendly environment. The EPEC network is open to all early-career planetary scientists and space professionals whose last degree (e.g. MSc or PhD) was obtained a maximum of seven years ago.

Currently, EPEC engages in different projects through nine Working Groups. Our activities bring a young voice into the Europlanet Society and help to shape the future of planetary sciences and engineering. Each Working Group enables its members to expand their experience in event and meeting organisation, create new initiatives, develop specific skills and gain team-working and leadership capabilities within an international environment.


There are many ways that an early career professional can join our network: 

All information about each working group and the current activities can be found at: www. europlanet-society.org/early-careers-network/epec-working-groups/ 


Europlanet Magazine - Issue 1

#PlanetaryScience4All: A Video Contest for Virtual Science Communication

Melissa Mirino (doctoral candidate at The Open University and of the Chair EPEC Communications Working Group) shares how the extraordinary experiences of 2020 inspired her to launch a contest to bring together the early career community.

Read article in the fully formatted PDF of the Europlanet Magazine.

The year 2020 will be always remembered as a year of isolation, disruption of the normal daily activities, and in extreme cases a year of loss. However, during this period we all did our best to find alternative solutions to carry on with our lives, jobs and activities and remain positive and connected with each other using the current available technologies. Research and academia have not been an exception. Both the Europlanet Society and the Europlanet Early Career Network (EPEC) did their best to remain active, and guarantee the usual sharing of ideas and scientific results, by transforming the Europlanet Science Congress (EPSC) 2020 into a virtual meeting.

As Chair of the EPEC Communications Working Group, I wanted to create an activity that could combine the EPEC goal of supporting early careers, our working group’s aim of communication, and the need to transform face-to-face activities into a shareable, interactive and online form to support the EPSC2020 virtual meeting. The idea of a video contest came to mind. This format is already considered by many universities as a good way to train and challenge students in science communication. Since the main subject of EPSC is planetary science, the topic of the video contest was easy to identify. With support from the EPSC2020 Outreach and Europlanet Communications teams, and many months of planning, creating and sharing the new activity, the #PlanetaryScience4All video contest became a reality.

#PlanetaryScience4All challenges early career students to present their research in four minutes to a non-expert audience. The first edition (2020) of the contest was open to PhD candidates involved in planetary science studies, asking them to explain their PhD research using any type of creative video format (Lego movies, drawing, PowerPoint, storytelling etc.). The videos were judged based on criteria of scientific content, communication skills and creativity by a panel of experts from the Europlanet Community.

All the contestants and their videos were featured in live sessions during EPSC2020, promoted on YouTube and shared widely on social media. The winning video was highlighted through the Europlanet website and newsletters, and it has also been used for EPEC outreach activities. The winner of the 2020 edition, Grace Richards, received a free registration to this year’s EPSC2021 meeting. Recently, Grace and Gloria Tognon, another contestant, have also joined the EPEC Communications Working Group to support our activities. Based on the success of the 2020 competition, I feel confident that #PlanearyScience4All will become a traditional part of EPSC. The second edition is now open, this year welcoming Bachelor’s and Master’s students, as well as PhD candidates working on a thesis related to planetary science.

More information FAQs, flers and the submission form visit

Videos from the 2020 #PlanetaryScience4All contest


Every month on the Europlanet Society website, we publish the profile of an early career professional working in the planetary or space sector. If you would like an opportunity to be in the spotlight, please submit your story.


Europlanet Magazine - Issue 1

3rd EPEC Annual Week 

Erica Luzzi, Chair of the EPEC Annual Week Working Group, looks forward to holding the 2021 event as a virtual meeting.

Read article in the fully formatted PDF of the Europlanet Magazine.

EPEC Annual Week Advert

The 3rd Europlanet Early Career (EPEC) Annual Week is being held virtually from 7-11 June 2021. Early-career professionals attending the event are taking part in a variety of workshops and seminars focused on helping them to build their future career, with time scheduled for open discussions with speakers. Topics covered in the programme include how to write a good paper, how to look for funding, and how to choose a career-path in industry versus academia. The fundamental core of the EPEC Annual Week event is networking: every early career can be part of the EPEC community, sharing expertise but also contributing to EPEC’s activities. The EPEC Committee oversees multiple Working Groups covering areas such as outreach, diversity, communications, future research and early career support. 

The participants of the 3rd EPEC Annual Week will have the chance to become part of one of these Working Groups and brainstorm, network and nourish new ideas. Due to the pandemic, there will be no opportunity to explore a European city, as in past events, but looking on the bright side: with a virtual event there are no limits for the number of participants and EPEC looks forward to reaching its largest audience yet. 


Issue 1 of Europlanet Magazine

Europlanet Launches Expert Exchange Programme

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 transfer of knowledge. The scheme aims to share expertise and best practice, and to prepare new facilities and services for integration into the RI.

The programme provides funding for short visits (up to one week). Due to travel restrictions from the Covid-19 pandemic, virtual visits are also supported through the Europlanet Expert Exchange programme.

Objectives for an Europlanet Expert Exchange might be:

  • To improve infrastructure facilities and services offered to the scientific community by Europlanet 2024 RI laboratories or institutes.
  • To provide training on theoretical or practical aspects of the laboratory/fieldwork required to plan a future TA application.
  • To foster cooperation between academia and industry (SMEs).
  • To support early career professionals to develop skills to use or manage RI facilities or services.
  • To widen participation from Under-Represented States in RI activities and services.
  • To support the inclusion of amateur communities in European planetary science campaigns.
  • To support engagement with wider society e.g. through the involvement of outreach providers, educators, journalists, artists etc.

For more details, see the Expert Exchange Call Page.

Inspiring Stories – Outreach activities in a European project like PLANMAP

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.

Scientific knowledge is not just intended for a limited number of people and should be shared and made accessible to everyone. The Horizon 2020 PLANetary MAPping (PLANMAP) project is committed to the production of highly informative geological maps of Mars, Mercury, and the Moon, and every European partner dedicated part of its activities to communication and dissemination.

The main aim of PLANMAP was for several products (geological and spectral maps, 3D geomodels, and virtual environments) to be made freely available online to the scientific community as well as the general public. A particular focus was put on the promotion of planetary geology to young people through the creation of downloadable artworks, digital story maps, and a comic novel published in a special issue of the PLaNCK! Magazine about PLANMAP, “Geomapping other worlds” , which also contained interviews with young researchers working on the project.

Within the framework of outreach activities for young people in the general public, all PLANMAP partners actively organised and participated in festivals, public talks, seminars and school activities. Kids in particular were the main targets of European Researchers’ Nights, and although the events were open to the general public, I can tell you that young people from 5 to 10 years old constituted the real audience. The creation of games and video presentations as a way to engage and hold their attention while explaining difficult ideas in the easiest and funniest way was a crucial step. It may not always be easy for adults to think of ways to communicate science to young people, but for me, videos and games represent a recreational pursuit and a super rewarding experience.

Stands of planetary geology at the European Researchers’ Nights 2018 and 2019 at the University of Padua.
Credit: PLANMAP

Less imagination and more practical thinking were required in February 2021 when the PLANMAP project concluded its activities, and put its last efforts into organising the virtual ‘Geology & Planetary Mapping Winter School’, which engaged more than 50 instructors from at least 9 European institutions to address 150 registered participants from all around the world. During the school, I had the great opportunity to share my knowledge of planetary geologic mapping with the students, and to organise the final event displaying the ‘Virtual Reality environments for planetary applications and training for astronauts’. Promoted, funded and sustained by the Ambassade de France en Italie-Institut Français en Italie, Center of Studies and Activities for Space “G. Colombo” of Padua and the PLANMAP project, this event provided online lectures and a virtual reality experience simultaneously held in Padua and Nantes. Participants had an amazing chance to have a real-world perception of another planet, and take a field trip to Mars to perform scientific measurements in the field.

Interactive VR experience with geologic science measurements inside the PLANMAP environment. 
Credit: PLANMAP

I can assure you that engaging with people and sharing your knowledge with them will help you develop your communication skills and self-confidence. Above all, it is the most worthwhile life experience!

Do you like this story and want more? Browse our archive of EPEC Inspiring Stories and get inspired!

Call for applications for two EPEC Committee Co-Chairs

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

EPEC was officially launched at EPSC 2017 in Riga. EPEC network is organised by early-career researchers, for early-career researchers, and includes volunteers from across the Europlanet international community. The strong focus of EPEC is to form a strong network between young professionals by organising early-career-relevant events and by engaging in different projects amongst the different Working Groups (WGs) such as EPEC annual weekEPEC@EPSCNew FrontiersFuture ResearchEarly Career SupportOutreachDiversityCommunicationsFinances

The EPEC Committee is the management body (Chairs and Co-chairs of each WG+ EPEC Committee Chair) of the Europlanet Early Career (EPEC) Network who lead the respective WGs of the EPEC Network. EPEC Committee acts as a strategic and operational body to advise, coordinate and champion Early Career activities across the Europlanet Society that further the Society’s commitment to building and sustaining Europe’s planetary science community. The Chair of the EPEC Committee plays a key role in bringing the WGs and their activities together, making key decisions that benefit the EPEC network as a whole, expanding the EPEC Committee by encouraging new and innovative ideas from the EPEC Committee, facilitating progress across the whole Early Career Network. 

With the exponential growth in EPEC activities across EPEC working groups since its launch and with the term of our current EPEC committee Chair ending, the EPEC Committee is looking for two elected Committee Chairs for the next term to help sustain the Committee activities. The term of the elected EPEC Committee Chairs will be two years with an option to extend for an additional year. Expected time commitment of the elected EPEC Chair is approximately three hours per week, averaged over one year. However, an increased commitment is expected during the EPEC Annual Week and EPSC organising weeks.

Key responsibilities of the elected EPEC Chair:

  • Liaising with WG Chairs and keep up-to-date with EPEC WG activities
  • Engage in the EPEC forums on WG activities and discussions
  • EPEC Committee Chair acts as the main contact person with Europlanet Society Executive Board
  • Represent EPEC at EPSC (General Assembly) and at the EPEC Annual week 
  • Writing bi-yearly reports on EPEC Committee activities (with help of WG Chairs)
  • Guaranteeing smooth transition with the next EPEC Committee Chair*

*In case the chair needs to leave EPEC, they should give notice (6 months) in advance to organise the transition.

Eligibility to apply: 

The candidates of the EPEC Chair must fulfill the following requirements:

  • The candidate must be a member of Europlanet Society
  • The candidate must be a EPEC member 
  • The candidate must be an early-career planetary scientist and/or space professional whose last degree (e.g. MSc or PhD) was obtained a maximum of 7 years ago (excluding parental leave, serious illness and similar delays).

We encourage applications from a diverse early career community (undergraduates, graduates, doctoral researchers, and postdocs)!

How to apply:
If you are interested to become EPEC Chair, please submit your application via this link by 28th of June 7 PM CEST. 

Personal note from our current EPEC Chair:

“I personally believe that taking responsibilities at a young age allows us to learn the professional elements in a more stress-free environment and EPEC allowed me exactly that!! At EPEC, we are a team who are not only passionate about the research we do but also equally passionate in engraining varieties of soft skills including leadership and management qualities that benefit our early career fellows in becoming young professionals. It’s a rewarding and unique experience to work with early-career researchers across Europe and the international community across various working groups under common goals. I strongly believe that new EPEC Chairs will bring fresh air and new strengths to the ever growing EPEC Committee activities. I wish you all the best with the election. In case you wish to discuss with me personally regarding the tasks involved with the open position, please feel free to reach me via indhu.varatharajan@gmail.com

– Indhu Varatharajan, EPEC Chair  (since Feb. 2018)

We wish you all the best with the applications!

If you have any questions, please write us via epec.network@gmail.com
 Looking forward to reading your applications !! 

Thank you 

EPEC Committee

EPEC Profiles – Safoura Tanbakouei

EPEC Profiles – Safoura Tanbakouei

In this series from the EPEC Communication Working Group, we meet members of the Europlanet Early Career (EPEC) community and find out more about their experiences and aspirations.

Safoura Tanbakouei is a planetary science researcher working as a Postdoc in Division of Earth and Planetary Science and the Department of Earth Sciences at the University of Hong Kong.

Studying the solar system and its bodies has always been a dream to me, since I was in school, and I am so pleased for being in this amazing field and try to have a crucial role in planetary explorations.
In the last 6 years, I am have been working in the field of planetary science investigating various planetary exploration methods such as laboratory spectroscopy from ultraviolet to Near-infrared spectroscopy of meteorites and asteroids.

I obtained my doctoral degree in 2020 from Institute of Space Sciences in University of Autonoma de Barcelona, Spain on the topic of Mineralogy and spectral properties of asteroids and meteorites. In my thesis I have done Raman spectroscopy and nanoindentation techniques on the samples of asteroid Itokawa –returned samples by Hayabusa missin of JAXA- to find out the shock phases of the regolith and also physical properties of asteroid Itokawa. I have achieved many expertise in the reflectivity of the space rocks and their comparison to the reflectance properties of minor bodies in the solar system.

In my current position, I am doing research in the natural resources on Mars, mineralogy and spectroscopy of Martian surface. Doing mineral mapping of the hydrated phases in the surface of Mars and try to locate water regions.

I believe being part of the EPEC is be a great experience of networking, interacting with other planetray scientists among the world, enhancing creativity and sharing science plus fun!

Safoura Tanbakouei

More information about Safoura Tanbakouei:

Contact: stanba@hku.hk

Safoura Tanbakouei. Credit: Safoura Tanbakouei’s archive.

If you are an Early Career member of the Europlanet Society and would like to be featured in an EPEC Profile, find out more about how to submit your profile.

See all the EPEC Profiles.

Asteroid Photometry – Europlanet Virtual Summer School

Asteroid Photometry – Europlanet Virtual Summer School

16-27 August 2021

Europlanet 2024 Research Infrastructure is pleased to announce the virtual summer school Asteroid Photometry that will take place virtually hosted by Vilnius University (Lithuania) and A. Mickiewicz University, (Poland): 16-27 August 2021.

The aim of the course is to give participants a thorough, multidisciplinary introduction into the ground-based and space observations of asteroids. Participants will be given remote hands-on experience in CCD photometry of asteroids using the wide field Maksutov type telescope of the Molėtai Astronomical Observatory and in analysing the observational data. The hands-on sessions will be accompanied by lectures of leading astronomers. The participants will also be trained in writing and submitting observing proposals to different facilities of the Europlanet Telescope Network, mentorship possibilities between professional astronomers and amateurs will be introduced. 

The course is open to doctoral candidates, master’s students, early career scientists, and amateur astronomers. Activities of professional astronomers and amateur astronomers will be merged in order to achieve more understanding between groups. The level of the school is orientated to PhD students and early career scientists, however amateur astronomers will be provided with the additional scientific support during lectures and observations. 

Participants that show acceptable results on their assignments will get a diploma with 2.5 ECTS credits, which may be used as part of their degree studies at their home universities.

The school is financed by the European Commission HORIZON 2020 project Europlanet 2024 Research Infrastructure.

The deadline for application is 15 June 2021 23:59:00 UTC.

Notifications of acceptance by 30 June 2021 23:59:00 UTC.

For more information and registration on the website http://mao.tfai.vu.lt/europlanet2021/.

Inspiring Stories – The Brilliant Club

Inspiring Stories – The Brilliant Club

In this EPEC Inspiring Outreach Story, Melissa Mirino, a PhD student at the Open University, describes engaging school students with her thesis.

My strong enthusiasm for space exploration started from a very young age, after attending planetarium shows and astronauts’ events. Since I have been largely inspired by outreach events myself, I have developed a personal interest in inspiring the younger generation to consider a career in science. I have taken up many teaching and outreach opportunities to develop activities for students of different ages and to share my passion for space with the public.

One of the most important and inspiring experiences I have taken part in so far relates to my work as a PhD tutor with The Brilliant Club. This award-winning charity that works with schools and universities across UK.  The aim of the organisation is to inspire students from under-represented backgrounds to progress to highly-selective universities. 

As a Brilliant Club Tutor, I have been creating and delivering tutorials related to modern topics in STEM, from  climate change to planetary science.

Thanks to the support of my mentors, I had the opportunity to create a custom Handbook, where I could create lessons and activities based on my personal experience (Figure 1). The Handbook is structured in sections to introduce pupils to the many aspects of the space exploration, creating  interactive and different types of activities (see images) to cover and stimulate multiple intelligence types (logical, verbal, visual, etc.). 

During my seven tutorials, students explored the various stages of space missions from the primary concept to the data collection phase. They debated the best target for a space mission, selected landing sites, interpreted data from real active missions (Figure 3-4-5), described the martian surface using 3D images (Figure 6), and much more. 

For the final assignment, NASA Mission Calling, I asked students to propose a mission to NASA, selecting a target and identifying a main research question, as well as the instruments they would need to carry out their investigation. This exercise allowed them to express their imagination, and have fun exploring and learning about the Solar System. They also gained experience of following rules of structure and references, and an important mind-set that they can apply to future challenges.

Reading their essays was inspiring and a lot of fun! You can read some excerpt from their essays below. 

Working as PhD tutor made me realise how great and smart those kids are, but how the lack of support and self-esteem could influence their performances  or could demotivate them in pursuing a career in STEM or academia. Space and human missions can be very engaging for young people and I hope that my contribution will have had a positive impact. I really hope that those kids will find their personal space, wherever it means for them.

The Brilliant Club was an amazing experience and I would recommend young professionals in UK to consider getting involved. More information can be found at: https://thebrilliantclub.org/

Excerpts from a few of the students’ essays, where they explained why their missions would benefit the human race:

[…] This mission is particularly important for the advancement of future human knowledge because if we were to find signs of extra-terrestrial life, we could use this to work out the conditions needed for it to survive. We can then move on to bigger things, like creating an environment on earth that matches these conditions and possibly grow new forms of life. […]The knowledge we acquire from possibly finding and sustaining life on Mars can improve our agriculture as we would need to develop new techniques to grow crops, using less water which is very limited on Mars. 


[…] This mission is important because it will help us determine if there is other life in our solar system, even if it is primitive bacteria.  If we do discover life in the subterranean oceans of Europa, this mission could teach us about how bacteria evolved over the millennia by comparing them to bacteria here on Earth. This mission may also inform us about whether it is possible for life to exist so far away from the Sun. […] We also might be able to learn more about cryogenic storage and how to preserve things in ice, as may have happened on this celestial body. All of this it will enhance our knowledge about other celestial bodies bigger than Europa, including another moon orbiting Jupiter called Ganymede which also has a subterranean ocean. It will also enable us to prepare for colder environments deep in space where solar panels are not as effective at producing power. This would help us plan for and prepare deep space missions. For example, if the water and ice is clean, we could rely on using planets and moons like this to resupply water and oxygen rather than having to transport large quantities from Earth, helping us conduct deep space manned missions. 


In conclusion, my proposal is to send a satellite with a lander to test for biosignatures in the ice. My target is Enceladus due to it fitting all the requirements for life as the temperature stable liquid water has inside it the energy source of hydrothermal vents, Enceladus has an atmosphere and it is less radioactive than possible moons of the Jovian system. By finding biosignatures in the sub-surface ocean of Enceladus we could further human knowledge about the conditions needed for life to form, it could prove to us the existence of extraterrestrial life and it could provide key information about how life on earth originated and adapted.


[…] I think that this mission […] could improve the future greatly because then NASA can be sure that they can populate Mars and then attempt to do it. This has the possibility to change where people live forever. If there were bacteria living on Mars, it would be incredible. If life were to be found, then NASA could study how that life form survives in such harsh conditions. To help with NASA’s future, this would be a huge potential way of making an enormous amount of discoveries, potentially leading to minerals being discovered, since everyone knows how scientists and the world of science are desperate to make such discoveries.


[…] The first reason I believe this research will be beneficial to humans and scientists is because Europa has liquid water, which is rarely, if not never, found on other planets besides Earth. This means that Europa has at least one of three main components needed for humans to thrive and survive. Europa also hosts key elements needed for humans to survive – oxygen, nitrogen and hydrogen – which suggests we could somewhat find and get oxygen and water. Compared to other planets with thick atmospheres, high temperatures or gas planets, they don’t contain liquid water, although they may contain deltas or frozen lakes. This gives Europa an advantage over these planets, as they have something which planets do not have, except for Earth. Since Europa also has flowing water, scientists could study as a terrestrial analogue and try to find an area similar to the flowing river or lake underneath the surface of the moon Europa.


[…] This mission is crucial in human advancement as it will definitely deepen our understanding of Mars. […] This will help us to understand our solar system more in depth but that is for the future first we have to get to Mars. This would greatly improve the quality of our lives. Let us say we do find extra- terrestrial life this tells us life can exist outside of Earth which if one day we need to move we have a location to go. It would be a way to assure the survival of humanity in the case something bad occurs in the future to our planet who know climate change might make us have to leave our beloved Earth.

Do you like this story and want more? Browse our archive of EPEC Inspiring Stories and get inspired!

EPEC Profiles – Julie Nováková

EPEC Profiles – Julie Nováková

In this series from the EPEC Communication Working Group, we meet members of the Europlanet Early Career (EPEC) community and find out more about their experiences and aspirations.

Julie Nováková is an evolutionary biologist with an interest in astrobiology and planetary science, educator and award-winning Czech author and editor of science fiction. She co-teaches an astrobiology class at her alma mater, the Faculty of Science, Charles University, and co-organises an astrobiology seminar there.

Julie has been doing science outreach for more than a decade now, and writing science fiction for even longer. She has merged these activities as the leader of the ‘Science Fiction as A Tool of Astrobiology Outreach & Education’ project team at the European Astrobiology Institute (EAI) and co-leader of EAI’s outreach working group.

As her first major project at the EAI, she created an outreach anthology of acclaimed authors’ science fiction stories with astrobiological topics, each accompanied by a themed nonfiction piece written by herself. The book, titled ‘Strangest of All’, is freely available in several e-book formats at her own website and EAI’s site, and it also includes tips for use in classroom. More books, exhibitions, talks and interviews are being prepared by her and her team.

Image credit: Julie Nováková’s archive

She received the Professor Jaroslav Heyrovský Award (Charles University’s Rector’s Award for students of natural sciences) in 2017, and has amassed multiple awards as a writer, editor and translator. Science and storytelling are her two greatest passions, and she intends to further pursue both and integrate them in innovative outreach projects in the vein of STEAM.

The goal? First evoke the sense of wonder and curiosity… and then take it from there. Always make people ask more questions rather than just memorise answers. Always show the amazing, often tumultuous and sometimes erroneous journey to a scientific conclusion. Firstly, it’s a story to tell. Secondly, understanding the process of science promotes critical thinking and more in-depth understanding rather than shallow memory. By engaging people’s emotions, stories can, hand in hand with other approaches, help achieve this.

Julie is also a member of Europlanet Society and the XPRIZE Sci-fi Advisory Council. Her newest book is a story collection titled The Ship Whisperer (Arbiter Press, 2020).

Why EPEC? Because communities are vital in science. The popular image of the ‘lone wolf scientist’ is so far from actual reality! Scientific work is achieved in teams and further circles, and EPEC enables early-career researchers to find inspiration, mentors, friends, useful information and better footing to pursue their careers.

JULIE NOVÁKOVÁ

More information about Julie Nováková:

Contact: julie.novakova@natur.cuni.cz

Julie Nováková. Credit: Julie Nováková’s archive.

If you are an Early Career member of the Europlanet Society and would like to be featured in an EPEC Profile, find out more about how to submit your profile.

See all the EPEC Profiles.

#PlanetaryScience4All 2nd Edition launched

PlanetaryScience4All EPEC-EPSC 4-minute video contest: Call for PhD students and early career researchers

Deadline: 1 August 2021

The Europlanet Early Career (EPEC) Communication working group is giving all early career researchers, including Bachelor’s, Master’s and PhD students, involved in planetary science the opportunity to showcase their research through a 4-minute video contest called #PlanetaryScience4All.

All videos will be shown during a dedicated session during the Europlanet Science Congress (EPSC) 2021, which is being held as a virtual meeting from 13-24 September 2021. The winner will be announced at the end of the virtual conference.

#PlanetaryScience4All challenges PhD, 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.

The winner of the competition will receive free registration for EPSC 2022, which will be held in Granada, Spain, from 18-23 September 2022. The winning video will be also shared via the Europlanet website, newsletters and social media. It will also be used to inspire young people in future EPEC outreach activities.

Find out more

EPEC Social Media Pages

The EPEC Communication Working Group is responsible for the presence of all the EPEC activities. The aim of the social media pages is to highlight the contribution of young professionals within the space sector. Currently, we are active on two platforms, Twitter and Facebook, and we plan to expand our presence in the future also in other media, with the objective to reach and connect as many Early Career people as possible. If you would like to get updates for the EPEC activities, job and funding opportunities, new research and open candidacies within our network, follow us and help us to spread the news!!

Facebook EPEC page:
https://facebook.com/epec.network
@epec.network

Twitter EPEC account:
https://twitter.com/epec_epn
@epec.epn

EPEC Annual Week 2021 – Call for Applications

3rd Europlanet Early Career (EPEC) Annual Week 2021 – Call for Applications

EPEC is pleased to announce the third edition of its training school for early career scientists who work in the field of planetary/space science and engineering.

Details

Dates: 7-11 June 2021
Venue: Virtual
Deadline for registration: 15 April 2021

The school is organised by EPEC, the Europlanet Early Career (EPEC) network. One of the main objectives of EPEC is to form a strong network of young professionals by organising early-career-relevant events and by engaging in different projects through the nine EPEC Working Groups. The EPEC community aims to bring a young voice into the Europlanet Society to shape the future of planetary and space sciences and engineering. More information on EPEC can be found here.

The programme for this year’s EPEC Annual Week will cover:

Monday: Introduction
Tuesday: Fundings & how to..
Wednesday: Academia vs industry & social event
Thursday: European projects and working groups
Friday: Working groups results

The training school is an opportunity for the EPEC community to better get to know each other and to brainstorm how to further develop the network and the activities of its Working Groups. It is also an opportunity to enhance the interaction with members of the Europlanet Executive Board, who will be invited to give talks throughout the week. The school brings together young scientists from across the EU and beyond, and provides a networking platform where scientific discussion and collaboration can be stimulated via a series of group activities. Download more details of the week’s schedule.

Applicants must either be in their final year of an MSc course (or equivalent), be currently enrolled in a PhD program in the field of planetary/space science or have obtained their PhD qualification not earlier than 2014.

Note that in order to apply to the training school you are NOT required to be a member of EPEC, although this is encouraged. If you fulfil the requirements to be a member and wish to become one, please send an email to epec.network@gmail.com, including ‘EPEC application’ in the subject.

To register for the EPEC Annual Week 2021, please complete this form by 15th April 2021.

Successful applicants will be notified via e-mail within two weeks after the submission deadline. In case of any queries or problems related to the application procedure, please send an email to epec.network@gmail.com, including ‘EPEC Annual Week application’ in the subject.

We look forward to seeing you at the virtual meeting!

EPEC Annual Week Organising Team

Erica Luzzi, Jacobs University Bremen (Chair)
Gene Schmidt, Università Degli Studi Roma Tre
Batiste Rousseau, INAF-IAPS

Past EPEC Annual Weeks

2nd EPEC Annual Week 2018, University of Lisbon, Portugal, 20-24 May 2019
EPEC Annual Week 2019 Report
EPEC Annual Week Programme 2019

1st EPEC Annual Week 2018, ISU Strasbourg, 11-15 June 2018
http://www.europlanet-society.org/1st-epec-annual-week/
http://www.europlanet-society.org/1st-epec-annual-week-2/

2021 Call for Funding Scheme to Support Society Committees and Membership

2021 Call for Funding Scheme to Support Society Committees and Membership

The 2021 Call for the Europlanet Society’s funding scheme to support its Committees and Membership is now open.

Applications can be submitted by any of the Society’s Regional Hubs, Committees (EPEC, Diversity) or Working Groups in support of their activities or those of the Society Membership.

The scheme is designed to support projects with funds of between €1000-5000. The proposals should further the aims of the Europlanet Society and actively involve Society members.

The scope of the funding scheme is deliberately broad to enable the community to propose diverse and innovative projects.

Members of the Society may approach their Regional Hub (or any of the other Committees or Working Groups) with suggestions for projects, which may be submitted on their behalf.

The closing date for applications is 16 April 2021.

To find out more, Members can log-in to access the applications page for the funding call.

Inspiring Stories – The Diaries of Space Explorers Podcast

Inspiring Stories – Space Explorers Podcast

In this EPEC Inspiring Outreach Story, Gavin Tolometti, a PhD student at the University of Western Ontario in Canada, describes how he is making space science accessible through podcasts.

Since I was a kid, I remember seeing rockets and rovers designed and constructed by engineers on the news, and the out of this world (excuse the pun!) space and planetary science research being conducted by NASA scientists. My interests for space research led me to look for grad school openings in planetary science. I applied to as many as I could, and eventually my applications brought me to the University of Western Ontario in Canada, where I joined the Institute for Earth and Space Exploration.

Gavin Tolometti. Credit: G. Tolometti.

As I started my PhD in Earth and Planetary Science, I became more involved in outreach and science communication. I love opportunities to chat about space and getting the chance to constantly talk about it at schools, museums, institutes, and public events has always made me happy and excited. For this reason, after meeting more and more people involved in the space exploration I decided I wanted to find a way make space science more accessible, to share the stories of why people became involved in space, and to chat about the everyday technology we use because of space exploration. 

At the beginning of 2021, I started my own podcast called “The Diaries of Space Explorers”. I have loved listening to podcasts ever since I moved to Canada in 2016, and I even joined a graduate student podcast committee in 2018. I wanted to combine the skills I developed from the committee and my love of space to create a brand-new podcast community and to bridge the gap between the public and the space sector. The goal has been to highlight the stories of students, scientists, engineers, artists, journalists, administrators, musicians, and more, about why they chose space and how it has helped shape their lives and motivate them to improve the world.

In my podcast, I also aim to bring the human side of the space sector out. I wanted the audience to connect with the guests in more than one way. Not just connect with them because of their job, but because of who the guest is as a space explorer.  One fun question I ask my guests is what is their favourite spin-off technology that came from space exploration. From this, I get to reveal some of the technologies and materials we use every day that has come from space missions or space companies. To this day I am still surprised at developments that have come as a result of a satellite launch, astronaut training, or from NASA hiring a company to help them solve a flight test problem.

I have so far published more than nine episodes, and I have many more to share with the world. The goal is to use my podcast and my research to help connect people around the globe through space science and exploration. I love podcasting. I love science communication. I love space and I love my research. Combining these passions is my way of showing the world why space is incredible and why so many smart, brilliant, and talented humans around the world strive to push the boundaries of humankind.

I hope you can all connect with my space explorer guests, and share with your friends, family, or even your neighbour about why space is amazing and how it impacts their lives.

Podcast Links

My Links

Do you like this story and want more? Browse our archive of EPEC Inspiring Stories and get inspired!