ERIM / EPEC Annual Week 2023 – Registration Now Open

Europlanet Research Infrastructure Meeting (ERIM)/Europlanet Early Career (EPEC) Annual Week 2023 – Registration Now Open

The first Europlanet Research Infrastructure Meeting (ERIM), co-hosted with the fifth Europlanet Early Career (EPEC) Annual Week, will take place from 19-23 June 2023 in hybrid format at the Hotel Sorea / Comenius University, Bratislava, Slovakia and online. 

Registration is free and accommodation and travel support is available for participants. 

Registration is now open.

Deadline for on-site registration: 19 May 2023

Deadline for virtual registration: 16 June 2023

About ERIM

ERIM is a new kind of meeting to support European planetary science and associated communities. The format of ERIM 2023 is a series of interactive workshops related to the activities of the Europlanet 2024 Research Infrastructure (RI) project, research infrastructures in general, and the Europlanet Society. The meeting will be co-hosted with EPEC Annual Week 2023, the training school for the Europlanet Early Career Network. 

How will it Work?

Workshops will be organised under a series of programme tracks. You can dip in and out of programme tracks, workshops and even sessions during the week. The aim is to make new connections, brainstorm ideas, develop synergies, increase opportunities for collaboration and help us build a strong, thriving, sustainable community for planetary science in Europe.

You don’t have to be a member of the Europlanet Society or the Europlanet 2024 RI project to participate in ERIM. We are looking for new people to engage with Europlanet, so everyone is welcome. However, we will be offering free accommodation and travel grants to a limited number (~150) of participants. If we are over-subscribed in requests for support, priority will be given to Europlanet Society members. (Find out about other benefits of joining the Europlanet Society).


Many different topics will be covered within the ERIM programme tracks and workshops, including:

For full details of the meeting and registration, see:

If you have any questions, contact us.

We hope to see you in Bratislava!

The ERIM 2023 Organising Committee

A Journey to the Planets: Bimbim’s Team first episode online!

Take a trip to the planets with Bimbim and his team

The first episode of “A Journey to the Planets” series, the winning proposal of the 2022 round of the Europlanet Funding scheme for public engagement, has been released.

Mainly addressed to school students between the ages of 2 and 8 years old, it als supports teachers and educators with three stories about the planets: a general overview of all the Solar System planets, the Earth and Mars.

Bimbim’s at the beginning of its Journey – from episode 1

Get ready to start the journey for discovering the Solar System with Bimbim (a cute little dog who really asks a lot of interesting questions) and all his friends. The pilot episode (here in English) has been translated in French and Portuguese and it comes with great illustrations and a funny story behind the scientific content.

We don’t want to reveal too much so… enjoy watching and see you at the next stop!

Find out more about the ideas and the creators of Bimbim’s Team in this interview with project lead, Katia Pinheiro.

Imaginary extraterrestrials help learn about the Solar System and about life beyond Earth

The Institute of Astrophysics and Space Sciences (IA) in Portugal has launched a free educational board game that promotes group learning about the planets and moons of the Solar System and about astrobiology.

ET – A Solar System Adventure” is a board game is available free of charge online in Portuguese and English. The educational resource has been scientifically validated by researchers at the IA. The project was funded by the Europlanet Society as one of the winning proposals of the Europlanet Public Engagement Funding Scheme in 2019.

“The aim of this game is to engage young people with Space and with the search for life beyond Earth, i.e. astrobiology. As a strategy, we used a theme that is already popular among our target audience: aliens,” said Catarina Leote, from the Science Communication Group of the IA and the coordinator of the project that, in collaboration with the Planetary Systems Group of the same institute, led to the design and production of the game.

“ET phone home”

In this game, the quote from Steven Spielberg’s iconic film does not work. The players are the ones responsible for taking sixteen lost creatures from other worlds to their homes in the Solar System. This is the challenge that the Institute of Astrophysics and Space Sciences (IA) proposes to everyone, but in particular to those between 8 and 12 years old, so that they can become enthusiastic about the planets and moons of our cosmic neighbourhood, and about the conditions necessary for life beyond our blue planet.

Example of a Question card in the ET - A Solar System Adventure Game.
Example of a Question card. The mechanics of the board game ET – A Solar System Adventure involves answering questions about astronomy in order to move around the board. Credits: IA

Available in a “Print and Play” format, it can be downloaded for free and printed. After cutting and assembling it, one just has to gather pawns and a dice to start this fun adventure, accompanied by alien illustrations by Paulo Galindro and a board design by Sara Patinho. It is a fun and educational activity for families and a useful tool for teachers who want to introduce the world of astronomy to their students.

What are then the challenges posed to the players? First, they have to know their territory, that is, the worlds of the Solar System – the planets, but also several of its moons, some of them real targets of the current search for life beyond Earth. To do so, the players must answer questions, which give them access to information cards and mini-puzzle cards of the illustrations of the sixteen E.T.s. They can also trade cards with the other players to obtain a complete figure. Only then can they embark on the ultimate goal: guessing the world of origin of their extraterrestrial.

Detail from the ET - A Solar System Adventure board game.
Detail of the game mechanics showing a three-piece ET puzzle. Credits: IA

The creatures representing the E.T.s are all imaginary, but their anatomy was based on scientific facts about diverse environments in the Solar System. If these aliens really existed, they would almost certainly call these places “home sweet home”. “The discussion [about the creation of E.T.s] was of a scientific nature and therefore the information conveyed, which is related to the game’s environments, is good and solid science. The E.T.s were an interesting exercise of imagination”, says Pedro Machado, researcher at the IA and at the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Lisbon (Ciências ULisboa), and one of the researchers who participated in the creation of the game.

“The graphics were another priority. We created the E.T.s based on anatomical and physiological characteristics necessary to be adapted to their planets or moons, so there were conditions that had to be met in the drawings. The final result was a combination of our descriptions with Paulo Galindro’s talent and creativity.”
Catarina Leote

The board game also includes a helpful tool: a booklet with complementary information about planets, moons and small bodies in the Solar System, as well as essential notions about the search for life beyond Earth, or astrobiology. In the next phase, there will be versions in other languages, such as Spanish, French and Italian.

More about the Europlanet Public Engagement Funding Scheme.

The Winners are… #InspiredByOtherWorlds Contest 2022

The Winners are… #InspiredByOtherWorlds Contest 2022

Many thanks to everyone that participated in the #InspiredByOtherWorlds Contest 2022. Congratulations to the winning entries!

Youth Category:

Lara Estelle Montabone – Space Crossroad

Title: Space Crossroad. Artist: Lara Estelle Montabone. The story behind my artwork is the following. One day in the future, an astronaut leaves planet Earth to go to Jupiter and discovers that space is not at all empty. On the contrary, it is full of surprises, with the possibility of meeting other astronauts coming back to Earth, but also other travelling celestial bodies like comets. It is a busy three-dimensional crossroad where collisions are always possible! I took my inspiration from a book for children about space and from a pop-up card that I gave to my dad for his birthday. My dad helped me to translate my story in English.
Space Crossroad

About the Artist: Lara Estelle Montabone is an 8-year-old girl, living in France, who loves drawing. Her favourite themes are animals, space, and natural landscapes.

About the Artwork: The story behind Space Crossroad is the following: one day in the future, an astronaut leaves planet Earth to go to Jupiter and discovers that space is not at all empty. On the contrary, it is full of surprises, with the possibility of meeting other astronauts coming back to Earth, but also other travelling celestial bodies like comets. It is a busy three-dimensional crossroad where collisions are always possible!

Lara Estelle says: “I took my inspiration from a book for children about space and from a pop-up card that I gave to my dad for his birthday. My dad helped me to translate my story in English.

Schools Category:

Dimitra Armentzou and the 5th Grade Students of the 9th Primary School of Greece – Moondial 2022

About the Artist: Dimitra Armentzou is a teacher in the 9th Primary School of Greece. This year, she is teaching in the 5th grade.

About the Artwork: This stop-motion video is made with models and compositions by the 5th grade students in the 9th Primary School of Greece.

Dimitra says: “While working on Skill Labs my students and I were inspired by the the Moon and the Artemis Mission. We’re very excited to be coming out of the boundaries of our planet and trying to get to know our satellite as interactive as we can. The Moon, which has inspired so many and in so many different ways, waiting for us to explore. Moondial then… Let’s go!

Adult Category:

Elizabeth Tasker – Together, we are strong

About the Artist: Elizabeth Tasker is an astrophysics researcher and science writer at the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). Despite being a writer, she loves the ability of art to tell a story without words! As the pandemic closed in during 2020 and we were asked to stay inside, she started to learn ‘Blender’, a freely available 3D computer graphics software package. This entry is the product of that exploration! She really enjoys the ability to bring ideas to life, and the chance to reach new people with a design or animation.

About the Artwork: This computer graphics animation starts with a spacecraft like DART striking an asteroid. As rocks fly out from the collision site, they form the word ‘Together’. Physically unlikely (!) but a reflection on the international connections and involvement needed to go to space, and the worldwide importance of the science and engineering challenges being tackled.

Elizabeth says: “The aspect of space exploration I find most inspiring is the importance of international collaboration. Our missions such as NASA’s DART, ESA’s Comet Interceptor, and JAXA’s Hayabusa2, are led by different countries but all have strong participation from scientists around the world, and dedicated outreach programs to share this experience with everyone. The problems we tackle, from the origins of the Earth, to protecting the same planet from celestial impacts, affect us all and together, we are strong enough to take on even these momentous challenges. In a world that feels steadily more divided, space missions are the hope that we can all come together.

Issue 4 of the Europlanet Magazine is out now!

Issue 4 of the Europlanet Magazine is out now!

In this issue:

Cover of Issue 4 of the Europlanet Magazine. Credit: Pixooma/NASA/Europlanet

In Focus
round up of news from Europlanet 2024 RI, the Europlanet Society, the Europlanet Science Congress (EPSC) 2022 and the planetary community. 

Back Face to Face

For the first time in three years, the planetary science community had the opportunity to meet face-to-face at the Europlanet Science Congress (EPSC) 2022 in Granada, Spain. Thibaut Roger (Europlanet/Universität Bern/NCCR PlanetS) and Vix Southgate (Europlanet/Vixen Design) present a selection of EPSC2022 images.

Planetary Perspectives
Ann Carine Vandaele, the new President Elect of the Europlanet Society and Head of the Planetary Atmospheres Group at the Royal Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy (IASB-BIRA), talks about her career and her vision for Europlanet in this month’s Planetary Perspectives Q&A.

Amanar: A Refuge in the Stars 

Felipe Carrelli, Jorge Rivero González, Andrea Rodríguez Antón, Nayra Rodríguez Eugenio and Diego Torres Machado on behalf of GalileoMobile and the Amanar Task Force explain how the ‘Amanar: Under the Same Sky’ project is using astronomy to support Sahrawi refugee communities through skills development and self-empowerment activities.

The Effects of Climate Change on Astronomical Observing Facilities

Caroline Haslebacher (University of Bern/NCCR PlanetS) and her team look into how climate change will affect ground-based observations.

Observing DART with the Travelling Telescope
Colin Clarke of Armagh Observatory and Planetarium in Northern Ireland visited the Travelling Telescope Team in Kenya through the Europlanet Expert Exchange Programme.

VESPA Comes of Age  
Stéphane Erard (Observatoire de Paris) explores the evolution of Europlanet’s virtual access service, VESPA.

Long-term Sustainability of Small and Mid-scale Distributed RI Projects
Liliana Avila Ospina and Patrick England (MOSBRI), Ana Helman (ESF), and Anita Heward and Nigel Mason (Europlanet) report on a side event session at the International Conference of Research Infrastructures (ICRI) 2022.

Europlanet Impact Case study: Atomki
Béla Sulik explains how the Institute for Nuclear Research (Atomki), Hungary’s national centre of accelerator-based nuclear and atomic physics, became involved with and has benefitted from collaboration with Europlanet.

JWST Sees Red with First Pictures of Mars
Sanje Fenkart, a science communicator and freelance journalist, is the new editorial assistant for the CERNCourier. She took part in the media internship programme at the Europlanet Science Congress (EPSC) from 18-23 September 2022 funded by the Europlanet 2024 Research Infrastructure (RI) project. Here she reports on results presented at the meeting.

From Online to Granada: Bringing Scientific Conferences to Schools

Ulysse Pedreira-Segade, Education Officer for Europlanet 2024 RI and Scientific Coordinator for Lecturers Without Borders, describes how activities to bring planetary sciences to the classroom has transitioned from online to in-person.

Status of Women in Astronomy: Still a Long Way to Go
Mamta Pommier (LUMP/CNRS, Université de Montpellier, France) and Arianna Piccialli (Royal Belgium Institute of Space Aeronomy, Belgium), on behalf of the IAU Women in Astronomy Working Group, take a first look at factors suppressing the careers of women astronomers around the world.

Hidden in the Noise
Yoshifumi Futaana (Swedish Institute of Space Physics) shows how asking unusual questions can lead to ground-breaking science.

The Europlanet Magazine’s column on science communication by Thibaut Roger (Europlanet/Universität Bern/NCCR PlanetS) reflects on unconventional outreach practices.

The Last Word – A Time for Optimism
Nigel Mason (University of Kent/Atomki) reflects on positive news for the planetary science community.

Europlanet Prize for Public Engagement 2022 awarded to the ‘Planets In Your Hand’ Tactile Exhibition

Europlanet Prize for Public Engagement 2022 awarded to the ‘Planets In Your Hand’ Tactile Exhibition

Europlanet Press Release

The 2022 Europlanet Prize for Public Engagement has been awarded to Dr Kosmas Gazeas and the team behind the ‘Planets In Your Hand’ tactile exhibition.

‘Planets In Your Hand’ is an interactive, mobile set of models of planetary surfaces, constructed in square frames, that gives a multisensory impression of the wide variety of surface characteristics and environmental properties of the planets in our Solar System. 

The exhibition, although suitable for people of all ages, has been specifically designed for visually impaired audiences, and has travelled to schools, universities and private institutes and organisations, reaching thousands of visitors to date.

Dr Federica Duras, Chair of the Europlanet Outreach Jury, said: “Imagination and creativity has led to a stunning, original exhibition led by a passionate and committed team. Giving opportunities to ‘touch space’ with your own hands is one of the most effective ways of making science and astronomy accessible and inclusive. Congratulations to the whole team.”

The award was presented during the Europlanet Science Congress (EPSC) 2022 in Granada on behalf of the team to Dimitrios Athanasopoulos, who gave a 20-minute prize lecture. The team will also receive a cash award of 1500 Euros. 

Eugenia Covernton, CEO of Lecturers Without Borders, who nominated the team for the Europlanet Prize, said: “Planets In Your Hand is an outstanding hands-on exhibition that is inclusive for people with visual impairments and is overall a great tool for the public to grasp concepts related to the different compositions of the planets”

Sophia Drakaki and Dimitris Blougouras, Founders of CityLab, a STEM center specialized in activities for children and young people, said: “The team wanted a real hands-on experience that lasts. And yes, they did it! The on-the-spot visitors can see, touch and feel the surface texture and temperature of the planets and ‘travel’ on them, with the assistance of experts in astrophysics and education that can answer the megabytes of questions that the kids generate!”

Evangelia Mavrikaki, professor of the Department of Primary Education at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens (Greece), said: “The exhibition is portable, providing huge flexibility accessing schools and institutes in remote areas of Greece and all over the world. Science communication activities of such a kind are rare in remote places and away from large towns.”

Dr Gazeas, the team lead, who is a lecturer of observational astrophysics in the Department of Physics of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens (Greece), said: “We are deeply honoured to receive the Europlanet Prize for Public Engagement for our efforts in science communication and public outreach activities in the frame of the project Planets In Your Hand. The selection of our project by the judges acts like a confirmation to the team for the hard work that has been done since 2017 and especially during the past 3 years.”


Federica Duras, Chair of the Europlanet Outreach Working Group, presenting the Europlanet Prize for Public Engagement to Dimitrios Athanasopoulos on behalf of the ‘Planets In Your Hand’ team. Credit: Europlanet

Dimitrios Athanasopoulos accepted the Europlanet Prize for Public Engagement on behalf of the ‘Planets In Your Hand’ team. Credit: Europlanet

Dimitrios Athanasopoulos giving the Europlanet Prize for Public Engagement Lecture on behalf of the ‘Planets In Your Hand’ team. Credit: Europlanet

Dimitrios Athanasopoulos giving the Europlanet Prize for Public Engagement Lecture on behalf of the ‘Planets In Your Hand’ team. Credit: Europlanet

The ‘Planets In Your Hand’ exhibition. Credits: Kosmas Gazeas

The ‘Planets In Your Hand’ exhibition. Credits: Kosmas Gazeas

The ‘Planets In Your Hand’ exhibition. Credits: Kosmas Gazeas

The ‘Planets In Your Hand’ exhibition. Credits: Kosmas Gazeas

The ‘Planets In Your Hand’ exhibition. Credits: Kosmas Gazeas

A model from the ‘Planets In Your Hand’ exhibition representing Mars. Credits: Kosmas Gazeas

A model from the ‘Planets In Your Hand’ exhibition representing Earth. Credits: Kosmas Gazeas

A model from the ‘Planets In Your Hand’ exhibition representing Neptune. Credits: Kosmas Gazeas

A model from the ‘Planets In Your Hand’ exhibition representing Mercury. Credits: Kosmas Gazeas

Some of the squared models from the ‘Planets In Your Hand’ exhibition and the planets that they represent. Credits: Kosmas Gazeas

Some of the squared models from the ‘Planets In Your Hand’ exhibition. Credits: Kosmas Gazeas

Science Contacts

Kosmas Gazeas
“Planets In Your Hand” team
Department of Physics
National and Kapodistrian University of Athens
+30 210 7276892 (office)  /


EPSC2022 Press Office
+44 7756 034243>


About the Europlanet Science Congress (EPSC) 

The Europlanet Science Congress ( formerly the European Planetary Science Congress, is the annual meeting of the Europlanet Society. With a track record of 16 years, and regularly attracting around 1000 participants, EPSC is the largest planetary science meeting in Europe. It covers the entire range of planetary sciences with an extensive mix of talks, workshops and poster sessions, as well as providing a unique space for networking and exchanges of experiences.

Follow on Twitter via @europlanetmedia and using the hashtag #EPSC2022.

Details of media briefings and recordings can be found at:

All Europlanet media releases can be found at:

About Europlanet

Since 2005, Europlanet ( has provided Europe’s planetary science community with a platform to exchange ideas and personnel, share research tools, data and facilities, define key science goals for the future, and engage stakeholders, policy makers and European citizens with planetary science. 

The Europlanet 2024 Research Infrastructure (RI) has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 871149 to provide access to state-of-the-art research facilities and a mechanism to coordinate Europe’s planetary science community. 

The Europlanet Society promotes the advancement of European planetary science and related fields for the benefit of the community and is open to individual and organisational members. The Europlanet Society is the parent organisation of the Europlanet Science Congress (EPSC).

About EANA
The European Astrobiology Network Association (, joins together people interested in the origins of life and the search for extraterrestrial life in the Solar System and beyond. This interdisciplinary domain involves scientists from multiple disciplines such as chemistry, physics, biology, geology, astronomy, and human sciences.  

The Europlanet Media Centre issues media releases on the activities of Europlanet Society, the Europlanet 2024 Research Infrastructure, the Europlanet Science Congress (EPSC) and results from planetary science partner organisations. If you do not wish to receive press releases from the Europlanet Media Centre, please unsubscribe by replying to this message or sending an email to Anita Heward, Europlanet Communications Officer, +44 7756 034243.

Winner of the #PlanetaryScience4All EPEC-EPSC Video Contest 2022

The winner of the #PlanetaryScience4All EPEC-EPSC Video Contest 2022 is ’29P & Comet Chasers’ by Cai Stoddard-Jones.

Hi, I’m Cai, a first year PhD student at Cardiff University. I’m from North Wales originally, but made the trek down south in 2017 to start my MPhys. I like to listen to and make music in my free time either singing or playing my guitar. I’m researching comet 29P’s unusual activity, it’s the most observed comet ever yet, we know very little about it. I aim to characterise the comet. In addition, I develop resources and experiments for a project called ‘Comet Chasers’ in Wales. We teach kids about cometary science and giving them LCO telescope time to take their own images. If their images are used by researchers, their schools are credited.

Find out more about #PlanetaryScience4All

More about EPEC

A Journey to the Planets: Europlanet Funding Scheme 2022 Winner

A Journey to the Planets: how to make children fall in love with space

Making children curious about space and planetary sciences through play and puppet theatre is the idea conceived and developed by Katia Pinheiro and the team of “Journey to the Planets“, the winning proposal of this year’s Europlanet Funding scheme for public engagement.

The project will start by producing a series of short movies with stories about the planets told by Bimbim’s team, an original and funny puppet theatre. The videos will come with illustrations and animations to better express the scientific content which, for now, will focus on a general overview of all Solar System planets, the Earth and Mars.

The promise is that more will come, thanks to the support and work of many researchers from Germany, Macedonia, India, Argentina, UK, and the producer and the theatre companies from Brazil. Reflecting the international nature of the project, the videos will be translated into several languages (initially Portuguese, English and French), in hopes of reaching an international scale. 

Federica Duras interviewed the project leader Katia Pinheiro, who nurtures a passion for science outreach, especially directed to children. This project is an opportunity to pursue her dream to combine the two.

Katia, where does “Journey to the Planets” come from? What’s the trigger behind it?
I want to transmit science to children. Initiating children into scientific subjects is not a trivial task. I thought about a way to attract their attention and a way to encourage their critical thinking and active participation. Puppet theatre seemed to be a good idea since puppets have the power to fascinate children. Charismatic characters as interlocutors may talk about science in an unconventional and fun way. The strategy to combine science and art may be a powerful way to awaken children’s
curiosity about planetary sciences.

Katia Pinheiro and her dog Jobim

Why Bimbim? What is that?
Bimbim is the nickname for Jobim, who was a famous composer of Brazilian music. I gave his name to a smart and funny small dog some years ago. This little dog was very charismatic and liked to “talk” to everybody around him, especially children. He is the inspiration for the protagonist of the stories: courageous, curious and fun!

How many people are involved in the creation and subsequent implementation of
the project?

There are 15 people involved in the different parts of the project: story writing, production, filming, puppet manipulation, dubbing and animation. This project brings together artists and scientists from different parts of the world working on various research areas. All the co-applicants of this project are female professionals of arts and science. The scientific co-applicants will participate with ideas and scientific content for the stories. The theatre company “Papa Vento” is involved in the artistic part and they will manipulate the puppets. An audiovisual director and producer will capture the images in the best way to tell the stories.

What is the near future of the project?
We will produce short movies with three stories about the planets: a general overview of all solar system planets, Earth and Mars. The release of the movies will be in January, 2023. We expect that these stories will also call the attention of schools and parents to bring science closer to their children. Another project outcome is the large involvement of female scientists and thus the possibility of attracting children from under-represented groups to become scientists. Our target audience is primarily school students between the ages of 2 and 8 years old but it also involves the audience of educators. The plan is to share the videos with many schools and social media channels across Europe and other countries worldwide.

An example of visual from the story “Journey to the center of the Earth”

What do you expect from Europlanet as a link for the project?
Europlanet is a very important link for starting the first science story of “Bimbim’s team”. The support of Europlanet for outreach and education projects promotes new initiatives and, in the case of this project, tackles the challenge of reaching as many children as possible and awakening their curiosity for planetary sciences. The dissemination of the puppet videos by Europlanet will encourage more scientists and organisations to take the step of creating something similar and spreading the word. In addition, the commitment of Europlanet to equality, diversity and inclusivity perfectly matches the intentions of this project.

And what about the distant future of “Journey to the planets”? 
We plan to extend these stories to other planets and science topics in the near future. We expect that after these videos are ready, schools and companies may become interested and request presentations in place or other online videos with science stories. New stories coming in the future will be about the deep Earth, ocean, space and others. We believe that once we start this project, new ideas will emerge that will be the seed for next larger projects.

Fingers crossed, we look forward to following the first steps of Bimbim and its friends!
Thanks Katia.

Get creative with Europlanet’s #InspiredByOtherWorlds arts contest 2022

Get creative with Europlanet’s #InspiredByOtherWorlds arts contest 2022

See the winning entries for #InspiredByOtherWorlds 2022!

The Europlanet Science Congress (EPSC) 2022 is inviting schools  and space enthusiasts of all ages to get creative and share their artworks and performances inspired by other worlds in a contest called #InspiredByOtherWorlds.

The theme this year is ‘Interception’

Gallery of Entries

About the contest

With missions like ArtemisComet InterceptorDART and LICIACube in the headlines, this year’s contest looks at ideas around meeting, moving and impact in relation to planetary exploration!

Art is meant to inspire. Art is meant to be shared. Art allows us to go beyond our limits. Planetary science takes us beyond the limits of our world. What happens when a passion for art and a passion for exploring planets and other worlds meet? Let your imagination take us on a voyage through our Solar System and planets around distant stars! Show us how you have been inspired to create drawings, storytelling, pictures, videos, models, craft works or art installations at home. 

The deadline for the competition has been extended to 15 December 2022. Late submissions will not be accepted.

Early entries for #InspiredByOtherWorlds submitted by 22 September 2022 were showcased on digital screens at the conference centre and during the closing ceremony of EPSC2022. 

All artworks submitted will be judged by a panel of planetary scientists and artists. The winning artworks or performances will be shared via the Europlanet website, newsletters and social media and will be used to inspire young people in future Europlanet outreach activities.

So keep creating! 


For all the information about the contest, see the #InspiredByOtherWorlds FAQ page. If you’d also like to share on social media please use the hashtags #InspiredByOtherWorlds #EPSC2022.

#InspiredByOtherWorlds 2022 contest banner
#InspiredByOtherWorlds 2022 contest banner

If you have any questions, please contact .

Enter the contest

Outreach and Public Engagement after Covid Session at EAS 2022

Outreach and Public Engagement after Covid Session at EAS 2022

The impact of Covid-19 led to a dramatic change in the landscape of public engagement, which overnight transformed from “hands on” to entirely virtual delivery. Appreciation of astronomy briefly enjoyed a higher profile, with views of the sky connecting us to the wider universe while confined to our homes. Virtual access has enabled the astronomy community to reach audiences that could not normally attend “face to face” outreach sessions, but it has simultaneously widened the gap for disadvantaged communities without access to the technology needed for online engagement.

At the European Astronomical Society (EAS) 2022 Annual Meeting in Valencia from 27 June – 1 July, the astronomy outreach community took the opportunity to come together and discuss some of these issues.

In particular, participants were asked to consider for public engagement in the years ahead:

  • Is the increase in virtual outreach initiatives “the new normal”, or is “face to face” vital for engaging marginalised communities on the wrong side of the digital divide?
  • What does this mean for collaboration across Europe and further afield? 
  • How has public perception of science changed during the pandemic and what does this mean for the outreach community?

Over a lunch session on Monday 27 June attended by around 60 participants, we heard from a number of speakers and then had an open discussion of our experiences over the past two and a half years. While the general consensus in the room was that face-to-face interaction is very important for outreach and public engagement and that the return to in-person events is very positive, the impact of Covid remains an ongoing issue – not least in that several of the scheduled speakers were unfortunately unable to take part in the session due to positive tests. The benefits of hybrid meetings for sustainability and inclusion were also a topic of much discussion at EAS 2022 in the wider context of conferences and events.

If you missed the session, some of the presentations and virtual posters are provided here with kind permission of the authors:

Astro-lògos: stories of the history of the Universe. A science-art project inspired by Italo Calvino’s Cosmicomics, Claudia Mignone

Please wait while flipbook is loading. For more related info, FAQs and issues please refer to DearFlip WordPress Flipbook Plugin Help documentation.

Increasing the science outreach in Romania during the pandemic, Sandor Kruk

Please wait while flipbook is loading. For more related info, FAQs and issues please refer to DearFlip WordPress Flipbook Plugin Help documentation.

Communicating science worldwide with the International Day of LightGeethu Paulose

AstroEDU, IAU open-access platform for peer-reviewed Educational ActivitiesLivia Giacomini

Inspiring the Next Generation of Space and Planetary Scientists: The 2022 EXPLORE Junior Lunar Data ChallengeDaniel Le Corre

Planets In A Room and how hands-on activities has been forced to switch to onlineFederica Duras

Bringing the night sky to Italian living rooms via livestream eventsClaudia Mignone

Europlanet Face-to-Face at Meetings

Europlanet Face-to-Face at Meetings

The Europlanet team has been taking part in a number of meetings and events over the past few weeks. For the first time since 2019, the Europlanet banner stand has been on display in exhibitions at conferences, including the European Astronomical Society (EAS) Annual Meeting and the EuroScience Open Forum (ESOF).

EAS 2022, which took place in Valencia from 27 June – 1 July, was attended by close to 2000 people, with 1700 participating in person. An eight-strong team from the Europlanet 2024 Research Infrastructure (RI) took part in the meeting, crewing a stand and presenting Europlanet activities on mentoring, the Europlanet Telescope Network, outreach and global collaboration. Europlanet was joined on its stand by its sister EU-funded project, EXPLORE, which is developing machine learning tools to exploit planetary and space data, as well as Planets In A Room (PIAR), the low-cost spherical projection system developed by Speak Science and INAF with Europlanet funding. The team talked to several hundred people over the course of the week, and distributed copies of the latest issue of the Europlanet Magazine, as well as stickers and leaflets.

EAS 2022

ESOF 2022, held in Leiden from 13-16 July, was the tenth edition of the largest European interdisciplinary science conference. Europlanet organised a session ‘To Mars and Beyond’ in Pieterskerk, attended by around 50 delegates, on July 14 and took part in the exhibition throughout the meeting, giving participants and opportunity to hold some real rocks from space

ESOF 2022

Issue 3 of the Europlanet Magazine is out!

Issue 3 of the Europlanet Magazine is out!

The official magazine of Europlanet, the European community for planetary science.

We are delighted to share with you the third issue of the Europlanet Magazine. The e-magazine is published twice a year and aims to highlight the range of activities by Europlanet, our partners, and the wider planetary community. If you would like a printed copy of this issue, or the two previous editions, you will be able to pick one up at the Europlanet Society stand at EPSC2022 in Granada.

The third issue highlights the exciting upcoming opportunities for Solar System and exoplanet science with the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST). Our ‘In Focus’ news section reports on recent workshops held through the Europlanet 2024 Research Infrastructure (RI), a monthly webinar series for members, a new podcast from the Europlanet Early Careers (EPEC) network and resources to support the LGBTQIA+ members of our community. We look at the experiences of participants in the Europlanet Expert Exchange and Mentorship programmes. We also have features on running data challenges, using AI to improve predictions of the impact of solar storms, and a schools outreach programme for meteor detection.

Please check out Issue 3 and share with your networks to help us spread the word.

In this issue:

round up of news from Europlanet 2024 RI, the Europlanet Society, the Europlanet Early Careers (EPEC) network and the planetary community.

MOMSTER, a Mobile Meteor Detection Station for Education and Outreach  

 Karolien Lefever, Stijn Calders and Hervé Lamy (BIRA-IASB) describe how schools are becoming involved in meteor research through the MOMSTER project.

Planetary Perspectives

Gražina Tautvaišienė, Director of the Institute of Theoretical Physics and Astronomy at Vilnius University (Lithuania), talks about her inspirations, the development of astronomy in Lithuania and sharing her passion for science with the next generation in this month’s Planetary Perspectives Q&A.

Support for Ukraine 

We ask for the planetary community’s help to share information and identify support schemes for colleagues in Ukraine and displaced researchers

 JWST: A New Infrared Eye on the Solar System 

Leigh Fletcher, Professor of Planetary Science at the University of Leicester (UK), reveals how the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) will provide exciting new opportunities for the exploration of our Solar System

JWST: An Eye on Exoplanets 

Brett Morris and Clémence Fontanive of the Universität Bern/National Centre of Competence in Research (NCCR) PlanetS (Switzerland) look at how the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) is set to revolutionise exoplanet research

Europlanet Mentorship Programme: Two Years After Launch  

Edita Stonkutė of Vilnius University (Lithuania) and Jen DeWitt, Evaluation Officer for Europlanet 2024 RI (UK), examine how mentoring can support the planetary community.

Taking on the Data Challenge 

Ingo Waldmann of UCL (UK) explains how launching a data challenge linked to the Ariel mission has led to new approaches and collaborations. 

Exchanging Expertise  

 Maria Genzer of the Finnish Meteorological Institute (Finland) reports on how Europlanet’s Expert Exchange Programme is supporting skill-sharing within the planetary community.

Using AI to Predict the Danger of Solar Storms for Earth 

Hannah Rüdisser of the Know-Center (Austria) and Ute Amerstorfer of the Space Research Institute (Austria) show how machine learning and artificial intelligence can help protect us from damage caused by solar storms. 

Inspired by a Contest 

Helen Usher of the Faulkes Telescope Project (UK) describes how a Europlanet arts contest has led to collaborations with a young Lithuanian astronomer, Rytis Babianskas. 

An Interplanetary Journey in Design – Building the Europlanet Brand  

Vix Southgate (Europlanet 2024 RI Communications Team) describes some of the creative steps (and missteps) in nearly two decades of the Europlanet brand

Industry Insights  

Marcell Tessenyi (BSSL Ltd) and Jeronimo Bernard-Salas (ACRI-ST) present results from a community survey on academic-industry collaboration.  

In Memorium – Maria Teresa Capria and Károly Szegő 

The first few months of 2022 has seen the passing of two of the key founder members of the Europlanet programme. Michel Blanc, Coordinator of Europlanet from 2005-2012, reflects on their contribution and legacy


The Europlanet Magazine’s column on science communication by Shorouk Elkobros (Europlanet Society/ESF) looks this month at videos for science communication.

The Last Word

Nigel Mason highlights a strategic opportunity for the planetary community.

Calls for Europlanet Outreach Funding Scheme and Prize 2022

Calls for Europlanet Outreach Funding Scheme and Prize 2022

Are you looking for funding to kickstart an outreach or education project related to planetary science? Or have you run a successful public engagement project for which you deserve some recognition?

The Calls are now open for applications for the Europlanet Outreach Funding Scheme 2022 and nominations for the Europlanet Prize for Public Engagement 2022.

**Deadline for submissions is 15 June 2022**

About the Europlanet Outreach Funding Scheme 2022

Europlanet awards grants of between 1 000 and 5 000 Euros to fund projects to engage the public with planetary science. Through the funding scheme, Europlanet aims to encourage new ways of sharing planetary science with different kinds of audiences across Europe (and beyond) to create socially impactful initiatives that combine research, learning, innovation and social development.

Find out more at:

About the Europlanet Prize For Public Engagement 2022

The Europlanet Prize for Public Engagement recognises achievements in engaging citizens with planetary science. The Prize of 1 500 Euros is awarded annually to individuals or groups who have developed innovative and socially impactful practices in planetary science communication and education.

The winner will be honoured at the Europlanet Science Congress (EPSC) 2022 in Granada will be invited to share experiences and best practice by delivering an Awards Ceremony.

Find out more at:

Light up the sky of the world – Expo in Dubai

Light up the sky of the world – Expo in Dubai

On March 16, 2022Let’s light up the skies of the world took place in the Italian Pavillion of the 2020 EXPO in Dubai. The event, organised by OAE Center Italy and INAF, was constituted by two different moments: a hands-on laboratory for the pupils of local schools, and a roundtable on the topic Astronomy for Teaching: from theory to practice, which took place both in person and in live streaming.

The team organizing the event was composed by Caterina BoccatoStefano SandrelliAlessandra Zanazzi and Livia Giacomini, with the support of the staff of the Italian Pavillion, led by Lorenzo Micheli. The INAF team was also supported by Marcos Valdes, CEO of VIS (Virtual Immersions in Science), who, in the course of event, presented Moon Landing VR, a virtual-reality 360° video to live the Apollo 11 Moon landing.

In the teaching lab, called Let’s light up the skies of the world, about twenty girls from the GEMS Al Khaleej International School, an International school based in Dubai, lit up the stars with LEDs and paper circuits, inventing their own constellations and connecting them to the legends and myths of different cultures of the world. They were led, in addition to the INAF team, by two teachers – Ruba Tarabay, STEAM Coordinator and Responsible for junior secondary classes, and Mohammed Kheder, Astronomy teacher.

In this laboratory, we reason on the fact that constellations do not exist, because they are formed by stars which are not connected to each other,’ Alessandra Zanazzi say. ‘However, constellations are important from the practical point of view, as a reference in order to measure both time and seasons. They also have an important cultural meaning, because all peoples of the world have always observed the sky and connected the dots of the stars to form drawings of what was important for their culture. In the laboratory, we started building a paper circuit, so as to light up a constellation made of LEDs, taking inspiration from a teaching proposal developed by the INAF Play Group. Then, based on the intercultural activities “Cieli del mondo” [World Skies] who inspired several proposals of EduINAF, each participant was free to give vent to their own creativity, overlaying on “official” constellations, the ones coming from different cultural traditions, or of their own design. Here in Dubai, we saw dromedaries, butterflies, and desert oasis being drawn…’

In the second part of the morning, a roundtable took place with Markus Poessel, Responsible for the IAU-OAE Office, Stefano Sandrelli and Sara Ricciardi of the OAE Center Italy, Hamid Al-Naimiy and Ilias Fernini of SAASST (Sharjah Academy for Astronomy, Space Sciences & Technology) and Pedro Russo of Leiden University/Ciência Viva.

Stefano Sandrelli, Director of the new OAE Center Italy says: ‘We are happy to be here today, because the theme of the Dubai EXPO is sustainability. The world can only be sustainable if it has at its heart a culture based on hospitality, on the mutual respect for differences and on true and profound dialogue. That is why the main issue of the roundtable is the codesign, which OAE Center Italy is carrying out with all the countries bordering the Mediterranean. In this project, each country proposes activities addressed to primary school pupils, which are later discussed and modified together. All this will result in a teacher training course which is going to be organized in the island of Lampedusa next summer.

Enjoy the photo-gallery of the event and the voices of the protagonists.

Light up the skies!

Banner image credit: INAF

Let’s light up the skies of the world at EXPO!

Let’s light up the skies of the world at EXPO!

OAE Italy center and INAF are organizing Let’s light up the skies of the world! Astronomy for Education, from theory to practice, a round table that will take place in Dubai, at the Italy Pavilion of EXPO, and streamed online for all the community.

The event will be in English, on 16 March 2022, starting at 9:45 and ending at 11:00 CET (starting at 12:45 and ending at 14:00 at Dubai time).

Participants to the round table are: Markus Poessel (Director of IAU OAE Hq); Stefano Sandrelli (Manager of IAU OAE Center Italy); Sara Ricciardi (Deputy of IAU OAE Center Italy); Hamid Al-Naimiy (President of the Arab Union for Astronomy and Space sciences, and Director General of SAASST, the Sharjah Academy for Astronomy, Space sciences & Technology); Ilias Fernini (Deputy Director General of SAAST); Pedro Russo (Leiden University/Ciência Viva).

We warmly invite you to participate, following the streaming online or dropping in at the Italy Pavilion, if you are at Dubai on 16 March. To participate (both online or in presence) register at 

A link to follow the streaming will be sent by email after registration.

Anticipating Planetary Science with the James Webb Space Telescope

Anticipating Planetary Science with the James Webb Space Telescope

What are Jupiter and Saturn made of? Are there still open mysteries about these two giant planets? How will the James Webb Space Telescope help investigate them? Find out with Leigh Fletcher (University of Leicester, UK and member of the Europlanet Society Board) in this interview by Claudia Mignone (EDU INAF, Italy).

#InspiredByOtherWorlds: the winners are…

#InspiredByOtherWorlds Arts contest 2021: the winners are…

The winning artworks for the #InspiredByOtherWorlds Arts Contest 2021 were announced during a virtual award ceremony on 20th December. The winners are listed below. Many congratulations to all the winning artists and thanks to all participant for their submissions.

Youth, Adult and Group Winners

View all the entries to the contest.

Youth Category

Adult Category

Group Category

Awards Ceremony

An awards ceremony was held on Monday 20th December. Download the full presentation.

Back to #InspiredByOtherWorlds Contest main page

Issue 2 of the Europlanet Magazine is out!

Issue 2 of the Europlanet Magazine is out!

The official magazine of Europlanet, the European community for planetary science.

We are delighted to share with you the second issue of the Europlanet Magazine. The e-magazine is published twice a year and aims to highlight the range of activities by Europlanet, our partners, and the wider planetary community.

The second issue highlights some of the exciting science supported through Europlanet’s Transnational Access programme, including an experimental project to recreate martian flows in the lab, field campaigns in Botswana and Greenland, and virtual access to facilities in Korea. Niklas Nienass MEP shares his vision for Europe’s role in the new Space Race, and we report on the science presented and community events at the Europlanet Science Congress (EPSC) 2021 in September. As the Europlanet 2024 Research Infrastructure (RI) passes a major milestone, we look at some of the outcomes of the projets to date, and we have an insight into the long pathway that’s led to the recent selection of three missions to Venus. We also have features on designing meetings in pandemic and post-pandemic times, outreach initiatives, an industry database with links to planetary science, and searching for evidence of the earliest forms of life on Earth.

Please check out Issue 2 and share with your networks to help us spread the word.

In this issue:

round up of news from Europlanet 2024 RI, the Europlanet Society, the Europlanet Science Congress (EPSC) 2021 and the planetary community.

Celebrating Science at EPSC2021 

Stavro Ivanovski (INAF) and Akos Kereszturi (Konkoly Thege Miklos Astronomical Institute), Co-chairs of the Scientific Organising Committee (SOC), review the second virtual Europlanet Science Congress.

Spotlight on Diversity at EPSC2021 

The Europlanet Diversity Committee describes events at EPSC2021 to highlight equity, diversity and inclusion

Early Career Events at EPSC2021 

Noah Jäggi, Chair of the EPEC@EPSC Working Group, reports on a packed programme at EPSC2021 organised by the Europlanet Early Career (EPEC) network

Designs on Pandemic and Post-Pandemic Meetings: Learning with the EPSC 2021 Team 

Amy Riches (University of Edinburgh, UK, and SETI Institute, USA) describes her experiences as a planetary geochemist diving into the EPSC2021 Media Internship Programme.

Planetary Perspectives

Lena Noack, Incoming Chair of EPSC2021, talks about her career, inspirations, and her experiences with Europlanet in this month’s Planetary Perspectives Q&A.

Finding New Ways of Envisioning Venus 

Jörn Helbert (DLR) looks forward to three new missions to investigate Earth’s mysterious twin

Connecting Communities Across the Industry – Academic Divide 

Marcell Tessenyi (Blue Skies Space Ltd) and Jeronimo Bernard-Salas (ACRI-ST) report on a survey and new database to support industry-academia collaborations

Europe and the New Space Race 

Following the Industry-Policy Session at EPSC2021, Livia Giacomini (INAF) spoke to Niklas Nienass, a Member of the European Parliament (MEP) for Germany in the Group of the Greens/European Free Alliance, about his vision for space science in Europe.


As we emerge from nearly two years of restricted travel, Gareth Davies (VUA, Netherlands) gives an update on Europlanet’s Transnational Access (TA) programme, which provides free access to facilities and field sites around the worldLonneke Roelofs (Utrecht University, Netherlands), Daniel Toledo (INTA, Spain), Costanza Rossi (INAF, Italy), Denice Borsten and Jochem Sikkes (VUA, Netherlands) share their expriences of participating in TA visits.

The Animated Universe of James O’Donoghue 

Federica Duras and Livia Giacomini (INAF) talk to the Europlanet Prize 2021 winner, James O’Donoghue, about his motivations for creating animations to communicate challenging scientific concepts and his advice on a career in planetary science 

Evaluating the Impact of Europlanet 2024 RI 

 Project Evaluator, Jennifer DeWitt, and Communications Manager, Anita Heward, report on outcomes of the first review of Europlanet’s flagship research infrastructure

Looking for the earliest forms of life on Earth 

Barbara Cavalazzi (University of Bologna) describes how an international effort has identified some of the earliest examples of life on Earth

The Bolivian San Agustin Remote Observatory 

Gabriel Andres Jaimes Illanes, the IAU National Education Coordinator for Bolivia and member of the San Agustin Educational Foundation (FESA), reports on plans to develop a remote observatory to support astronomy outreach in Bolivia


The Europlanet Magazine’s column on science communication by Shorouk Elkobros (Europlanet Society/ESF).

The Last Word

Nigel Mason reflects on a challenging year in Beyond Borders.

Under the Path of a Polar Solar Eclipse

Under the Path of a Polar Solar Eclipse

As well as being Managing Director of the outreach company, FTP-Europlanet gUG, Dr. Lothar Kurtze has worked a scientific travel guide since 1998 for total solar eclipses viewed from the Galapagos Islands, Madagascar, Libya and Bhutan. For the upcoming total solar eclipse visible from the Antarctic, Lothar is onboard MS Hondius, acting as a guide for Oceanwide Expeditions, and is sending updates on his experiences for this Europlanet blog post. The maximum eclipse will take place at 07:33 UTC on Saturday, 4 December 2021.

Track Lothar’s progress

More about the Solar Eclipse from

6 December 2021

We have now reached South Georgia and visited Grytviken today. As soon as we have clear nights, I will talk about the southern constellations and I will offer stargazing to the passengers – we are far away from any light pollution, and the sky is really dark, so we can hope for beautiful views.  

4 December 2021

Sadly no luck. Low clouds everywhere in the path of the eclipse. However it wa very impressive for the passengers how it got suddenly dark for 1.5 min.

3 December 2021

Countdown for the eclipse, now!

We are now preparing the observation tomorrow from the ship. Due to the poor weather conditions, we can not go down to the ice edge of the Wedell sea. We aim for a position between South Orkney and South Georgia. We have to make a quite complicated compromise between cloud cover, height of the eclipse above the horizon, wind and waves.

Our position for the eclipse will be aproximately 57°S, 43° 20′ W. Clouds are coming in from the West to the center line. So we need quite a bit of luck to still see something. Fingers crossed…

1 December 2021

This afternoon, we took a cruise in a Zodiac inflatable boat at Elephant Island, a rarely visited place.

This evening we continue to explore the island with a cruise on the main ship, MS Hodius. Overnight, we will continue towards the South Orkney Islands. The weather today has low clouds, and hardly any Sun visible. So, we are keeping our fingers crossed for the weather in three days time when we will be waiting in anticipation for the eclipse. 

30 November 2021

We have reached the Antarctic peninsula. The Drake passage initially had five-metre waves, which later calmed down to two metres – mostly harmless…  

We saw many albatrosses, as well as whales. 

Yesterday we have reached Cuverville Island in the best weather. There are thousands of Gentoo Penguins. However, being 64° 41‘ South, it will not get astronomically dark here anymore.

Onboard, there are many amateur astronomers, a professional meteorologist and a Dutch Astronaut who are, like the expedition staff, giving very interesting lectures.

We had a Covid-19 test for all passenger and staff – all negative. So, I am optimistic that the only ‘corona’, we have to worry about, is the corona of the Sun.

This is a quick report for now. We have one more days in the Antarctic before leaving towards South Orkney and our eclipse location.

James O’Donoghue and his animated Universe

Is it possible to make good scientific communication in a simple and intriguing way? The answer is yes, and Dr James O’Donoghue, winner of this year’s Europlanet Prize for Public Engagement, is proof of that.

James, ground-based infrared astronomer of Jupiter, Saturn and Uranus at JAXA, Japan, has a simple goal in mind: to paint an accurate picture of the Solar System in people’s minds, at the same time highlighting its most relevant features in an intuitive way. Its trademark are short and content-rich animations, now with more than 200 million views on his social networks and used by teachers, in outreach events, for press releases and space missions descriptions.

“I’m lucky because the Universe is a cool topic,” he says. We, on the other hand, think that his idea of making science simply using images and animations is incredible, and so we decided to find out more.

Federica Duras and Livia Giacomini interviewed James about his outreach activity, how it started and what it means for him.

James, what is your scientific area and background? Which is your favourite planet and mission, i.e. the one you never get tired of talking about?
My area of expertise is in observing the uppermost parts of the atmospheres of Jupiter and Saturn. After Earth, I’d have to say my favourite planet lately is either one of the Ice Giants Uranus or Neptune! It used to be Saturn, but I changed my mind recently as these freezing cold giants have so many unknowns. That’s mostly because they’ve only ever had 1 fly-by of a spacecraft ever, in the 1980s, so you could say that I’m getting somewhat obsessed by their mysteriousness! The Cassini spacecraft is my favourite mission, it was a real tank of a spacecraft that orbited Saturn for 13 years and made countless discoveries.

Is it easy to combine your scientific and your communicator activity? What does making and sharing scientific animations represent for you?
I would say that my communication is mainly through the medium of animations or images, I think it’s the fastest way to get the information across and the most fun! I enjoy making animations, I feel that it’s finally a way for me to have a creative outlet, especially as I was never good at more traditional forms of art. Making these animations allows me to blend science with design and share my personal view of space with people directly. In other words, I often have some picture about how some space phenomenon works in my head, and while I could explain that to someone with words, I much prefer to show them that picture. When some of my first videos went viral, it was a bit of a psychological shock to my system as an introvert, actually, as it felt like millions of people were getting a direct line into my thoughts that I had displayed in the animation! After getting over that, however, I have since started to really enjoy that connection with people and made almost 100 new videos since then. My motivations began and continue with the feedback received from the public and educators out there who have continued to be fascinated and surprised by how the universe works, without them I might have stopped or slowed down early on.

What is your best animation, the one you are never tired of looking at and are very proud of having made?
My favourite animation is the light speed one, as it is something I have wanted to get across for a long time. Since I was a teenager I realised the vast distances in space take a long time to cross, even at light speed, and honestly it fills me with horror to think about how distant we are from even the nearest planets. It would take at least several thousand years to get to the nearest star with our fastest spacecraft, and that’s just over 4 light years away! The entire galaxy is 100,000 light years across and the nearest large galaxy is 2.5 million light years away. These distances are unthinkably vast even at light speed, and it’s been my pleasure to share this nightmare with tens of millions of people.

James in a Japanese documentary. Credits: James O’Donoghue

Which scientific fact or idea you would like to explain and never managed to explain with an animation (yet)?
I would like to explain general and special relativity, but I need time to investigate how best to teach it visually.

You once were in NASA and now are at Jaxa, in Japan. How would you describe the life of a space scientist to a young student deciding for his/her future?
The main thing I would say is that space science will keep you busy by growing dozens of different skills simultaneously. It’s not just about observing with a telescope or receiving data from a distant spacecraft, the job entails a large amount of computer programming and writing. You will not get bored at all and will never run out of things to do. You can certainly find the things you are best at and become the world’s expert in it quite quickly, since there are usually very few people working in each area. There are only 10,000s of astronomers and space scientists out there and we have an entire universe to cover. To speak frankly and honestly, it is a tough job in terms of job security because most of the time you will be operating on an approximately 3 year contract until getting a permanent job. 

Coming back to you, what are your plans and dreams for your future working life? 
My dream job is certainly one which combines research and outreach with a bit of teaching. Right now my outreach efforts are mostly done in my free time, and as my free time is getting smaller every year, I would like to do it as part of my job in a more serious way.

And given the results, we cross our fingers!
Thanks James.

Il Cielo in salotto: aperitif with the Comet!

Monday 8 November, starting at 18:30 (CEST), a live online event of the EduINAF’s format “Il cielo in salotto“, to celebrate the return to our skies of the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.

The comet studied by the Rosetta space mission has reached the perihelion on November 2nd, and it will be at its minimum distance from Earth (just over 60 million km) on November 12th: between these two dates the comet, visible with the help of a small telescope or large binoculars, will be at its maximum brightness.
The return of 67P is in conjunction with another important anniversary related to the mission: on November 12th it will be exactly 7 years since the landing of the probe Philae on the comet, the highlight of the adventurous Rosetta mission that accompanied 67P in its journey around the Sun between 2014 and 2016.

During the live event some special guests will show us images and videos of 67P collected by INAF telescopes and EduINAF readers fond of sky observations. The audience will discover some of the scientific secrets of comets and finally relive together some of the most exciting moments of the Rosetta mission. For the most enterprising, it will also be an opportunity to learn how to observe our celestial guest with a small binoculars or telescope and try to photograph it. Since a few weeks, indeed, 67P is the great protagonist of the observational campaign entitled “Cattura la Cometa!” organised by EduINAF together with the Unione Astrofili Italiani, AstronomiAmo, the Italian Association for Astronautics and Space and the Astronomical Observatory of the Autonomous Region of Valle d’Aosta and with the collaboration of Europlanet. The images collected are published on EduINAF and the most beautiful ones will be shown and commented during the live event.
The appointment is on the EduINAF’s YouTube channel: go here to find all the information!

Новости Омутнинск Любовь и семья Общество Люди и события Красота и здоровье Дети Диета Кулинария Полезные советы Шоу-бизнес Огород Гороскопы Авто Интерьер Домашние животные Технологии Рекорды и антирекорды