Networking Activities

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Networking Activities (NA)

Europlanet 2024 RI organises training sessions, workshops and services to support community. There are two Networking Activities.

NA1- Communities support, Dissemination and Engagement Activities are focused on:

NA2 – Coordination of Ground-based Observations

NA1 Workshops

NA2 Workshops

Back to Europlanet 2024 RI homepage.

Rocks from Space and Planetary Defence Workshop in Morocco

Rocks from Space and Planetary Defence Workshop in Morocco

Rocks from Space and Planetary Defence, the third in a Europlanet Series of workshops is taking place this week from 25-28 April 2023 at the Hôtel Club Val d’Anfa in Casablanca, Morocco, and online.

25 students have been taking part on site and a further 33 students have followed the workshop virtually.

Morocco Workshop

A full report will follow in the coming weeks.

4th Europlanet Workshop on Fireballs/Lunar Impact Flashes

4th Europlanet Workshop on Fireballs/Lunar Impact Flashes

12-13 May 2023, online.

Convened by: Manuel Scherf (Space Research Institute, Austrian Academy of Sciences), Günter Kargl (Space Research Institute, Austrian Academy of Sciences) and Detlef Koschny (Technical University of Munich, Germany).

In cooperation with the Europlanet 2024 Research Infrastructure (RI), a series of four workshops bringing together different networks of fireball observers and machine-learning experts were being arranged over the last two years. This series is aimed at: i) the development of a common data format and/or common entry point to the observational data of the different fireballs networks, ii) getting the community for observing lunar impact flashes together, and iii) machine-learning science cases for meteor observations.

The fourth workshop in this series will be a logical continuation of the previous workshops. The main topics will be:

  • An update on machine-learning activities related to meteors
  • Presenting more fireball observation networks
  • Continuing the discussion on how to expand the implementation of a common event notification and a data exchange format
  • Providing updates on the status of lunar impact flash observations and the related detection software.

The workshop will be held purely virtual. Registration will be required to obtain the meeting link.

See details of the first, second and third workshops.

Report on Europlanet Workshop ‘Applications of Earth Observation Satellite Data’

Report on Europlanet Workshop ‘Applications of Earth Observation Satellite Data’

This article is a translation of the original article by UNIBO Magazine in Italian, reposted with kind permission.

The second Europlanet 2024 RI Workshop, “Applications of Earth Observation Satellite Data”, coordinated by the University of Bologna and Italian Cultural Institute (Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation) was held in Addis Ababa at the Italian Cultural Institute (IIC) in Ethiopia. The event was sponsored by the Italian Space Agency and the National Institute of Astrophysics.

Space is now an objective of strategic importance for African countries. Africa looks to space as a valuable tool for the support, competitiveness and growth of the continent. Africa’s Agenda 2030 and Agenda 2063 set out its future objectives to transform it into a strong, resilient and influential actor and partner on the global scene, and to have the right to a share of global common goods: land, oceans and space.

Now, the Europlanet 2024 Research Infrastructure project and its Global Collaboration and Integration Development programme coordinated by Prof. Barbara Cavalazzi of the University of Bologna, aim to address the challenge of creating a network for planetary sciences in Africa at a national and international, favoring intra-African relations.

Recently, 38 participants from all over Ethiopia attended an international workshop in person. The attendees were professionals, researchers and PhD students from the Universities of Addis Ababa, Mezan Tepi, Semera, Wollo, Wolkite, Oda Bultum, but also from the Ethiopian Space Science and Technology Institute, the Space Science and Geospatial Institute, the Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research, the Ethiopian Forest Development, the Ethiopian Roads Administration, all linked by common interests such as Earth observation, use of satellite images and related applications.

Barbara Cavalazzi explains: “The format I chose for this event was to provide high-quality content, examples of applications, and practical workshops for using the software, with kind support from high-profile instructors (Gabriele Bitelli and Francesca Trevisiol, University of Bologna, Patrizia Sacco, Italian Space Agency, Addisu Gezahegn, Addis Ababa University and Gemechu Fanta Garuma, Space Science and Geospatial Institute). In parallel, times for discussion and sessions were organised for the exchange of ideas on research in the field of Earth observation. Interaction between the participants themselves was encouraged, laying the foundations for the formation of a local community of specialists on the subject. And I can say that we have achieved the goal”.

“We are happy to welcome so many participants to this workshop from all over Ethiopia, in conjunction with the National Space Day celebrations,” says Dr. Semen Kumurzhi, Director of the Italian Cultural Institute. “The initiatives promoted are part of the strategy to relaunch our cultural and integrated programme in this country and represent an important moment of dialogue, in particular with a young generation of local scientists and researchers. These activities will help to raise the profile of our country in Ethiopia in a modern and innovative way. It is an excellent example of collaboration between the University of Bologna and the other national organistions (Embassy of Italy, ASI, INAF), whom I sincerely thank. We hope that the results of these projects lead to medium to long-term partnerships, so that we can support the development of space and planetary science in Ethiopia and Africa for years to come.”

“Earth observation through satellite images represents a fundamental tool for the monitoring and management of the territory. The educational programme of the workshop included theoretical lessons supported by practical sessions with open-source software, providing students with the tools to use remote sensing images to support their own research or professional activity. Possible applications, which emerged as priorities from the participants, included the monitoring of agriculture in the context of food security, the prevention of natural disasters, the monitoring of surface water and drought, together with the other environmental problems that climate change is making increasingly evident,” explain Gabriele Bitelli and Francesca Trevisiol at the end of the workshop.

The workshop, which ended on 16 December, coincided with the second National Space Day, during which the “LOOKING BEYOND/Guardare Oltre” satellite image exhibition (curated by F. Maggia) set up at the IIC was inaugurated. The programme was enriched by a series of workshops “Let’s light up the constellations” held by Dr. Federico Di Giacomo of INAF-Astronomical Observatory of Padua, and organized in collaboration with Dr Maura Sandri of INAF and Prof Barbara Cavalazzi, which involved nearly 200 students from the Galileo Galilei Italian school in Addis Ababa.

University of Bologna participation was by Barbara Cavalazzi, Professor in the Department of Biological, Geological and Environmental Sciences, who coordinated the workshop, and Gabriele Bitelli and Francesca Trevisiol, Professor and doctoral student in the Geomatics group of the Department of Civil, Chemical, Environmental and Materials Engineering, who participated in the initiative. The event was organised with the support of Europlanet 2024 RI, which received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 program (Grant No 871149).

Agreement at ESA Ministerial Council

According to latest news, Europe invests to space activities, given that ESA’s budget will be 16,9 billion euros, namely 17% more than the previous three-year budget.

Further, new programs are to be launched in the areas of exploration and satellite navigation, among others. Germany’s ESA contribution of 3.5 billion euros is higher than the previous contribution of 3.3 billion euros. Moreover, Germany remains the largest ESA contributor.

In addition to the newly approved annual ESA budget of approximately 5.6 billion euros, Europe will invest 2.1 billion euros through the EU budget and approximately 4 – 6 billion euros annually through the individual EU member states, for a total of around 11.7 – 13.7 billion euros. By comparison, the U.S. is spending 24 billion euros on NASA this year alone.

Based on this development, Mr. Niklas Nienass, MEP, commented that space is the sector of the future, while infrastructures in space are becoming extremely important for life on earth. Additionally, he stated that public and private investment is the chance for the forefront of space travel in the future. Furthermore, Niklas Nienass also recognized the German ESA contribution with regard to the budget increase as wise for the the beginning of Germany’s three-year presidency of the ESA Ministerial Council Conference.

You can find the presentation from ESA regarding the agreement here.

Political agreement on new European Satellite Constellation

On 17 November, EU lawmakers reached a preliminary political agreement on the new European Satellite Constellation for Secure Connectivity. Alongside the Earth observation program Copernicus and the navigation program Galileo, IRIS will become the EU’s third strategic space infrastructure. It should be noted that IRIS will be a multi-orbital satellite constellation providing connectivity, making European infrastructure more resilient and independent of third parties.

MEP Niklas Nienass stated that “satellite-based communication services play an important role in case of crisis. That is why it is good that the EU will build up its own infrastructure.” Moreover, it was provided that the need is to “consciously use of small and medium-sized New-Space companies and their innovative strength”.

Please find more information about the IRIS EU Secure Satellite Constellation here.

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

EPSC2022 Social Media and Media Internships – Call for Applications

EPSC2022 Social Media and Media Internships – Call for Applications

We’re offering paid in-person internships to support applicants in developing social media and science communication skills. Interns will join the communications team for the Europlanet Science Congress (EPSC), the largest annual planetary science meeting in Europe. EPSC2022 will take place in Granada, Spain, from 18-23 September.

Social Media Internships

Successful applicants for the social media internship will support the social media team in covering live sessions during the EPSC2022.

Media Internships

Successful applicants for the media internship will support the press office team in preparing materials for the media.

About EPSC2022

EPSC2022 covers a broad area of science topics related to planetary science and planetary missions. EPSC will this year be jointly organized with the annual EANA (European Astrobiology Network Association) Conference 2022, and will therefore include a large number of sessions with an astrobiology focus. The programme of the congress will contain oral and poster sessions, as well as workshops and panel discussions and provide opportunities for interaction between the participants. EPSC2022 will take place as an in-person meeting.


If you are interested in taking part in the social media or media internship programme, please complete the application form below.

The deadline for applications is now closed.

Shortlisted applicants may be contacted for a short interview with the EPSC Communications team via Zoom. Successful applicants will be notified by the end of July. Successful applicants will be paid €750 (as well as travel, accommodation and sustenance costs) and will be required to attend the meeting from Monday 18 – Friday 23 September.

If you have any questions, please contact the Europlanet 2024 RI Communications Manager, Anita Heward.

Download the flyer.

STM: Towards a European Space Law

The number of satellites and debris in space constantly increases due to new developments in reusable launchers, small satellites and more and more private initiatives in space. Niklas Nienass recently highlighted the importance of a European Space Law evolution that ensures liability, security and sustainability in the entire European space sector. Furthermore, more actions relating to the EU Space regulation will be developed. 

MEP Niklas Nienass Statement

Satellites are moving our society forward. And the more cost-efficient they become, the more sectors can benefit from their technology. For example, satellites can help optimizing processes in organic farming. But the more satellites there are, the more crowded the orbit becomes. In recent years, the number has increased rapidly. Increasingly, there is a threat of collisions with unforeseeable consequences.

Therefore, the European Union wants to set up mechanisms to make traffic in orbit safer and more sustainable. In February, the European Commission presented a concept for a common Space Traffic Management (STM).

The framework aims to set binding standards and norms for satellite operators by 2024. It also aims to use new technologies to continuously collect and analyze data on the space environment.

This week, the European Parliament’s Industry, Research and Energy Committee (ITRE), of which I am a member, discussed the project.

For me, it is clear that the European Union must initiate a joint STM. However, I am also convinced that this can only be a first step. We need a European Space Law that ensures liability, security and sustainability in the entire European space sector.

I am very happy, that we have managed to include considerations for such a European regulation in the Committee’s statement on STM.

At the end of the month, I will travel to the U.S. to get first-hand insights into current developments in space. A series of high-level discussions are planned with Congress, the National Space Council, NASA, and companies such as Astroscale, Nanoracks, and SpaceX.

The future of space is currently being shaped largely in the U.S., and a future European regulation must be prepared for developments that will reach us from there in the coming years. At the same time, I am looking to promote our own positions, such as sustainability standards in orbit. In turn, we can learn from the Americans – for example, with regard to the development of a private space economy.

I want Europe to help shape the future of spaceflight – with technical innovations as well as with binding standards that ensure peace, security and sustainability in space.

Dennis Yuecel
Communications Niklas Nienass MEP

Virtual Workshop on the use of the Europlanet Telescope Network for amateur astronomers

May 15 2021 @ 11:00 am – May 16 @ 1:00 am UTC+1

The Europlanet 2024 RI project funds access to and use of a network of telescopes (the Europlanet Telescope Network) for the astronomical observation of Solar System objects and exoplanets. One of the objectives of this network is to train and support amateur astronomers in the observations of Solar System objects (planets, asteroids, comets…), encouraging their participation in pro-am collaborations within the scientific fields of Solar System and exoplanets research.

On May 15, 2021 (Saturday) we will organise a virtual workshop dedicated to the amateur community which aims to demonstrate the use of the telescopes within the Europlanet Telescope Network to amateur astronomers. The workshop will be held in Spanish and will use the Calar Alto 1.23m telescope for practical demonstrations showing its remote use.

Further information can be found on the dedicated workshop website.

International Spring School: Hydrothermal Vents

EANA International Spring School: Hydrothermal Vents

17-21 May 2021

Application deadline: 14 May 2021 at 23:59 CEST. Registration form

Hydrothermal systems are crucial environments for astrobiology: they are thought to be the theatre of life’s origins, host unprecedented polyextremophilic biodiversity, and are key targets in the search for life throughout the Solar System, especially on Mars and icy moons.

Join the first EANA online school to learn about hydrothermal systems from interdisciplinary perspectives at the interfaces of geology, biology and chemistry. From May 17th–21st, 2021, there will be one or two talks each day on a particular aspect of hydrothermal systems.

The school is free of charge and is an ideal opportunity to discover or deepen your understanding of these unique environments. For more information about the lecturers and to register for the school, please visit

The workshop is supported by Europlanet 2024 RI.

Organising Committee

Barbara Cavalazzi, EANA and EUROPLANET
Ruth-Sophie Taubner, EANA and AbGradE
Lena Noack, EANA
Anita Heward, EUROPLANET
Nina Kopacz, AbGradE
Keyron Hickman-Lewis, AbGradE
Frederic Foucher, EANA

Virtual Fireballs Workshop #1 on Fireball Databases and Machine Learning

Virtual Fireballs Workshop #1 on Fireball Databases and Machine Learning

11 June 2021 @ 1:00 pm – 12 June 2021 @ 7:00 pm UTC+2

In cooperation with Europlanet, a series of four workshops that will bring together different networks of fireballs observers as well as machine learning experts is planned over the next two years. This series aims to culminate into i) the development of a common data format and/or common entry point to the observational data of the different fireballs networks, and ii) machine learning science cases for meteor observations.

The first of these workshops will take place virtually on 11-12 June 2021 and aims towards

  1. introducing and discussing the different fireballs networks, databases and data formats with a strong focus on its technical aspects;
  2. discussing and exploring the possibilities of a common data format and/or a common entry point to all data;
  3. discussing and identifying machine learning science cases for fireball observations.

The workshop will also introduce and discuss Europlanet, its Virtual Observatory for planetary sciences (VESPA; and the support it can offer to the fireballs community. Through EPN-TAP services, VESPA currently provides access to more than 50 decentralised databases worldwide, and it might be one option for a common entry point to the different fireballs networks that will be explored over the course of the workshop. In addition, Europlanet also provides support for the development of machine learning science cases, and the fireballs community is invited to discuss potential use cases during the second half of the first meeting. As an outcome, this workshop intends to provide an outline for the next months and to define first tasks towards the overarching meeting goals. The second workshop of the series is intended to be organized in autumn 2021.

Workshop Details:

Date: 11-12 June 2021
Workshop Program:

The registration is open until 31 May 2021.

The workshop is funded by Europlanet 2024 Research Infrastructure. Europlanet 2024 RI has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 871149.

Organizing Committee:
Manuel Scherf (
Ute Amerstorfer (
Detlef Koschny (
Günter Kargl (

Europlanet Telescope Network launched to support planetary research and build global pro-am collaboration

Europlanet 2024 RI logo

Europlanet Telescope Network launched to support planetary research and build global pro-am collaboration

A new collaboration between telescopes around the world has been launched to provide coordinated observations and rapid responses in support of planetary research. The Europlanet Telescope Network will provide professional and trained amateur observers with access to telescopes located around the globe and ranging from 0.25 – 2m in diameter. 

Initially linking 15 observatories, the network plans to draw in additional facilities and build new collaborations, particularly in geographical regions that are currently under-represented in the planetary science community.

The study of planets, asteroids and comets can require long-term monitoring or very precise timing by ground-based observatories. This combination of characteristics produces a unique set of challenges, as it matters both where on the Earth one observes from and precisely when. 

“Relatively small telescopes can produce first-rate planetary science,” said Manuel Scherf, the coordinator of the Europlanet Telescope Network. “Our aim with this new network is to support a global community that can react fast and effectively to observational alerts and participate in coordinated observational campaigns related to objects in our Solar System and planets orbiting distant stars.”

Examples of research that could be supported via the network include monitoring of how atmospheric features on planets evolve, or how a comet’s activity changes as it orbits the Sun. The network will also be used in studies that require significant amounts of observing time, like searches for lunar impact flashes, and observations from multiple locations simultaneously, such as to reveal the size, shape and orbit of asteroids that might be hazardous to Earth.

“As planets and smaller bodies of our Solar System move against the background of distant stars, we can gather information about their physical properties and orbits,” explained Colin Snodgrass of the University of Edinburgh, deputy coordinator of the network and chair of its scientific advisory board. “A network of telescopes that can make long-term or time-sensitive observations from different locations across Europe and beyond will be very valuable for planetary astronomy.”

Professional and amateur astronomers can now apply to visit the facilities participating in the Europlanet Telescope Network and have their expenses covered for the time needed to make their observations, which can range from hours to several weeks. Visits will start from the autumn, subject to any local travel restrictions due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The project is coordinated through the Europlanet 2024 Research Infrastructure, which is funded by the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 programme.

Grazina Tautvaisiene, Director of the Institute of Theoretical Physics and Astronomy in Lithuania, said, “There are many small telescopes in facilities around the world, and particularly in Eastern Europe, that are under-used. By networking these diverse observatories, we can take advantage of their geographical spread and relative lack of time constraints to carry out exciting, cutting-edge research.”

The network also aims to strengthen collaborations between professional and amateur astronomers and provide training to widen participation in planetary research.

“Amateur astronomers are playing an increasingly important role in planetary research and in supporting missions to study objects in our own Solar System and planets orbiting other stars. The Europlanet Telescope Network aims to empower skilled amateurs to use professional facilities and to participate in international campaigns,” said Ricardo Hueso of the Universidad del País Vasco/Euskal Herriko Unibertsitatea.

The observatories participating in the project are:

  • Pic du Midi Observatory, IMCCE, Observatoire de Paris, CNRS, France: 1.06m-telescope
  • Moletai Astronomical Observatory, Vilnius University, Institute of Theoretical Physics and Astronomy, Lithuania: 1.65m-telescope and 35/51cm-telescope
  • Kryoneri Observatory, National Observatory of Athens, Greece: 1.2m-telescope
  • Skalnate Pleso Observatory, Astronomical Institute of the Slovak Academy of Sciences, Slovakia: 1.3m-telescope and 61cm-telescope
  • Faulkes Telescope Project, UK (accessing the Las Cumbres Observatory, LCO, global network): Two 2m-robotic telescopes, nine 1m-robotic telescopes, and ten 40cm-robotic telescopes
  • Tartu Observatory, University of Tartu, Tartu Observatory, Estonia: 1.5m telescope, 60cm telescope, 30cm robotic telescope
  • Danish 1.54m telescope at ESO La Silla Observatory (Chile), Copenhagen University, Niels Bohr Institute, Denmark: 1.54m mirror telescope
  • Beacon Observatory, University of Kent, UK: 42cm remote controllable astrograph
  • Observatorie del Teide, Instituto de Astrofisica de Canarias, Spain : 82cm IAC-80 telescope, 45cm telescope
  • Calar Alto Observatory, Junta de Andalucia and the Instituto de Astrofisica de Andalucia, Spain : 1.23m telescope
  • Lisnyky Observation Station, AO KNU, Ukraine: 70cm telescope
  • Chuguev Observatory, Institute of Astronomy of V.N. Karazin Kharkiv National University, Ukraine: 70cm telescope
  • Terskol Peak Observatory, International  Center for Astronomical, Medical and Ecological Research of the  National Academy of Sciences  of  Ukraine (IC AMER), Ukraine: 2m telescope, 60cm telescope
  • Konkoly Observatory, Research Centre for Astronomy and Earth Sciences, Hungary: 1m telescope, 80cm telescope
  • Rozhen Observatory, Institute of Astronomy and National Astronomical Observatory, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, Bulgaria: 2m telescope, 60cm telescope, 50/70cm telescope
  • Observatorio Astrofísico de Javalambre, Centro de Estudios de Física del Cosmos de Aragón (CEFCA), Spain, 80 cm telescope.

Europlanet Telescope Network:


Calar Alto Observatory. Credit: Calar Alto Observatory
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Calar Alto Observatory. Credit: Ricardo Hueso
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Skalnate Pleso Observatory. Credit: Marek Husarik
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Moletai Astronomical Observatory
Moletai Astronomical Observatory. Credit: Moletai Astronomical Observatory Archive
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1.05 m telescope at Pic du Midi Observatory. Credit: Ricardo Hueso
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Beacon Observatory at the University of Kent. Credit: University of Kent
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Locations of the telescopes in the network. Map data © Google
Infographic on Europlanet Telescope Network. Credit: Europlanet/José Utreras
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Science Contacts

Günter Kargl
Space Research Institute
Austrian Academy of Sciences
Graz, Austria

Gražina Tautvaišienė
Institute of Theoretical Physics and Astronomy
Vilnius University
Vilnius, Lithuania

Ricardo Hueso Alonso
Escuela Técnica Superior de Ingeniería
Universidad del País Vasco/Euskal Herriko Unibertsitatea

Media Contact
Anita Heward
Europlanet Media Centre
Tel: +44 7756 034243

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 project builds on a €2 million Framework 6 Coordination Action (EuroPlaNet), a €6 million Framework 7 Research Infrastructure (Europlanet RI) and a €10 million Horizon 2020 Research Infrastructure (Europlanet 2020 RI) funded by the European Commission. 

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 Society’s aims are:

  • To expand and support a diverse and inclusive planetary community across Europe through the activities of its 10 Regional Hubs
  • To build the profile of the sector through outreach, education and policy activities
  • To underpin the key role Europe plays in planetary science through developing links at a national and international level. 

Europlanet 2024 RI project website:

Europlanet Society website:   

Follow on Twitter via @europlanetmedia