Europlanet Science Congress 2020
Virtual meeting
21 September – 9 October 2020
Europlanet Science Congress 2020
Virtual meeting
21 September – 9 October 2020

Session programme


CE – Community events


Official welcome to EPSC2020, overview of the virtual meeting and look ahead to EPSC2021.

Maria Genzer, Chair EPSC2020
Maria Cristina de Sanctis, Chair Scientific Organising Committee
Anita Heward, Chair Virtual Organising Committee
Nigel Mason, President, Europlanet Society

Conveners: Anita Heward, M. Cristina De Sanctis, Maria Genzer
Mon, 21 Sep, 16:00–16:20 (CEST)

This lecture by Amelia Ortiz-Gil, organised by the Europlanet Diversity Committee, will be an opportunity to hear the speaker's story about her life in planetary sciences, her personal and professional challenges, and her work to make astronomy more accessible, both within the community and to the wider society.

Co-organized by CE
Mon, 21 Sep, 16:20–16:40 (CEST)

Life Stories: Q&A session with Amelia Ortiz Gil

Co-organized by PL
Conveners: Lena Noack, Victoria K Pearson, Arianna Piccialli, Rutu Parekh
Mon, 21 Sep, 16:40–17:00 (CEST)

Introduction by Maria Cristina de Sanctis
Presentation of Farinella Prizes 2020 by Tristan Guillot, Chair of the Farinella Prize Committee 2020

Presentation of Europlanet Prize for Public Engagement 2020 by Jose Antonio Gordillo Martorell, Chair of the Europlanet Outreach Jury 2020

Farinella Prize Lectures
- Heather Knutson (15 minutes)
- Jonathan Fortney (15 minutes)
Europlanet Prize Lectures
- Sheila Kanani - How the Solar System changed my Life (15 minutes)
- Susan Murabana and Chu Owen - The Travelling Telescope (15 minutes)

Conveners: M. Cristina De Sanctis, Jose Antonio Gordillo Martorell
Tue, 22 Sep, 16:00–16:20 (CEST)

By Prof. Nick Thomas, University of Bern

A talk about the structure of publications and paper-writing, important dos & don’ts, the range of journals in planetary and space research, impact factors, and how to not lose your motivation to publish.

Conveners: Maike Brigitte Neuland, Solmaz Adeli
Wed, 23 Sep, 16:00–17:00 (CEST)

The Europlanet Early Career Network presents the 2020 EPEC improv Science Flash.

Special circumstances require creative solutions, therefore this year’s science flash will require you to present a science topic of your choice with one amazing slide of our making … and anything within arms reach of your seat! You have exactly 180 seconds time, and you are more than welcome to derail the presentation to link it to your personal work. The three best presentations will receive a digital prize!

Everybody is welcome to join, listen and rate the entertaining presentations.
If you are an early career and want to present, it is encouraged that you register the latest one day before the event. To do so please send an e-mail with your name and your institution to Alternatively you can also decide to present last minute - as improv is in the name, spontaneity is the game.

Convener: Noah Jäggi
Thu, 24 Sep, 16:00–17:00 (CEST)

By Dr. Charlotte Götz, Postdoctoral Research Fellow at ESTEC, European Space Agency, Netherlands

Voyage 2050 is the most recent iteration of ESA’s long-term planning of science priorities. In March 2019, ESA led a Call for White Papers (, where the scientific community was asked to submit papers focusing on scientific themes that could be addressed from 2035-2050. Amongst the authors were several early career researchers. We will speak with one of them: Dr. Charlotte Götz, a research fellow at ESA/ESTEC, who is the lead author for a white paper on Cometary Plasma Science. She is also involved in the upcoming Comet Interceptor mission as a Co-I. We will learn from her how she got involved in Comet Interceptor and became a white paper lead-author. We will also discuss what it is like to be involved in these projects, from the point of view of an early career researcher.

Conveners: Hans Huybrighs, Ottaviano Ruesch, Solmaz Adeli
Fri, 25 Sep, 16:00–17:00 (CEST)

16:00-16:20 Lori Glaze (NASA)

16:20-16:30 Luigi Colangeli (Head of the Science Coordination Office - Directorate of Science, ESA)

16:30-16:40 Loredana Bessone (Directorate of Human Space Flight and Operations, ESA)

16:40-17:00 Discussion and questions from community

Convener: Angelo Pio Rossi
Mon, 28 Sep, 16:00–17:00 (CEST)

Europlanet supports evidence-based policy, informing policy makers on the scientific, industrial and socio-economic impacts of planetary science, at European and national level.

Europlanet is also engaging with the planetary science community raising awareness of political developments and encourages its engaging with policy makers and industry across Europe.The Europlanet 2024 Research Infrastructure (Europlanet 2024 RI) is the culmination of a series of projects funded by successive European Union Framework Programmes (FP6, FP7 and H2020) to build a research infrastructure integrating planetary science across the European Research Area.

The Europlanet Society, launched in 2018, structured around 10 Regional Hubs and it aims to build sustainable capacity and cascade expertise in stakeholder engagement through the European planetary community.

Europe has world-leading facilities and the largest international community of planetary scientists, comprising over 1000 tenured academics and around 5000 early career researchers spread in more than 200 research groups/ institutions. Investment by the European Union through FP6, FP7 and Horizon 2020 with over €28 million has played a vital role in building a coherent, well-networked and collaborative planetary community that can fully exploit its resources. Horizon 2020 has widened the scope of the EU’s space program and enabled the space science community to enhance return on investment in missions and facilities and strengthen European expertise.

Looking ahead to the next Multiannual Financial Framework, there is a clear opportunity for lawmakers and stakeholders to recognize the essential role of space as a strategic asset for Europe and its Member States, and raise awareness of the opportunities to fully develop and exploit the potential of European Space Programs.

Europlanet 2024 RI delivers access to virtual services and transnational access to the world’s largest collection of planetary simulation and analysis facilities. Europlanet is equally well placed within the Horizon Europe strategic objectives, focusing on industrial applications, development of digital technologies, EO services, AI and machine learning.
Europlanet strongly encourages collaborations between the planetary science community and industrial partners across Europe, in particular with SMEs and partners located in Widening Participation countries. Europlanet’s industry team is supporting the development of this programme through networking events (workshops and online meetings) to showcase successful collaborations and the associated benefits to all parties involved.

The Europlanet Industry & Policy Session aims to bring together policymakers, planetary researchers, and entrepreneurs to debate on the future of planetary and space research in Europe.

15:30 Welcome by Europlanet 2024 RI

15:35-15:40 "The Essential Role of Planetary Science and Space Exploration”
Dimitris Papadimoulis, MEP EL, EP Vice President

15:40-15:45 “Space policy and technology in broader EU policies”

15:45-15:50 “More science, less fiction”
Niklas Nienaß, MEP GE

15:50-15:55 “EU Space Policy”
Michal Spiechowicz, European Commission (DG DEFIS)

15:55-16:00 “Cooperating with SMEs - a researchers perspective”
Jörn Helbert, German Aerospace Center (DLR), Department Head Planetary Laboratories

16:00-16:05 “ESA's achievements in planetary sciences”
Fabio Favata, European Space Agency, Head of the Strategy,
Planning & Coordination Office Directorate of Science

16:10-16:15 “Geological mapping, industry and ISRU”
Angelo Pio Rossi, Jacobs University Bremen

16:15-16:20 “Supporting science exploration from the perspective of a Prime”
Laura Gatti and Giovanni Martucci, Thales Alenia Space and ALTEC

16:20-16:25 “Industry perspective in the context of data analysis”
Jeronimo Bernard-Salas, ACRI-ST

16:25-16:30 “Industry/academic collaboration on science satellites in Hungary”
Tamás Barczy, Admatis Ltd.

16:30-17:00 Debate

17:00 Close

Convener: Marcell Tessenyi
Tue, 29 Sep, 15:20–17:00 (CEST)

The General Assembly is the annual meeting of the Europlanet Society, where the Executive Board and the Executive Office will report on the activities carried out since EPSC-DPS 2019, the status of its finance and answers any questions the members may have. Representatives from the different committees of the Europlanet Society will also present their activities (Regional Hubs, Early Careers, Diversity, Industry, Outreach, and EPSC). In addition, the Europlanet 2024 RI was launched last February, and the General Assembly will also be the opportunity to introduce the project and its interactions with the Society.

Conveners: Nigel Mason, Jonas L'Haridon
Wed, 30 Sep, 16:00–17:00 (CEST)

By Alan Percy, head of counselling services at Oxford University

Keeping work and leisure time in a healthy balance can be difficult, during PhD as well as afterwards. Alan Percy, head of counselling services at Oxford University, will talk about the importance of mental health, and give hands-on tips and advices how to manage work mania and recovery times. He will also talk us through tips and needs that help our mental health and motivation during this “new normal”.

Conveners: Indhu Varatharajan, Solmaz Adeli
Thu, 01 Oct, 16:00–17:00 (CEST)

The Regional Hub structure of the Europlanet Society has been set up for a year in order to enhance cooperation in planetary science at a regional level. The regionalist approach can be more effective as hubs are very different, facing different challenges, coming up with
different solutions. This session will show some of the best success stories from 6 hubs from various areas including science, outreach and education.

Melinda Dósa (chair)
Henrik Hargitai (planetary geomorphologist, Eotvos Lorand University, Budapest, Hungary)
Joern Helbert (Institute for Planetary Research, DLR, Germany)
M.A.Lopez Valverde (Instituto de Astrofisica de Andalucia (IAA/CSIC), Spain)
Aleksandra Nina (Institute of Physics, University of Belgrade, Serbia)
Stavro Ivanovski (National Institute for Astrophysics, Italy)
Ariana Piccialli (Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy, Belgium)

Convener: Melinda Dósa
Fri, 02 Oct, 16:00–17:00 (CEST)

Outreach showcase - Art exhibition and #InspiredByOtherWorlds entries

Convener: Stavro Lambrov Ivanovski
Mon, 28 Sep, 10:40–11:00 (CEST)

Outstanding Student Poster Award and EPEC-EPSC video contest announcements

Conveners: Lena Noack, Melissa Mirino
Fri, 02 Oct, 11:20–11:40 (CEST)

Monika Lendl and Kate Isaak will be available to answer questions from the media during a dedicated webinar hosted by the Europlanet Science Congress (EPSC2020) at 15:00-15:30 CEST today (28 September).

Conveners: Anita Heward, Livia Giacomini
Mon, 28 Sep, 15:00–15:30 (CEST)