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

Session programme


MITM – Missions, Instrumentation, Techniques, Modelling

Programme group coordinators: Olivier Witasse, Olga Prieto-Ballesteros


This session will highlight planetary science and space mission concepts based on small satellites in the class of NanoSat, MiniSat and planetary SmallSats. Recent advances in small platforms make it possible for small satellites, including CubeSats, to be considered as independent or complementary elements in planetary exploration missions, for example the small probes as part of the Hayabusa 2 mission and Hera mission. Presentations on Deep Space Planetary CubeSats, e.g. the small satellites accompanying the new F-class ESA mission Comet Interceptor and those selected or proposed for the NASA SIMPLEX program are welcomed. Concepts for future mission may either be an augmentation to larger missions or as stand-alone missions of their own. We encourage presentations on new Planetary science mission architectures and associated technologies, as well as dedicated instrumentation that can be developed for these applications.

Convener: John Robert Brucato | Co-conveners: Marilena Amoroso, Patricia Beauchamp, Vincenzo Della Corte, Simone Pirrotta

Together with the recent Discovery and New Frontiers missions’ selections, a good number of ESA, JAXA, ISRO .. planetary missions and flight instruments are either in development or have been proposed and in review. Mission or instrument leads and/or team members are encouraged to present their missions or instruments for wider community awareness, lessons learned or for fostering future collaborations. Abstracts on concept planetary missions and instruments can also be considered for this session

Convener: Brook Lakew | Co-conveners: Olivier Mousis, Geronimo Villanueva, Stephanie A Getty, David H. Atkinson, Sami Asmar, Daniele Durante, Silvia Tellmann, Axel Hagermann, Nicholas Attree, Günter Kargl, Mark Paton

The global nature of the interaction of our heliosphere and the Local Interstellar Medium (LISM) remains one of the most outstanding space physics problems of today. Voyager 1 and 2 are nearing their end of operations well inside of 200 AU and have uncovered a completely new regime of physical interactions. Anomalous Cosmic Rays (ACR) are not accelerated at the Termination Shock as anticipated, the force upholding the heliosheath against the LISM has eluded the in-situ measurements, significant shielding of Galactic Cosmic Rays (GCRs) appears in an extremely thin boundary layer at the Heliopause (HP), UV observations reveal a surprisingly dense wall of neutral hydrogen outside of the heliosphere, and the entire magnetic topology even well beyond the HP goes against all previous expectations. At the same time, IBEX and Cassini have obtained complementary “inside-out” ENA images of the heliospheric boundary region that cannot be fully explained.
An Interstellar Probe through the boundaries of the heliosphere, in to the LISM would be the first dedicated mission to venture into this largely unexplored frontier of space. With a dedicated suite of in-situ and remote-sensing instrumentation, such a probe would not only open the door for this new regime of space physics, but would also send us back the very first images from the outside of the global structure of the heliosphere that, in context with the in-situ measurements, would enable a quantum leap in understanding the global nature of our own habitable astrosphere. Traveling beyond the HP would offer the first sampling of the properties of the Local Interstellar Cloud and interstellar dust that are completely new scientific territories. As such, an Interstellar Probe would represent humanity’s first step in to the galaxy and become the furthest space exploration ever undertaken.
Relatively modest contributions from the Planetary Sciences and Astrophysics would offer historic science returns, including a flyby of one or two Kuiper Belt Objects, first insights in to the structure of the circum-solar dust disk, and the first measurements of the Extra-galactic Background Light beyond the obscuring Zodiacal cloud.
Although the idea of an Interstellar Probe has been discussed and studied since 1960, the lack of propulsion technologies and launch vehicles have presented a stumbling block to realize these concepts. With recent developments of conventional launch vehicle and kick stages, this bottleneck is being removed. Several international ongoing studies are developing realistic mission concepts using available or near-term technology, including the Pragmatic Interstellar Probe Study funded by NASA, the Interstellar Heliopause Probe project in Europe, and a study of dual probes to the boundaries of the Heliosphere under the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
This session welcomes discussions on the current state of understanding and outstanding science questions that could be addressed by missions to the LISM, and reports on realistic design concepts, enabling technologies, and programmatic challenges.

Convener: Michel Blanc | Co-conveners: Pontus Brandt, Pascale Ehrenfreund, Kathleen Mandt, Merav Opher, Robert F. Wimmer-Schweingruber, Olivier Witasse, Qiugang Zong

This session welcomes abstracts addressing all aspects of ice giant systems including (but not limited to) the internal structure of the ice giants, the composition, structure, and processes of and within ice giant atmospheres, and ice giant magnetospheres, satellites, and rings. We also welcome interdisciplinary talks that emphasise the cross-cutting themes of ice giant exploration, including the relationship to exoplanetary science and the connections to heliophysical studies. The session will comprise a combination of solicited and contributed oral and poster presentations on new, continuing, and future studies of the ice giant systems and the connection of the ice giants to our current understanding of planetary origins, both in our solar system and around other stars. We welcome papers that
• Address the current understanding of ice giant systems, including atmospheres, interiors, magnetospheres, rings, and satellites including Triton;
• Advance our understanding of the ice giant systems in preparation for future exploration, both remote sensing and in situ;
• Discuss what the ice giants can tell us about solar system formation and evolution leading to a better understanding of the current structure of the solar system and its habitable zone as well as extrasolar systems;
• Address outstanding science questions requiring future investigations including from spacecraft, remote sensing, theoretical, and laboratory work necessary to improve our knowledge of the ice giants and their relationship to the gas giants and the solar system;
• Present concepts for missions, instruments, and investigations to make appropriate and useful measurements of the ice giants and ice giant systems.

Co-organized by MITM
Convener: David H. Atkinson | Co-conveners: Sushil Atreya, Thibault Cavalié, Leigh Fletcher, Mark Hofstadter, Kathleen Mandt, Olivier Mousis

The emphasis of the session is on all aspects of the conditions in the Sun, solar wind and magnetospheric plasmas that extend the concepts of space weather and space situational awareness to other planets in our Solar System than Earth, and in particular to spacecraft that travel through it. Abstracts on space- and ground-based data analysis, theoretical modeling and simulations of planetary space weather are welcomed. The description of new services accessible to the research community, space agencies, and industrial partners planning for space missions and addressing the effects of the environment on components and systems are also strongly encouraged. This session will also summarize the planetary space weather services developed during Europlanet RI H2020 as well as introduce the future ones to be developed by the Sun-Planet Interactions Digital Environment on Request Work Package during Europlanet RI H2024.

Co-organized by TP/OPS
Convener: Nicolas André | Co-conveners: Sae Aizawa, Andrea Opitz

Modern space missions, ground telescopes and modeling facilities are producing huge amount of data. A new era of data distribution and access procedures is now starting with interoperable infrastructures and big data technologies. Long term archives exist for telescopic and space-borne observations but high-level functions need to be setup on top of theses repositories to make Solar and Planetary Science data more accessible and to favor interoperability. Results of simulations and reference laboratory data also need to be integrated to support and interpret the observations.

The Virtual Observatory (VO) standards developed in Astronomy may be adapted in the field of Planetary Science to develop interoperability, including automated workflows to process related data from different sources. Other communities have developed their own standards (GIS for surfaces, SPASE for space plasma, PDS4 for planetary mission archives…) and an effort to make them interoperable is starting.

Planetary Science Informatics and Data Analytics (PSIDA) are also offering new ways to exploit the science out of planetary data through modern techniques such as: data exploitation and collaboration platforms, visualisation and analysis applications, artificial intelligence and machine learning, data fusion and integration supported by new big data architecture and management infrastructure, potentially being hosted by cloud and scalable computing.

We call for contributions presenting progresses in the fields of Solar and Planetary science databases, tools and data analytics. We encourage contributors to focus on science use cases and on international standard implementation, such as those proposed by the IVOA (International Virtual Observatory Alliance), the OGC (Open Geospatial Consortium), the IPDA (International Planetary Data Alliance) or the IHDEA (International Heliophysics Data Environment Alliance), as well as applications linked to the EOSC (European Open Science Cloud) infrastructure.

Conveners: Christophe Arviset, Baptiste Cecconi | Co-conveners: Sébastien Besse, Angelo Pio Rossi

Geologic mapping is of key importance for planetary exploration, lander/rover mission target selection and planning and in situ characterization of landing sites and roving traverses.

The large heterogeneous base of data recently collected by planetary missions can now be analysed using an integrated approach, embedding traditional morphostratigraphic mapping with spectral units differentiation and three-dimensional geologic modelling, at multiple scales. In addition Virtual Reality can be effectively used as a tool for retrieving data essential for in situ geological maps.

International collaborative efforts for geologic mapping and 3D geological reconstructions can be tied to the new Europlanet infrastructure.

The session welcomes inputs on scientific mapping use cases, mapping-focused data fusion and integration, as well as tools and workflows that can specifically aid the planetary geologic mapping process, including 3D geo-modelling and VR activities.

Conveners: Francesca Altieri, Matteo Massironi, Andrea Nass, Angelo Pio Rossi

The EPSC symposium "Open Lunar Science & Innovation” will address:
- Celebrating the legacy of Apollo and Luna programmes after 50 years
- Recent lunar results: geochemistry, geophysics in the context of open planetary science and exploration
- Synthesis of results from Clementine, Prospector, SMART-1, Kaguya, Chang’e 1, 2 and 3, Chandrayaan-1, LCROSS, LADEE, Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, Artemis and GRAIL
- First results from Chang'E 4, Chandrayaan2,
- Goals and Status of missions under preparation: orbiters, Luna25-27, SLIM, , Commercial landers, Chang'E 5 and Lunar sample return missions, Future cargo landers,
- Precursor missions, instruments and investigations for landers, rovers, sample return, and human cis-lunar activities and human lunar surface sorties (Artemis and others)
- Preparation for International Lunar Decade: databases, instruments, missions, terrestrial field campaigns, support studies
- ILEWG and Global Exploration roadmaps towards a global robotic/human Moon village
- Strategic Knowledge Gaps, and key science Goals relevant to Lunar Global Exploration
- The Moon Village with the goal of a sustainable human and robotic presence on the lunar surface as an ensemble where multiple users can carry out multiple activities.
- The Moon for planetary science, life sciences, astronomy, fundamental research, resources utilisation, human spaceflight, peaceful cooperation, economical development, inspiration, training and capacity building.
- How a laboratory on the Moon should be equipped to be useful for a variety of disciplines, including geology, biology, and chemistry
- How can the Moon Village serve as a stepping stone for exploration of Mars and planetary bodies even further away?
- Historical, societal, humanistic aspects of lunar exploration

Lunar science and exploration are developing further with new and exciting missions being developed by China, the US, Japan, India, Russia, Korea and Europe, and with new stakeholders.

Co-organized by MITM
Convener: Bernard Foing | Co-convener: Joana S. Oliveira

This merged MITM12-13/TP13 session (co-sponsored by space agencies, ILEWG EuroMoonMars & IAF ITACCUS) will cover the preparation for future missions and sustainable outposts in deep space, Moon and Earth . It will be interdisciplinary , open to new stakeholders towards Moon and Mars Villages, and include subsessions:
1) Future instruments for deep space and lunar science
NASA, ESA, JAXA, ISRO, KARI and other Agencies have active Lunar science instruments programs and concepts. The Artemis and the Gateway programs have also generated a new drive to develop Lunar surface science instruments and technology demonstrations. Ahead of the human return to the Moon, commercial landers are expected to deliver science packages to the Lunar surface as early as 2021. Teams of Instruments already selected for flight as well as concept being developed are encouraged to submit abstracts and get feedback from the wider community.

2) Sustainable outposts for deep space, Moon and Mars.
We invite contributions on various uses of Moon, Mars and planetary outposts : science, technology, international cooperation, resource utilisation, economic development, human/robotic partnership, innovation, inspiration, education, entertainment, tourism, culture and societal benefits. We invite scientists, engineers, designers, architects, astronauts, research agencies, industries from (new) space and non-space to participate. We shall also discuss habitats projects for analogue simulations such as MDRS, HiSeas, LunAres, IgLuna, ESA Luna, MAMBA, EMMIHS, ILEWG EuroMoonMars.

Co-organized by TP
Convener: Bernard Foing | Co-conveners: Brook Lakew, Mehdi Benna, Lynn Carter, Tilak Hewagama, Sabrina Kerber, Marc Heemskerk, Anna Sitnikova

The NASA DART and the ESA Hera missions will allow performing the first complete asteroid deflection test by a kinetic impact, including the full characterization of the target and the impact outcome. The development of these missions is supported by a large number of activities in terms of modeling (impact process, dynamics, physical properties), instrumentation, close proximity operations and data analyses. In parallel, the inventory and spectral properties of Near-Earth Objects from Earth and from space (NEOSM) will progress substantially. This session welcomes contributions related to those fascinating topics.

Co-organized by MITM
Convener: Patrick Michel | Co-conveners: Andy Cheng, Julia de Leon, Michael Küppers, Holger Sierks

The space exploration of small Solar System bodies has provided major breakthroughs in our understanding of Solar System formation and evolution and their links with free-sample delivered meteorites.  While the two sample return missions to asteroids, Hayabusa 2 and OSIRIS-REx, are ongoing, a few missions have been selected by ESA (Comet Interceptor), NASA (Lucy, Psyche), JAXA (MMX), and CNSA (ZhengHe) space agencies for a launch in this decade. For the long-term, ESA is preparing its next planning cycle « Voyage 2050 », and the next NASA decadal survey for Planetary Science will be issued in 2022.
In this framework, we welcome contributions about future space missions to asteroids and comets, in terms of both science and technology. This includes both missions and instruments in development, and concepts of future missions, or instruments. We invite contributions regarding the preparation, studies, and expected results from future sample return missions, including concepts for sampling methods, cryogenic aspects, curation facilities, and analysis tools.

Co-organized by MITM/EXO
Conveners: Dominique Bockelee-Morvan, Josep Maria Trigo-Rodríguez | Co-conveners: Eleonora Bianchi, John Robert Brucato, Mathieu Choukroun, Marco Delbo, Xian Shi, Colin Snodgrass

Description: Remote sensing of Solar System objects such as planetary atmospheres, comets and asteroids, or the space between them, relies largely on the analysis of the solar light scattered by dust particles and clouds. Polarization is an invaluable tool for obtaining information on the physical properties (size, shape, and composition) and location of the scattering particles in the corresponding atmosphere.
The aim of this session is to bring together observers, modelers, and experimental physicists to discuss the most recent results and advances in the characterization of dust particles by their spectro-polarimetric pattern.

Convener: Olga Muñoz | Co-conveners: Fernando Moreno, Antti Penttilä, A.Chantal Levasseur-Regourd, Oleksandra Ivanova, Ludmilla Kolokolova, Paolo Tanga