Europlanet Science Congress 2021
Virtual meeting
13 – 24 September 2021
Europlanet Science Congress 2021
Virtual meeting
13 September – 24 September 2021
EPSC Abstracts
Vol. 15, EPSC2021-407, 2021, updated on 21 Jul 2021
European Planetary Science Congress 2021
© Author(s) 2021. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Educational Resources for EPN24 Planetary Field Analogue Sites

Tony Thompson
Tony Thompson
  • Thompson STEM Engagement (

The Europlanet 2024 Research Infrastructure (RI) provides free access to the world’s largest collection of planetary simulation and analysis facilities. The project is funded through the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 programme and runs for four years from February 2020 until January 2024. The Transnational Access (TA) programme supports all travel and local accommodation costs for European and international researchers to visit over 40 laboratory facilities and 6 Planetary Field Analogues (PFA) [1].

As part of the education and inspiration tasks associated with Europlanet 2024 RI, we have produced classroom resources aimed at age 10-14 year olds relating the conditions found within the PFA sites to astrobiology and the habitability of Mars.

These resources have been produced around all PFA sites:

  • Rio Tinto River (Spain)
  • Iceland Field Sites (Iceland)
  • Danakil Depression (Ethiopia)
  • Kangerlussuaq Field Site (Greenland)
  • Makgadikgadi Salt Pans (Botswana)
  • Andes (Argentina)

These resources link in with common areas found in worldwide STEM curriculums, such as volcanism, pressure, pH and evaporation. To achieve this, we have filmed lab-based demonstrations and included them in a classroom lesson plan alongside teachers' notes. In addition, each lesson plan focuses on how the conditions of the PFAs could affect the habitability of Mars.

An Italian version of the resources has been produced by EduINAF with the addition of brief video-lessons.  English versions were released on a weekly basis from mid-March through April with opportunities for training sessions to support teachers wishing to engage with these resources.

Following studies such as Salimpour et al 2020 [2], highlighting the extent to which astronomy has been incorporated into school curriculums, we have chosen to highlight three subject areas with lower representation in high schools into our resources: physics, space exploration and astrobiology.

As these analogue sites can be linked to more planetary bodies than just Mars, our next steps are to create similar resources based around the habitability of the icy moons of the Solar System.

How to cite: Thompson, T.: Educational Resources for EPN24 Planetary Field Analogue Sites, European Planetary Science Congress 2021, online, 13–24 Sep 2021, EPSC2021-407,, 2021.