Europlanet Science Congress 2021
Virtual meeting
13 – 24 September 2021
Europlanet Science Congress 2021
Virtual meeting
13 September – 24 September 2021
Diversity and Inclusiveness in Planetary Sciences


The benefits of diversity and inclusiveness in the scientific community are incontrovertible. Following the success of previous years, this session aims to foster debate within the planetary sciences community about the reasons behind under-representation of different groups (gender, cultural, ethnic origin and national) and best practices to make the research environment more inclusive identifying and addressing barriers to equality.

We invite abstracts focusing on: under-representation (gender, cultural, ethnic origin and nationality biases) supported by statistics and data; outreach and education activities to reach broad and diverse audiences, best practices to support inclusiveness; and case studies on mentoring and bias-concerned activities. Data and initiatives related to COVID are strongly encouraged.

Convener: Arianna Piccialli | Co-conveners: Lena Noack, Andrea Opitz
Tue, 21 Sep, 14:20–14:50 (CEST)

Session assets

Discussion on Slack

Oral and Poster presentations and abstracts

Chairpersons: Arianna Piccialli, Lena Noack, Andrea Opitz
Rosa Doran and Priscila Doran

The world of education has many pillars that are equally important but the acceptance of the human nature and the understanding of what it entails is probably the most basic one. We educate students so they can thrive in their profession at a later stage in their lives. We try to empower little brains to embrace their passion and enhance their skills. But we often forget the importance of diversity and inclusion, which are the basic secret of being human. There is no life without diversity and inclusive environments. So where do we start? Well, by ensuring that education is built strongly build upon these pillars, by promoting an inclusive education where all talents and preferences are properly addressed and nurtured. We address these pillars by ensuring that diversity is accepted as normal and something that should be integrated in all learning stages. Empowering educators with the necessary tools to embed these notions in their lessons is key. In this presentation we aim to show to the audience a few efforts we have been lately involved where we use the Universal Design for Learning, Design Thinking and STEAM methodologies to improve the competence profile of educators.

We are currently supporting educators from all over the world to cope with the contingencies brought by COVID-19. The lack of digital skills, the need for the integration of innovative methodologies in classroom and the openness of schools for the community they serve is not something new. The current pandemic just brought to light the urgent needs. We are combining components of projects like Reflecting for Change, InSteam, ASSESS, Polar Star and Global Science Opera for Schools to empower them with the necessary tools and resources. Teachers are being invited to rethink the way they present knowledge content, to avoid stereotypes, to embrace diversity as a normal part of their lessons and to ensure inclusion is present at every stage of their interaction with the students.  A summary of this effort will be presented in this talk.

How to cite: Doran, R. and Doran, P.: Diversity and Inclusion in Education, Europlanet Science Congress 2021, online, 13–24 Sep 2021, EPSC2021-874,, 2021.

Marina Molla

In this paper we aim to showcase the story of the participation of the 5th grade of the 9th Primary School of Komotini in the inspiring and inclusive “EPSC goes live for schools” and the art contest “Inspired By other Worlds”.

1. Introduction
The 9th Primary School of Komotini is an urban school located in the outskirts of the city which is in the region of East Macedonia and Thrace, in the north-eastern part of Greece. Almost half of the students come from marginalized settlements of the city and belong to the Muslim minority of Thrace. Their school attendance is irregular and results in the creation of gaps in their cognitive skills and to the gradual reduction of their self-expression, classroom participation, self-confidence and self-esteem. These are followed by their marginalization and alienation in the classroom and the school community and eventually often lead to school dropout.   

2. Teaching Approach
Thus the aim of the school and the teacher of the 5th grade is to offer inclusive education which is the most effective way to give all children a fair chance to go to school, learn and develop the skills they need to thrive and value the unique contributions students of all backgrounds bring to the classroom and allow diverse groups to grow side by side, to the benefit of all [1].

3. Classroom Context
The classroom consisted of 13 5th graders, 9 boys and 4 girls. Three of the students were students with special needs. There is an assistant teacher in the classroom for one of the students while the other two also attend the special needs class of the school.

4. Procedure
The announcement of the participation of the 5th grade in “EPSC goes live for Schools” and the art contest “Inspired By other Worlds” was received with enthusiasm from the students and the parents.  The presentation of the relative video excited them and intrigued their curiosity. In the classroom under the guidance of their teacher students posed questions, inquired and discussed about the importance of Scientific Congresses, Scientists and their Research and in specifically of Europlanet Science Congress and the value of opening its doors to schools and giving them the opportunity to take a glimpse of how contemporary science is done. The EPSC2020 web platform was presented and students navigated through it. The plan of the live events, the short description of the workshop and the introduction of the speakers were translated and printed from the “Handbook for (participating) teachers”. The Space Scoop platform which is a collection of the latest space news from astronomical organizations was used to get familiarized with the topic of each live event and the relative terminology. Arrangements were made so that the class could stay at school after school’s closing time in order to participate in the live events which exceeded the opening time of the school. Each live talk was anticipated with great excitement and rewarded by the welcoming and inspiring host and speakers who embraced and motivated the students with the inspirational presentations and the interaction between them. The students were engaged during the whole process. They would take notes, write down their questions and make sketches of what they saw. During the presentations their questions were posted in the chat box of the webinar or in the YouTube channel. When the first answers were posted the got so excited that they started to applause. So even the shy and reluctant students started to ask questions and not only in the chat box but live in the last section of the event for questions in English and in Greek when the speaker was Greek. Very soon their questions did not only concern the topic but the speakers also whom the students saw as role models. After receiving their answers they started to perform little victory dances full of joy and enthusiasm and the rest of the class would applaud. The fact that when introducing themselves the speakers would also go back to their school ages and talk about their favorite subjects, their school performances, their favorite movies, comics and hobbies and their dreams and how they got to make them get true, made the students connect with them and feel honored. Furthermore, the positive climate and the multicultural and multilingual context of the events enhanced their self-esteem and self-confidence. After each live event the students created paintings and drawings in the classroom and collaboratively in the school’s art workshop with the teacher of the classroom, the assistant teacher and the special needs teacher.      

5.  Creative outcome
Four paintings were created collaboratively and twenty seven by the students themselves for the art contest “Inspired By Other Worlds”. “EPSC goes live for Schools” inspired the 5th graders with our wonderful and diverse Universe which managed to include all the students and make them feel part of “Our Universe” which was the title they chose themselves.  

6. Discussion
“EPSC goes live for Schools” enhanced, empowered and inspired the young children of the 5th grade. Every live event was the talk of the School. Parents discussed about the excitement of their children. One mother told the teacher that her child’s attitude toward physics (which is introduced as a subject in Greece in the 5th grade) changed positively after  participating in the events. Finally, seeing their artworks in the relative gallery and being awarded the 3rd Prize in Public vote and a Special Recognition for excellent School Group in an excellent award ceremony was as they said an “unforgettable and amazing experience”.    

I would like to acknowledge the “EPSC goes live for Schools” and “Inspired By other Worlds” Teams.

[1] UNESCO (2005b) Guidelines for Inclusion: Ensuring access to education for all Paris: UNESCO, p.13

How to cite: Molla, M.: EPSC goes live for Schools for inclusion, Europlanet Science Congress 2021, online, 13–24 Sep 2021, EPSC2021-865,, 2021.

Amelia Ortiz-Gil and Jordi Burguet-Castell

Since 2011 our group at the University of Valencia Astronomical Observatory has been developing tactile 3D models of planetary bodies in order to make planetary sciences more accessible to all publics, in particular, blind or visually impaired people.

The first model we produced was a tactile globe of the Moon, that was kindly funded by Europlanet through its annual call for funding outreach projects[1]. The model was produced through a rather lengthy and laborious process that involved using four different kinds of software.

The tactile Moon was so successful that we started a whole project - called “A Touch of the Universe” - with the goal of developing tactile astronomical resources for outreach and education, in particular, the creation of planetary 3D tactile models[2] (Fig.1).

The larger number of 3D models that we wanted to produce, together with our wish to allow other researchers to be able to produce their own tactile globes, inspired us to develop a quick, easy-to-use software for everyone to enjoy: “Mapelia and friends” [3].

Mapelia is a tool written in Python that uses as input jpg or png files that contain maps (that is, gridded datasets where the value of each pixel is the elevation) in any of the following projections: equirectangular, Mercator, central cylindrical, Mollweide or sinusoidal. The output of the program is a 3D file (of polygons like .ply or .stl, or points in space like .asc), that can be visualized and manipulated with programs like MeshLab or Blender.

Mapelia is accompanied by its “friends” guapelia, pintelia, poligoniza, stl-split and smooth, which add some other functionalities to Mapelia. In particular, guapelia is a GUI to use mapelia and pintelia converts maps into coloured 3D images.

The software has allowed us to make the tactile 3D models of Mars (Fig.2), Mercury, Venus (Fig. 3) and, more recently, the Earth (Fig. 4).

The software is freely available for downloading from the “A Touch of the Universe” website ( and Github.


This work has been funded by the project PID2019-109592GB-100/AEI/10.13039/501100011033 from the Spanish Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación - Agencia Estatal de Investigación.

[1] Ortiz-Gil, A. (2018) “3D Tactile Moon”, in Proceedings of the EPSC 2018, Berlin (Germany),
[2] A Touch of the Universe,
[3] Ortiz-Gil, A. & Burguet-Castell, J. (2018) “Mapelia and friends: create 3D models from maps”,
Journal of Open Source Software -2475-9066, 3, 25, 660-661. doi: 10.21105/joss.00660

Fig. 1. The tactile Moon is now part of a larger kit of tactile resources for the blind and visually impaired. Credit: A Touch of the Universe