Europlanet Science Congress 2021
Virtual meeting
13 – 24 September 2021
Europlanet Science Congress 2021
Virtual meeting
13 September – 24 September 2021
Open planetary science for effective knowledge co-creation and dissemination


Knowledge creation is a collaborative process including synergies between different disciplines, communities and stakeholders. The framework of open science is also connected to the involvement of people outside academia, such as amateur societies, school students, corporate partners etc. Open science has a variety of aspects and applications. What are the efforts done in the field of planetary sciences to establish and increase openness? To what degree planetary science researchers and practitioners endeavour accessibility within the various communities - academics and non-academics? During this session these and other relevant questions will be addressed through the presentation of open planetary science projects, tools, data and platforms. Furthermore, the current status and the potential for future efforts towards an open and public planetary science scheme will be discussed. Building upon the success of the session in EPSC2020, planetary scientists, researchers and other stakeholders are welcome to present new projects and the developments of previous ones, in the context of promoting open & public science. Moreover, the session will include a discussion on the establishment of an open science forum for planetary sciences.

Convener: Anastasia Kokori | Co-conveners: Angelos Tsiaras, Julie Nekola Novakova, Caterina Boccato, Andrea Brunello, Peter Fuchs, Henrik Hargitai, Attila Jeremias Kiraly
Mon, 20 Sep, 15:10–15:55 (CEST)

Session assets

Discussion on Slack

Oral and Poster presentations and abstracts

Chairpersons: Anastasia Kokori, Caterina Boccato, Angelos Tsiaras
open and participatory science
Nicolas Manaud, Chase Million, Angelo Pio Rossi, Jérôme Gasperi, Michael Aye, Matt Brealey, Mario D'Amore, Alessandro Frigeri, Trent Hare, Emily Lakdawalla, Emily Law, Andrea Nass, and Mark Wieczorek

Introduction: OpenPlanetary, or simply "OP", is an international non-profit organisation that promotes open research in the planetary science and exploration communities: sharing ideas and collaborating on planetary research and data analysis problems, new challenges, and opportunities [1].

OpenPlanetary started in 2015 as a way for participants of the ESA’s Planetary GIS Workshop to stay connected and exchange information related to and beyond this workshop. It expanded further by playing a similar role for the second USGS-hosted Planetary Data Workshop (PDW) in 2017. OpenPlanetary has continued to support the biannual PDW and provides a more persistent forum for participants to highlight presented topics and discussions from the workshops.

In 2018, we established OpenPlanetary as a non-profit organisation (Association under 1901 French Law, [2]) in order to provide us with a legal framework to sustainably fund our community framework, projects and activities, and to better serve the planetary science community as a whole. OpenPlanetary is governed by a Board of Directors, elected for two years, which (1) define the policy and general orientation, (2) initiate, endorse, lead, or contribute to the projects and activities, and (3) can make use of the funds of the Association for any endorsed project or activity; the Bureau contains a 3-person subset of the Board members (a president, treasurer, and secretary) and serves as the executive body of the Association.

Mission: Our mission is to promote and facilitate the open practice of planetary science and data analysis for professionals and amateurs. We do so by organizing events and conducting collaborative projects aimed at creating scientific, technical and educational resources, tools and data accessible to all.

Members and Membership: With currently 300+ members across the world, OpenPlanetary membership is free and open to research and education professionals: scientists, engineers, designers, teachers and students, space enthusiasts and citizen scientists [3]. Although the early membership had a strong representation in planetary surface and mapping sciences, OpenPlanetary has expanded and is intended to serve as an “umbrella” for all communities of planetary data and tool users, producers or providers across scientific disciplines, space missions or working groups.

Collaboration Platform: Our collaboration platform mainly consists of fully-featured Slack and Github instances. OP members use OP Slack workspace to stay connected and have real-time discussions with other members [4], and are entitled to request admin rights to host and manage open source projects on OP Github organization [5].

Online Forum: We provide a public online OP Forum for research professionals and amateurs across all planetary science disciplines and communities to find help, share and discuss data, tools and resources [6]. While OP Slack is considered for the more informal discussions, the OP Forum is intended to post Q/A and discussion ”gems'' from OP Slack, or any resources that would help a broader community (eg: a short tip, a handy how-to guide or a list of curated resources), and that would benefit from having a permanent web-presence and being discoverable by search engines.

Data Cafés: Since 2017, we have organised Data Cafés at scientific conferences for people to meet, share, discuss and solve common challenges and issues related to planetary data handling and analysis. These events follow an "unconference" format allowing and encouraging anyone to propose a topic and lead a group activity (eg: demo, tutorial, hack), or simply to ask for help [7].

Online Events: Unable to continue with the in-person Data Cafés in 2020, we started hosting virtual online events: (1) OPvCon in June 2020 was our first free virtual conference, scheduled in place of the cancelled Planetary Science Informatics and Data Analytics Conference (PSIDA). It consisted of lecture-length talks from invited speakers, networking opportunities, workshops and tutorials, and a hackathon [8], and (2) since March 2020, we have hosted weekly OP Lunch Talks to present and discuss technical topics of interest to the planetary science community [9]. Most of these events are recorded and made publicly available on YouTube. They now represent a substantial collection of high-quality informational resources and training videos on diverse topics related to planetary science [10].

Community Projects: Our flagship project is OpenPlanetaryMap (OPM), an open planetary mapping and social platform and effort to foster planetary mapping and cartography on the web for all [11]. We also support PlanetaryPy, a community effort to develop a core package for planetary science in Python and foster interoperability between Python planetary science packages [12]. A number of other projects not strictly homed under the OP umbrella have arisen from collaborations fostered in OP Slack or during OP Lunch discussion sessions.

Outlook: We held our first yearly OpenPlanetary General Assembly in December 2020 [13], during which a new Board of Directors was elected. Our main focus within the next couple of years is on (1) consolidating and expanding OP Lunch and other virtual activities, (2) increasing the usage and impact of the OP Forum for all communities (eg: Planetary Spatial Data Infrastructures (SDI) communities), and (3) identifying sustainable funding opportunities.


References: [1], [2], [3], [4], [5], [6] [7], [8], [9], [10], [11], [12], [13]


How to cite: Manaud, N., Million, C., Pio Rossi, A., Gasperi, J., Aye, M., Brealey, M., D'Amore, M., Frigeri, A., Hare, T., Lakdawalla, E., Law, E., Nass, A., and Wieczorek, M.: OpenPlanetary, an “umbrella” non-profit organisation for open planetary science communities, Europlanet Science Congress 2021, online, 13–24 Sep 2021, EPSC2021-335,, 2021.

Anastasia Kokori
The ExoClock Project ( is an open, integrated, and interactive platform, designed to maintain the ephemerides accuracy of the Ariel targets. Ariel is ESA's medium class space mission prepared for launch in 2028 to study a large number of exoplanets to better understand their nature. ExoClock aims to monitor the Ariel targets and provide transit timings to increase the mission efficiency. 
In the project we use all currently available data (literature observations, observations conducted for other purposes, both from ground and space) to make the best use of resources. ExoClock is open to contributions from a variety of audiences — professional, amateur and industry partners — and it aims to continuous monitor the Ariel targets with a verified list of ephemerides. Apart from its role to support Ariel, ExoClock acts as a service by providing the verified ephemerides for further use by the wide exoplanet community. In this presentation the nature, updates and the current status of the ExoClock project will be described in detail. Moreover, the first results will be presented briefly and finally, strategies and lessons learned from the operation of the project so far will be shared with the community.

How to cite: Kokori, A.: The ExoClock Project: an open integrated and interactive platform to continuous monitor the targets of the Ariel space mission, Europlanet Science Congress 2021, online, 13–24 Sep 2021, EPSC2021-636,, 2021.

Staci Tiedeken, Andrea Jones, Molly Wasser, Caela Barry, Nikki Whelley, Sanlyn Buxner, Maya Bakerman, Emily Joseph, Andy Shaner, Julie Fooshee, Brian Day, Pamela Gay, and Vivian White

Introduction: International Observe the Moon Night is a worldwide public engagement program that has been held annually since 2010. Every autumn, we ask people to observe the Moon in whatever way makes sense to them (via binoculars, telescopes, unaided eye, images, artwork, songs, stories, etc.). The event occurs when the Moon is in or near a first-quarter phase, which provides excellent viewing opportunities along the terminator (the line between night and day), as long shadows place lunar features into great relief.

Hundreds of thousands of individuals all around the globe participate in the event as a collective whole, learning about lunar science and exploration, taking part in celestial observations, and honoring cultural and personal connections to the Moon. People participate in a variety of ways, including hosting or attending virtual or in-person events and observing the Moon from home. Participants also have the opportunity to connect with other lunar observers around the world through our Facebook page (, our Flickr group for images (, and through the hashtag #ObserveTheMoon across social media platforms.

Getting Involved: Everyone has the opportunity to be a part of this NASA program. It is incredibly easy to participate in International Observe the Moon Night – no high-tech or expensive equipment is required. Despite the challenges brought by the COVID-19 pandemic, International Observe the Moon Night 2020 still experienced strong successes, and we are now supporting virtual events more than ever before. We have also developed numerous digital resources to support hosts and individual observers alike, all of which can be found on our website,

Figure 1: International Observe the Moon Night 2020 participants at the South Pole, Antarctica (a first for the program!). Image credit: Zach Tejral,

Registration. There are multiple entryways into participating in International Observe the Moon Night. Our website contains a page dedicated to registration, where people are able to search for events that are already planned (both in-person and virtual), register their own events, or sign up as individual lunar observers. Events can be scheduled anytime in the two-week period surrounding the main International Observe the Moon Night date in order to better accommodate event hosts and participants.

Bringing Science to Local Communities. International Observe the Moon Night provides the opportunity to unite in learning about and observing the Moon and the wonders of lunar and planetary exploration. It is also a great way for scientists to share lunar science with their communities and to connect with community partners. Collaborating at the community level encourages a more diverse and inclusive environment for participants.

Figure 2: An International Observe the Moon Night 2020 event in Santos, Brazil. Image credit: Roberto Strauss (Astronomia na Rua Santos),

The present time is an especially exciting one for lunar science and exploration. With the first Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) instruments planned for launch at the end of this year, International Observe the Moon Night offers a great opportunity to discuss these missions and the future of lunar exploration. NASA’s Artemis program also continues to move forward and will land the first woman and first person of color on the Moon within the coming years.

2021 Event: Join us for the next International Observe the Moon Night on Saturday, October 16, 2021.

NASA TV Broadcast. In 2020, circumstances of the pandemic directed us to incorporate more virtual event opportunities, resulting in our first NASA TV broadcast. In 2021, we will again produce this aspect of the program, providing people around the world the ability to celebrate the event with us across multiple NASA centers. The broadcast will likely feature science talks, hands-on activity demonstrations, and live Q&A via social media.