Europlanet Science Congress 2021
Virtual meeting
13 – 24 September 2021
Europlanet Science Congress 2021
Virtual meeting
13 September – 24 September 2021

Session programme


MITM – Missions, Instrumentation, Techniques, Modelling

Programme group coordinators: Colin Wilson, Sébastien Besse


This merged session welcomes a broad range of presentations about future missions and instrumentation, and has a particular focus on small satellites. 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, DART and Hera mission. Presentations on Deep Space Planetary CubeSats, e.g. the small satellites accompanying the 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.

Co-organized by TP/OPS/SB
Conveners: Patricia Beauchamp, John Robert Brucato | Co-conveners: Marilena Amoroso, Vincenzo Della Corte, Iaroslav Iakubivskyi, Simone Pirrotta, Michel Blanc, Manuel Scherf, Thomas Smith

This merged 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, Intl Moonbase Alliance HI-SEAS, LunAres, IgLuna, ESA Luna, MAMBA, EMMIHS, ILEWG EuroMoonMars.

Convener: Bernard Foing | Co-conveners: Marc Heemskerk, Sabrina Kerber, Agata Kolodziejczyk, Tai Sik Lee, Michaela Musilova, Roxana Perrier, Henk Rogers, Carol Stoker

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 Europlanet/VESPA (Virtual European Solar and Planetary Access) 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.

Convener: Baptiste Cecconi | Co-conveners: Sébastien Besse, Andrea Nass

Geological maps on Earth are planar representations of a territory showing the composition and the ages of rocks and deposits at its surface, and from which it is inferable its geological evolution as well as the related subsurface structure and lithology. On planetary bodies geological maps can not yet be so complete in terms of compositional information as geological maps on Earth and are still a compromise between geomorphological and a geo-stratigraphic mapping, but remain essential in planetary exploration programs, being crucial for science investigation, targeting observation strategies, safe landing and rovering, exploration of in situ resources, astronaut’s safety, planning of stable settlements, identification of sites of astrobiological interest.
The large and heterogeneous data-sets recently collected by planetary missions can now enable the embedding of traditional morphostratigraphic mapping with spectral units, three-dimensional geologic modelling as well as the use of virtual environment for detailed field analysis. Besides the geological mapping on remotely sensed data is the detailed mapping of analogue field sites which can be essential for a better geological interpretation of planetary data at different scales.
To be prepared for the exponential increase of planetary missions in the years to come is needed an International collaborative efforts for geologic mapping and 3D geological reconstructions that can be tied to the USGS heritage and the new Europlanet infrastructure.

The session welcomes inputs on scientific mapping use cases on planetary surfaces and earth analogues, mapping-focused data fusion and integration, as well as tools and workflows for planetary geologic mapping, 3D geo-modelling and VR activities.

Convener: Matteo Massironi | Co-conveners: Valentina Galluzzi, Andrea Nass, Monica Pondrelli, Claudia Pöhler, David Williams, Sébastien Besse

Due to an increasing amount of data from a continuously increasing number of spacecraft in our solar system, new frameworks for rapidly and intelligently extracting information from these data sets are needed. Machine learning provides such a framework for tackling a wide range of research questions in planetary sciences.
Machine learning approaches could improve existing models, creating computationally efficient algorithms for feature classification and regression problems, e.g. solar wind time series data, planetary surface images or hyperspectral data.

We encourage submissions dealing with machine learning approaches of all levels in planetary sciences. In this session, we aim to provide an overview of the current efforts to integrate machine learning technologies into data driven space research and to highlight state-of-the art developments.

Conveners: Ute Amerstorfer, Mario D'Amore, Sahib Julka, Angelo Pio Rossi, Hannah Theresa Rüdisser

In the latest years, many spacecraft missions operating in the Solar System are collecting data from the many regions of the heliosphere, sensibly increasing the scientific return of each mission, and providing additional opportunities for synergistic data acquisitions from environments and conditions that are different from each mission’s original baseline science operation plan.
In addition, coordinated observations among different spacecraft is allowing to perform valuable investigations of the heliosphere from different point of view at the same time; thereby addressing many aspects of plasma processes related to the Sun, as well as the interactions of the solar wind and radiation with the planetary environments.
A bright example is the Venus atmosphere and magnetosphere investigations recently performed by BepiColombo, Parker Solar Probe and Solar Orbiter during their flybys around the planet, as well as their coordination with Akatsuki spacecraft orbiting around Venus itself, and with other spacecraft during their cruise measurements and with space and Earth-based telescope observations made jointly.
In this session, we welcome contributions to any kind of planetary and Solar System investigations made by space missions during their cruise and flybys operations. They may include the present flybys to Earth and Venus by BepiColombo, Solar Orbiter and Parker Solar Probe, but also future flybys investigations that will be made by future missions (i.e. JUICE); lessons learnt from past flybys to other planets such as the Rosetta flyby to Mars, the Earth and Venus flybys from Cassini or the legacy of the flybys to the Giant planets made by the Voyager missions.

Co-organized by OPS/MITM
Convener: Valeria Mangano | Co-conveners: Lina Hadid, Kandis Lea Jessup, Yeon Joo Lee, Beatriz Sanchez-Cano, Yannis Zouganelis

A great wealth of knowledge of our Moon stems from sampling and observing its surface. This session aims to attract a variety of scientific contributions addressing lunar surface processes and (mega)regolith evolution in terms of geology, geochronology, geophysics, geodynamics, geochemistry, numerical modeling, and remote sensing.

In addition, 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. This session will address open lunar science and innovation:

- 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, Chang'E 5 , Chandrayaan2,
- Goals and Status of missions under preparation: orbiters, CLPS, Luna25-27, SLIM, Commercial landers, Lunar sample return missions, Future cargo landers, EL3
- Precursor missions, instruments and investigations for landers, rovers, sample return, and human cis-lunar activities, Gateway, and human lunar surface sorties (Artemis and International Lunar Base)
- Next 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 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
- Historical, societal, humanistic aspects of lunar exploration

Co-organized by MITM
Conveners: Bernard Foing, Tiantian Liu | Co-conveners: Philipp Gläser, Wajiha Iqbal, Thomas Kruijer, José Luis Mesa Uña, Joana S. Oliveira, Stephanie C. Werner

Mars research community has seen an exceptional growth this year, with the unprecedented presence of 11 missions observing the planet simultaneously. The aim of this session is to share the knowledge and experience gained by all Mars missions, in operations and development, including the 3 new missions arrived this year.

We welcome contributions from any field of Mars science and exploration, in particular latest scientific results and instrument overviews, to promote synergies among the various exploration programmes in Europe and worldwide. This includes the latest results from all operational orbiters (Mars Express, ExoMars TGO, Odyssey, MRO, MAVEN, Mangalyaan/MOM, Tianwen-1, Hope) and surface assets (MSL, Insight, Mars2020, Tianwen-1), plus any operational and technical developments in preparation for the new missions (ExoMars RSP, MMX, Mars Sample Return, etc).

Co-organized by MITM
Convener: Alejandro Cardesin-Moinelo | Co-conveners: Gerhard Kminek, Patrick Martin, Colin Wilson, Claire Newman, Elliot Sefton-Nash, Håkan Svedhem, Dmitrij Titov, Jorge Vago

Exoplanets are being discovered in large numbers thanks to recent and ongoing surveys using state-of-the-art instrumentation from the ground and from space. In the next years, new astronomical instruments will further scout our Galaxy to overcome the current observational biases in the search of alien worlds, to gain a deeper understanding of the chemical and physical properties of both exoplanets and their environments, and to unveil the processes of formation and evolution of planets and their atmospheres.

The goal of this session is to bring together the instrumentation and observational communities that are underpinning the future of this field. Contributions are invited to review ongoing programmes of exoplanet and circumstellar discs discovery and characterisation, to update on the progress of planned instrumentation programmes, and to present innovative ideas for future instrumentation.

Co-organized by MITM
Convener: Camilla Danielski | Co-conveners: Elodie Choquet, Paul Eccleston, Enzo Pascale, Subhajit Sarkar

The characterisation of exoplanets is among the most active and rapidly advancing fields in modern astrophysics. An increasing number of observing techniques have enabled the characterisation of exoplanet system properties and provided access to the planetary atmospheres (chemical composition, thermal state and dynamics). Recently, combined analyses using different types of observations have outperformed the standard approaches, e.g. enabling precise constraints on the chemical abundances and elemental ratios in their atmospheres, or measurements of both the star and planet spin-orbit angles.

The goal of this session is to inspire the cooperation between specialised teams to overcome the limits of the fragmented data analyses and to break degeneracies in their interpretation. Contributions are invited to present new methods and/or analyses that combine different kind of observations for comprehensive exoplanet characterisation.

Co-organized by MITM
Convener: Giuseppe Morello | Co-conveners: Camilla Danielski, Pierre-Olivier Lagage, Lisa Nortmann, Enric Palle, Fei Yan

The space exploration of small Solar System bodies has provided major breakthroughs in our understanding of Solar System formation and evolution. Now that the Rosetta comet rendezvous and landing has passed and the Hayabusa 2 and OSIRIS-ReX sample return missions have finished their operations at the target asteroids, it is time to prepare future space mission for small bodies exploration. This session calls for presentations of the upcoming missions by ESA (Hera, Comet Interceptor), NASA (DART, Lucy, Psyche), JAXA (DESTINY+, MMX), and CNSA (name to be determined).
Contribution about mission and instrument concepts for the more distant future are invited as well.

Co-organized by MITM
Convener: Michael Küppers | Co-conveners: Tomoko Arai, Andy Cheng, Gianrico Filacchione, Harold Levison, Jean-Baptiste Vincent, Xiaojing Zhang

The exploration of the outer solar system by Galileo at Jupiter, Cassini-Huygens at Saturn, New Horizons at Pluto-Charon and Dawn at Ceres, has revealed that several icy worlds harbor subsurface salty liquid reservoirs underneath their cold surface. By flying through the icy-vapor plume erupting from Enceladus' south pole, Cassini proceeded for the first time to the analysis of fresh materials coming from an extraterrestrial ocean, revealing its astrobiological potentials. Even if there is no direct evidence yet, similar oceanic habitats might also be present within Europa, Ganymede, Titan and Triton, which will be characterized by future missions currently under development (JUICE, Europa Clipper, Dragonfly), or under study (Europa Lander, Trident, Enceladus orbiter/lander mission). Understanding these icy ocean worlds and their connections with smaller icy moons and rings requires input from a variety of scientific disciplines: planetary geology and geophysics, atmospheric physics, life sciences, space weathering, as well as supporting laboratory studies, numerical simulations, preparatory studies for future missions and technology developments in instrumentation and engineering. We welcome abstracts that span this full breadth of disciplines required for the characterization and future exploration of icy world systems.

Co-organized by MITM
Convener: Gabriel Tobie | Co-conveners: Carly Howett, Alice Lucchetti, Frank Postberg, Federico Tosi

This session will cover all aspects of ice giant (IG) systems including (but not limited to) the atmospheric structure and composition, magnetospheres, interiors, satellites, and rings of the IGs. Interdisciplinary, crosscutting themes of ice giant planet exploration, such as the relationship to exoplanetary science and connections to heliophysics are also included in the session. 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 importance of the ice giants to models of the formation and evolution of the giant planets and solar systems. We welcome abstracts 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 by 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 of missions, instruments and investigations relevant to future exploration of the ice giant planetary systems.

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

This session focuses on the environments of outer planet moons: their atmospheres, ionospheres, plumes, aurora, magnetic fields, magnetospheric environments and moon-magnetosphere interactions. Abstracts on all outer planet moons are welcome, including the moons of Saturn and Jupiter (e.g. Enceladus, Titan, Io, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto) and the less explored moons of Uranus and Neptune (e.g. Oberon and Triton).
Suggested topics include but are not limited to: atmospheric/ionospheric structures and compositions, plume detections and simulations, surface charging, auroral radio emissions, moon-magnetosphere interaction (e.g. wave-particle processes, particle acceleration, MHD turbulence), variability in the field and particle environments of the moons, opportunities and limitations of future JUICE and Europa Clipper measurements.
We welcome abstracts addressing the environments of outer planet moons from all disciplines, including in-situ and remote sensing data analysis, modeling and simulation results, ground-based observations and Earth-orbit-based observations. Relevant abstracts include results from past and current missions, such as Voyager, Galileo, Cassini-Huygens, Hisaki, and Juno, and studies in preparation for future missions such as JUICE and Europa Clipper.

Co-organized by MITM
Convener: Mika Holmberg | Co-conveners: Aljona Blöcker, Hans Huybrighs, Ronan Modolo, Oleg Shebanits, Ali Sulaiman

Towards the end of this decade, ISRO, NASA and ESA plan to send four missions to Venus. The first three demonstrate new technologies and address specific science questions. The fourth, EnVision, is different. Taking its cue from Earth Observation and Mars exploration, EnVision seeks to understand Venus ‘in the round’: how geologically active is Venus today, and what does that mean for the cycling of volatiles – especially water and sulphur dioxide – between the interior, atmosphere and clouds? What lessons does Venus hold for understanding Earth-sized planets generally? EnVision will inform our answers with a complementary suite of instruments designed to provide a holistic picture of our closest neighbour.

Co-organized by MITM
Convener: Colin Wilson
Mon, 20 Sep, 14:20–14:50 (CEST)

Scientific exploration and discoveries at the Moon enable learning about the origin of planetary bodies and life, and our position in the cosmos. The Moon also provides a potential first economic sphere beyond Earth and Low Earth Orbit (LEO) and could provide a first-off world location for sustained living to learn about the Solar System, prepare for future onward exploration and to help with addressing present day challenges on Earth.

ESA is contributing to and preparing for lunar science exploration over the coming decades, bringing together the vision and strong science and technological expertise of the European lunar community. A focus of the presentation will be updating on the findings and progress being made by ESA and its Member States in preparation for science at, on and from the Moon. Such preparations aim to address key outstanding science questions across multiple science fields and addressing the challenges for the next generation of sustained and responsible human and robotic exploration.

Key activities include science payload contributions to the upcoming first NASA CLPS flights, development studies of a European Large Logistic Lander (EL3) for lunar surface access and tools for crewed geological exploration. Several science mission themes and associated payload suite development studies are currently exploring: lunar In situ resource utilisation (ISRU) demonstration; prospecting for local resources at lunar polar regions and investigating the volatile history of the Moon; utilising the Moon as a natural laboratory to understand its surface-space environment and to investigate physical, geological and biological processes and effects under lunar conditions; utilising the radio-quiet lunar farside as a platform for observing the cosmos in the low-frequency range.

Co-organized by MITM
Convener: Sébastien Besse
Tue, 21 Sep, 09:50–10:20 (CEST)