Europlanet Science Congress 2022
Palacio de Congresos de Granada, Spain
18 – 23 September 2022
Europlanet Science Congress 2022
Palacio de Congresos de Granada, Spain
18 September – 23 September 2022
Tools, resources and opportunities for education initiatives in planetary science and astronomy


Tools, resources and opportunities for education initiatives in planetary science and astronomy
Convener: Alessandra Zanazzi | Co-conveners: Federica Duras, Ulysse Pedreira Segade, Livia Giacomini
| Wed, 21 Sep, 15:30–17:00 (CEST)|Room Andalucia 1
| Attendance Thu, 22 Sep, 18:45–20:15 (CEST) | Display Wed, 21 Sep, 14:00–Fri, 23 Sep, 16:00|Poster area Level 2

Session assets

Discussion on Slack

Orals: Wed, 21 Sep | Room Andalucia 1

Chairpersons: Alessandra Zanazzi, Federica Duras
Alvaro Folhas

Since the first decade of the 21st century, UNESCO, the European Commission, the OECD, in addition to several other international organizations, have shown great concern regarding the growing disinterest of young people in scientific areas, thus compromising the future of scientific careers (UNESCO, 1999; NRC, 1996; Report, 2007; Rocard, et al., 2007; European Commission, 2008). The speed with which the contemporary world changes requires the School to reformulate paradigms and practices, in order to respond to the challenges and needs of our times. In this context, it is urgent to promote interdisciplinary strategies, capable of developing research and critical thinking skills, and of preparing students for the demands of contemporary society. But how should we operationalize these measures for real?

The use of Astronomy in Education, considering the fascination that this area of ​​knowledge raises and the availability of natural resources, in addition to its interdisciplinary nature, presents itself as an important tool for Education. The fact that astronomy is present in our daily lives and brings together a huge variety of knowledge from different disciplinary areas (from Science to Humanities, passing through Art) opens the way to the development of a myriad of activities and educational projects aligned not only with the curricula of different disciplines, but also mobilizing several areas of knowledge and multiple scientific competences and soft-skills. It is therefore important to bring to the field good practices about hands-on and mind-on astronomy activities.

The good practices that I will share are the result of my own experience with Portuguese students, ranging from simple experiences using traditional school supplies, or materials that can be produced by the students themselves, to experiences using robotic telescopes, in which the student puts himself in the shoes of true scientists, to initiatives that promote scientific literacy in the community where the school is located.

Activities such as the Eratosthenes Project, for the determination of the Earth's perimeter, are an excellent example of an activity that, without involving costs, shows the power of human genius mobilizing knowledge of Geography, Physics, Mathematics, History, Arts, of ICT. Students are challenged to determine the size of the Earth just with a stick and knowledge. More than a challenge for the students, it is a challenge for the School in the way it will have to organize itself in a project that involves several disciplines. It will be the advent of a School that needs to reinvent itself, using greater plasticity and interdisciplinarity. The use of sunlight, and the shadows produced by it, can provide a whole variety of experiences that essentially involve concepts of Physics, Mathematics and Geography from the apparent movement of the Sun. The determination of the solar diameter by projection of sunlight through a pinhole using a DiY device that allows varying the distance from the pinhole to the target allows working mathematical concepts associated with the representation and graphical analysis of functions with an experimental basis, such as working with the concept of errors experiments and a way to correct them, something fundamental in Physics and Chemistry.

In addition to these experimental activities, School has an obligation to break down its walls and get closer to the community in which it operates, promoting events open to the public in which the scientific literacy of these communities is enriched. At Escola Secundária Marques Castilho (Águeda, Portugal) we promote an activity called “from my school I see the Universe”. Students from a secondary school class were mobilized to carry out a small project which resulted in an exhibition that was open to the public at the Municipal Library of Águeda. This activity was further enhanced with a Lecture with scientist (Dr. João Fernandes of University of Coimbra) and astronomical observation sessions with portable telescopes, both open to the community. This is another way of changing School, bringing it closer to the community and providing other forms of public service.

But School through Astronomy also enables a new approach: Teaching Science by doing Science: An example of this are the initiatives we have participated in, such as the use of robotic telescopes in real time, in the classroom. Access to the telescope constellations of the LCO/Faulkes Telescope Project network and the Liverpool Telescope of the National Schools' Observatory, or the “EU-Hands on Universe” radiotelescope network, allows a very high level of motivational and scientific experience to students. In 2016 I worked with a group of students, at a Science Club, studying the supernova SN2016adj in Centaurus A. With the collaboration of the Faulkes Telescope Project, we followed the depletion of the supernova over time, recording, measuring magnitudes and tracing light curves using SalsaJ and Excel spreadsheets. It was an unforgettable experience in which the students felt their self-esteem rise, feeling that they were discovering something still unknown. It was an unforgettable experience in which the students felt their self-esteem rise, feeling that they were discovering something still unknown. This feeling is important to bring to school. Something similar happens to students who participate in asteroid research campaigns.

A simple observation session with robotic telescopes, in real time, can represent an experience of enormous interdisciplinarity, working on concepts of Chemistry related to the electronic transitions of atomic hydrogen (HAlpha), to the structures of vision for the perception of color in Physics am Biology fields, time zones against the location of the telescope in use for Geography, CCD technology, among many other subjects that can be explored.

NUCLIO, together with several other partners, are developing activities for schools in Projects such as LaSciL, CliC-PoLiT, Open Teach, Design-CT, and others projects with teacher training to use Space and Astronomy, associating teaching methodologies by Inquiry and Project Based Learning, for schools interested in embracing new approaches that point the way to the future.

How to cite: Folhas, A.: Astronomy: a way to interdisciplinarity in Science Teaching, Europlanet Science Congress 2022, Granada, Spain, 18–23 Sep 2022, EPSC2022-1154,, 2022.

Brian Day and Emily Law

Introduction:  The addition of new data products, new tools, and new portals has significantly expanded the utility and capabilities of NASA’s Solar System Treks ( as a valuable suite of tools facilitating Solar System education, engagement, and inspiration among learners of all ages. This presentation reports on new developments, provides examples of the project’s STEAM utilizations, and looks ahead to future developments and applications.

An Integrated Suite for Solar System Data Visualization and Analysis:  NASA's Solar System Treks Project (SSTP) online portals provide web-based suites of interactive visualization and analysis tools to enable mission planners, planetary scientists, students, and the general public to access mapped data products from past and current missions for a growing number of planetary bodies. These portals are being used for site selection and analysis by NASA and its international and commercial partners supporting upcoming missions. The portals offer great benefits for science, technology, engineering, art, and math (STEAM) education and public outreach, providing access to data from a wide range of instruments aboard a variety of past and current missions. As a component of NASA's Science Activation Infrastructure, they are available as resources for NASA STEAM programs, and to the greater STEAM community. As new missions are planned to a variety of planetary bodies, these tools facilitate public understanding of the missions and engage the public in the process of identifying and selecting where these missions will land.

As of early 2022, 11 web portals in the program are available to the public. This expanded list includes portals for the Moon; the planets Mercury, Venus, and Mars; the asteroids Bennu, Ryugu, Vesta, and Ceres; and the outer moons Titan and Europa. The Icy Moons Trek portal features seven of Saturn’s smaller icy moons. All of the portals are unified under a project home site with supporting engagement content. As web-based toolsets, the portals do not require users to purchase or install any software beyond current web browsers.

Latest Additions and Enhancements:  Two new portals were released in 2021 as were some new tools that were available to the general user.

Europa Trek Portal.  As both the Europa Clipper and JUICE missions continue to progress toward their upcoming launches, SSTP released a new portal for Jupiter’s moon, Europa. The initial release features the Europa Voyager - Galileo Blend Color Mosaic as its basemap. Also included is the Europa Voyager - Galileo SSI Global Mosaic 500m v2. Future additions will include high-resolution regional data from Galileo.

Venus Trek Portal.  With NASA’s announcement in 2021 of its selection of the DAVINCI+ and VERITAS Discovery missions to Venus, SSTP developed and released the new Venus Trek portal. The initial release of the portal features a variety of Magellan mission SAR data. The portal will promote understanding of the surface features of Venus and provide an important and timely enhancement to the Solar System Treks suite’s capabilities for comparative planetology.

New Tools Available to General Users. A new capability augmenting engagement activities was added to the Moon and Mars portals in 2021. The “Country Mover” Tool allows a user to select any state in the U.S. or country in the world, and overlay, drag, and drop a scale outline of that entity on top of the surface of the Moon or Mars. This allows members of the public to better appreciate the true sizes of features on other worlds by being able to directly compare them to local examples with which they are familiar.

SSTP’s new Data Plotter tool provides both tabular and graphical representations of pixel values for a growing number of raster data products.

Diverse Applications Among Diverse Audiences: The Solar System Treks capabilities supporting the mission planning and planetary science communities are reported elsewhere [1]. Here, we give some examples of its STEAM utilization among diverse audiences.

Solar System Treks portals are in use by high school students conducting studies guided by researchers through the LPI’s ExMASS program. One example, in which students examined potential fluvial features on Vesta was presented at the 2021 joint NASA Exploration Science Forum (ESF)/European Lunar Symposium [2]. Additional current student studies include examination of key features of interest for upcoming lunar exploration.

Diverse audiences of K-12 students continue to be engaged through presentations and workshops for teachers and for students. These have included locations and audiences in diverse locations including Silicon Valley, the Navajo Nation, Hawaiian Homeland Schools, Japan, South Korea, and many more.

Engagement in The Age of Artemis: In 2022, a new generation of lunar surface exploration missions is scheduled to begin through NASA’s Artemis program. In advance of Artemis’ human missions, robotic missions through Artemis’ Commercial Lunar Payloads Services (CLPS) initiative will begin lunar landings this year. SSTP’s Moon Trek portal is an outstanding tool for the public to become familiar with our proposed lunar landing sites, learn about what makes these sites so interesting, and prepare to follow along as these missions unfold. We will continue to add new data products to the Moon Trek portal to better engage the public in the adventure of Artemis.

Future Enhancements: New portals for additional planetary bodies are in development including Earth and Mars’ moon Phobos. New capabilities to support citizen science are also being planned.

Acknowledgments: The authors would like to thank NASA’s Science Mission Directorate’s Science Engagement and Partnerships Division and Planetary Science Division, as well as NASA’s Human Exploration Operations Directorate for their support and guidance in the continuing development of the Solar System Treks Project.

References: [1] Law E. S. and Day B. H. (2020) Lunar Surface Science Workshop, 2020, 5080. [2] Daneman D. et al. (2021) Joint NASA Exploration Science Forum and European Lunar Symposium 2021.

How to cite: Day, B. and Law, E.: Expanding the horizons of education and public engagement with NASA’s Solar System Treks, Europlanet Science Congress 2022, Granada, Spain, 18–23 Sep 2022, EPSC2022-179,, 2022.

Stijn Calders, Hervé Lamy, Mieke Sterken, Karolien Lefever, Katrien Kolenberg, Michel Anciaux, and Hans Coeckelberghs

MOMSTER (MObile Meteor STation for Education & outreach) has developed a Meteor Education Kit as a resource for STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics) teachers in secondary schools. This kit includes a mobile radio meteor station consisting of a dedicated antenna and radio receiver, as well as an educational package to learn all about meteors and their impact on the atmosphere and the planet as a whole, while at the same time conveying a fascination for the ephemeral beauty and complexity of these natural light shows. The project goals are stimulating STEAM (ultimately resulting in nudging future career choices towards science or engineering career paths) and the use of citizen science (especially the Radio Meteor Zoo initiative on the online citizen science platform Zooniverse) at schools, and reaching the general public.

The development of educational resources builds upon preliminary experiences we gained by participating in an Erasmus+ project called BRITEC (Bringing Research into ThE Classroom), in which teachers and pupils participated in the Radio Meteor Zoo activity. The following educational resources are available in Dutch and French on the MOMSTER website (

  • Geography: relationship between comets and meteors
  • Arts: infographics & science-based art
  • Mathematics & IT: calculation of distances using Pythagoras’ theorem and working with a spreadsheet

More teaching materials are currently under development, especially about mathematics (geometry used to retrieve the meteoroid’s path) and geography (meteorites in Antarctica).

How are inclusion issues taken into account?

The project manager having a physical disability, we are well aware and acknowledge the challenges people with disabilities face. The developed material will be accessible for them. Moreover, the fact that the data are also made audible in real time opens up the experience and the data interpretation to people with visual disabilities.

Bringing the device to the schools is, within this context, also a unique opportunity to more easily get in contact with youngsters who would otherwise get less chances to do so (children with a disability or living in underprivileged families, boys as well as girls), and the art component may attract students who initially lack STEM interests. The design of our concept implies an increased potential to reach those who are often missed.

What innovative methods of science education can help to promote teaching and dissemination of science, and involve the schools?

Space and atmospheric science are STEM disciplines par excellence, involving various science fields (physics, mathematics, chemistry, biology, geography, engineering, ...). As a subject triggering the imagination, the “study of shooting stars and meteor showers" has the potential to raise interest in STEM disciplines and increase science information retention by linking with art and citizen science, both in formal and informal education. We foster collaborations with teachers from secondary schools to boost interest in the science behind these phenomena.

How to cite: Calders, S., Lamy, H., Sterken, M., Lefever, K., Kolenberg, K., Anciaux, M., and Coeckelberghs, H.: MOMSTER, a Europlanet-funded STEAM education project, Europlanet Science Congress 2022, Granada, Spain, 18–23 Sep 2022, EPSC2022-443,, 2022.

Daniel Le Corre, Anita Heward, Ulysse Pedreira-Segade, Giacomo Nodjoumi, Angelo Rossi, and Javier Valencia

Currently in its piloting phase, the EXPLORE Junior Lunar Data Challenge will give early secondary school students the opportunity to develop their scientific knowledge and problem-solving skills by investigating real space data taken by satellites of the Moon’s surface. The range of activities aim to give young pupils an understanding of the fields of lunar exploration and machine learning (and the potential careers linked to them) by conducting engaging, curriculum-linked, hands-on tasks in the classroom.

The 2022 EXPLORE Lunar Data Challenges ( are the first in a series of data challenges planned by EXPLORE, a project funded through the European Union’s Horizon 2020 programme. The EXPLORE project is an international consortium of 8 partners with expertise in a range of different technologies and space sciences. The goal of EXPLORE is to develop new tools that will enable and promote the exploitation of space science data, and to develop a user community for these services, aided by the EXPLORE Data Challenges.

2022’s EXPLORE Lunar Data Challenges will be split into separate, but closely linked, Senior and Junior events. Both Challenges have a particular focus on the Moon, with the Senior Lunar Data Challenge’s task being to detect hazardous and scientifically-interesting lunar surface features for a hypothetical rover mission. Meanwhile, the Junior Lunar Data Challenge will provide easy-to-implement activities and on-demand educational material to teachers in order to engage young students in both planetary and computer science. The Junior Lunar Data Challenge will also be open to any school internationally who wishes to take part.

Teachers will be provided with all of the necessary materials for running this challenge, which will be designed in consultation with teachers to be simple and in-expensive to implement into lessons. The intention is for teachers to be able to choose from a range of activities those that they feel will engage their pupils most. The main focus of these activities is to introduce pupils to the concept of machine learning and how it is a crucial tool for analysing large amounts of data - particularly lunar/space data. Schools will also be able to submit their pupils' work for a chance to win prizes.

In this poster for the Europlanet Science Congress 2022 we present the initial feedback from schools about their experience with the EXPLORE Lunar Data Challenge. This is with a view to sharing lessons learned and incorporating them into plans for the next set of challenges in 2023.

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 101004214.

How to cite: Le Corre, D., Heward, A., Pedreira-Segade, U., Nodjoumi, G., Rossi, A., and Valencia, J.: Inspiring the Next Generation of Space and Planetary Scientists: The 2022 EXPLORE Junior Lunar Data Challenge., Europlanet Science Congress 2022, Granada, Spain, 18–23 Sep 2022, EPSC2022-982,, 2022.

Olga Muñoz, Karolien Lefever, Emilio García, Daniel Guirado, Lucie Lamort, Stephanie Fratta, Arianna Picialli, Teresa Jardiel, Nathalie Kalb, and Ann C Vandaele

RoadMap (ROle of and impAct of Dust and clouds in the Martian AtmosPhere: from lab to space)
is a H2020 project led by a consortium of European scientific institutions which aims to improve
our multidisciplinary understanding of the Martian atmosphere. The topics investigated by
RoadMap will ensure that a large public will be reached and questions related to life emergence and
space exploration will be addressed. The key audiences for our project are the scientific and
education community, the specialized public, the general public (including students) and the media;
local and national geographical groups.
Raising awareness about Mars, Space Exploration, Solar System and ESA activities among
teachers, students and general public is an important objective of the RoadMap Communication,
Education and Public Outreach plan. We will present some of the EPO activities/tools developed in
RoadMAp. Such is the case e.g. of Mars in a box an educational project aiming to introduce
European secondary school students to fundamental science through cutting-edge research on Mars.
Mars in a box combines the classic "experiment box" format with the power of online applications
and the excitement of accessing, visualising and managing scientific data from cutting-edge space
missions and ground-based laboratories, as well as the possibility of contacting professional
researchers in the field of planetary science.
The RoadMap consortium is composed of the Royal Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy
(BIRA-IASB, Belgium), Aarhus University (AU, Denmark), the Duisburg & Essen
University (UDE, Germany), the Instituto de Cerámica y Vidrio (ICV-CSIC, Spain), and the
Instituto de Astrofísica de Andalucía (IAA-CSIC, Spain) belonging to the Spanish Research
Council (CSIC).

How to cite: Muñoz, O., Lefever, K., García, E., Guirado, D., Lamort, L., Fratta, S., Picialli, A., Jardiel, T., Kalb, N., and Vandaele, A. C.: The science of Mars today for the scientists of Mars tomorrow, Europlanet Science Congress 2022, Granada, Spain, 18–23 Sep 2022, EPSC2022-589,, 2022.

Sandra Benitez Herrera, Juan Angel Vaquerizo, Miguel Perez Ayucar, Beatriz Gonzalez, and David Gonzalez Lopez-Tercero

CESAR (Cooperation through Education in Science and Astronomy Research) is a joint educational initiative between ESA (European Space Agency), INTA (Spanish National Institute for Aerospace Technology) and ISDEFE (Spanish state-owned consulting and engineering Company). Its main goal is to engage school students with STEM disciplines through the wonders of the Universe. The CESAR programme offers teacher training courses on Astronomy and Planetary Science topics to provide hints and inspiration for the use of space in school lessons to European educators and allow them to interact with scientists and experts too. These trainings had to be fully adapted to a virtual format due to the pandemic caused by the Covid-19 in a very short time scale. 

Moreover a complete set of online activities, the so-called Space Science Experiences (SSE), was develop during this period for primary and secondary schools, providing them with different educational resources, such as: online labs, virtual tours, access to scientific data from ESA space missions, proposal of experiments…all within the inquiry-based learning framework.

In this talk we will explain the process of design, development and classroom application of the on-line SSEs and present the lessons learned and success from this virtual approach.


How to cite: Benitez Herrera, S., Vaquerizo, J. A., Perez Ayucar, M., Gonzalez, B., and Gonzalez Lopez-Tercero, D.: The CESAR project during the COVID pandemic, Europlanet Science Congress 2022, Granada, Spain, 18–23 Sep 2022, EPSC2022-69,, 2022.

Display time: Wed, 21 Sep 14:00–Fri, 23 Sep 16:00

Posters: Thu, 22 Sep, 18:45–20:15 | Poster area Level 2

Chairpersons: Ulysse Pedreira Segade, Livia Giacomini
Livia Giacomini, Edward Gomez, Giulio Mazzolo, and Gwen Sanderson

AstroEDU is an open-access platform for peer-reviewed science education activities. Founded in 2013 by Pedro Russo and Edward Gomez, today AstroEDU is an open-access  platform supported by the International Astronomical Union (IAU) where educators can find a selection of the best science activities, particularly those with an astronomical, earth or space science focus.

A simple web search for an astronomy education activity will yield many results, yet the quality of, relevance and how current the results are, is unclear.  AstroEDU seeks to address this disparity between quality and quantity of astronomy education activities through the process of peer-review.  Each activity receives a review from a professional educator and professional scientist, to review the educational and scientific content in a constructive manner. The published activities are then published in online repositories, so the activities can achieve the maximum reach.

In 2022 astroEDU has 2 language editions (English and Italian), each with their own editor in chief and editorial board, with a total of more than 80 activities that have been selected and published. The aim of this talk is to encourage the community to create activities or review existing activities to fit into the astroEDU activity template, and to give guidance about reviewing astroEDU activities.

How to cite: Giacomini, L., Gomez, E., Mazzolo, G., and Sanderson, G.: astroEDU, IAU open-access platform for peer-reviewed Educational Activities, Europlanet Science Congress 2022, Granada, Spain, 18–23 Sep 2022, EPSC2022-1028,, 2022.

Tony Thompson and Rosie Cane


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 24 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)

Puna Plateau (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 PFA’s could affect the habitability of Mars.


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 which are currently in production are the creation of similar resources based around the habitability of the icy moons of the Solar System.


References: [1] The Europlanet Society, TA1 Planetary Field Analogues (PFA). Available at: [2] Salimpour, S., Bartlett, S., Fitzgerald, M.T. et al. The Gateway Science: a Review of Astronomy in the OECD School Curricula, Including China and South Africa. Res Sci Educ (2020).


Acknowledgement: Europlanet 2024 RI has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 871149.

How to cite: Thompson, T. and Cane, R.: Educational Resources for EPN24 Planetary Field Analogue Sites, Europlanet Science Congress 2022, Granada, Spain, 18–23 Sep 2022, EPSC2022-612,, 2022.

Ulysse Pedreira Segade, Anita Heward, and Federica Duras

In recent years, the education and outreach teams in the Europlanet 2024 Research Infrastructure (RI) project, the Europlanet Society’s Outreach Working Group and the Europlanet Early Careers (EPEC) network have developed a number of resources to support teaching of science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics (STEAM) subjects. We have created, tested, and published hands-on planetary science activities, ready-to-use astrobiology lessons, science education illustrations, etc, and we have also worked in collaboration with partner institutions and networks to run activities. In 2020 and 2021, we co-organised an educational programme linked to the virtual Europlanet Science Congress (EPSC) called ‘EPSC Goes Live for Schools’ in partnership with Lecturers Without Borders, Scientix and Frontiers.

We have now consolidated a database of all available resources and developed a plan for the successful and sustainable dissemination, use and improvement of these resources. This presentation will cover the strategy we have implemented.

On one hand, we will discuss the advantages and limitations of following a traditional top-down approach centred on using active communication channels in planetary science education. We have worked on creating a unified communication campaign that uses the diversity of topics tackled in order to guide users through our whole database of resources.

On the other hand, we will present the parallel bottom-up approach we have implemented, which focuses on building a supportive, inclusive and sustainable community around our resources. We will show the results of a consultation aimed at teachers and science communicators in order to understand their needs and identify gaps and bottlenecks in the planetary science education landscape at the European level. Based on this consultation, we are aiming to create a dynamic group of teachers, planetary scientists and science engagement practitioners who will work as users, content creators, peer-reviewers, translators of our activities, being a sustainable basis for the wide dissemination and access to our resources.

Finally, in order to learn from these approaches, we will present some preliminary results regarding the implementation of evaluation metrics throughout these steps.

Europlanet 2024 RI has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 871149.

How to cite: Pedreira Segade, U., Heward, A., and Duras, F.: A dual approach for the successful dissemination, use and improvement of educational resources in planetary science., Europlanet Science Congress 2022, Granada, Spain, 18–23 Sep 2022, EPSC2022-491,, 2022.

Catherine Regan and Priya Patel

The UK is currently playing a key role in the development of Mars Exploration, with scientists and engineers working on many current and upcoming missions such as the European Space Agency’s Mars Express satellite (2003 – present) and the upcoming Rosalind Franklin Rover (launch TBD). The camera onboard the Rosalind Franklin Rover was designed, built and tested at the Mullard Space Science Laboratory, part of University College London, in Surrey, England. The rover was also assembled at Airbus in Stevenage. These facts are not well known to the public in the UK, and our public engagement project, Eyes on Mars, aims to increase awareness of UK’s involvement in progressing Mars science and with this, promote STEM education in UK. We received funding from the Science and Technology Facilities Council’s Public Engagement Sparks Award and the Royal Astronomical Society education and outreach grant.

To accomplish this, Eyes on Mars has two main foci – a social media campaign and providing resources to be used in classrooms, youth groups and at home. The social media campaign will showcase short and informal snippets of information that highlights Mars facts and various space careers. It will also include interviews of diverse individuals from across Europe that are in the space sector, specifically, highlighting their paths into STEM careers.

Furthermore, Eyes on Mars has put together a selection of free resources that are available to download or given to participating schools to carry out science curriculum activities in class. We have provided various education videos, worksheets and activity plans, including making your own filter wheel similar to the filter wheel onboard the Rosalind Franklin Rover. All materials for this craft activity are provided by the Eyes on Mars team, and are sent out to schools or groups across the UK. 

Having both come from state-schools in the UK, and not being in the ‘top-set’ for science at school, Catherine Regan and Priya Patel are now PhD students in planetary physics, researching Mars. Both have been told at some point during their education that they weren’t “clever enough” for a career in science, and are now both working on space missions with NASA and the European Space Agency. We want to use Eyes on Mars to be role models for those that may not think they can succeed in science, and to highlight the different possibilities there are for a career in space, especially in the UK.

How to cite: Regan, C. and Patel, P.: Eyes on Mars - Increasing Awareness of UK based Mars Exploration, Europlanet Science Congress 2022, Granada, Spain, 18–23 Sep 2022, EPSC2022-515,, 2022.

Alfredo Escalante Lopez, Ricardo Valles, and Christophe Arviset

Introduction: The ESA SPICE Service (ESS) based at the European Space and Astronomy Center (EASC) provides ESAs Solar System Exploration missions ancillary data and geometry information to the science community and to the science ground segments in the shape of SPICE data. Most of this data is three-dimensional, and its interpretation and visualization is one of the challenges faced by the ground segments that operate the spacecrafts and the scientists that study its data. Science Observations and contextual Data analysis of Planetary missions can be naturally accommodated into 3D visualizations. Virtual Reality (VR) brings an unprecedented level of interaction possible with these visualizations, and emerging VR platforms such as Oculus VR, Google Cardboard or Samsung Gear VR are making these technologies accessible to the wide public. VR might become in the near future, not only a tool for outreach and data visualization, but also a key part for spacecraft science operators, becoming a key element of the ground segments.

The ESA SPICE Service:  The ESA SPICE Service (ESS) leads the SPICE operations for ESA missions. The group generates the SPICE Kernel Datasets (SKDs) for missions in development (JUICE, ExoMars 2022, Hera, Comet-Interceptor, and EnVision), missions in operations (Mars Express, ExoMars 2016, BepiColombo, and Solar Orbiter) and legacy missions (Venus Express, Rosetta and SMART-1). ESS is also responsible for the generation of SPICE Kernels for INTEGRAL. Moreover, ESS provides SPICE support Kernels for Gaia and James Webb Space Telescope. ESS also provides tools for the exploitation of the SPICE Kernels, consultancy and support to the Science Ground Segments of the planetary missions, the Instrument Teams and the science community. The access point for the ESS activities, data and latest news can be found at the following site ESS works in partnership with NAIF.

Virtual Reality Applications: Examples of applications of these technologies in operations are already available: the Mars rovers, especially Curiosity have embraced VR and Augmented Reality techniques (some applications are publicly available such as (Access Mars). New mission concepts such as recently selected Dragonfly (a NASA rotorcraft lander for Titan) have already started to develop operation concepts based on VR. Another example of a successful VR application is ESASky [2]. ESASky is a science driven discovery portal developed at ESAC providing full access to the entire sky as observed with Space astronomy missions that has VR extensions and capabilities.

VR for Solar System Exploration: This contribution aims to describe the first steps of delivering advanced functionalities for VR tools created to access Solar System geometry, with particular emphasis on visualization of the science observations carried out by the ESA Planetary fleet on the Solar System (Mars Express, ExoMars2016, BepiColombo, Solar-Orbiter, Rosetta, SMART-1, JUICE, etc.). The functionalities will also include advanced functionalities for navigation and data selection in a VR space through peripherals like Oculus Touch.

References: [1] Acton C. (1996) Planet. And Space Sci., 44, 65-70. [2] Merin, B. et al., (2015) ESA Sky: a new Astronomy Multi-Mission Interface.

How to cite: Escalante Lopez, A., Valles, R., and Arviset, C.: Solar System Exploration with Virtual Reality, Europlanet Science Congress 2022, Granada, Spain, 18–23 Sep 2022, EPSC2022-9,, 2022.

Ruth-Sophie Taubner, Philippe Nauny, Alessia Cassaro, Nina Kopacz, Lena Noack, Hayk Palabikyan, Silvana Pinna, Alex Price, and Hector A. Stavrakakis

Introduction: Astrobiology Graduates in Europe (AbGradE, pronounced ab-grad-ee) is an association of early-career scientists working in fields relevant to astrobiological research. Conceptualized in 2013, it was initially designed as a mini-conference dedicated to early-career researchers (ECAs) in a more relaxed environment than that of traditional conferences. Our meetings act as a networking opportunity, as well as a practice round and steppingstone for ECAs entering the world of academic research.

Audience & topics engaged: Our audience is mostly composed of graduate students and post-doctoral fellows, but not only: undergraduates, senior scientists, and researchers from different disciplines with a strong interest in astrobiology are also welcome to attend our meetings. The topics engaged at our events, both symposia and workshops, naturally include the obvious themes related to astrobiology, and go beyond them by delving into social sciences and humanities (e.g., an online Space law and governance meeting in 2021). Specific workshops were organized on more practical issues like science communication, space mission design, networking, and navigating post-graduate research. Other issues, like mental health in a research context, are also considered for future editions.

Collaborations: AbGradE has been involved in astrobiology schools, such as the EANA International hydrothermal spring school. As the spiritual daughter organization of EANA, AbGradE maintains strong ties with it while developing on its own into an organization by ECAs, for ECAs, in a similar fashion to how AbGradCon operates. Over the years, AbGradE also teamed up with other organizations, like the European Astrobiology Campus (EAC), the European Astrobiology Institute (EAI), and the Europlanet Early Career (EPEC) Network.

Online presence: In the spirit of the “work from home” attitude prevalent during the COVID-19 pandemic, AbGradE has attempted to provide more online resources. Apart from moving meetings online, we have built a website and sent out a quarterly newsletter to keep ECAs engaged, and to encourage a sense of community during the lockdown-ridden time of the pandemic.

Scope: Within the last couple of years, AbGradE became the first point of call for European, but also for an increasing number of non-European ECAs, especially with the recent development of online resources. This presentation aims to present how AbGradE has evolved over the years (in its structure and in its way of organizing events), how it has adapted with the COVID-19 pandemic, and what future developments are considered.

How to cite: Taubner, R.-S., Nauny, P., Cassaro, A., Kopacz, N., Noack, L., Palabikyan, H., Pinna, S., Price, A., and Stavrakakis, H. A.: Astrobiology Graduates in Europe: Actions and Perspectives, Europlanet Science Congress 2022, Granada, Spain, 18–23 Sep 2022, EPSC2022-1132,, 2022.

Cai Stoddard-Jones, Paul Roche, Helen Usher, Richard Miles, Tony Angel, Ben Wooding, and Sam Wooding

CC is now expanding to provide resources to meet the needs of CfW and the Welsh language. CfW was first implemented in September 2021, shifting the educational focus from content-based learning to skills-based learning, giving teachers more freedom regarding the contents of their lessons. This brings in novel complications, like the difficulty of preparing educational and stimulating lessons while also including the required skills. CC aims to solve these problems by supplying teachers with a variety of easy-to-follow lesson plans, encompassing a range of required key skills.

As part of CC, students can experience the whole ‘astronomical research process’, from planning when to obtain observations, to requesting the capture of images using the Faulkes Telescope Project (FTP) to access the Las Cumbres Observatory robotic telescope network, to analysing their images and plotting the results. The data are also used by pro-am astronomers to analyse the objects for their own research. CC schools will then be included in any subsequent publications that utilise data obtained by students - an inspiring and exciting opportunity. Over 100 children from 4 primary schools in South Wales were involved in the CC pilot, and 3 of these schools were included on a 2021 ApJ paper, Physical Characterization of Main-belt Comet (248370) 2005 QN173 [1], with another publication under review. 

Student feedback:

“It is amazing and cool that our little school in Mid Wales can control a big telescope in Australia from our classroom”.

“Amazing, I can’t explain how cool and inspiring [it is]”.

Teacher feedback:

“We have learnt so much about astronomy. But the activities cover so many other parts of the curriculum too!”

“It has been fantastic. I’ve enjoyed it and the children have absolutely loved it. I wish we had more time each week as there was so much great material.”

Teacher guides, videos and worksheets for students have been produced, explaining the core concepts behind comets, space, light, how to collect data, and how to measure data, in addition to guiding schools through all the processes needed to obtain and analyse images. Web-based tools are being developed to assist in these processes. This exposes pupils to real scientific research and procedures, helping to nurture a deeper interest and understanding of current science.

All resources and tools will be available in Welsh to expand CC to involve Welsh language schools throughout the country. Welsh language STEM projects are uncommon, which can lead to a decrease in STEM engagement in this population. Providing Welsh language resources gives new and exciting opportunities for students in what are often under-performing schools [2]. Student results in Welsh language schools are marked lower than students in English language schools, suggesting Welsh resources may not be of high enough quality. CC aims to ensure that our resources put Welsh and English language schools on a level playing field, giving equal opportunities and successes in the project for all schools.

The main aim of CC for the future is expansion, both geographically and in participant ages. This will include schools outside of Wales, to share our knowledge, tools, and materials with other partners. Translation of resources into languages other than Welsh or English will be encouraged. CC also intends to involve older school children (ages 14-18) where more emphasis can be put on the science in addition to conducing more complex data analysis.

[1] Hsieh, H.H., et al., 2021. Physical Characterization of Main-Belt Comet (248370) 2005 QN173, ApJ. 992(1).

[2] Johnes, G. (2020) ‘Medium Efficiency: Comparing Inputs and Outputs by Language of Instruction in Secondary Schools in Wales’, Wales Journal of Education. 22(2) :52-66.

How to cite: Stoddard-Jones, C., Roche, P., Usher, H., Miles, R., Angel, T., Wooding, B., and Wooding, S.: Chasing Comets in the Land of Dragons/Chwilotwyr Comedau yn Wlad y Dreigiau: Pro-Am-Schools collaboration to engage students in STEM in Wales., Europlanet Science Congress 2022, Granada, Spain, 18–23 Sep 2022, EPSC2022-1172,, 2022.

Seda Özdemir, Fraser Lewis, Sarah Roberts, Rosa Doran, Gustavo Rojas, Alvaro Folhas, Maria Panagopoulou, Emmanuel Chaniotakis, Panagiotis Evangelopoulos, Vassilis Charmandaris, Gernot Groemer, and Klaus Albrecht

The pandemic crisis has reshaped the landscape of formal education worldwide and caused critical challenges for teachers. The most encountered issues can be listed as follows; keeping students motivated to actively engage them in a virtual classroom, ensuring the learning outcomes of the lessons, and adapting their educational practice in a more inclusive and personalised approach to address different types of learners.

In order to address the aforementioned challenges faced by teachers in the school environment, the Erasmus+ project LaSciL brings together schools in Europe, educational research institutions, outreach groups, and Large Scientific infrastructures in Physics. These include robotic telescopes and an astronomical observatory with a group of operators of large scientific infrastructures, education, and outreach specialists, together with school education experts. The aim is to enhance teachers’ digital competence by supporting high-quality science teaching in the classroom from a distance as well as supporting a long-term organisational restructuring of schools.

LaSciL empowers and supports teachers to become more literate in using high-quality digital educational tools. In this framework, teachers shall be enabled to a) create their own opensource educational resources for their students’ distance learning; b) manage large numbers of students in an online environment by keeping them motivated to participate, c) maintain and enhance their science motivation and d) personalise their teaching practices tailored to the needs of their students. To achieve that, LaSciL demonstrates innovative ways to involve teachers and students in eScience by sharing and exploiting the collective power of highquality digital resources (research facilities, scientific instruments, advanced ICT (Information and Communication Technology) tools, simulation and visualisation applications, and scientific databases). The LaSciL project provides teachers with cutting-edge, curriculum-tailored educational scenarios that can be used, reused, and adapted to their needs, as well as act as a source of inspiration for the design of their own open educational content through active educational methodologies such as Inquiry based learning and Project based learning.

Through careful monitoring and assessment of the teacher training and implementation with students, LaSciL develops a series of best practices and devises a roadmap both for supporting science teachers and proposing a new organisational framework to enable close collaborations between schools and research infrastructures. This connection demonstrates effective ways of involving a broader set of actors in the use of research infrastructures by
developing a framework of actions that will attract young people to science and pool talent to scientific careers.

LaSciL presents both a short-term and a long-term vision. In the short term, we a) support the development of key teacher ICT competencies and digital readiness; b) produce a series of high-quality digital tools and educational resources ready to be implemented in the classroom and c) facilitate instruction in the pandemic era, maintaining and enhancing students’ science motivation and fascination without compromising the curriculum. In the long term, LaSciL envisions a new organisational framework for the collaboration between schools and research infrastructures.

LaSciL promotes a culture of cooperation between research infrastructures, by spreading good practices among outreach groups of large-scale research infrastructures, encouraging them to develop their activities in complementary ways and to optimise their use by demonstrating how e-infrastructures, such as robotic telescopes, could support the vision of the science classroom of tomorrow.

How to cite: Özdemir, S., Lewis, F., Roberts, S., Doran, R., Rojas, G., Folhas, A., Panagopoulou, M., Chaniotakis, E., Evangelopoulos, P., Charmandaris, V., Groemer, G., and Albrecht, K.: Large Scientific Infrastructures enriching online and digital Learning: LaSciL, Europlanet Science Congress 2022, Granada, Spain, 18–23 Sep 2022, EPSC2022-1270,, 2022.

Petr Kabath, David Jones, Jorge Garcia Rojas, Juraj Toth, Marian Jakubik, Jan Janik, and Josef Hanus

We will present the opportunities of an ERASMUS+ strategic partnership KA2 funding schemes which we used to support (not only) early career researchers in astronomy. ERASMUS+ is a general funding scheme and we describe here one particular project funding education and international partnerhsip of institutions in astronomical research. Our first Erasmus program (2017-2020) was enabling mobilities of early career researchers between Spanish, Czech and Slovak institutes. The mobilities helped young researchers to gain experience with the modern instrumentation at Observatorio Roque de Los Muchachos at La Palma, Spain. Our program helped several young researchers to obtain tenure track position in astronomical research. We also obtained a continuation of the ERASMUS+ program for another period (2020-2023) which focuses on the development of careers of young researchers and helping them to become future faculty leaders. Furthermore, within the program we performed educational activites for children of various ages. This contribution will describe our programs and its aims and results. We will also share our experience with the application process and with the ERASMUS+ program itself. We will describe the opportunities the ERASMUS+ program is offering for the education in an astronomical research for non-university research institutions.

How to cite: Kabath, P., Jones, D., Garcia Rojas, J., Toth, J., Jakubik, M., Janik, J., and Hanus, J.: Per Aspera ad Astra Simul - ERASMUS+ program supporting mobilities ofyoung astronomers from Spain, Czechia and Slovakia, Europlanet Science Congress 2022, Granada, Spain, 18–23 Sep 2022, EPSC2022-314,, 2022.

Henrik Kahanpää

Introducing a presentation about the landing sites of Mars landers, and the places on Earth having corresponding coordinates. The presentation is free to use for education and outreach purposes under Creative Commons BY-NC-ND 4.0 license.