Europlanet Webinars
December 14, 2016

Europlanet Webinars – Your Web-Based Link to Europe’s Planetary Researchers

Ever wanted to hear a first-hand account of what planetary researchers are actually working on and what their research is all about? How about the opportunity to ask them directly and have them answer your questions? Europlanet is offering monthly webinars with topics ranging from current Mars missions, astrobiology, analogue field expeditions to many other aspects of exploring and understanding our Solar System. These online presentations are an authentic and exciting way to experience cutting-edge science and talk to the researchers involved, sometimes directly from their laboratories and field missions.

Whom is it for and how does it work?

We welcome anyone interested in planetology, especially school classes – this is also a chance to interact with the researchers. You simply need to go to the website indicated in the announcement on social media, or this site directly.

Request your favourite topic! Questions?

If you have a topic in planetary sciences you would like to adress — drop us an email and maybe we can arrange a webinar with the specialists in exactly that field! email:

Next webinar

31 October 2017, 14:00 GMT / 15:00 CET: “Chasing the devil – what do dust devils on Earth tell us about Mars?” with Dr Jan Raack, Open University

Hosted by NUCLIO, Europlanet’s October 2017 webinar will discuss how Dr Jan Raack chased dust devils on Earth to understand Mars.

When it comes to planetary science, people often think about sophisticated laboratory experiments, complicated remote sensing analysis from space missions, and/or numerical calculations/modelling. But there is another side of planetary science sometimes forgotten by the majority: terrestrial investigations in the field – tangible work in interesting harsh regions on Earth! This work is absolutely mandatory for our understanding of processes happen on other planetary bodies, and also for laboratory experiments, remote sensing analysis, and numerical modelling.

Dr Raack will present some interesting field campaigns to China and Morocco which he has carried out together with a colleague, to give insights into the work of a planetologist on Earth and to tell you why are the results so important for planetary science (Mars in particular). During their field campaigns, they investigated dust devils, which are small whirlwinds common on Earth as well as on Mars. During the webinar, he will not only present the scientific results they have gained from the field campaigns (about their erosional capacity, their internal structure, and their meteorological properties), but give a ‘bigger picture’ of how field campaigns can look like, what for (sometimes self-made and unusual) instruments we have used, and what these investigations tell us about dust devils on Mars.

Link to join the webinar on 31 October:

28 November 2017, 14:00 GMT / 15:00 CET: “Impact cratering – the most important geological process in our Solar System” with Dr Anna Losiak

Impact cratering is currently the most important geological process in our Solar System and (most probably) on most of exoplanets. It is modifying planetary surfaces by creating gigantic scars on its surface, and it can also induce planetary-scale changes such as formation of our own Moon or changing the direction of Venus rotation. It is known to influence the life on Earth, most famously by killing dinosaurs, but also by fostering life thanks to delivering water and organic material to our planet. Despite the importance of this geological process, we know relatively little about it. It is partially due to the fact that it is a relatively young field in geology – the first crater was accepted as being formed by an asteroid hitting the Earth only in 1960’s. Moreover, because of Earth’s very active surface geology removing signs of such extra-terrestrial encounters, we currently know about only 190 impact structures on Earth – ranging from 13 m in diameter and only 10-year-old Carancas crater in Peru, up to 300 km in diameter and 2,1 Gy old Vredefort crater in the Republic of South Africa.
What can we learn by studying impact craters on Earth? And how can we avoid the fate of dinosaurs?

Link to live webinar on 28th November:

Previous webinars

13 September 2017, 16:00 CEST (14:00 UTC): Cassini-Huygens and The Lord of the Rings with Dr Sheila Kanani, Royal Astronomical Society. The flagship robotic orbiter, Cassini, and lander, Huygens, have provided us with a wealth of information about Saturn, its moons and its rings. By the time it ‘crashes’ into Saturn in September 2017, Cassini will have been in space for almost 20 years. Join Sheila in celebrating the incredible spacecraft’s amazing mission and some of the breath taking discoveries it made, including a hexagonal storm that rages at Saturn’s north pole and an icy moon that could harbour life.

22nd July 2017, 17:00 EEST (16:00 CEST/14:00 UTC): Inspired by Cosmic Space: Sounds of the Earth’s magnetosphere in electroacoustic music. Public lecture by Dr. Eleni Chatzicharistou at the Moletai Astronomical Observatory.

30th May, 11:00 CEST (09:00 UTC): Saturn Live! Exploration of Saturn’s Icy Moons as Possible Habitats, with Dr Athena Coustenis, Observatoire de Paris-Meudon and hosted by Rosa Doran of NUCLIO. Athena discusses the exploration of Saturn’s icy moons as possible habitats and European involvement in the Cassini mission.

25 April, 15:00 CEST (13:00 UTC): Tales of Geology and Education in Ethiopia, with Dr Barbara Cavalazzi from the Department of Biological, Geological and EnvironmentalSciences at the University of Bologna and hosted by Rosa Doran of NUCLIO. Barbara discusses the unique geological aspect of Ethiopia and the country’s education system, as well as  the outreach programmes that she has developed in Ethiopia.

The special webinar is a part of ‘Global Astronomy Month’ 2017 and organised by NUCLIO with a focus on science teachers and educators.

11 January 2017, 14:00 CET: Astrobiology – the quest for life in the universe. With Christine Moissl-Eichinger, Medizinische Universität Graz. Mutating microbes on the space station? Is there life hundreds of meters below the surface of our planet? Christine Moissl-Eichinger is studying the genome of microbial life forms under extreme conditions: what makes them survive under harsh conditions deadly to any human and why could that be relevant to the search for life in our Solar System?

20 October 2016: ExoMars – Europe’s journey to Mars, with Jonathan Merrison/Aarhus Univsreiyt, Denmark – recreating Mars in the laboratory in preparation for the ExoMars mission.

14 April 2016: Europlanet Mercury Transit Live Hangout: Part 1, with Oana Sandu (European Southern Observatory), Remco Timmermans (International Space University), Gabriele Cremonese (INAF-OAPD)  and David Rothery (Open University)

19 April 2016: Europlanet Mercury Transit Hangout: Part 2, with David Rothery (Open University), Valentina Galluzzi (INAF), Johannes Benkhoff (ESA) and Jane MacArthur (University of Leicester)

16 May 2016: Europlanet Mercury Transit Hangout: Part 3, with David Rothery (Open University), Remco Timmermans (ISU)