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 Europlanet Outreach Newsletter #27 - October 2018

Welcome to the October 2018 edition of the Europlanet outreach newsletter!  Join us *today* for a webinar with Indhu Varatharajan about her work on the MERTIS instrument of ESA/JAXA's BepiColombo mission, now on its way to Mercury.  This month, we are delighted to introduce our new Social Media Manger, Sara Mynott. Have you seen our Facebook campaign of video interviews with researchers we met at EPSC? Don't forget that the call for applications for the Europlanet Outreach Funding Scheme and the call for nominations for the Europlanet Prize 2019 are now open! Plus, we have news of a new touring exhibition in Sweden about how the ExoMars 2020 mission's HABIT instrument will search for life on Mars.

If you would like to share your news, resources, events, or any other outreach-related information with the group in the next newsletter, please email us!

Updates from Europlanet Outreach

Europlanet webinars on BepiColombo and Biosphere 2

Mercury is the innermost terrestrial planet. Its formation and evolution are important for understanding the formation of our Solar System. On 20th October 2018 ESA/JAXA’s BepiColombo mission blasted off on a seven year journey to Mercury. The spacecraft’s various instruments include a thermal/mid-infrared imaging spectrometer, the Mercury Radiometer and Thermal Imaging Spectrometer (MERTIS), that will allow new and unique insights into the evolution of one of the least explored terrestrial planets.

In our October webinar (30th October, 13:00 GMT / 14:00 CET), Indhu Varatharajan, PhD Research Fellow at German Aerospace Center (DLR), will explain how she and colleagues have been using laboratory measurements and machine learning techniques at the PSL to understand the surface mineralogy of Mercury and prepare for analysis of data collected by MERTIS during BepiColombo’s mission.

You can also find out more about Indhu and her experiences at ESA's Mission Control Centre in Darmstadt for the launch of BepiColombo (pictured above) on the Europlanet website.

If you missed last month's webinar with Kevin Bonine on Biosphere 2, you can catch up now on YouTube.

Meet our new Social Media Manager - Sara Mynott

Hello! Last month I embarked on my new role as Social Media Manager for Europlanet. If you were at EPSC, you may have glimpsed me interviewing attendees, taking pictures at the event and live tweeting talks from the conference. My training is in the geosciences, climate and marine ecology. While my PhD is not in planetary science, my understanding means I can ask all the right questions – the kind that the wider non-planetary public might want to know answers to. My social media skills were established while working with the European Geosciences Union, where I managed both their social media streams and blog network.

Here at Europlanet I’m keen to make our digital communications a community activity – showcasing the work of Europlanet scientists and providing a platform to discuss important planetary science issues. If you have something you would like to share, I’d love to hear from you. You can reach me at

Mini-interviews from European Planetary Science Congress (EPSC) 2018, Berlin

While out at the European Planetary Science Congress (EPSC) 2018 in Berlin last month, Sara Mynott chatted to many members of the Europlanet community about their work and what inspired them to go into a career in planetary science. You can catch up with these mini-interviews on Facebook.

Call for applications for Europlanet Prize and Outreach Funding Scheme 2019 now open!

Europlanet awards grants of between 5000 and 15 000 Euros to fund projects to engage the public with planetary science. 

The Europlanet Prize of 4000 Euros is awarded to individuals or groups who have developed innovative practices in planetary science communication and whose efforts have significantly contributed to a wider public engagement with planetary science. 

The calls for nominations for the Europlanet Prize 2019 and for the Europlanet Public Engagement Funding Scheme 2019 are now open - send us your applications before 31st January 2019!

Updates from Partners
Spotlight on Outreach – HABIT Tour of Sweden

HABIT, designed by Group of Atmospheric Science (GAS) from Luleå Tekniska Universitet, is one of the main scientific instruments on the ExoMars 2020 Surface Platform module. HABIT will provide environmental information at the landing site, investigate liquid water formation on Mars, and test an “In-Situ Resource Utilization” technology for future Mars exploration.

The outreach team at GAS has created an exhibit about HABIT that will tour around Sweden during 2018-2019 to raise awareness of the instrument and inspire different audiences with the dream of space exploration. The HABIT Tour provides a new and fresh kind of learning experience to improve engagement with space and STEM subjects for the general public, and in particular to encourage young people to consider scientific and technological careers. The HABIT Tour launches on 15th November 2018. Find out more with our Spotlight on Outreach feature and through the GAS website.

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