The Europlanet Society supports a diverse and inclusive planetary community across Europe and aims at expanding it, mostly through the dissemination, supporting, and networking actions of its 10 regional hubs. The society involves academics, industrial partners and amateurs of the field. The Benelux hub, supported by BELSPO, is very active in different types of activities, with the aim of
- reinforcing the profile of the community through outreach, education and policy activities,
- strengthening links in planetary science at a national and international level.
At BIRA-IASB, we are deeply and actively involved. We frequently propose(d) new Education and Public Outreach (EPO) activities, manage the social media of the hub on a daily basis, and contribute to build a stronger profile of the planetary sector in Benelux.
We highlight in particular the following activities organized and followed by the BIRA-IASB members of the Europlanet Society.
At the Europlanet Science Congress (EPSC) 2020, some lectures and sessions were (co-)organized by the Benelux hub BIRA-IASB members. We mention in particular:
- the “Diversity and Inclusiveness in Planetary Sciences” session, discussing the best practices to make the research environment more inclusive, and
- the “Planetary Science Wiki Edit-a-thon session, to increase the diversity within the planetary science community present on Wikipedia.
- The Soapbox Science event in Brussels, meant to promote women in science and their research, was organized in October 2020 as an online event due to the sanitary restrictions related to COVID-19 and has been broadcasted on the Soapbox Science Brussels YouTube channel and promoted via a dedicated Twitter and Facebook account.
- The ongoing “Planetary Atmospheres Accessible for All” project, receiving funds directly from the Europlanet Society, is meant to train interested people in the creation of Augmented Science-infused theatre lectures. It is organized by Benelux hub BIRA-IASB members in collaboration with the Jet Propulsion Theatre in Italy.
The first phase of the project, consisting of a seminar to present the project and a first series of workshops in storytelling training has finished. The next phase in the actual creation of augmented lectures focusing on online lecture preparation, rehearsal and performance in person, is planned for the coming year(s).
- A series of educational interactive seminars to youngsters and adults about planetary and space science, the search for life elsewhere in the Universe, and the challenges that future astronauts and human explorers on Mars will face. The interactive presentations were given in the framework of a series of seminars with different Italian scientists by the AMA association, an organization of families “on the move” who need to regularly relocate to different countries.
Linking with Industry and Policy:
- The EPSC2020 offered several inspiring splinter sessions on Industry
- Benelux hub members proposed to the Planetary Society to analyze -in order to avoid overlaps- the potential synergies between the hubs industrial activities and the ESA BICs network.
- Benelux hub members participated to the European Parliament “Single European Sky (SES): upgrade of the regulatory framework” group meeting. The group aims at offering an open dialogue between decision makers and stakeholders on the proposed upgrade of the SES regulatory framework.
The Benelux hub invites anyone who is interested to send an email to Ann Carine Vandaele (benelux.at.europlanet-society.org). Don’t hesitate to join the hub and its activities, and follow us on Twitter @europlanet_benelux !