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GeoPlaNet Activities

Multiplier Event in Porto

The Multiplier Event was held at the Department of Physics and Astronomy of the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Porto, as part of the GeoPlaNet Erasmus+ Strategic Partnership project, aiming to offer the general public, especially secondary school teachers and students, an updated perspective on space exploration and planetary sciences. The event included a session of short seminars and a session of hands-on activities, provided and assisted by researchers from the universities of Nantes, Chieti-Pescara, Padova, Coimbra and Porto, as well as members of the ESERO Portugal/Ciência Viva project team. Both types of activities were held in Portuguese language.



Seminars session (14:00 – 15:00)

S1. Discovering exoplanets with CHEOPS and ESPRESSO, Sérgio Sousa (University of Porto)

This lecture briefly presented two international projects for the detection and characterization of extrasolar planets where there is a strong Portuguese involvement. The CHEOPS mission of the European space agency (ESA) aims to accurately measure the size of exoplanets. The ESPRESSO spectrograph that is in operation on the "Very Large Telescope" (VLT) of the European Southern Observatory (ESO) aims to determine the mass of exoplanets. The main techniques used for the characterization of extrasolar planets were addressed, and referred what can be characterized light years away from these objects. The latest results from CHEOPS and ESPRESSO were briefly presented and the lecture was ended with a small vision about the future and the possibility of life beyond Earth.

S2. Aeolian processes on Mars, David Vaz (University of Coimbra)

In the last decade, it has been demonstrated that the Martian atmosphere that currently exists is capable of mobilizing and transporting sediment, resulting in the migration of aeolian ripples and dunes. Sedimentary flows have been studied on a global scale, through the monitoring of various types of sedimentary structures. This topic was addressed, seeking to provide an overview of the current dynamics of wind processes on Mars. On the other hand, Mars had in the past a denser atmosphere that allowed the existence of liquid water on the surface. Nowadays the atmosphere is thin, resulting in hyperarid weather conditions. It was discussed how the aeolian sedimentary structures may have recorded this climate transition, which could contribute to the characterization of the paleoclimatic evolution of the “red planet”.

S3. Planetary defense, Teresa Seixas (University of Porto)

Collisions of large asteroids with planet Earth are extremely rare, but small and medium-sized asteroids, much more common in the Solar System, could potentially cause serious damage as well. Even asteroids that disintegrate in the Earth's atmosphere, such as the one that caused the 2013 Chelyabinsk event in Russia, can cause local damage to infrastructure and injuries to the population. This seminar addressed, in addition to the recent Chelyabinsk event, legendary impacts, such as the asteroid of Chicxulub (Mexico) which, around 66 million years ago, caused a mass extinction event. The theme of planetary defense was also addressed, in its aspect of tracking and identifying potential planetary threats, highlighting, in particular, the most recent space missions directed at asteroids.

Hands-on activities (15:00- 16:30)

A1. Space missions, GeoPlaNet SP members

The GeoPlaNet consortium has collaborated for many years on international space exploration missions. This activity showed, with poster and video examples, the many scientific challenges and results that have increased our understanding of our solar system and beyond.

A2. Virtual Reality in Space Exploration, GeoPlaNet SP members (coordination by VR2Planets)

During this activity, the participants had the opportunity to learn about new innovative Virtual Reality applications for teaching planetary geosciences, developed by the French start-up VR2Planets, a member of the Erasmus+ GeoPlaNet consortium.

A3. Hack an Exoplanet, Pedro Coimbra (ESERO Portugal/Ciência Viva)

Hack an Exoplanet is the first hackathon for high school students organized by ESA Education. ESA's CHEOPS observed two exoplanets in early 2023, KELT-3b and TOI-560c. With these data, it traces the profile of these two exoplanets, analysing the data collected and investigating what their characteristics are.

A4. Arduino exoplanetarium, GeoPlaNet SP members

This activity aimed to capture interest in using the Arduino platform and compatible sensors to build a demonstration system for detecting an exoplanet. Participants interested in replicating the exhibited system (for example, in the context of extracurricular activities) may later request the collaboration of GeoPlaNet SP project members.

Conference: Les océans cachés des lunes de Jupiter et de Saturne by Christophe Sotin

The conference is a Multiplier event of the Erasmus + Strategic Partnership GeoPlaNet project, aimed at a broad audience in the region of Nantes

Christophe Sotin is a professor at the Laboratoire de Planétologie et Géosciences de Nantes. He was hired by NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory / Caltech in 2007 where he became the Chief Scientist for Solar System Exploration during the period 2012-2020. Back in Nantes in January 2021, he applies tools developed for the study of the Earth to interpret data acquired by space mission that have explored planets (Mars and Venus), satellites (Europa, Ganymede, Titan, Enceladus) and dwarf planets (Ceres) and to model the interior structure of exoplanets.
Les océans cachés des lunes de Jupiter et de Saturne: Les missions spatiales Galileo autour de Jupiter et Cassini autour de Saturne ont révélé la présence d'océans sous la croûte glacée de certaines de leurs lunes. La conférence résumera l'état de nos connaissances sur le sujet à la veille de lancements de plusieurs missions dédiées à la caractérisation de ces océans extraterrestres.

The hidden oceans of the moons of Jupiter and Saturn: The Galileo space mission around Jupiter and the Cassini mission around Saturn have revealed the presence of oceans under the icy crust of some of their moons. The conference will summarise the state of our knowledge on the subject on the eve of the launch of several missions dedicated to the investigation of these extraterrestrial oceans.

➢ Thursday Dec. 1, 19 :00, Muséum d’Histoire Naturelle, 12 rue Voltaire 44000 Nantes, See on google maps.

The replay is available here (in French):

Conference "Exoplanet Atmosphere Recipes" by Edwin KITE

Thursday 1 December at 1 pm, in the Pasteur amphitheatre, building 2, Faculty of Science and Technology, Nantes University.

Professor Edwin KITE is a planetary scientist at the University of Chicago. He studies the evolution of rocky planets. Rocky planets preserve traces of the evolution of their fluid envelopes over long time scales that the Earth's fossil record tells us are necessary for the evolution of complex life.

The data from the James Webb Space Telescope will enrich our understanding of the atmospheres of sub-Neptunes and super-Earths, including potentially habitable worlds. They will help answer a number of questions: which exoplanets retain atmospheres and oceans? and how does elemental fractionation shape the composition of exoplanet atmospheres? Edwin KITE will also discuss the key processes that can shape the atmospheres of habitable exoplanets: erosion due to asteroid impacts, loss of atmosphere due to X-rays and UV radiation, contamination by planetesimals, and exchanges between atmosphere and magma. Finally, he will discuss sub-Neptunes, terrestrial exoplanets and intermediate worlds.

The conference is part of the GeoPlaNet thematic school "Habitability on Solar System and Beyond".

Watch conference:

Habitability in the Solar System and beyond

The winter school is organised by the Laboratoire de Planétologie et Géosciences and will take place at Nantes Université from Nov. 28 to Dec 2, 2022.

A 5-day programme with lectures, field trip and practicals aimed at Members of the Partnership : Master, PhD, Post-doc students and researchers. The week will take place at the Laboratoire de Planétologie et Géosciences (Nantes Université, Université d'Angers, Le Mans Université et CNRS).

Download programme (last update: nov. 24)

Lectures will be recorded and displayed on the LPG and strategic partnership websites.
Group picture taken on November 28 with the participants from the partnership and beyond.

>> All the videos of the week's lectures are available in the Results section

Multiplier Event: Settimana del Pianeta Terra in Pescara

On Friday 7 October, the multiplier event of the GeoPlaNet strategic partnership was held in the framework of the Planet Earth Week at the Pescara campus of the G. d'Annunzio University. The event was organised by the International Research School of Planetary Sciences ( in collaboration with all the partners of the GeoPlaNet consortium. The activity involved about 60 people, teachers and students of the Liceo G. Galilei of Pescara.

The students were able to attend the seminars organised by Prof. Giuseppe Mitri "The solar system and its exploration", Dr. Andrea Pacifici "Mars and Earth, a different destiny" and the architect Giuseppe Calabrese "Design criteria for a Martian base: from Earth to Mars". In addition, students were able to participate in educational laboratory activities in the field of planetary and geological sciences, where they could have direct experience with data from space missions, virtual reality of the surface of Mars, and with meteorites and samples of Earth rocks.

This activity allowed them to popularise the importance of geology in the exploration of planets (in this case, especially Mars), to become familiar with some three-dimensional images of the surface of Mars, and to see some geological maps prepared by the students of the School of Planetary Geological Mapping and terrestrial analogues the week before. They were also shown some rocks representing potential analogues to those we might one day sample on Mars.
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School on Planetary Geological Mapping and Fields Analogs

The Universities of Chieti-Pescara and of Padova have jointly organised a School on Planetary Geological Mapping and Fields Analogs, from September 26th to October 8th.
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The school was organized in two weeks between Pescara and Predazzo (Dolomites): the first week in Pescara was focused on planetary settings and the second in Predazzo to their Earth counterparts. The school has been organized with a combination of lectures (scientific and technical), practical activities designed to apply what learned during the technical lectures, and field trips focused on ancient and present environments analogues to the planetary ones seen during both the lectures and the practical activities.

During the first week, the students were taught how to find and process planetary data and integrate them in a GIS-based system. The next step was to learn the different kind of geological mapping approaches. Contemporaneously, some lectures were held focusing on specific important cultural aspects such as the mapping of the Moon, the importance of analogue studies in the geological reasoning and the science of spectral data and their geological interpretations. Immediately after the theoretical lectures, students were given a practical project to develop from scratch.

During the second week, lectures and practical classroom activities were alternated with field trips on Permian alluvial and sabkha systems as well as Quaternary glacial, periglacial and gravitational deposits representing marvellous examples of Martian analogues. After a brief introduction to the geology of the Dolomites, the basic concepts of photogrammetry where introduced, followed by a first practical activity during which each participant acquired with his/her smartphone an object (sample of mineral or rock, model of ancient dinosaur, etc. exposed in the Geological Museum of the Dolomites) and generated its 3D reconstruction with Agisoft Metashape.

Overall, the students demonstrated interest and ability in acquiring new skills. All of them greatly appreciated the outdoor experience in the Dolomites landscapes and geology.

Footage of the field part of the "School on Planetary Geological Mapping and Fields Analogs" in the Dolomites by the University of Padova:

ESA's Virtual workshop on planetary missions - 11-12 January 2022

This workshop is aimed at the students and researchers from the Strategic Partnership Institutions as well as the institutes of the GeoPlaNet consortium.
>> Download programme

Class photo on Mars

The first class photo ever made on Mars, during the GeoPlaNet International Week for VR in Geosciences, 29 Nov.-3 Dec. 2021.
This virtual terrain session on Mars gathered students and teachers from the 5 European Universities partners.

GeoPlaNet International Week for VR in Geosciences (29 Nov. - 3 Dec. 2021)

NB : The videos of the Open Days are available upon request.
        Contact : François Civet -

1. Open Days (Monday 29/11 - Tuesday 30/11)
Open to all, register on Eventbrite !

Presentation of the state of the art of the 3D processing of imagery to create virtual terrains. The conference is split in 4 sessions:

  • Acquistion methods and 3D processing
  • Open databases and software
  • Educational applications
  • Scientific applications
Join us and attend presentations by international experts of planetary and Earth sciences from the European Space Agency (ESA), the French National Center for Space studies (CNES) and European universities !

2. Space Campus (for the Erasmus + Strategic Partnership's institutions):
- Training for trainers (Wednesday 1/12)
- Virtual Classroom (Thursday 2/12, Friday 3/12)

Sciences and Technologies for Space – a ground up overview

13-17 September 2021

The Online Workshop "Sciences and Technologies for Space – a ground up overview" was organized by the Universities of Coimbra and Porto in the framework of GeoPlaNet - SP Project.
The workshop “Sciences and Technologies for Space – a ground up overview” brought together the partner institutions of the GeoPlaNet consortium, representatives of technological enterprises operating in this sector, researchers in Space Sciences, high school graduates and higher education students. The bottom-up approach is intended to provide students with an overview of real problems and of how these are handled.

Organizers: Alexandra Pais: & João Fernandes: jmfernan@mat.uc.ptposter

Poster of the GeoPlaNET-SP project

By Alexandra Pais from University of Coimbra. (Click on the picture to download poster)
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GeoPlaNet-SP Activities

The programme of activities and results will be gathered in 4 work packages, containing education modules, innovative tools and intellectual outputs based on the joint and complementary expertise of the partners involved.
1. Employability Surveys on employability in the space exploration sector, workshop gathering private companies and academics

2. Innovative training practices Overview on existing educative practices and a focus on Virtual Reality technologies applied to the educative field in Planetary Geosciences with an international meeting for exchange of good practice, training for trainers and a video of the use case of VR applied in training

3. Habitability Intensive week with international experts and educative material based on a this hot topic

4. Geological mapping
and planetary
Summer school and field trip experience with 6 intellectual outputs related to comparative planetology, digital mapping and numerical modelling
Mis à jour le 20 July 2023.