The Africa Initiative for Planetary and Space Sciences has its first sponsors

The European Association of Geochemistry (EAG) and the Geochemical Society (GS) have decided to support the African Initiative for Planetary and Space Sciences. This starting grant will allow us to run at least two workshops in 2018, and hopefully more when more sponsors decide to joint our project. Continue reading “The Africa Initiative for Planetary and Space Sciences has its first sponsors”

A reserve of dark sky of the Oukaimeden observatory in Morocco

The Africa Initiative for Planetary and Space Science is a partner of the project of a dark sky reserve for the limiting light pollution in the region of the Oukaimeden observatory.

A project, led by Prof. Zouhair Benkhaldoun, and entitled “The International Research of dark sky of the National Park of the Toubkal (Atlas Dark Sky) has been just submitted to the call “for Socially Responsible projects” of the University Cadi Ayyad. Continue reading “A reserve of dark sky of the Oukaimeden observatory in Morocco”

Follow Ch. A. B. Niang at Rochechouart !

Ch. A. B. NIANG (Ph.D. Student), University Cheikh Anta Diop has arrived to the site of the impact structure of Rochechouart. He will stay there until November and will assist Philippe Lambert during the drilling campaign of the impact structure. During the period, he will also acquire K, Th, U data using a hand-held spectroradiometer (IRD/Geosciences Environnement Toulouse, West Africa Exploration Initiative) RS-BGO-230 for his Ph.D. research project about the radiometric signatures of impact structures.

Follow him on

International postdoctoral opportunity in Japan

JAXA is seeking talented, energetic and highly motivated employees to join the ITYF team.

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) International Top Young Fellowship (ITYF) was established as a new fellowship program in 2009 with the purpose of inviting world’s top-level young researchers to work at the Institute of Space and Astronautical Sciences (ISAS)/JAXA. ITYF fellows are expected to contribute to the following activities in ISAS/JAXA in addition to producing outstanding academic achievements in their areas of specialization.

* Active interaction with researchers inside and/or outside ISAS to create new academic trends.
* Active participation or initiative in planning new space science mission projects.
* Active participation in developing research networks of ISAS and the related foreign institutes.
* We also expect positive impact of ITYF fellow’s activities on ISAS researchers and students

Eligibility: Applicants must have a Ph.D. or Doctoral degree in Natural Sciences or Engineering or equivalent or higher ability, and must have degrees earned within less than 8 years from the hire date (those expected to earn their degrees by the hire date are eligible to apply).

Application Web Page:
Application Deadline: No later than 17:00 PM (JST)/8:00 AM (UTC) on
Tuesday, October 31, 2017

AFIPS at the Goldschmidt Conference in Paris

  • The Africa Initiative for Planetary and Space Sciences was presented by David Baratoux (IRD/IFAN) during the Goldschmidt Conference in Paris, during a regular session and to the Council of the European Association of Geochemistry and Board of directors of the Geochemical Society. Download the Goldschmidt presentation here.
  • These presentations were followed by a lunch-time discussion with the participation of (alphabetical order):
    Magali Ader, IPGP/GS Secretary
    David Baratoux, AFIPS, IRD/GET/IFAN
    Sigurður Reynir Gíslason, EAG Vice-President
    Marie-Aude Hulshoff, EAG Business Office Manager
    Kevin Johnson, GS President
    Bernard Marty, EAG President, CNRS
    Christian Schröder, AFIPS, University of Stirling
    The initiative was appreciated by EAG council members and GS board of directors and we are waiting for confirmation for support to move on and implement the next steps of the initiative (see AFIPS – the next steps).

AFIPS at the Met Soc meeting in Santa Fe

The Africa Initiative for Planetary and Space Sciences was presented at the Annual Meeting of the Meteoritical Society in Santa Fe, U.S.A.

The Initiative was presented as a poster :

Poster MetSoc_New_lr

It was also presented by H. Chennaoui-Ajoudjehane to the council members of the Meteoritical Society. The Annual meeting was also the occasion for several members of the initiative to organize an informal meeting. The minutes of the meeting by Hasnaa Chennaoui-Aoudjehane:

AFIPS Meeting on Thursday 27th July 2017 at 5:45 pm Convention Center Santa Fe during the MetSoc meeting.
Presents: K. Koeberl, U.W Reimold, L. Folco, D. Belhai, P. Rochette, H. Chennaoui
From left to right: Pierre Rochette, Luigi Folco, Hasnaa Chennaoui-Aoudjehane, Wolf Uwe Reimold
– AFIPS Workshop format and prevision
– AFIPS committees
On the committees:
– more African scientists should be involved in the initiative and should express their interest on it
– more communication about the AFIPS is needed in Africa
– need to identify active people in Africa in PSS
– need of an “establishing” workshop with all active people to discuss the format and the members of the committees
– one suggestion of the format: President, Vice President, Treasurer
On the workshop:
– better to organise it during one important event in Africa such us the Colloquium of African Geology CAG but the next one is in 2 Years
– if the CAG is selected, then, the communication will be only with Geologists not Astronomers and Astrophysists 
– One workshop to with all active people, need funding 
Need of discussion of the next step of AFIPS.
Try to be in touch of international foundations such as the European Community or UNESCO that may be a good “unmbrella” for the initiative.

Adjourn at 6:00 pm


Note by D. Baratoux: see recent updates about the next steps of the initiative.

AFIPS – the next steps

Following the presentation of the AFIPS in Sante Fe and Paris, more than 250 scientists have now signed the call for endorsement, and 19 institutions have also formally endorsed the initiative.

The following steps will focus on the organization of several workshops about Planetary and Space Sciences in Africa. The image below summarizes the approach, that is open for discussion, and will be explained in more details in future e-mails:


Africa Initiative for Planetary and Space Sciences

Research groups in Planetary and Space Sciences (PSS) are now emerging in Africa, but remain scattered and underfunded. The benefits of a coordinated PSS program for developing Africa’s youth and its knowledge-driven economy motivates this call for international support and investment.

Read more from the following articles published in EOS:

Baratoux et al., The State of Planetary and Space Sciences in Africa, Eos, 98.

Baratoux et al., Africa Initiative for Planetary and Space Sciences, Eos, 98.

Endorse the Africa Initiative for Planetary and Space Science here 

The Asteroid Day in Morocco

The Asteroid Day is a global day of education to help protecting Earth from asteroids. For this occasion, several events will be organized in Marrakech, including a conference at the French Institute, and at the University. The detailed program given below includes conferences, a visit of the Oukaimeden observatory in the High Atlas and astronomical observations (sun and night sky).



Ask Us Anything Reddit session

102 comments were posted during the Reddit session about the “Africa Initiative for Planetary and Space Sciences” with David Baratoux and Hasnaa Chennaoui-Aoudjehane.



The questions and answers has been viewed more than 14 900 times and will remain accessible here: