Sponsored by:

Conseil Régional de la Région Centre,
ESA, Ministère de la Recherche,
Observatoire de Paris-Meudon,
Ville de Blois.

Scientific programme committee
Jean-Louis Bougeret, France
Julie Castillo, USA
Ludwik Celnikier, France
Angioletta Coradini, Italy
Athena Coustenis, France
Pierre Drossart, France
Thérèse Encrenaz, France
Daniel Gautier, France
Jean-Pierre Lebreton, ESA
Michel Major, Switzerland
Chris McKay, USA
Toby Owen, USA
Jean Tran Thanh Van, France
Frances Westall, France

International Advisory committee
Alexander Basilevsky, Russia
Julian Chela-Flores Italy
Charles Cockell, UK
Eberhard Gruen, Germany
Gerda Horneck, Germany
Reinald Kallenbach, Switzerland
Sydney Leach, France
Igor Mitrofanov, Russia
Joseph Seckbach, Israel


This is an announcement and call for papers for an international conference which will be held in the Château of Blois, in France's Loire Valley.

Planetary Science: discoveries and challenges is articulated around our increasingly rich fund of knowledge of planetary systems, here and elsewhere.

After decades of research, using the entire gamut of tools which contemporary technology has provided, planetary science has moved from the study of individual objects to the investigation of their differences and similitudes: that is the motivation behind this interdeisciplinary conference, in order to better grasp the questions which are still open and the best ways to attack them. Moreover, the discovery of exoplanetary systems, thus far apparently rather different from ours but with a number of intriguing common characteristics, has revitatised the old question of the origin of our planetary system.

Planetary Science: challenges and discoveries will attack these questions from various points of view. The conference will be organised around a number of basic themes, including:

  • The protoplanetary cloud: its chemistry, evolution and transformation into planets. Origin of the regular satellites of the giant planets. Planetary migration. Circumstellar discs.
  • From chemistry to life: early Earth, Mars, Europa, Titan. Prebiotic chemistry. Habitable zones in planetary systems.
  • Comets and the Kuiper belt: groups and families. Origin and evolution. Structure, activity, evolution.
  • Volcanism and the role of fluids: surface processes on Mars and Titan. Active icy satellites.
  • Comparing the giant planets: internal structure of the giant planets; atmospheres of the giant planets.
  • Comparing the terrestrial planets: internal structure of the terrestrial planets; origin of the atmospheres of the terrestrial planets
  • Magnetic and ionospheric environments: planetary magnetospheres, solar wind/magnetosphere interactions. Aurorae.

The conference will consist of plenary sessions for invited indepth oral presentations (review talks and talks on specific specialised topics), and contributed papers, in the form of relatively short oral papers or posters. We will aim to achieve a balance between review talks, provocative talks given by recognized specialists, and shorter contributions, special emphasis being placed on participation by younger researchers and post-docs. If the need arises (i.e. if so many short papers are proposed that plenary sessions are insufficient), parallel sessions will be organised - please do not hesitate to contribute your work - time can always be found!

This conference will be the 18th in a series of international mulitidisciplinary meetings which have in the past covered many topics in physics, astronomy and biology. All sessions take place in the Château of Blois, a beautiful renaissance castle which has housed many French kings, and notably François 1st. Meals are served in the castle to all participants, in order to encourage interaction between scientists at all levels. Participation is limited to about 150 persons.

If you urgently need information which is currently not in the following information bulletin, you may contact L. M. Celnikier, at the email address:


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