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Geological Society announces its 2021 theme - the Year of Space

Year of Space logo

29 May 2019

The Geological Society of London has announced its theme for 2021 – the Year of Space. Throughout the year, the Society will explore the role geologists have to play in space science, as well as what space can teach us about the Earth, through a variety of research conferences, lectures and education and outreach activities.

‘The Year of Space will see the Society direct its gaze upwards, beyond the Earth beneath our feet towards the lesser explored corners of our universe’ says Director of Science & Communications Dr Alicia Newton. ‘Space science seeks to answer some of life’s biggest questions – why are we here, how did life evolve and are we alone?

‘To answer these questions, space and planetary scientists search for clues in the rocks, dust, gas and other matter which help them understand the formation and development of planets, moons, stars and perhaps other life in our universe. Space also offers scientists a novel platform from which to study the Earth; using remote sensing and satellite technology to obtain high resolution spatial and temporal data detailing our planet’s state and rate of change.’

The Society’s thematic year programme aims to raise the profile of geoscience, promote public engagement and provide exciting and informative themes around which to frame our education, outreach, publications and conference programmes.

‘2021 is an especially fitting year for us to focus on space’ says Dr Newton, ‘with two field missions from NASA and ESA scheduled to land on Mars in February and March of that year, boasting drilling capabilities to take deeper geological samples than have ever been achieved before. The China Mars program is also planning a test mission for 2021 which will lay the groundwork for the first samples of Mars to be brought back to Earth.

‘Alongside a year of exploration firsts, we look forward to highlighting and celebrating the contributions of the geosciences to our exploration and understanding of the science beyond our Earth.’


1. To find out more about our themed years, visit

2. The Geological Society of London, founded 1807, is a learned and professional body of over 12,000 Earth scientists with a remit to investigate, interpret, discuss, inform and advise on the nature and processes of the Earth, their practical importance to humanity, and, in the interests of the public, to promote professional excellence. The Society offers advice to Parliament and Government, at individual and corporate levels. Registered Charity No. 210161.

3. Further information: Sarah Day, Head of Media Relations & Outreach
T: 0207 432 0954