As we approach the end of 2020, it’s a good time to reflect and look ahead. 2020 has demonstrated unequivocally the importance of science in all aspects of society. As scientists, we play a key role in advocating for science-based decision-making in our communities. The connections you make with friends, neighbors, and leaders to help them understand the scientific enterprise are vital. It’s not just about sharing our love of planetary science, it’s about sharing the tools of science – critical thinking, impartial evaluation of evidence – that allow people to dispel conspiracy theories and make logical decisions. Thank you for all that you do to bring science to your communities: it matters.
The DPS membership’s strength and resilience are apparent in the breadth and scope of planetary science being accomplished in spite of truly challenging circumstances, and in the care people in our community are taking for one another. The highs have been very high, including the first fresh sample from a low-albedo near-Earth object brought safely back to Earth by the Hayabusa2 team, the OSIRIS-REx team’s sample collection from asteroid Bennu, the daring Chang’E lunar sample return mission, the launch of Mars 2020, and many others.
The lows have been very low indeed, revealing the cracks in our society caused by inequities along many axes, such as economic and racial injustice and violence. Science is a human process, and the scientific community is not immune from these problems. Efforts to recover from the pandemic must involve addressing these issues, and as a professional society, DPS can and should play an important role in this work.
It’s heartening to see DPS members rallying to help each other out in countless ways big and small. As we leave 2020 behind (thankfully) and look ahead to 2021, let’s stay connected and keep checking in with our friends and colleagues to lend a supportive virtual shoulder and ask for theirs in return. Exercise more kindness for yourself and others. Our community is our strength.
Stay safe and keep well.
20 Dec 2020