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A survey quantifying the extended-standing lack of workplace diversity in planetary science gives NASA and other groups doable tactics to resolve the trouble.

Survey final results show that members of minoritized groups, which includes non-white scientists, scientists who are disabled, members of the LGBTQ+ neighborhood, or ladies, are underrepresented as Principal Investigators or Co-Investigators in planetary science spacecraft mission teams, mentioned Julie Rathbun, a Senior Scientist at the Planetary Science Institute who is lead author on the abstract “DEIA in Planetary Spacecraft Science Teams.”

“We currently know that there are barriers to entry in planetary science for members of historically excluded groups,” Rathbun mentioned. “These information show that even these who overcome these barriers face other, added barriers to complete participation in our field.”

The comprehensive workforce survey and report is accessible at below DPS Surveys, 2020 Membership.

Rathbun discussed the survey Thursday at a press conference at the Division of Planetary Sciences of the American Astronomical Society annual meeting in London, Ontario, Canada. The April 2020 membership survey of Planetary Scientists, which was performed by the Statistical Study Center of the American Institute of Physics (AIP) and funded by DPS, was employed as input into the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine’s Planetary Science and Astrobiology Decadal Survey.

“The 2022 Decadal Survey is the initial to involve consideration of the state of the profession and actions for enhancing diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility (DEIA) in the field,” Rathbun mentioned. “The 2020 workforce survey incorporated queries on demographics and respondents have been also asked how numerous occasions have you been a PI on a mission proposal – never ever, as soon as, two occasions, 3 occasions, a lot more than 4 occasions – and how numerous occasions have you been a Co-I on a mission proposal.”

Of survey respondents, 37 % self-identified as ladies, 15 % as disabled, ten as LGBTQ+, 7 % as Black, Latinx or Indigenous and 1 % as non-binary.

Final results showed that respondents in these minoritized groups showed drastically reduced percentages of PI and Co-I possibilities than non-minoritized planetary scientists.

And how can planetary science turn into a lot more inclusive? “Many social scientists have been studying inclusivity for a extended time and they have numerous recommendations. Of course, we do not know which of these recommendations would be most impactful, but we require to attempt quite a few of them and see what occurs. The greatest suggestion is for NASA to implement new policies, such as working with group diversity as a choice criteria, and for person scientists to assume a lot more deeply about who they are operating with and what perspectives may possibly be missing,” Rathbun mentioned.

We require all these perspectives to give a richer and improved understanding in order to resolve challenges,” Rathbun mentioned. “Pay interest to who you are operating with. Appear at your coauthor list, appear at the distribution of speakers at a conference. Are they all white, all males, all American and not foreign? Believe about that if you truly want to have a diverse group. NASA knows that diverse groups do improved science.”


The Planetary Science Institute is a private, nonprofit 501(c)(three) corporation devoted to Solar Method exploration. It is headquartered in Tucson, Arizona, exactly where it was founded in 1972.

PSI scientists are involved in many NASA and international missions, the study of Mars and other planets, the Moon, asteroids, comets, interplanetary dust, effect physics, the origin of the Solar Method, further-solar planet formation, dynamics, the rise of life, and other regions of investigation. They conduct fieldwork on all continents about the globe. They also are actively involved in science education and public outreach via college applications, children’s books, well-known science books and art.

PSI scientists are primarily based in 30 states and the District of Columbia.

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