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The State of the Planetary Science Profession: Results from the 2020 DPS Survey

Presentation #502.02 in the session “Plenary Panel: Workforce Townhall”.

Published onOct 26, 2020
The State of the Planetary Science Profession: Results from the 2020 DPS Survey

Understanding the changing demographics and needs of the planetary science community is an important part of effectively serving the community. As such, the American Astronomical Society (AAS) Division for Planetary Sciences (DPS) conducts surveys of its membership from time to time. Surveys were conducted in 1989, 1995, 2005, 2010 and 2020 ( Because of the field’s interdisciplinary nature, Planetary Scientists belong to multiple organizations and attend meetings organized by a variety of sources. In 2011, a survey of the entire planetary science workforce contacted members of DPS and the American Geophysical Union (AGU) planetary science division as well as attendees of the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference (LPSC) ( That survey found that 6% of respondents belonged to all three groups and just over 70% were members of DPS. Results of this survey have been used in many studies of planetary science community. The 2020 DPS survey differed from previous DPS membership surveys. In order to enable comparisons to the 2011 planetary workforce survey and provide input into the next planetary decadal survey, we surveyed more than just DPS members; we also surveyed planetary scientists from the Planetary Geology Division of the Geological Society of America (GSA/PGD), the AAS Division on Dynamical Astronomy (DDA) and the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference (LPSC) lists (after removing email addresses on multiple lists). The American Institute of Physics Statistical Research Center compiled the list and oversaw the survey. As of early June 2020, our response rate was 47%. Previous surveys had response rates of 62% (2011 survey), 40% (2010 DPS membership survey) and 32% (2005 DPS membership survey). We report on initial results from the survey.

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