Survey Final results Point Out Lack Of Diversity In Planetary Science Workplace

NASA JPL Mission Handle Area In the course of Curiosity Landing


A survey quantifying the extended-standing lack of workplace diversity in planetary science gives NASA and other groups achievable techniques to resolve the dilemma.

Survey benefits show that members of minoritized groups, like non-white scientists, scientists who are disabled, members of the LGBTQ+ neighborhood, or females, 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, extra 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 carried out by the Statistical Investigation Center of the American Institute of Physics (AIP) and funded by DPS, was utilized as input into the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine’s Planetary Science and Astrobiology Decadal Survey.

“The 2022 Decadal Survey is the very first to include things like 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 integrated concerns on demographics and respondents had been also asked how numerous instances have you been a PI on a mission proposal – never ever, when, two instances, 3 instances, far more than 4 instances – and how numerous instances have you been a Co-I on a mission proposal.”

Of survey respondents, 37 % self-identified as females, 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 substantially reduce percentages of PI and Co-I possibilities than non-minoritized planetary scientists.

And how can planetary science turn into far more inclusive? “Many social scientists have been studying inclusivity for a extended time and they have numerous ideas. Of course, we do not know which of these ideas would be most impactful, but we need to have to attempt various 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 consider far more deeply about who they are functioning with and what perspectives may be missing,” Rathbun mentioned.

We need to have all these perspectives to give a richer and improved understanding in order to resolve issues,” Rathbun mentioned. “Pay interest to who you are functioning with. Appear at your coauthor list, appear at the distribution of speakers at a conference. Are they all white, all guys, all American and not foreign? Feel about that if you definitely 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, influence physics, the origin of the Solar Method, additional-solar planet formation, dynamics, the rise of life, and other places of study. They conduct fieldwork on all continents about the planet. They also are actively involved in science education and public outreach by means of college applications, children’s books, preferred science books and art.

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

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