Workshops & Symposiums


On December 10-11, 2019, the PML of the Institute for Planetary Materials (IPM), Okayama University and the Australian Centre for Astrobiology of the University of New South Wales Australia co-hosted a two-day workshop in Misasa, Japan, to develop a proposal for a sample return mission to the Columbia Hills of Mars – here named “LifeSprings”.

The aim of the workshop was to investigate the feasibility of, and develop a mission plan to undertake a sample return mission to the Columbia Hills, Mars, with the specific aim of collecting and returning samples of digitate opaline silica nodules previously discovered by NASA’s Spirit Rover in the mid-2000’s, for scientific analysis for signs of past life.

See the details


In response to Hayabusa 2’s safe arrival at Ryugu and its initiation of surface observations and sampling, we are organizing an international symposium entitled “Sample-returns and Astrobiology.” This symposium is accompanied by an outreach event “Space Science World in Tottori 3” and both events are held in Yonago City, Tottori Prefecture, Japan. At this symposium and outreach event, project and Science managers of Hayabusa 2, and related scientists, will present preliminary observations made at the asteroid Ryugu.


In October 21, 2016, a magnitude 6.6 earthquake (Central Tottori Earthquake) whose epicenter was located 4km to the southwest from the IPM, caused considerable damage to the life of the local community as well as our facilities at IPM. We have been making a full effort to repair the damage of the earthquake and regain the original function of our institute.

This workshop is designed to deepen the multidisciplinary discussion from the viewpoints of seismology, earthquake engineering, geology, volcanology, balneology and geochemistry about the generating mechanism and damage situation of the earthquake in central Tottori, as well as in Kumamoto which occurred in April 14, 2016. The workshop will be present a comprehensive overview in terms of the tectonic framework in Southwest Japan behind these earthquakes, moreover, we also aim to lead it to the disaster prevention in the future.


The scientific scope of the symposium includes researches from mineral physics and geophysics to comprehensive geochemistry and geochronology, with a common goal of understanding the origin, evolution and dynamics of the Earth and planets. Sessions are also included to discuss the latest topics on solar system explorations, including sample return missions, and future perspectives in planetary materials science. One of the aims of the symposium is to bring together scientists of diverse backgrounds to deepen discussions on the latest topics and future perspectives in Earth and planetary materials science and related fields.