Scientific  Programme

The Biennial European Astrobiology Conference (BEACON) will take place at the La Palma &Teneguia Princess Hotel on La Palma Island (Canary Islands, Spain) from 20-24 April 2020. he programme starts on 20th April in the morning and ends  on 24th in the evening. There will be around 16 invited talks (30 min) and 30 contributed talks (15 minutes). Also a poster session will take place on Monday 20th.  On Friday 24th there will be an excursion to the Caldeira de Taburiente and the Gran Telescópio Canarias and the Telescopio Nazionale Galilei. An after conference-walk on the Ruta de Volcanes on Saturday 25th April as well as a walk on the close-by Teneguia lava field on Wednesday 22nd will be organised. 

During this meeting also the 2nd General Assembly of the EAI will take place. Scientific sessions are planned covering the following themes:

  • Formation and Evolution of Planetary Systems and Detection of Habitable Worlds
  • The Pathway to Complexity: From Simple Molecules to First Life
  • Planetary Environments and Habitability
  • Evolution and Traces of Early Life and Life under Extreme Condition
  • Biosignatures and the Detection of Life beyond Earth
  • Historical, Philosophical, Societal and Ethical Issues in Astrobiology
  • Tracing Life and Identifying Habitable Environments

  • Impacts and their Role in the Evolution of Planets, Moons and Life 
  • Protoplanetary disks and their physical and chemical processes

  • Oncoming Mars missions

The following invited speakers wil talk at the conference:

Daniela Billi, University of Rome Tor Vergata, Italy

Janice Bishop, SETI, USA

Bertram Bitsch, MPIA Heidelberg, Germany

Joanna Drazkowska, LMU Munich, Germany

Michael Gillon, University of Liège, Belgium

Keyron Hickman-Lewis, CNRS, France

Lisa Kaltenegger, Cornell University, USA 

Nancy Kiang, NASA Goddard Space Flight Centre, USA

Silvano Onofri, University of Tuscia, Italy

Ana-Catalina Plesa, German Aerospace Center, Germany

Eörs Szathmary, Eötvös Lorand University, Hungary


Excursion to Caldeira de Taburiente and telescopes (FULLY BOOKED)

On Friday 24th we will set out early to the Cumbrecita viewpoint at the

rim of the Caldera de Taburiente. Participants can embark on a 40

minutes walk to one of the viewpoints and see very interesting

geological locations inside the crater. We will then go up to the Roque

de los Muchachos and  have lunch on the way (included in excursion

price). Thereafter we will visit the Gran Telescópio Canarias and/or the

Telescopio Nazionale Galileo. Thereafter we will have a short stop on the

Roque de los Muchachos, the highest point of the island. Thereafter

we will go down along the west side crossing several characteristic

valleys (barrancos) of La Palma stopping at the Mirador del Time. Time

allowing, we will have a stop at  Los Llanos de Aridane with its

picturesque town centre and the Archeological Museum which gives a

very nice introduction into the history, vegetation and geography of the

island. Thereafter we return back to the conference hotel. Please note

that this programme can be changed due to unforseen circumstances.  


Walk "Ruta de los Volcanes"

On Saturday 25th you have the possibility to walk on the famous

Ruta de los Volcanes. The trail starts at Refugio de Pilár and runs

over the ridge "Cumbre Nueva" at altitudes up to over 2000m.  The

walk is strenuous but offers interesting volcano craters, geological

locations including historic lava fields and, clear weather provided,

stunning views.  Walking boots covering the ankles, sunhat, backpack, 

sunscreen   and enough water are a must and walking sticks and

gloves a good idea (see Practical webpage for equipment ).

The features of the walks are:

  • Distance: 20 km
  • Climb: 600 m
  • Descent: 1400 m
  • Walking time 8 hours

Please note that there are no restrooms, cafes or water supplies along the walk. The walk might be cancellled due to adverse weather conditions. In that case an alternative programme will be organised.

Walk over Teneguia lava field

On Wednesday 22nd we organise a facultative walk over the Teneguia

lava field from the 1971 eruption. We wil go by bus to the Teneguia

Visitors'centre and see the exhibition there. after that we walk down

over the lava field to the lighthouse "Faro de Fuencaliente and have a

walk around the salt gardens "Salinas". Good walking shoes and gloves

(e-tip gloves, walking gloves or gardening gloves, no washing-up gloves

please) are a must. See Practical information webpage for details. There

are no restrooms on the way, but at the start and the end of the walk.

The"Taste the Universe" dinner will be just after the walk ánd

at the end point of the walk. Walk features:

  • Distance: 5 km
  • Climb: <30 m
  • Descent: 500 m
  • Walking time 1.5 - 2 hours

Social programme

There will be a facultative "Taste the Universe" dinner at the "Jardin de Salinas"

restaurant at the southern tip of the island on Wednesday 22nd April at

20:30. There will als be an outreach event "Music and Astrobiology"  Tuesday 21st.

Satellite event for Early Career Researchers

There will be a satelite meeting of the Early Career Scientist organisations Astrobiology Graduates i Europe (AbGradE) and Europlanet Early Career Network (EPEC).The meeting will consist of: 

  • An icebreaker get-together on April 16th
  • Introductory talks by early-career scientsts for people new to the field on April17th
  • An introductory talk about life in lava caves and an excursion to thenewly opened "Cueva de las Palomas" lava cave
  • Two days of scientific programme with plenty of room for talks by early career scientists  

For further information including registation and abstract submission please check the website of the event. Deadline for abstract submission is 15 January and 1 February for registration.

      Caldeira de Taburiente

      Gran Telescopio Canarias (GTC)

      Ruta de los Volcanes

      Teneguia volcano (1971)

      "Cascada de Nubes"

      La Palma & Teneguia Princess

      Bienvenidos  a la Isla Bonita (La Palma) !