Planetary Aeronomy News


Les Eclaireurs ! interview of Séverine Robert

20 April 2019

Les Eclaireurs is a radio broadcast series to enhance science diffusion. Séverine Robert was interviewed on her participation to Mars and Venus speca missions.

Find here the recorded interview.

ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter : first results

10 April 2019

New evidence of the impact of the recent planet-encompassing dust storm on water in the atmosphere, and a surprising lack of methane, are among the scientific highlights of the ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter's first year in orbit.
Two papers are published in the journal Nature today describing the new results, and reported in a dedicated press briefing at the European Geosciences Union in Vienna.

  • "No detection of methane on Mars from early ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter observations" by O. Korablev et al
  • "Martian dust storm impact on atmospheric H2O and D/H observed by ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter" by A.C Vandaele et al
  • Livestream of the press conference at EGU, Vienna, where the first results were presented.

  • see the full Press Release on the IASB-BIRA site in French, Dutch, or English, and on the ESA site.

    and in the press

    in English:
  • cosmosmagazine
  • newatlas
  • healththoroughfare
  • europapress
  • thebelgianscientist
  • nytimes
  • independent
  • bbc
  • forbes
  • nature
  • scientificamerican
  • newscientist
  • oxford
  • astronomynow
  • earthsky
  • physicsworld
  • astronomy
  • youtube
  • nasa
  • ibtimes
  • techtimes
  • endgadget
  • geek

  • in French:
  • l'express
  • futura-sciences
  • cieletespace
  • sciencesetavenir
  • cieletespace
  • ouest-france
  • cnes
  • cieletespace
  • courrierinternational
  • lesoir
  • nextinpact

  • in Italian:
  • media.inaf
  • ansa
  • notizie.tiscali
  • zazoom
  • reccom
  • meteoweb
  • focustech
  • scienze.fanpage
  • webnews
  • tachyonbeam

  • in Spanish:
  • lasexta
  • lavanguardia
  • efefuturo
  • laflecha
  • dicyt

  • in Dutch:
  • vrt
  • belgiuminspace

  • in Russian:
  • NOMAD at Parentville for 'La nuit des étoiles'

    13 Oct. 2018

    During the 'Nuit des étoiles', the Scientific Center at Parentville organized a series of activities: looking at the night sky, exhibition, Kids activities, and a presentation on NOMAD. more info : Nuit des etoiles

    NOMAD team at the Open Doors of IASB-BIRA

    28-30 Sept. 2018

    During the Open Doors, the NOMAD team was very active to promote the instrument and the science NOMAD will achieve.

    Plenty of presentations on the first results of NOMAD at the EPSC !

    17-21 Sept 2018

    During the EPSC in Berlin, more than 25 posters and/or talks discussed the first NOMAD results !.


    NOMAD meeting in London

    20-22 August 2018

    The NOMAD Science Team gathered in London to discuss the first results !.


    NOMAD participated to the Emerveillement/Verwondering/Wonder Exhibition at the Royal Palace in Brussels

    27 July -02 Sept 2018

    The NOMAD mockup is part of the Emerveillement/Verwondering/Wonder exhibition: it is hanging in one of the rooms of the Royal Palace in Brussels..


    Special Issue in Space Science Review: the NOMAD paper is now on line

    19 June 2018


    Observations of Mars and paper by S. Aoki in SOFIA News !

    June 2018

    Highlight of the observations performed by SOFIA under the direction of S. Aoki.


    NOMAD first solar occultation

    27 April 2018

    Although NOMAD started observations almost one month ago, yesterday the first solar occultation has been performed. Spectra look nice and full of promises.


    ExoMars TGO first image

    26 April 2018

    The ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter has returned the first images of the Red Planet from its new orbit. The orbiter's Colour and Stereo Surface Imaging System, CaSSIS, took this stunning image, which features part of an impact crater, during the instrument's test period. The camera was activated on 20 March and was tested for the start of its main mission on 28 April.


    ExoMars TGO starts its Science Phase

    09 April 2018

    TGO has reached its final orbit (circular at 400 km above the surface) and the Science phase started. During April, only nadir observations will be possible and the measurements will mainly focus on calibratin and learning to operate the instruments fully.


    "From Mars Express to Exomars" Workshop

    27-28 Feb. 2018 - To finish UPWARDS in a blaze of glory, an interdisciplinary workshop was organized in collaboration with ESAC. The science research topics were mainly focused on the analysis and revision of datasets from present and past missions around Mars, especially Mars Express but also international collaborations with MAVEN, MSL, MRO, etc, in preparation for the exploitation of the Exomars Trace Gas Orbiter measurements. The Martian community responded enthusiastically to the call.

    Group picture

    Exhibition, UPWARDS workshop Shohei Aoki, UPWARDS workshop Loïc Trompet, UPWARDS workshop H. Svedhem, Ann Carine Vandaele, O. Korablev, UPWARDS workshop Exhibition (2), UPWARDS workshop

    UPWARDS Final Review Meeting

    26 Feb. 2018 - The EU Horizon2020 project UPWARDS has come to an end. After 3 years of hard work, the Planetary Aeronomy team has proudly presented their results at the Final Review meeting. This took place near Madrid, at the ESAC facility. The results of the consortium were presented to the European Commission officer and the evaluator.

    Arianna Piccialli, Review Meeting Yannick Willame, Review Meeting Miguel Valverde (PI), Review Meeting Anti-stress balls as a gift, Review Meeting

    A new type of aurora observed on Mars (SCOOP-BRAIN)

    23 Feb 2018 - ????

    ExoMars TGO spacecraft ends its aerobraking manoeuvres

    21 Feb 2018

    The aerobraking started in March 2017 and just ended today. The spacecraft had to transform its initial, highly elliptical four-day orbit of about 98 000 × 200 km into the final, much lower and circular path at about 400 km.

    More info on the ESA website.

    Special Issue in Space Science Review: "Investigations of the Mars Upper Atmosphere with ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter", Lopez-Valverde et al. is now on line

    10 Jan 2018


    Paper on the CASTAway mission

    17 Dec. 2017


    Scientific Workshop "From Mars Express to Exomars": First announcement

    Oct 31, 2017 - The Interdisciplinary Workshop devoted to revise our current understanding of Mars, from the surface to the upper atmosphere, in the eve of the Exomars TGO operational science phase will be held on 27 – 28 February 2018, at ESAC (ESA), Madrid, Spain

    The "Martian Puzzle". A virtual visit

    Jul 11, 2017 - You can do a virtual tour to "The Martian Puzzle" exhibition

    UPWARDS 2nd Year Review Meeting @ INAF, Rome, Italy

    March 27th, 2017 to March 28th, 2017 - Please find here the summary of the Meeting (partners only)

    The "Let's go to Mars!" app launched!

    Dec 29, 2016 - With the "Let's go to Mars" App, the player will have to explore Mars and face its many dangers in order to build the first human colony in the red planet

    Destination Mars, episode 2: The hunt for methane/p>

    26 Jan 2016 - Ann C. Vandaele, researcher at IASB-BISA, is interviewed by EuroNews on the ExoMars mission and the NOMAD instrument.

    UPWARDS: the documentary

    Jan 22, 2016 - UPWARDS: Understanding Planet Mars is a signature documentary film about key questions about Mars produced by the project's outreach & communication team.

    Destination Mars, episode 1: Searching for signs of life

    26 Jan 2016 - Jorge Vago, one of the Exomars Project Scientists at the European Space Agency (ESA), outlined the mission.

    Busy in Baikonur: a look back at the first few weeks for ExoMars 2016 at the cosmodrome

    22 January 2016 - One month ago, the ExoMars 2016 Trace Gas Orbiter and Schiaparelli (the entry, descent and landing demonstrator module) travelled aboard two Antonov 124 cargo jets from Turin, Italy, to the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan to be readied for launch in March.

    More on ExoMars Twitter or ExoMars Website

    TGO is at Baikonour !

    23 Dec. 2015 - The 3rd ExoMars flight containing the Trace Gas Orbiter TGO safely arrived in Baikonur this morning.

    More on ExoMars Twitter

    ExoMars prepares to leave Europe for launch site

    25 Nov. 2015 - The ExoMars spacecraft of the 2016 mission is being prepared for shipping to the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan ahead of their launch in March. NOMAD, the instrument developped at IASB-BIRA is part of the ExoMars TGO 2016 mission.

    More on ExoMars on ESA website

    Discrete and diffuse aurorae in the Martian Atmosphere

    For the first time, MAVEN surprisingly detected diffuse aurorae in the Northern hemisphere of the planet Mars, where a magnetic field is absent while it was thought it is an indispensable ingredient for the observation of aurorae.

    The Belgian newspaper Le Soir dedicated a full page to the planet Mars (.pdf). Dr Arnaud Stiepen from the ULg and member of the SCOOP project was interviewed (in French) over the latest discoveries by the Nasa probe MAVEN (Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution) orbiting Mars since September 2014.

    In addition, an ESA press release about the Mars Express Mission placed the work by the team of Jean-Claude Gérard (LPAP, ULg) in front.

    Armed with 10 years of Mars Express observations, they have detected discrete ultraviolet auroras in the Sourthern hemisphere on many occasions, and have analysed in detail how and where they are produced in the Martian atmosphere. They concluded that the auroras appear only under special conditions, near the boundary between open and closed magnetic field lines (see Figure below).

    Unlike the northern hemisphere, the southern hemisphere of Mars has regions where the rocks have preserved the memory of a past magnetism. This residual magnetic field is called paleomagnetism. The ultraviolet auroras associated with known magnetic anomalies in Mars’ crust are confined, rare and transient events that vary in time and space. They are very different from the auroras seen on other planets.

    Distribution map of discrete aurores (white circles) detected in the Southern hemisphere of Mars. The paleomagnetism appears on the background. © ULg, ESA.

    Both phenomena, discrete and diffuse auroraes on Mars, are detailed on the Daily Science website (in French).

    PSS Special Issue : "Exploration of Venus"

    Sep. 2015 - Compiling the latest results from the Venus Express ESA mission, a special issue has been published in Planet. Space Sc. - IASB-BIRA researchers have been very active

    Several papers with IASB-BIRA first authors were published in the PSS special issue on the "Exploration of Venus":

    and several papers where IASB-BIRA researchers are co-authors:

    UPWARDS' First Progress Meeting @M6

    Sep 17, 2015 - The UPWARDS consortium met last September 17th for exchanging thoughts about the progress of the project

    The shooting of 'UPWARDS: Re-thinking MARS' has ended

    Sep 12, 2015 - After three weeks of filming across Europe, the shooting part of the documentary about the Red Planet 'UPWARDS: Re-Thinking MARS' has finished

    UPWARDS, a cutting-edge project for global understanding of Mars

    Jul 09, 2015 - Co-ordinated by the Instituto de Astrofísica de Andalucía (IAA-CSIC), the project involves seven European scientific institutions which are developing new analytical techniques to exploit the Mars Express and the future ExoMars missions.

    EuroPlanet - a new Horizon 2020 project !

    15 Sep. 2015 - Europlanet 2020 Research Infrastructure launches new era of planetary collaboration in Europe

    A €9.95 million project to integrate and support planetary science activities across Europe has been launched. The Europlanet 2020 Research Infrastructure (RI) is funded under the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 programme and will run for four years until August 2019. The project is led by the Open University, UK, and has 34 beneficiary institutions from 19 European countries. Europlanet 2020 RI will address key scientific and technological challenges facing modern planetary science by providing open access to state-of-the-art research data, models and facilities across the European Research Area.

    Prof Nigel Mason, the Project Coordinator, said, “We are delighted to announce the launch of this new Research Infrastructure. Since its foundation in 2005, Europlanet has played an immensely effective role in bringing together the European planetary science community. In this latest project, we have an ambitious programme of research, access and networking activities. In particular, our focus will be on fostering a closer integration between industry and academia in planetary science, and supporting institutions and partners from countries in early stages of developing planetary research programmes.”

    For more information:
    Follow on Twitter via @Europlanet2020

    Belgian technology ready for Mars

    30 March 2015 - In January 2016, the ExoMars trace Gas Orbiter will be launched toward Mars with on board, a new instrument resulting from an international consortium led by Belgium. This instrument will study the Martian atmosphere, looking for traces of life. On Tuesday 24 March 2015 the instrument will be visible in Belgium for the last time before leaving our country to be delivered to the European Space Agency for the final integration on the satellite.

    Communiqué de presse: De la technologie de pointe belge prête à partir pour Mars
    Persbericht: Belgische toptechnologie klaar voor vertrek naar planeet Mars

    Measuring Mars' Ancient Ocean: NOMAD co-Is interviewed !

    5 March 2015 - For decades, planetary scientists have suspected that ancient Mars was a much warmer, wetter environment than it is today, but estimates of just how much water Mars has lost since its formation vary widely. Now, new isotopic measurements by researchers at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center reveal that an ocean once covered approximately twenty percent of the Martian surface. This new picture of early Mars is considerably wetter than many previous estimates, raising the odds for the ancient habitability of the Red Planet.

    See the NASA movie on Youtube

    See also an article in the Libre Belgique (in French)

    Mystery Mars plume baffles scientists

    16 February 2015 - Plumes seen reaching high above the surface of Mars are causing a stir among scientists studying the atmosphere on the Red Planet. ... more

    NOMAD in the press

    12 February 2015 - The Search For Volcanic Eruptions On Mars Reaches The Next Level. A new study of emissions from Martian volcanoes suggests there is no activity going on right now, but researchers aren’t ruling out recent eruptions. Using NASA’s Infrared Telescope Facility at Mauna Kea in Hawaii, the science team searched for signs of sulfuric acid — a key indicator of volcanic activity. They focused on the major volcanic provinces of Mars (Tharsis and Syrtis Major) in two, multi-week observation sessions, one from December to January 2012, and another in May and June 2014. ... more

    And finally with UVIS !

    19 Jan 2015 - and the 3d channel UVIS has now also recorded some spectra !

    And now with LNO !

    16 Jan 2015 - Some more spectra ... with the LNO channel now

    First absorption spectra of NOMAD !

    16 Jan 2015 - During the final tests before closing NOMAD, some measurements were done with the SO channel. Just a lamp in front of the entrance and here you go ... a fantastic spectrum of the air ! Today still from Earth, soon from Mars.



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