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  • Knowledge about planet Mars | BIRA-IASB
    and apply new geophysical and atmospheric models that will help scientists to address questions that have still not been answered Amongst the ambitious science scope of the project we found topics such as the global water cycle on Mars the exchange of methane and other gases between the atmosphere and the interior of Mars the variability of dust storms and the nature of the Martian subsoil UPWARDS will also create a new and global database of the climate of Mars assimilating spacecraft observations into model simulations that will produce 4D spatial and temporal datasets for the scientific community The new tools generated by the UPWARDS project will make it possible not only to obtain more information from the data that we possess about the red planet but will also be fundamental in view of the future ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter TGO mission whose launch is planned by the European Space Agency and Roscosmos in January 2016 TGO will carry the NOMAD instrument on board of which Ann Carine Vandaele BIRA IASB is the Principal Investigator Contribution of BIRA IASB The Planetary Aeronomy team of BIRA IASB is involved in research dealing with the investigation of dust storms and dust properties the detection of clouds in the ultraviolet the retrieval of vertical profiles of trace gases Valérie Wilquet BIRA IASB is leading the work package Trace gases at the Day Night terminator The terminator a very peculiar region of the atmosphere that solar occultations probe is the limit between the day and night sides of the planet Scientists at BIRA IASB will investigate the chemical and dynamical effects at this transition region which is not well understood today The focus will be set on detection of the ozone which is a species of high importance because of its strong correlation with

    Original URL path: http://www.bira-iasb.be/en/news-press/2015-07-09-upwards-mars.htm (2016-04-27)
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  • Design for minisatellite PICASSO positively assessed | BIRA-IASB
    missions THOR was recommended as one of the three mission concepts to proceed to a Phase 0 study which is the first official phase of a mission In mid 2017 ESA will finally decide which of the three will go ahead The THOR mission The science objectives of THOR are related to plasma turbulence one of the most fundamental processes in the universe but also one of the least well understood Turbulence occurs over a very wide range of spatial scales and leads to the dissipation of energy often resulting in non equilibrium states The two main environments in which plasma turbulence is studied are the solar wind and the magnetosheath plasma The THOR mission will use a sun pointing spinning spacecraft launched by an Ariane 6 2 rocket from Kourou around 2025 The nominal mission duration is 3 years The satellite will carry a suite of 10 instruments for in situ measurement of electric and magnetic fields and the characteristics of electrons and ions The primary challenge is to acquire these data with very high time resolution hence the need for appropriate instrumentation THOR takes advantage of the experience obtained with other missions such as CLUSTER resulting in a

    Original URL path: http://www.bira-iasb.be/en/news-press/2015-06-10-THOR.html (2016-04-27)
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  • Design for minisatellite PICASSO positively assessed | BIRA-IASB
    PICASSO satellite in collaboration with VTT Finland Clyde Space Ltd UK and the Centre Spatial de Liège Belgium for the European Space Agency ESA Just 32x10x10 cm in size this CubeSat will use a miniaturised multispectral imager for atmospheric limb sounding with the Sun as the light source VISION the multineedle Sweeping Langmuir Probe SLP sampling the electron density of the space around it On 23 24 April 2015 the PICASSO mission was reviewed by ESA during a Preliminary Design Review PDR collocation at the European Space Research and Technology Centre ESTEC Both instruments VISION and SLP and the platform were positively assessed during a very intense questions answers session with ESA experts from different fields A PDR demonstrates that the preliminary design meets all system requirements with acceptable risk and within the cost and schedule constraints and establishes the basis for proceeding with detailed design It will show that the correct design options have been selected interfaces have been identified and verification methods have been described The PDR was declared successful with actions left as usual for the team The close out of the PDR is foreseen at the end of May after which the PICASSO project will enter

    Original URL path: http://www.bira-iasb.be/en/news-press/2015-05-12-design-picasso.htm (2016-04-27)
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  • Activities 50th anniversary | BIRA-IASB
    is thought to have been the dominant form of nitrogen in the early nebula from which our solar system emerged Martin Rubin from the Physics Institute at the University of Bern and his team were now able to measure this most wanted molecule as Rubin calls it in the coma the atmosphere of comet 67P Churyumov Gerasimenko It is for the first time ever that scientists were able to detect nitrogen molecules at a comet Although some comets like Chury were probably formed in the same region as Triton and Pluto until now we weren t able to find any molecular nitrogen in them Rubin explains Because a comet s water ice can trap only small amounts of it remote sensing as well as in situ analysis were simply not sensitive and precise enough A Background mass per charge spectrum around 28 u e obtained on May 11 2014 at 1 65 x 106 km from the comet B Representative spectrum in the coma of the comet on October 18 2014 00 47 UTC at almost 10 km cometocentric distance The nitrogen measurements suggest that Chury formed in a very cold region of our solar system The amount of molecular nitrogen brought to Earth by comets such as 67P Churyumov Gerasimenko is small compared to other nitrogen bearing molecules says ROSINA Principal Investigator Kathrin Altwegg According to her these results add to the growing evidence that Jupiter family comets like Chury cannot be the major source of both water and volatiles like nitrogen on Earth Altwegg and her team had recently discovered that the ratio of deuterium to hydrogen in the water of the comet differed from that on Earth which indicated that the latter had a different source Like the origin of our water the missing molecular nitrogen in

    Original URL path: http://www.bira-iasb.be/en/news-press/2015-03-20-comet-molecule-n2-rosetta.htm (2016-04-27)
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  • BIRA-IASB News & press releases
    of experiments for microgravity studies atmospheric and solar observations and material technology investigations Among them the Royal Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy was involved in two experiments Complete article Eureca 50 aeronomie be Venus Express took a plunge into the Venus atmosphere 17 July 2014 Daring aerobraking operations of the Venus Express VEX probe were undertaken by ESA to gain new insights about usually inaccessible regions of the planet s atmosphere and about how the spacecraft and its components respond to such a hostile environment The campaign also provides the opportunity to develop and practise the critical operation techniques required for aerobraking an experience that will be precious for the preparation of future planetary missions After a month surfing in and out of the atmosphere of Venus down to only 130 km above the planet s surface Venus Express now embarked on a 15 day climb up to the lofty heights of 460 km The Planetary Aeronomy team at the Royal Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy is responsible for the analysis of the data recorded by the SOIR instrument onboard VEX The team was following with great interest and in suspense the development of the operations and the state of the satellite Read more on the Venus Express aerobraking Space weather forecasts in support of the Venus Express Aerobraking campaign 12 June 2014 Venus Express is an ESA mission setup to observe the atmosphere of Venus After eight years in orbit ESA s Venus Express has completed routine science observations and has recently started to descend into the planet s atmosphere The SSCC SSA Space Weather Coordination Centre is providing support to the Venus Express Aerobraking campaign Complete article Space Weather Forecasts Venus Express The Belgian Senate and Its Space Working Group 24 March 2014 Session of the Senate s

    Original URL path: http://www.bira-iasb.be/en/news-press2014.htm (2016-04-27)
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  • BIRA-IASB News & press releases 2013
    satellite that was launched on 7 May 2013 The design of this instrument results from a fruitful collaboration between BIRA IASB and UCL Université Catholique de Louvain La Neuve and QinetiQ Space Data management is assured by the B USOC The instrument now provides the first measurements of radiation in a space environment around the Earth at low altitude The first maps of proton and electrons fluxes clearly show the South Atlantic anomaly Further analysis of the observations are in progress With the new measurements of EPT the models of space radiation will improve says Viviane Pierrard scientific responsible of the instrument at BIRA IASB This instrument was realized thanks to the BIRA IASB engineering team especially Jeroen Maes Sabrina Bonnewijn Emiel Van Ransbeeck and Eddy Neefs ESA ESA Space Environments EPT First Results Energetic Particle Telescope EPT Proof of steady wind escaping from plasmaphere 10 July 2013 A proof of the existence of the plasmaspheric wind that was first proposed theoretically over 20 years ago by BIRA IASB scientist Joseph Lemaire and scientist Robert Schunk of the Utah State University has been discovered by ESA s Cluster mission This steady wind that is slowly escaping from Earth s plasmasphere has been confirmed by researcher Iannis Dandouras from the Institut de Recherche en Astrophysique et Planétologie in Toulouse France This discovery confirms that Earth s ionosphere and plasmasphere feed the outer region of the magnetosphere on a regular basis and not only during active periods says Iannis Dandouras This discovery is essential for understanding the dynamics of the magnetosphere and also for understanding the underlying physical mechanisms of some space weather phenomena modeled by the Space Physics team of BIRA IASB for several years This allows to study Earth s atmospheric loss in great detail and to compare it with similar phenomena that occur on other planets in the Solar System Read more Cluster discovers steady leak in Earth s plasmasphere ESA press release Cluster spacecraft detects elusive space wind EGU press release Plasma outflow from plasmasphere to magnetosphere TG Daily Première détection expérimentale d un vent plasmasphérique dans la magnétosphère terrestre CNRS Steady leak in the Earth s plasmasphere found PhysicsWorld com Plasmaspheric Wind Simulations Solar instrument five years in space 4 April 2013 The space instrument SOLAR SOLSPEC celebrates its 5th anniversary since its launch This Franco Belgian unit measures the amount of solar radiation solar flux from space SOLSPEC is an updated version of an older instrument that already participated 5 times in space missions over the past 30 years This new version is designed for long term space missions SOLSPEC is integrated in the SOLAR platform that is mounted on the exterior of the European Columbus module of the International Space Station ISS The instrument performs solar measurements regularly giving scientists a long series of measurements for research on climate and solar physics The mission will last until 2017 ESA s new Space Weather Centre Opens in Brussels 3 April 2013 This morning the European Space

    Original URL path: http://www.bira-iasb.be/en/news-press2013.htm (2016-04-27)
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  • BIRA-IASB News & press releases
    the entire crew of mission STS 45 out to Belgium from 24th to 28th September 2012 to participate in conferences and debates on space research during the Space Week 2012 In this framework an academic session is organised on the 25th September in the Palais des Académies of Brussels by the Belgian Science Policy Office BELSPO and the Royal Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy BIRA IASB European Metop B satellite launched 21 september 2012 On September 17 the second Metop satellite was launched from the missile base in Baikonu r Kazakhstan on a Russian Soyuz rocket Metop B will ensure continuity in the atmospheric monitoring services of its predecessor Metop A The instruments GOME 2 and IASI on the satellite are essential for the scientists of the Royal Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy BIRA IASB doing atmospheric measurements on a global scale in relation to ozone acid rain volcanic eruptions ESA Metop Meteorological Missions Metop Brochure pdf Ozone layer stabilized but large depletion in the polar regions continues to occur 16 September 2012 On the 25th anniversary of the signing of the Montreal Protocol the global ozone layer has stabilized but large depletion in the polar regions continues to occur The United Nations has declared the 16th of September as the International Day for the Protection of the Ozone Layer to commemorate 16 September 1987 the date when the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer a protocol to the Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer was signed The Montreal Protocol controls the production and use of ozone depleting substances It is an outstanding example of a successful cooperation between scientists governments non government organizations and industry as well as between developed and developing countries Complete press release written by the International Association of Meteorology and Atmospheric Sciences IAMAS International Ozone Commission IO3C pdf Smelling Grímsvötn 5 September 2012 While piloting a commercial transatlantic flight last year Captain Klaus Sievers and his crew got a whiff of an unusual odour In a confined space 10 km up in the air there was only one thing it could be The foul smell with traces of sulphur in the cockpit came from none other than the Grímsvötn volcano that was spewing gas and ash from southeast Iceland Complete article on the ESA Portal Dirk Frimout Exhibition in Brussels Planetarium 27 July 2012 20 years ago Dirk Frimout the first Belgian astronaut flew aboard the American space shuttle Atlantis STS 45 As chairman of the Euro Space Society he invites the entire crew of mission STS 45 out to Belgium from 24th to 28th September 2012 to participate in conferences and debates on space research during the Space Week 2012 This event will take place in various scientific institutes and universities and aims to motivate young people for scientific and technical studies An exhibition devoted to this flight can be visited in the Planetarium of Brussels as from 1st July to 30th September 2012 The transit of Venus

    Original URL path: http://www.bira-iasb.be/en/news-press2012.htm (2016-04-27)
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  • Atmospheric layers >> Stratosphere | BIRA-IASB
    protocols Air quality Aerosols and climate Natural hazards Chemical weather Ozone Aerosols volcanic ash warning UV at the surface Space weather Space missions Mission scenarios Instrument design and technology Mission operations Data management Atmospheric layers Stratosphere The stratosphere is the layer in the atmosphere above the troposphere The stratosphere reaches from the tropopause to a height of about 50 km Temperature in the stratosphere rises with increasing altitude because the

    Original URL path: http://www.bira-iasb.be/en/topics/earthsystem/atmosphere-layers-strato.htm (2016-04-27)
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