SPIDER in the News

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SPIDER in the News

Europlanet’s SPIDER (Sun Planet Interactions Digital Environment on Request) virtual access service has been in the news recently in two studies using data from ESA missions at Venus and Mars.

SPIDER provides services and databases to support researchers modelling planetary environments and solar wind interactions.

A paper published in Nature Communications, led by Dr Moa Persson of the University of Tokyo describes how the convergence of BepiColombo and Solar Orbiter at Venus in August 2021 has given a unique insight into how the planet is able to retain its thick atmosphere without the protection of a global magnetic field. 

In this video, Moa explains how SPIDER has been used to support observations by BepiColombo and Solar Orbiter of Venus’s induced magnetosphere and magnetosheath. 

Co-author of the study, Sae Aizawa of ISAS/JAXA, explains how the solar wind interacts with magnetic fields and atmospheres at different planets in our Solar System.

Back in December, a second paper led by Yoshifumi Futaana of the Swedish Institute of Space Physics, showed how background radiation counts detected by ESA’s long-serving twin missions, Mars Express and Venus Express, revealed the relationship between intensity of high-energy cosmic rays and the influence of the Sun’s activity across our inner Solar System. The databases of the background radiation counts extracted for the study ere published and can be accessed through SPIDER. In this video, he explains more about his approach to his reasearch.

BepiColombo and Solar Orbiter compare notes at Venus

BepiColombo and Solar Orbiter compare notes at Venus 

Europlanet 2024 RI/ISAS/JAXA Press Release
Thursday, 26 January 2023

The convergence of two spacecraft at Venus in August 2021 has given a unique insight into how the planet is able to retain its thick atmosphere without the protection of a global magnetic field. 

The ESA/JAXA BepiColombo mission, enroute to study Mercury, and the ESA/NASA Solar Orbiter, which is observing the Sun from different perspectives, are both using a number of gravity-assists from Venus to change their trajectories and guide them on their way.  On 9-10 August 2021, the missions flew past Venus within a day of each other, sending back observations synergistically captured from eight sensors and two vantage points in space. The results have been published in Nature Communications.

Unlike Earth, Venus does not generate an intrinsic magnetic field in its core. Nonetheless, a weak, comet-shaped ‘induced magnetosphere’ is created around the planet by the interaction of the solar wind – a stream of charged particles emitted by the Sun – with electrically charged particles in Venus’s upper atmosphere. Around this magnetic bubble, the solar wind is slowed, heated and deflected like the wake of a boat in a region called ‘magnetosheath’.

During the flyby, BepiColombo swooped along the long tail of the magnetosheath and emerged through the blunt nose of the magnetic regions closest to the Sun. Meanwhile, Solar Orbiter captured a peaceful solar wind from its location upfront of Venus.

“These dual sets of observations are particularly valuable because the solar wind conditions experienced by Solar Orbiter were very stable. This meant that BepiColombo had a perfect view of the different regions within the magnetosheath and magnetosphere, undisturbed by fluctuations from solar activity,” said lead-author Moa Persson of the University of Tokyo in Kashiwa, Japan, who was funded to carry out the study by the European Commission through the Europlanet 2024 Research Infrastructure (RI) project.

BepiColombo’s flyby was a rare opportunity to investigate the ‘stagnation region’, an area at the nose of the magnetosphere where some of the largest effects of the interaction between Venus and the solar wind are observed. The data gathered gave the first experimental evidence that charged particles in this region are slowed significantly by the interactions between the solar wind and Venus, and that the zone extends to an unexpectedly large distance of 1,900 kilometres above the planet’s surface.

The observations also showed that the induced magnetosphere provides a stable barrier that protects the atmosphere of Venus from being eroded by the solar wind. This protection remains robust even during solar minimum, when lower ultraviolet emissions from the Sun reduce the strength of the currents that generate the induced magnetosphere. The finding, which is contrary to previous predictions, sheds new light on the connection between magnetic fields and atmospheric loss due to the solar wind.

‘The effectiveness of an induced magnetosphere in helping a planet retain its atmosphere has implications for understanding the habitability of exoplanets without internally-generated magnetic fields,” said co-author Sae Aizawa of JAXA’s Institute of Space and Astronautical Science (ISAS).

BepiColombo comprises a pair of spacecraft, Mio, the JAXA-led Mercury Magnetospheric Orbiter, and MPO, the ESA-led Mercury Planetary Orbiter, which have been stacked together for the journey to Mercury. The study combined data from Mio’s four particle sensors, the magnetometer and another particle instrument on MPO, and the magnetometer and solar wind analyser on Solar Orbiter. Europlanet’s SPIDER space weather modelling tools enabled the researchers to track in detail how features in the solar wind observed by Solar Orbiter were affected as they propagated towards BepiColombo through the venusian magnetosheath.

“The important results of this study demonstrate how turning sensors on during planetary flybys and cruise phases can lead to unique science,” said co-author Nicolas Andre, the coordinator of the Europlanet SPIDER service at the Institut de Recherche en Astrophysique et Planétologie (IRAP) in Toulouse, France.

Publication details:

Persson et al. BepiColombo mission confirms stagnation region of Venus and reveals its large extent. Nature Communications vol 13, 7743 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-022-35061-3 

Further information

Science and Housekeeping data for the study were obtained from eight sensors on three spacecraft:

  • Mio
    • Mercury Electron Analyzer (MEA)
    • Mercury Ion Analyzer (MIA)
    • Mass Spectrum Analyzer (MSA) 
    • Energetic Neutral Atom (ENA)
  • MPO 
    • Magnetometer (MAG)
    • Miniature Ion Precipitation Analyzer (MIPA) 
  • Solar Orbiter 
    • Magnetometer (MAG)
    • Proton Alpha Spectrometer (PAS)

Image

The convergence of BepiColombo and Solar Orbiter spacecraft at Venus in August 2021 was a rare opportunity to investigate the ‘stagnation region’, an area of the venusian magnetosphere where some of the largest effects of the interaction between Venus and the solar wind are observed. Credit: CC BY-Nc-SA 4.0 – Thibaut Roger/Europlanet 2024 RI

The convergence of BepiColombo and Solar Orbiter spacecraft at Venus in August 2021 was a rare opportunity to investigate the ‘stagnation region’, an area of the venusian magnetosphere where some of the largest effects of the interaction between Venus and the solar wind are observed.

Download full resolution image as JPG, PNG or PDF.

Video

Dr Moa Persson describes the observations by BepiColombo and Solar Orbiter of Venus’s induced magnetosphere and magnetosheath.

Dr Sae Aizawa explains how the solar wind interacts with magnetic fields and atmospheres at different planets in our Solar System.

Science Contacts

Dr Moa Persson
The University of Tokyo
Kashiwa
Japan
moa.persson@irap.omp.eu

Dr Sae Aizawa
Institute of Space and Astronautical Science (ISAS)
Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)
Sagamihara
Japan
sae.aizawa@irap.omp.eu

Dr Go Murakami
Institute of Space and Astronautical Science (ISAS)
Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)
Sagamihara
Japan
go@stp.isas.jaxa.jp

Dr Nicolas André
Institut de Recherche en Astrophysique et Planétologie (IRAP)
Toulouse
France
Nicolas.andre@irap.omp.eu

Media Contacts

Anita Heward
Press Officer
Europlanet 2024 Research Infrastructure (RI)
+44 7756 034243
aheward@europlanet-society.org

Further Information

About ISAS/JAXA

In October 2003, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) was established as an independent administrative institution, integrating the Institute of Space and Astronautical Science (ISAS), the National Space Development Agency of Japan (NASDA) and the National Aerospace Laboratory of Japan (NAL). ISAS became one of four principal sections within the newly established organization. Its mission is to advance space science – scientific research conducted in outer space – in Japan, mainly by collaboration with universities. It also actively contributes to JAXA’s and Japan’s entire space development. 

ISAS’s new efforts and results in space science are published in Japan and shared with the international community, thus promoting JAXA’s status and enhancing Japan’s intellectual reputation in the world.

Web: https://www.isas.jaxa.jp/en/

Twitter: @ISAS_JAXA_EN

About Europlanet

Since 2005, Europlanet has provided Europe’s planetary science community with a platform to exchange ideas and personnel, share research tools, data and facilities, define key science goals for the future, and engage stakeholders, policy makers and European citizens with planetary science.

The Europlanet 2024 Research Infrastructure (RI) has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 871149 to provide access to state-of-the-art research facilities and a mechanism to coordinate Europe’s planetary science community. The project builds on a €2 million Framework 6 Coordination Action (EuroPlaNet), a €6 million Framework 7 Research Infrastructure (Europlanet RI) and a €10 million Horizon 2020 Research Infrastructure (Europlanet 2020 RI) funded by the European Commission. 

The Europlanet Society promotes the advancement of European planetary science and related fields for the benefit of the community and is open to individual and organisational members. The Society’s aims are:

  • To expand and support a diverse and inclusive planetary community across Europe through the activities of its 10 Regional Hubs
  • To build the profile of the sector through outreach, education and policy activities
  • To underpin the key role Europe plays in planetary science through developing links at a national and international level. 

Europlanet 2024 RI project website: www.europlanet-2024-ri.eu

Europlanet Society website: www.europlanet-society.org   

Follow on Twitter via @europlanetmedia

Imaginary extraterrestrials help learn about the Solar System and about life beyond Earth

The Institute of Astrophysics and Space Sciences (IA) has launched a free educational board game that promotes group learning about the planets and moons of the Solar System and about astrobiology.

ET – A Solar System Adventure” is a board game, released online in Portuguese and English, but also an educational resource that is available free of charge, and scientifically validated by the Portuguese astrophysics research institute. The project was funded by the Europlanet Society as one of the winning proposals of the Europlanet 2020 RI Public Engagement Funding Scheme in 2019.

“The aim of this game is to engage young people with Space and with the search for life beyond Earth, i.e. astrobiology. As a strategy, we used a theme that is already popular among our target audience: aliens,” said Catarina Leote, from the Science Communication Group of the IA and the coordinator of the project that, in collaboration with the Planetary Systems Group of the same institute, led to the design and production of the game.

“ET phone home”

In this game, the quote from Steven Spielberg’s iconic film does not work. The players are the ones responsible for taking sixteen lost creatures from other worlds to their homes in the Solar System. This is the challenge that the Institute of Astrophysics and Space Sciences (IA) proposes to everyone, but in particular to those between 8 and 12 years old, so that they can become enthusiastic about the planets and moons of our cosmic neighbourhood, and about the conditions necessary for life beyond our blue planet.

Example of a Question card in the ET - A Solar System Adventure Game.
Example of a Question card. The mechanics of the board game ET – A Solar System Adventure involves answering questions about astronomy in order to move around the board. Credits: IA

Available in a “Print and Play” format, it can be downloaded for free and printed. After cutting and assembling it, one just has to gather pawns and a dice to start this fun adventure, accompanied by alien illustrations by Paulo Galindro and a board design by Sara Patinho. It is a fun and educational activity for families and a useful tool for teachers who want to introduce the world of astronomy to their students.

What are then the challenges posed to the players? First, they have to know their territory, that is, the worlds of the Solar System – the planets, but also several of its moons, some of them real targets of the current search for life beyond Earth. To do so, the players must answer questions, which give them access to information cards and mini-puzzle cards of the illustrations of the sixteen E.T.s. They can also trade cards with the other players to obtain a complete figure. Only then can they embark on the ultimate goal: guessing the world of origin of their extraterrestrial.

Detail from the ET - A Solar System Adventure board game.
Detail of the game mechanics showing a three-piece ET puzzle. Credits: IA

The creatures representing the E.T.s are all imaginary, but their anatomy was based on scientific facts about diverse environments in the Solar System. If these aliens really existed, they would almost certainly call these places “home sweet home”. “The discussion [about the creation of E.T.s] was of a scientific nature and therefore the information conveyed, which is related to the game’s environments, is good and solid science. The E.T.s were an interesting exercise of imagination”, says Pedro Machado, researcher at the IA and at the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Lisbon (Ciências ULisboa), and one of the researchers who participated in the creation of the game.

“The graphics were another priority. We created the E.T.s based on anatomical and physiological characteristics necessary to be adapted to their planets or moons, so there were conditions that had to be met in the drawings. The final result was a combination of our descriptions with Paulo Galindro’s talent and creativity.”
Catarina Leote

Thw board game also includes a helpful tool: a booklet with complementary information about planets, moons and small bodies in the Solar System, as well as essential notions about the search for life beyond Earth, or astrobiology. In the next phase, there will be versions in other languages, such as Spanish, French and Italian.

More about the Europlanet Public Engagement Funding Scheme.

20-EPN-61: Life in extreme environments: Distribution and importance of far-red light driven photosynthesis to primary production in Martian-like environments

20-EPN-61: Life in extreme environments: Distribution and importance of far-red light driven photosynthesis to primary production in Martian-like environments

Visit by Dennis Nürnberg, Freie Universität Berlin, (Germany) and Daniel Canniffe, Liverpool University (UK) to TA1.5 Makgadikgadi Salt Pans (Botswana).
Dates of visit: 10-19 February 2022

The aim of this project was to confirm the richness and abundance of chlorophyll f-containing cyanobacteria, and their ability to use low-energy light to perform oxygenic photosynthesis in Martian-like environments. This study was a follow-up to a 2019 sampling trip to the sabkhas of the Western Sahara (Morocco), for which we could show that chlorophyll f-cyanobacteria are highly abundant. Here we expanded this research by collecting samples from the hypersaline environments of the Sua and Ntwetwe Pans in Makgadikgadi (Botswana). Microbial mat and rock samples containing endolithic and hypolithic phototrophs were collected. Light microscopy on site confirmed the abundance of cyanobacteria of various morphologies in most collected samples. The microbial mat samples were especially rich in cyanobacteria, forming a 1-2 mm thick layer at various depths depending on the absorption properties of the top layer.

Preliminary analyses with high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) in combination with hyperspectral confocal fluorescence microscopy confirmed the presence of red-shifted chlorophylls in some of these samples but to less extent as observed in the sabkhas. Genomic DNA has been extracted and will be used for sequencing and phylogenetic analyses based on 16S rRNA and specific far-red light genes. This will allow to fully evaluate the microbial diversity and their ability to perform chlorophyll f-driven oxygenic photosynthesis. In addition, the enrichment and isolation process of new chlorophyll f-containing cyanobacteria has been started by transferring the samples to growth media of various salinity and keeping them under selective far-red light illumination.

Report Summary:

Read full report, published with kind permission by Dr Nürnberg and Dr Canniffe.


Researchers develop AI method for mapping planets

Researchers develop AI method for mapping planets

Can the mapping of planets become an automated process? Scientists from Constructor University in Bremen, Germany, the University of Padua, and the University of Bologna have now developed a novel, open-source approach for the mapping of planetary landforms using artificial intelligence. “DeepLandforms,” the pre-release version of the deep learning program was published in the American Geophysical Union journal “Earth and Space Science” at the end of December.

Creating geological maps of planetary surfaces such as Mars is a complex process. From data collection to data analysis to publication in different formats – the production of maps is based on a time-consuming, multi-step process. Deep Learning techniques, which use artificial neural networks to analyse data sets, can significantly improve the production process, as broadly shown in both scientific literature and applications. However, until now, open-source, ready-to-use, and highly customisable toolsets for planetary mapping were never released.

“We were interested in designing a simple, out-of-the-box tool that can be customised and used by many,” said Giacomo Nodjoumi. The PhD candidate in the research group of Angelo Rossi, Professor of Earth and Planetary Science at Constructor University, was key to developing “DeepLandforms”. The program is open and available for further optimisation, and showcases an inexpensive, fast, and simple approach to mapping planets in outer space.

The scientists demonstrated the results that can be achieved with the help of the software for planetary mapping with a specific landform on Mars, which resembles lava tubes on Earth. Geological maps are an important tool in planetary exploration, because they also serve as a basis for possible explorations by robots or humans.

Link to Article:
DeepLandforms: A Deep Learning Computer Vision toolset applied to a prime use case for mapping planetary skylights

Acknowledgement

This study is within the Europlanet 2024 RI and EXPLORE project, and it has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement 871149 and 101004214. Open Access funding enabled and organized by Projekt DEAL.

About Constructor University and Constructor group:

An international community, vibrant and diverse. Offering academic excellence, ensuring the highest standards in research and teaching. Empowering students to solve the world’s pressing challenges through knowledge and science: Constructor University is a top-ranked, English-speaking, private university. Founded in 2001, it provides a wide range of 25+ academic programs and PhD. The Constructor ecosystem comprises the university, located in Bremen, Germany and an institute in Schaffhausen, Switzerland.

Over 1.800 students from more than 110 nations on campus benefit from a unique interdisciplinary, foundational theoretical and practical education. Enriched with a buzzing entrepreneurial culture that prepares young professionals to thrive in the job market. With 6.000+ alumni worldwide our community keeps growing – with our highest cohort ever registered in 2022.

The research-centric faculty projects are funded by the German Research Foundation and the European Union’s Framework Program for Research and Innovation as well as by globally leading companies.
Constructor University benefits from partnerships with high-ranked universities such as Carnegie Mellon, the University of Geneva or the National University of Singapore School of Computing, and technology companies such as Anisoprint, JetBrains and ChemDiv.

The Constructor ecosystem is a global institution dedicated to addressing the main challenges of the world through science, education, and technology. Apart from the University, the ecosystem relies on several for-profit entities that provide technology infrastructures and solutions, life-long education programs, consulting services, and funding: Alemira by Constructor, Rolos by Constructor, Constructor Learning and Constructor Capital.

About Europlanet

Since 2005, Europlanet has provided Europe’s planetary science community with a platform to exchange ideas and personnel, share research tools, data and facilities, define key science goals for the future, and engage stakeholders, policy makers and European citizens with planetary science.

The Europlanet 2024 Research Infrastructure (RI) has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 871149 to provide access to state-of-the-art research facilities and a mechanism to coordinate Europe’s planetary science community. The project builds on a €2 million Framework 6 Coordination Action (EuroPlaNet), a €6 million Framework 7 Research Infrastructure (Europlanet RI) and a €10 million Horizon 2020 Research Infrastructure (Europlanet 2020 RI) funded by the European Commission. 

The Europlanet Society promotes the advancement of European planetary science and related fields for the benefit of the community and is open to individual and organisational members. The Society’s aims are:

  • To expand and support a diverse and inclusive planetary community across Europe through the activities of its 10 Regional Hubs
  • To build the profile of the sector through outreach, education and policy activities
  • To underpin the key role Europe plays in planetary science through developing links at a national and international level. 

Europlanet 2024 RI project website: www.europlanet-2024-ri.eu

Europlanet Society website: www.europlanet-society.org   

Follow on Twitter via @europlanetmedia

About EXPLORE

The EXPLORE project gathers experts from different science domains and technological expertises to develop new tools that will enable and promote the exploitation of space science data. Through EXPLORE, we are creating a series of scientific data applications (Apps) that support users who interact with the large space science data archives maintained by space agencies, observatories and other facilities (e.g. ESA Datalabs or ESCAPE SAP). Our applications will equip researchers with state-of-the-art Artificial Intelligence (AI) and visual analytics to enhance science return and discovery from ‘big data’, initially focusing on data from the Gaia mission (investigating the Milky Way galaxy and stars) and from various missions to explore the Moon. The EXPLORE Data Challenges aim to raise awareness of the Apps produced by the EXPLORE project, and to improve the accuracy of the Apps by harnessing expertise from other data analysis fields. 

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 101004214.  https://explore-platform.eu

The Winners are… #InspiredByOtherWorlds Contest 2022

The Winners are… #InspiredByOtherWorlds Contest 2022

Many thanks to everyone that participated in the #InspiredByOtherWorlds Contest 2022. Congratulations to the winning entries!

Youth Category:

Lara Estelle Montabone – Space Crossroad

Title: Space Crossroad. Artist: Lara Estelle Montabone. The story behind my artwork is the following. One day in the future, an astronaut leaves planet Earth to go to Jupiter and discovers that space is not at all empty. On the contrary, it is full of surprises, with the possibility of meeting other astronauts coming back to Earth, but also other travelling celestial bodies like comets. It is a busy three-dimensional crossroad where collisions are always possible! I took my inspiration from a book for children about space and from a pop-up card that I gave to my dad for his birthday. My dad helped me to translate my story in English.
Space Crossroad

About the Artist: Lara Estelle Montabone is an 8-year-old girl, living in France, who loves drawing. Her favourite themes are animals, space, and natural landscapes.

About the Artwork: The story behind Space Crossroad is the following: one day in the future, an astronaut leaves planet Earth to go to Jupiter and discovers that space is not at all empty. On the contrary, it is full of surprises, with the possibility of meeting other astronauts coming back to Earth, but also other travelling celestial bodies like comets. It is a busy three-dimensional crossroad where collisions are always possible!

Lara Estelle says: “I took my inspiration from a book for children about space and from a pop-up card that I gave to my dad for his birthday. My dad helped me to translate my story in English.

Schools Category:

Dimitra Armentzou and the 5th Grade Students of the 9th Primary School of Greece – Moondial 2022

About the Artist: Dimitra Armentzou is a teacher in the 9th Primary School of Greece. This year, she is teaching in the 5th grade.

About the Artwork: This stop-motion video is made with models and compositions by the 5th grade students in the 9th Primary School of Greece.

Dimitra says: “While working on Skill Labs my students and I were inspired by the the Moon and the Artemis Mission. We’re very excited to be coming out of the boundaries of our planet and trying to get to know our satellite as interactive as we can. The Moon, which has inspired so many and in so many different ways, waiting for us to explore. Moondial then… Let’s go!

Adult Category:

Elizabeth Tasker – Together, we are strong

About the Artist: Elizabeth Tasker is an astrophysics researcher and science writer at the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). Despite being a writer, she loves the ability of art to tell a story without words! As the pandemic closed in during 2020 and we were asked to stay inside, she started to learn ‘Blender’, a freely available 3D computer graphics software package. This entry is the product of that exploration! She really enjoys the ability to bring ideas to life, and the chance to reach new people with a design or animation.

About the Artwork: This computer graphics animation starts with a spacecraft like DART striking an asteroid. As rocks fly out from the collision site, they form the word ‘Together’. Physically unlikely (!) but a reflection on the international connections and involvement needed to go to space, and the worldwide importance of the science and engineering challenges being tackled.

Elizabeth says: “The aspect of space exploration I find most inspiring is the importance of international collaboration. Our missions such as NASA’s DART, ESA’s Comet Interceptor, and JAXA’s Hayabusa2, are led by different countries but all have strong participation from scientists around the world, and dedicated outreach programs to share this experience with everyone. The problems we tackle, from the origins of the Earth, to protecting the same planet from celestial impacts, affect us all and together, we are strong enough to take on even these momentous challenges. In a world that feels steadily more divided, space missions are the hope that we can all come together.

Report on Europlanet Workshop ‘Applications of Earth Observation Satellite Data’

Report on Europlanet Workshop ‘Applications of Earth Observation Satellite Data’

This article is a translation of the original article by UNIBO Magazine in Italian, reposted with kind permission.

The second Europlanet 2024 RI Workshop, “Applications of Earth Observation Satellite Data”, coordinated by the University of Bologna and Italian Cultural Institute (Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation) was held in Addis Ababa at the Italian Cultural Institute (IIC) in Ethiopia. The event was sponsored by the Italian Space Agency and the National Institute of Astrophysics.

Space is now an objective of strategic importance for African countries. Africa looks to space as a valuable tool for the support, competitiveness and growth of the continent. Africa’s Agenda 2030 and Agenda 2063 set out its future objectives to transform it into a strong, resilient and influential actor and partner on the global scene, and to have the right to a share of global common goods: land, oceans and space.

Now, the Europlanet 2024 Research Infrastructure project and its Global Collaboration and Integration Development programme coordinated by Prof. Barbara Cavalazzi of the University of Bologna, aim to address the challenge of creating a network for planetary sciences in Africa at a national and international, favoring intra-African relations.

Recently, 38 participants from all over Ethiopia attended an international workshop in person. The attendees were professionals, researchers and PhD students from the Universities of Addis Ababa, Mezan Tepi, Semera, Wollo, Wolkite, Oda Bultum, but also from the Ethiopian Space Science and Technology Institute, the Space Science and Geospatial Institute, the Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research, the Ethiopian Forest Development, the Ethiopian Roads Administration, all linked by common interests such as Earth observation, use of satellite images and related applications.

Barbara Cavalazzi explains: “The format I chose for this event was to provide high-quality content, examples of applications, and practical workshops for using the software, with kind support from high-profile instructors (Gabriele Bitelli and Francesca Trevisiol, University of Bologna, Patrizia Sacco, Italian Space Agency, Addisu Gezahegn, Addis Ababa University and Gemechu Fanta Garuma, Space Science and Geospatial Institute). In parallel, times for discussion and sessions were organised for the exchange of ideas on research in the field of Earth observation. Interaction between the participants themselves was encouraged, laying the foundations for the formation of a local community of specialists on the subject. And I can say that we have achieved the goal”.

“We are happy to welcome so many participants to this workshop from all over Ethiopia, in conjunction with the National Space Day celebrations,” says Dr. Semen Kumurzhi, Director of the Italian Cultural Institute. “The initiatives promoted are part of the strategy to relaunch our cultural and integrated programme in this country and represent an important moment of dialogue, in particular with a young generation of local scientists and researchers. These activities will help to raise the profile of our country in Ethiopia in a modern and innovative way. It is an excellent example of collaboration between the University of Bologna and the other national organistions (Embassy of Italy, ASI, INAF), whom I sincerely thank. We hope that the results of these projects lead to medium to long-term partnerships, so that we can support the development of space and planetary science in Ethiopia and Africa for years to come.”

“Earth observation through satellite images represents a fundamental tool for the monitoring and management of the territory. The educational programme of the workshop included theoretical lessons supported by practical sessions with open-source software, providing students with the tools to use remote sensing images to support their own research or professional activity. Possible applications, which emerged as priorities from the participants, included the monitoring of agriculture in the context of food security, the prevention of natural disasters, the monitoring of surface water and drought, together with the other environmental problems that climate change is making increasingly evident,” explain Gabriele Bitelli and Francesca Trevisiol at the end of the workshop.

The workshop, which ended on 16 December, coincided with the second National Space Day, during which the “LOOKING BEYOND/Guardare Oltre” satellite image exhibition (curated by F. Maggia) set up at the IIC was inaugurated. The programme was enriched by a series of workshops “Let’s light up the constellations” held by Dr. Federico Di Giacomo of INAF-Astronomical Observatory of Padua, and organized in collaboration with Dr Maura Sandri of INAF and Prof Barbara Cavalazzi, which involved nearly 200 students from the Galileo Galilei Italian school in Addis Ababa.

University of Bologna participation was by Barbara Cavalazzi, Professor in the Department of Biological, Geological and Environmental Sciences, who coordinated the workshop, and Gabriele Bitelli and Francesca Trevisiol, Professor and doctoral student in the Geomatics group of the Department of Civil, Chemical, Environmental and Materials Engineering, who participated in the initiative. The event was organised with the support of Europlanet 2024 RI, which received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 program (Grant No 871149).

Issue 4 of the Europlanet Magazine is out now!

Issue 4 of the Europlanet Magazine is out now!

In this issue:

Cover of Issue 4 of the Europlanet Magazine. Credit: Pixooma/NASA/Europlanet

In Focus
round up of news from Europlanet 2024 RI, the Europlanet Society, the Europlanet Science Congress (EPSC) 2022 and the planetary community. 

Back Face to Face

For the first time in three years, the planetary science community had the opportunity to meet face-to-face at the Europlanet Science Congress (EPSC) 2022 in Granada, Spain. Thibaut Roger (Europlanet/Universität Bern/NCCR PlanetS) and Vix Southgate (Europlanet/Vixen Design) present a selection of EPSC2022 images.

Planetary Perspectives
Ann Carine Vandaele, the new President Elect of the Europlanet Society and Head of the Planetary Atmospheres Group at the Royal Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy (IASB-BIRA), talks about her career and her vision for Europlanet in this month’s Planetary Perspectives Q&A.

Amanar: A Refuge in the Stars 

Felipe Carrelli, Jorge Rivero González, Andrea Rodríguez Antón, Nayra Rodríguez Eugenio and Diego Torres Machado on behalf of GalileoMobile and the Amanar Task Force explain how the ‘Amanar: Under the Same Sky’ project is using astronomy to support Sahrawi refugee communities through skills development and self-empowerment activities.

The Effects of Climate Change on Astronomical Observing Facilities

Caroline Haslebacher (University of Bern/NCCR PlanetS) and her team look into how climate change will affect ground-based observations.

Observing DART with the Travelling Telescope
Colin Clarke of Armagh Observatory and Planetarium in Northern Ireland visited the Travelling Telescope Team in Kenya through the Europlanet Expert Exchange Programme.

VESPA Comes of Age  
Stéphane Erard (Observatoire de Paris) explores the evolution of Europlanet’s virtual access service, VESPA.

Long-term Sustainability of Small and Mid-scale Distributed RI Projects
Liliana Avila Ospina and Patrick England (MOSBRI), Ana Helman (ESF), and Anita Heward and Nigel Mason (Europlanet) report on a side event session at the International Conference of Research Infrastructures (ICRI) 2022.

Europlanet Impact Case study: Atomki
Béla Sulik explains how the Institute for Nuclear Research (Atomki), Hungary’s national centre of accelerator-based nuclear and atomic physics, became involved with and has benefitted from collaboration with Europlanet.

JWST Sees Red with First Pictures of Mars
Sanje Fenkart, a science communicator and freelance journalist, is the new editorial assistant for the CERNCourier. She took part in the media internship programme at the Europlanet Science Congress (EPSC) from 18-23 September 2022 funded by the Europlanet 2024 Research Infrastructure (RI) project. Here she reports on results presented at the meeting.

From Online to Granada: Bringing Scientific Conferences to Schools

Ulysse Pedreira-Segade, Education Officer for Europlanet 2024 RI and Scientific Coordinator for Lecturers Without Borders, describes how activities to bring planetary sciences to the classroom has transitioned from online to in-person.

Status of Women in Astronomy: Still a Long Way to Go
Mamta Pommier (LUMP/CNRS, Université de Montpellier, France) and Arianna Piccialli (Royal Belgium Institute of Space Aeronomy, Belgium), on behalf of the IAU Women in Astronomy Working Group, take a first look at factors suppressing the careers of women astronomers around the world.

Hidden in the Noise
Yoshifumi Futaana (Swedish Institute of Space Physics) shows how asking unusual questions can lead to ground-breaking science.

CommKit 
The Europlanet Magazine’s column on science communication by Thibaut Roger (Europlanet/Universität Bern/NCCR PlanetS) reflects on unconventional outreach practices.

The Last Word – A Time for Optimism
Nigel Mason (University of Kent/Atomki) reflects on positive news for the planetary science community.

Horizon Europe 2022-2023 – New Calls

Horizon Europe 2022-2023 – New Calls

The next round of calls for the Horizon Europe programme were issued in December, with closing dates in March! Europlanet is preparing a bid to the call entitled HORIZON-INFRA-2023-SERV-01-02: Research infrastructure services advancing frontier knowledge, which has a designated topic of ‘Astronomy and Astroparticles’.

This call provides an opportunity to develop a wider pan-European research infrastructure to support the European space community in conducting fundamental research in space exploration. We look forward to working with colleagues in astrobiology, astrochemistry and astrophysics on this and other RI calls. 

Within the Digital, Industry and Space programme there are again specific calls for the space domain with a deadline of 28 March 2023. Those perhaps most relevant to the Europlanet community are: 

HORIZON-CL4-2023-SPACE-01-12: Future Space Ecosystem and Enabling Technologies, which includes technologies for debris removal, robotics for exploration and In-Situ Resource Utilisation. It is estimated 7 projects of between 0.5 and 2.4 million Euros will be funded. 

HORIZON-CL4-2023-SPACE-01-71: Scientific exploitation of space data. This call ‘supports the data exploitation of European missions and instruments, in conjunction,when relevant, with international missions’ in order to exploit ‘all acquired and available data provided by space missions in theiroperative, post-operative or data exploitation phase ensuring complementarity with activities already supported by ESA or national agencies during development phases.’ It is estimated 8 projects of between 1 and 1.5 MEuros will be funded 

Details and guidelines on how to structure proposals can be found on the European Commission website.

AbGradEPEC 2023

AbGradEPEC 2023

After 2 years of postponing it, AbGradE and EPEC are pleased to invite you to our joint symposium AbGradEPEC 2023!

The event will take place on the beautiful island of La Palma (Spain) at the Hotel La Palma & Teneguia Princess on May 4-6, 2023 (right before the BEACON conference)!


The symposium is open to all early-careers – from undergraduates to postdocs and professionals. It will be a great opportunity to get to know other astrobiolgists and planetary scientists! “AbGradEPEC 2023” will be a chance to show that the space research family is still vibrant and motivated despite pandemics and natural disasters.

The preliminary programme is as follows: 

  • Wednesday (3.5.2023)
    • afternoon: arrival
    • evening: ice breaker at the pool bar
  • Thursday (4.5.2023)
    • whole day: scientific programme  
  • Friday (5.5.2023):
    • morning: scientific programme
    • afternoon: excursion ti the new Tajogaite volcano
  • Saturday (6.5.2023)
    • whole day: Workshop

The scientific sessions will include contributed talks (and/or posters) by our attendees. This will be a great opportunity to present your work in front of a friendly audience of peers in a stress-free environment.

If you plan to present at both AbGradEPEC and BEACON, we kindly ask you to either contribute a presentation at AbGradEPEC for your BEACON poster, or chose two different topics, in case you contribute presentations for both events.

As soon as you fill in the registration form, we will send you further instructions concerning the format and length of the abstract for either (or both) a contributed talk or poster via email. The registration fee for the AbGradEPEC event will be 30€. Additionally, we will offer an excursion to sites of volcanological interest on Friday afternoon for 35€ extra. The bank details for the payment will be sent to you after completing the registration form. Registration is only completed when the registration fee is transferred.

We are happy to announce that we will be able to offer some accommodation grants! To be eligible, you must submit an abstract and tick the respective field in the registration form. The result of the grant evaluation will be announced in the third week of February to ensure that awardees are able to book their accommodation before the registration deadline (March 1st). 

IMPORTANT: 

  • The deadline for abstract submission (and accommodation grant applications) is January 31st, 2023 
  • The deadline for registration to AbGradEPEC is March 1st, 2023. 
  • We would recommend that you stay directly at the venue (La Palma & Teneguia Princess Hotel). Accommodation booking should be done directly through the hotel website. Please note that ALL participants should do their booking on their own. The accommodation booking deadline is March 1st, 2023. Thereafter, accommodation cannot be guaranteed. To book accommodation, please follow the instruction below: 
  1. Go to the hotel’s website 
  2. Fill in the number of people, the arrival and the departure date.  
  3. Fill in the promotion code PHYSICSTOCKHOLM (make sure to use all caps) 
  1. You should be quoted a price of around 75€ per night for one person or around 100€ per night for two people. Please note that this is for an all-inclusive stay.
  2. Please find all information about registration, abstract submission at https://abgrade.eu/abradepec2023/

Europlanet Workshop Series Comes to Ethiopia

Europlanet Workshop Series Comes to Ethiopia

The week started with 65 school students from 3 classes attending a hands-on laboratory workshop called ‘Light up the constellation’, led by INAF (the Italian Institute for Astrophysics).

The workshop on ‘Applications of Earth Observation Satellite Data’, held from 13-16 December 2022, has brought together 38 space technology specialists, scientists and students to discuss current topics in this rapidly developing field. The workshop was the second in a series organised under the umbrella of the Global Collaboration and Integration Development program of Europlanet 2024 Research Infrastructure (RI) that aims to support the creation of an African network in planetary science. 

The attendees comprised 24 participants from Addis Ababa, as well as 12 from wider Ethiopia, including from Semera, Wollo and Willowy Universities.

Find out more about the workshop and the series.

Report on 54th Conference on Variable Star Research

Report on 54th Conference on Variable Star Research

Meeting report by Felip Walter of the Variable Stars and Exoplanet Section of the Czech Astronomical Society.

The 54th Variable Star Conference took place from 25-27 November in hybrid-format in Ostrava, Czech Republic, and online. The meeting was very positively received by both national and international audiences. We had 50 in-person participants from the Czech Republic and five international guests. We also had 12 Czech and 18 international online participants from as far afield as India, Brazil, UK, Ukraine and Iceland, as well as and other, closer European countries, including our neighbour, Slovakia. 

Concerning planetary sciences, there was a lecture about the DART mission given by Petr Scheirich, as well as lectures about HST and JSWT photometric and spectroscopic observation of exoplanets by Angelos Tsiaras, and a presentation by Günter Wuchterl (in person) and Petr Kabáth (online from newly opened La Silla  PLATOSpec telescope) about the ground component of the PLATO mission.

Yves Jongen, probably one of the most productive amateur observers of exoplanetary transits presented his work and received the very first Exoplanet Transit Prize from the Czech Astronomical Society ETD project. He has observed around 1500 individual transits during five years of activity. 

Seven students (both high school and university students) presented their work in the student section. Marko Mesarč from Masaryk University, Brno received the prize for the presentation of his work on exoplanetary candidates photometry. 

The meeting has surely supported pro-am and international collaboration, as everyone – and most importantly our young guests, the students of Czech high schools – used the opportunity to meet enthusiastic amateurs and professionals from the Czech Republic and abroad. 

54th Conference on Variable Star Research website

Cosmic Ray Counts Hidden in Spacecraft Data Highlight Influence of Solar Cycle at Mars and Venus

Cosmic Ray Counts Hidden in Spacecraft Data Highlight Influence of Solar Cycle at Mars and Venus

Europlanet and Swedish Institute of Space Physics Joint Press Release

EMBARGOED for 11:00 UTC / noon CET on Monday, 5 December 2022

Measurements by ESA’s long-serving twin missions, Mars Express and Venus Express, have captured the dance between the intensity of high-energy cosmic rays and the influence of the Sun’s activity across our inner Solar System. 

A comparison of data from the ASPERA plasma sensor, an instrument carried by both spacecraft, with the number of sunspots visible on the surface of the Sun shows how cosmic ray counts are suppressed during peaks of activity in the 11-year solar cycle. The international study, led by Dr Yoshifumi Futaana of the Swedish Institute of Space Physics, has been published today in the Astrophysical Journal.

Cosmic rays are particles travelling at almost the speed of light that originate outside our Solar System. They are a dangerous form of high energy radiation that can cause electronic failures in spacecraft and damage the DNA of humans in space.

As well as the decadal-long relationship with the solar cycle, the researchers also looked at how cosmic ray detections varied over the short timescales of an orbit. Surprisingly, they found that the area protected from cosmic rays behind Mars is more than 100 kilometres wider than the planet’s actual radius. The cause of why this blocked area should be so large is not yet clear.

“The study shows the range of valuable insights that can be derived from what is actually background count information collected by the ASPERA instruments. Understanding the various relationships between cosmic rays and the solar cycle, the atmospheres of planets and the performance of spacecraft instrumentation is very important for future robotic missions and human exploration,” said Dr Futaana.

Launched in 2003, Mars Express remains in service around the Red Planet, while Venus Express operated from 2006 until 2014. The researchers compared the 17-year dataset from Mars and eight-year dataset from Venus with Earth-based cosmic ray measurements from the Thule neutron monitor in Greenland. Scientists took median value of cosmic ray counts over three-month periods to minimise the influence of sporadic solar activity, such as flares or coronal mass ejections. The databases of background radiation counts extracted for the study have been published and can be accessed through the Europlanet SPIDER planetary space weather service (http://spider-europlanet.irap.omp.eu/).

All the datasets showed a decrease in the number of cosmic ray detections as the peak in activity for Solar Cycle 24 was reached. In particular, the Mars Express data and the observations from Earth showed very similar features. However, there was an apparent lag of around nine months between the maximum number of sunspots and the minimum in cosmic ray detections at Mars.

“Previous studies have suggested that there is a delay of several months between solar activity and the behaviour of cosmic rays at the Earth and at Mars. Our results appear to confirm this and also provide further evidence that Solar Cycle 24 was a bit unusual, perhaps due to the long solar minimum between Cycle 23 and 24, or the relatively low activity during Cycle 24,” said Dr Futaana.

The analysis of the Venus Express data has been complicated by changes in the way onboard processing was carried out from 2010 onwards. In addition, while the ASPERA instruments carried by Mars Express and Venus Express were based on a common design, they were each tailored to the very different planetary environments in which they operated. This means that a direct comparison of cosmic ray fluxes at Mars and Venus is not possible using the available datasets. 

“The use of background counts to study the interaction of cosmic rays and high energy particles with planetary missions is relatively new. However, obtaining this information shows potential as a powerful tool, for example, in protecting the upcoming JUpiter Icy moon Explorer (JUICE) mission of the European Space Agency, which will explore the harsh environment around Jupiter’s icy moons,” said Nicolas Andre of the Institut de Recherche en Astrophysique et Planétologie (IRAP) in Toulouse, France, coordinator of the Europlanet SPIDER service and co-author of this study.

Publication details

Futaana et al. Galactic Cosmic Rays at Mars and Venus: Temporal Variations from Hours to Decades Measured as the Background Signal of Onboard Micro-Channel Plates. The Astrophysical Journal. 2022. DOI: 10.3847/1538-4357/ac9a49

Images

Artists’ impressions of Mars Express (left) and Venus Express (right). Credit: ESA/D Ducros/AOES Medialab.

Artists' impressions of Mars Express (left) and Venus Express (right).
Artists’ impressions of Mars Express (left) and Venus Express (right). Credit: ESA/D Ducros/AOES Medialab.

Artistic representation of galactic cosmic rays. Credit: M Eriksson/IRF.

Artistic representation of galactic cosmic rays.
Artistic representation of galactic cosmic rays. Credit: M Eriksson/IRF

Video

Interview with Dr Yoshifumi Futaana. https://youtu.be/5ZdwAEivOtY

Science Contacts

Dr Yoshifumi Futaana
Swedish Institute of Space Physics
Kiruna
Sweden
futaana@irf.se

Dr Nicolas André
Institut de Recherche en Astrophysique et Planétologie (IRAP)/OMP
Toulouse
France
nicolas.andre@irap.omp.eu

Media Contacts

Martin Eriksson
Information officer
Swedish Institute of Space Physics
Kiruna
+46 72 581 33 33
martin.eriksson@irf.se

Anita Heward
Press Officer
Europlanet 2024 Research Infrastructure (RI)
+44 7756 034243
aheward@europlanet-society.org

Further Information

About IRF

The Swedish Institute of Space Physics (IRF) is a governmental research institute under the Ministry of Education. IRF conducts basic research and postgraduate education in space physics, space technology, and atmospheric physics.

IRF has over 60 years of experience in developing instruments for space research projects and participates in several major international collaborative projects using satellites and ground-based equipment.

About Europlanet

Since 2005, Europlanet has provided Europe’s planetary science community with a platform to exchange ideas and personnel, share research tools, data and facilities, define key science goals for the future, and engage stakeholders, policy makers and European citizens with planetary science.

The Europlanet 2024 Research Infrastructure (RI) has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 871149 to provide access to state-of-the-art research facilities and a mechanism to coordinate Europe’s planetary science community. The project builds on a €2 million Framework 6 Coordination Action (EuroPlaNet), a €6 million Framework 7 Research Infrastructure (Europlanet RI) and a €10 million Horizon 2020 Research Infrastructure (Europlanet 2020 RI) funded by the European Commission. 

The Europlanet Society promotes the advancement of European planetary science and related fields for the benefit of the community and is open to individual and organisational members. The Society’s aims are:

  • To expand and support a diverse and inclusive planetary community across Europe through the activities of its 10 Regional Hubs
  • To build the profile of the sector through outreach, education and policy activities
  • To underpin the key role Europe plays in planetary science through developing links at a national and international level. 

Europlanet 2024 RI project website: www.europlanet-2024-ri.eu

Europlanet Society website: www.europlanet-society.org   

Follow on Twitter via @europlanetmedia

Your Society Needs You!

Your Society Needs You!

The Europlanet Society’s Regional Hubs and Committees are looking for a number of people to fill roles.

These include:

Diversity Committee:

  • Italian Hub representative

EPEC Committee:

  • Chair for the Annual Week Working Group
  • Germany Hub representative

Industry Committee:

  • Representative for the Central Europe Hub
  • Germany Hub representative
  • Ireland and UK Hub representative
  • Spain and Portugal Hub representative for Portugal

Outreach Committee:

  • Germany Hub representative
  • Northern Europe Hub representative
  • Spain and Portugal Hub representative
  • EPSC Local Organising Committee Outreach delegate

Policy Committee:

  • Vice-Chair
  • Industry Officer
  • France Hub representative
  • Germany Hub representative
  • Italy Hub representative
  • Ireland and UK Hub representative
  • Switzerland Hub representative

Benelux Regional Hub:

  • EPEC officer for Belgium
  • EPEC officer for Luxembourg
  • Industry officer for Luxembourg
  • Country representative for Luxembourg

Central Europe Regional Hub:

  • Country representative for Austria
  • Country representative for Slovenia

France Regional Hub:

  • Chair
  • Diversity officer

Germany Regional Hub:

  • EPEC officer
  • Industry officer

Italy Regional Hub:

  • Diversity officer
  • Industry officer

Ireland and UK Regional Hub:

  • Chair
  • EPEC officer

Northern Europe Regional Hub:

  • Policy officer
  • Industry officer
  • Outreach officer
  • Country representative for Iceland

Spain and Portugal Regional Hub:

  • Vice-Chair

Switzerland Regional Hub:

  • Chair
  • Vice-Chair
  • EPEC officer
  • Policy officer
  • Diversity officer

If you are interesting in taking a active role in one of the Europlanet Society committees, please contact the committee directly (you can find their contact information on their dedicated webpages), or send an email to the Europlanet Excecutive Office at contact@europlanet-society.org

Athena Coustenis to be awarded EGU Cassini Medal

Athena Coustenis to be awarded EGU Cassini Medal

Athena Coustenis (Observatoire de Paris) is to be awarded EGU Cassini Medal in recognition of her exceptional achievements in planetary and space science.

The European Geosciences Union (EGU) has named the 47 recipients of next year’s Union Medals and Awards, Division Medals, and Division Outstanding Early Career Scientist Awards. These individuals are honoured for their important contributions to the Earth, planetary and space sciences. They will be celebrated during the EGU General Assembly 2023, which will be held from 23–28 April.

The Jean Dominique Cassini Medal & Honorary Membership of the EGU form one of the three equally ranked most prestigious awards made by the Union. They are bestowed to scientists who have achieved exceptional international standing in planetary and space sciences, defined in their widest senses, for their merit and their scientific achievements.

Many congratulations to Athena, and to all the winners.

Watch Athena talking about her career in this EPEC Motivational Journey interview:

Expert Exchange: Training on Molecular and Computer-based techniques

Expert Exchange: Training on Molecular and Computer-based techniques

Europlanet 2024 RI’s Expert Exchange Programme aims to support the planetary community to share expertise and best practice, and to prepare new facilities and services. The programme provides funding for short visits (up to one week). 

Ermias Balcha from Addis Ababa Science and Technology University, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, visited Karen Olsson-Francis and Dr Michael Macey at the Open University, UK, from 18-24 October 2022.

The purpose of expert exchange was for Ermias Balcha to receive training in a combination of molecular and computer-based techniques to catalogue the diversity of microbes in samples collected from hyper-saline environments in the Afar Depression in Ethiopia. Ermias’s studies aim to identify the presence and diversity of novel antimicrobial and their associated production pathways, and potentially identify novel antibiotics within these extreme environments. This is the first time that these microbial communities, which often host unique metabolic adaptations due to their extreme nature, have been characterised in terms of the potential medical applications.

The visit was very successful: the data analysed will contribute to two or three data chapters of Ermias’s PhD thesis, and training has reinforced the exchange of experience between scientific communities in Europe and Africa.

Read the full report.

Expert Exchange Objectives covered by this visit: Early Career Support, Widening Participation.

Find out more about the Europlanet Expert Exchange Programme.

Next Call For Europlanet Expert Exchange Programme

Applications should be made before the next call deadline of 31 December 2022. Visits through this call should take place between 1 February and 31 July 2023.

Expert Exchange: Visiting the Swedish Institute of Space Physics and the Esrange Space Center

Expert Exchange: Visiting the Swedish Institute of Space Physics and the Esrange Space Center

Europlanet 2024 RI’s Expert Exchange Programme aims to support the planetary community to share expertise and best practice, and to prepare new facilities and services. The programme provides funding for short visits (up to one week). 

András Illyés of Wigner Research Centre for Physics, Budapest, Hungary, visited Mats Holmström of the Swedish Institute of Space Physics, Kiruna, Sweden, from 27 June – 1 July 2022.

András is a Mechatronics Engineering student at Budapest University of Technology and Economics, and a Research Assistant at Wigner RCP, working on atmospheric magnetic research and involved in the commissioning of a SERF magnetometer for future experiments.

The objective of the visit was to further expand knowledge on ESA-certified development processes and experiments at the Swedish Institute of Space Physics (IRF).

During the Expert Exchange, András visited and gained a better knowledge about the test facilities used at IRF, especially the thermo-vacuum chamber and other mechanical test instruments. He learned more about the IRF’s quality insurance system, their CAD/CAM systems and PCB design softwares and about soldering and its quality assurance in workshop. He also gained a better understanding of the usage of SERF magnetometers.

Read the full report.

Expert Exchange Objectives covered by this visit: Early Career SupportWidening Participation.

Find out more about the Europlanet Expert Exchange Programme.

Next Call For Europlanet Expert Exchange Programme

Applications should be made before the next call deadline of 31 December 2022. Visits through this call should take place between 1 February and 31 July 2023.

Expert Exchange: New collaborations between Australia and Botswana for the investigation of terrestrial extreme environments

Expert Exchange: New collaborations between Australia and Botswana for the investigation of terrestrial extreme environments

Europlanet 2024 RI’s Expert Exchange Programme aims to support the planetary community to share expertise and best practice, and to prepare new facilities and services. The programme provides funding for short visits (up to one week). 

Andrea Borsato and Silvia Frisia of the University of Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia, visited Fulvio Franchi at the Botswana International University of Science and Technology (BIUST), Botswana, from 5-16 September 2022.

The visit was intended to initiate a new collaboration between Australia and Botswana and provide training for the academic and research staff in how to select, collect, preserve and analyse specimens of astrobiological and microbiological interest and set up an environmental monitoring program.

The first 4 days of the visit were dedicated to the field trip to Gcwihaba cave (Kwihabe, Ngamiland), which preserves thousands of years of climate and environmental history and can be utilised as an analogue to detect traces of ancient microbial life on Earth.

The following part of the visit took place at BIUST’s geochemical laboratories in Palapye, which include stable isotope MS and the trace element ICP-MS and ICP-OS facilities. The visitors discussed with technical and academic staff strategies and approaches in order to optimise the micro-sampling techniques and geochemical analyses. They also explored opportunities to analyse the trace element concentration of some Botswana continental carbonates samples at the X-ray fluorescence beamline at the Australian Synchrotron, as well as the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility.

During the visit, Dr Borsato and Dr Frisia delivered a workshop and lecture series attended by academic and technical staff as well as post-graduate candidates of the Earth and Environmental Science Department of BIUST. The lectures and workshop sessions were followed by Q&As. Attendees were given pratical and theoretical training in microscopy techniques.

Read the full report from Dr Borsato and Dr Frisia.

Expert Exchange Objectives covered by this visit: Improvement of Facilities and Infrastructure, Training for Transnational Access, Early Career Support.

Find out more about the Europlanet Expert Exchange Programme.

Next Call For Europlanet Expert Exchange Programme

Applications should be made before the next call deadline of 31 December 2022. Visits through this call should take place between 1 February and 31 July 2023.

Expert Exchange: Collaboration Between Brazilian Exoss and Romanian MOROI Networks

Expert Exchange: Collaboration Between Brazilian Exoss and Romanian MOROI Networks.

Europlanet 2024 RI’s Expert Exchange Programme aims to support the planetary community to share expertise and best practice, and to prepare new facilities and services. The programme provides funding for short visits (up to one week). 

Marcelo De Cicco, from INMETRO, Brazil visited Iharka Csillik at the Astronomical Observatory of Cluj-Napoca, Romania, from 1-10 July 2022.

The aim of the visit was to develop code to model grazing meteors, attend the International conference on ‘Theory, Observations and Data Processing in Astronomy, Astrophysics, Space and Planetary Sciences’ and explore collaborations between the Brazilian EXOSS project, Romanian MOROI networks, FRIPON international network and a Hungarian meteor observations project.

This Expert Exchange visit came about through the Europlanet Mentorship programme, as Iharka is supporting Marcelo to develop skills in meteor science dynamics and publishing. The mentor-mentee pair were featured as a case study in a poster on the mentorship programme at the Europlanet Science Congress (EPSC) 2022 (Stonkute et al. 2022).

Read the full report.

Expert Exchange Objectives covered by this visit: Early Career Support, Widening Participation.

Find out more about the Europlanet Expert Exchange Programme.

Next Call For Europlanet Expert Exchange Programme

Applications should be made before the next call deadline of 31 December 2022. Visits through this call should take place between 1 February and 31 July 2023.

Expert Exchange: Improving the Laboratory of Electron Induced Fluorescence

Expert Exchange: Improving the Laboratory of Electron Induced Fluorescence

Europlanet 2024 RI’s Expert Exchange Programme aims to support the planetary community to share expertise and best practice, and to prepare new facilities and services. The programme provides funding for short visits (up to one week). 

Dr Juraj Orszagh and PhD student, Barbora Stachova, from the Laboratory of Electron Induced Fluorescence (LEIF), Department of Experimental Physics, Comenius University in Bratislava, Slovakia visited Dennis Bodewits at Auburn University in Alabama, USA, from 26 June – 3 July 2022.

The aim of the visit was to deepen the existing scientific collaboration between the LEIF group at Comenius and the Department of Physics at Auburn, and to plan future cooperations. The overlap and common interests of the experimental research between the groups are extensive and provide many possibilities for further cooperation in the field of astrophysics and in wider molecular physics. In particular, LEIF output data serve as a reference for analysing astrophysical observations and are useful as input for various models of atmospheres and comas.

As well as visiting facilities and learning more abou the research carried out at Auburn, Juraj and Barbora participated in a colloquium where they introduced the Department of Experimental Physics, their research, and latest experimental results. This led to led to a rich discussion and a proposal for deeper collaboration in the near future, including cooperations to strengthen the capacity of LEIF to produce output data in a format most useful for astrophysical research and make the facility’s contribution to Europlanet efforts more valuable.

Prof Bodewits and Dr Steven Bromley were preparing for a Transnational Access to LEIF later in July 2022, so considerable time was spent discussing the details of the planned experiments aimed at electron-induced fluorescence of carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide.

A further outcome of the visit is support by Auburn University in developing a more progressive teaching methods and active learning techniques to support teachers and students at Comenius University.

Read the full reports by Juraj Orszagh and Barbora Stachova.

Expert Exchange Objectives covered by this visit: Improvement of Facilities and Infrastructure, Training for Transnational Access, Early Career Support.

Find out more about the Europlanet Expert Exchange Programme.

Next Call For Europlanet Expert Exchange Programme

Applications should be made before the next call deadline of 31 December 2022. Visits through this call should take place between 1 February and 31 July 2023.

Expert Exchange: Study of Technical Background in Space Development at IRF, Kiruna, Sweden

Expert Exchange: Study of Technical Background in Space Development at IRF, Kiruna, Sweden

Europlanet 2024 RI’s Expert Exchange Programme aims to support the planetary community to share expertise and best practice, and to prepare new facilities and services. The programme provides funding for short visits (up to one week). 

Dr Janos Nagy of the Centre for Energy Research at the Central Research Institute for Physics (KFKI) in Budapest, Hungary, visited Mats Holmstrom at the Swedish Institute for Space Research (IRF) in Kiruna, Sweden from 26 June – 1 July 2022.

The KFKI Campus in Hungary houses two entities, the Wigner Research Centre for Physics and the Centre for Energy Research, which are interested in space physics and space instrument development. The IRF has longstanding experience in instrument development and engineering activities gained from participating in 39 space missions in recent decades. In the past, IRF and Wigner have cooperated in research and space instrument development projects including for Venus Express, BepiColombo, as well as the ongoing work for the Particle Environment Package (PEP) on the upcoming Juice mission to Jupiter’s icy moons.

The development of Juice-PEP involved stricter requirements by ESA than for the previous projects that the KFKI teams had been involved in. To insure fulfillment of these requirements, KFKI aims to strengthen capacity in technology, labs, workshops and quality assurance.

Janos Nagy participated in a Europlanet Expert Exchange visit to give a presentation about KFKI’s activity in developing Direct Current Converter (DCC) for Juice, learn from the experiences and experimental set-up at IRF and to see the thermo vacuum test of the Data Processing Unit (DPU) and DCC designed by KFKI in operation.

A particular area of interest was the cooperation at IRF of researchers, electrical, mechanical, software engineers and technicians. The science/engineering ratio is about 50%, and IRF involves PhD students in the ongoing tasks, who get to know the institute well. Several PhD students continue their career in IRF after finishing their studies. KFKI aims to follow this practice by improving cooperation between scientists and engineers and involving students through topical projects during university diplomas.

Following the visit, the KFKI team plan to apply for funding to purchase a Nanovac TVC025 Thermal Vacuum Chamber (TVAC), similar to the one used by IRF in Juice project. 

Read the full report.

Expert Exchange Objectives covered by this visit: Improvement of Facilities and Infrastructure, Widening Participation.

Find out more about the Europlanet Expert Exchange Programme.

Next Call For Europlanet Expert Exchange Programme

Applications should be made before the next call deadline of 31 December 2022. Visits through this call should take place between 1 February and 31 July 2023.

Новости Омутнинск Любовь и семья Общество Люди и события Красота и здоровье Дети Диета Кулинария Полезные советы Шоу-бизнес Огород Гороскопы Авто Интерьер Домашние животные Технологии Рекорды и антирекорды