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Research and public service in the physics and chemistry of the atmosphere of the Earth and other planets, and of outer space.

A new study reveals for the first time the presence of water frost on the peak of Martian volcanoes near the equator. This discovery was published in a recent Nature Geoscience paper, with contributions from researchers of the Royal Observatory of Belgium (ROB) and the Royal Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy (BIRA-IASB).

Many people, including some scientists, think that the Moon is just a gray ball of rock in our sky and scientifically boring. However, the contrary is true. Since the Moon lacks an Earth-like atmosphere, its surface stays virtually unchanged for years. It’s like a geological time capsule…

Dr. Ir. Ann Carine Vandaele, Head of the Solar radiation in atmospheres department at the Royal Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy, is appointed as the new Director General of the Institute, as of 1 May 2024. Ann Carine will take over from Ronald Van der Linden, who filled the position a.i. for three months in anticipation of the new Director’s appointment.

In December 2021, the mission of the Atmosphere-Space Interactions Monitor (ASIM) on board the International Space Station (ISS) was planned to end. The instrument had to give up its location outside the Columbus module to another payload. Thanks to the outstanding science in catching upper-atmosphere electrical discharges such as red sprites or blue jets, ESA agreed to relocate the payload instead of removing and trashing it.

On March 1, the Danish ESA astronaut Andreas Morgensen will be replacing experiments during his mission aboard the International Space Station. Assisted by the B.USOC operators, he will be working on the third installation of the "Compacted Granulars" experiment in the Fluid Science Laboratory.

Mr. Ronald Van der Linden, Director General of the Royal Observatory of Belgium, took up his position as acting Director General at BIRA-IASB on 1 February 2024. He succeeds Martine De Mazière who has indicated her wish to step down from the general directorship of BIRA-IASB but will remain active as head of the institute’s Scientific Directorate.