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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.

Sunday 11 February 2024 marks the International Day of Women and Girls in Science. At BIRA-IASB, we believe that women's talents and abilities bring significant added value to our organisation. Therefore, we are taking this day to pay tribute to a very special colleague, Martine De Mazière.

On Wednesday January 31, his majesty the King Philippe of Belgium arrived at the door of the Royal Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy (BIRA-IASB). He was received by the directors of the three institutes of the Space Pole site, including our own director Martine De Mazière. This was followed by a few explanations and presentations of the researchers themselves.

ESA’s next mission to Venus was officially ‘adopted’ today by the Agency’s Science Programme Committee. EnVision will study Venus from its inner core to its outer atmosphere. BIRA-IASB will be on board with the VenSpec-H instrument.

A few years ago, formaldehyde processing by liquid clouds was claimed to be a very large source of formic acid in the Earth's atmosphere. Now, a new study demonstrated that this process accounts for less than 10% of the source required to close the global budget of formic acid. It appears that the missing source of formic acid remains decidedly elusive!

ESA, the European Space Agency, has downselected the shortlist for its next ‘medium’ science mission to three finalists: M-Matisse, Plasma Observatory and Theseus. BIRA-IASB is involved in 2 out of the 3 selected candidates.

When future astronauts explore Mars’s poles, they will see a green glow lighting up the night sky. For the first time, a visible nightglow has been detected in the martian atmosphere by ESA’s ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO) mission. Under clear skies, the glow could be bright enough for humans to see by and for rovers to navigate in the dark nights.