More Details about the SCOOP Project


The thermal structure of an atmosphere is a result of the radiative and convective equilibrium driven by the incidence of solar radiation, which is scattered, absorbed or emitted by the atmosphere itself and the planet surface. The absorbed energy is then released as infrared radiation. The energy balance is influenced by the atmospheric composition and by the presence of clouds and aerosols and the thermal structure is a driver of the global circulation which in turn influences the atmospheric composition. Therefore, understanding Mars and Venus current climate requires a multidisciplinary approach.

SCOOP will therefore use a synergistic approach by combining different fields of research in aeronomy and integrating the different layers of the Mars and Venus atmospheres from the surface to the upper atmosphere. It will address major open science questions regarding the atmospheric system by seeking to comprehend the interactions between its various elements. SCOOP will also 1) prepare for ESA’s ExoMars 2016 Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO) data analysis and exploitation by developing tools to be tested on selected data from current missions and on the first returned data of TGO; and 2) deliver enhanced scientific context and datasets for defining and designing future missions to our neighbour terrestrial planets.

The Planetary Aeronomy group of IASB-BIRA is coordinating the project. The LPAP of the Université de Liège and ORB are also partners of SCOOP. The SCOOP network is built with an accent on close interaction and complementarity among expert teams as a goal in itself. Both the Planetary Aeronomy team and LPAP have a leading role in Belgium in remote sensing of planetary neutral atmospheres and both are strongly involved in collecting, processing, analyzing and modelling planetary atmospheric observations performed with spatial instruments. While they obviously converge towards common objectives, they complement each other in many aspects of their respective expertise: (1) the study of the mesosphere versus the thermosphere, (2) expertise in spectroscopy in the UV versus IR, (3) mastery of absorption versus emission spectroscopy, (4) a strong implication in missions to Mars, ExoMars 2016 TGO versus MAVEN.

The major scientific results expected are: 1) inputs for the revised Venus International Reference Atmosphere; 2) new retrieval tools in preparation for the analysis of the NOMAD data; 3) a better overall comprehension of the dynamics, structure and composition of terrestrial planets and the relationships between them; 4) additional means to define the strategy of observations for NOMAD, including clues for possible clathrates’ outgassing; and 5) tools to model atmospheric processes needed for the interpretation of the atmospheric parameters.

SCOOP Partners

Team @ IASB-BIRA (Coordinator): Valérie Wilquet, Ann Carine Vandaele, Séverine Robert and Arnaud Mahieux

Team @ ULg (Partner 2): Benoît Hubert, Jean)Claude Gérard, Arnaud Stiepen, Lauriane Soret

Team @ ORB-KBS (Partner 3): Özgür Karatekin and Élodie Gloesner

Team @ University of Arizona, U.S.A. (International Partner 1): Rodger V. Yelle

Team @ INASAN, Russian Academy of Sciences (International Partner 2): Dmitri Bisikalo and Valery I. Shematovich


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