for SCOOP Members only

A BRAIN-be Network Project


The goals of the SCOOP (Towards a SynergistiC study Of the atmOsphere of terrestrial Planets) project match the topics, challenges and scope of the BRAIN-be call 2014 of the Belgian Science Policy (BELSPO). SCOOP has as its overarching objective the revision and exploitation of data from the European Mars Express (MEX) and the European Venus Express (VEX) missions as well as other Martian missions such as NASA’s Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN).

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Observations of the Proton Aurora on Mars with SPICAM on Board Mars Express

21 Feb 2018 - Researchers from the Laboratoire de Physqiue Atmosphérique et Planétaire at Liège University, from the Royal Observatory of Belgium and from the Université de Versailles have just published the first observation of proton aurora on Mars.

B. Ritter, J.-C. Gérard, B. Hubert, L. Rodriguez, and F. Montmessin (2018). Observations of the Proton Aurora on Mars with SPICAM on board Mars Express, Geophysical Research Letters, 45.

Martian Proton Aurora
Auroral observations superimposed on a Martian magnetic field intensity map. The white stars indicate the newly observed proton aurora observations, while the black stars show the locations of the discrete aurora.

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SCOOP Workshop

Presentations of the SCOOP workshop

26 June 2017 - During the SCOOP workshop, about 30 scientists in the field of Planetary Aeronomy exchanged their recent results on the Martian atmosphere from data of planetary missions and from modelling. They had as major prospects the extraction of information important for the
observation strategy of instruments such as NOMAD on board TGO (ESA) or IUVS on board MAVEN (NASA) and to link the upper atmosphere with the lower layers of the atmosphere through collaborations between the two missions.

Participants to the SCOOP Workshop coming from all over the world.

19 June 2017 - The Workshop “Mars, From the ground to the upper atmosphere” will be held @ IASB-BIRA from Wednesday 21 till Friday 23 June 2017. The meeting is intended to provide its participants a collaborative environment to exchange ideas and discuss them. Sessions will be dedicated to the following topics:

- Thermal structure and dynamics of the Martian atmosphere.

- Surface-atmosphere interaction and atmospheric chemical composition on Planet Mars.

Here is the full program:

Wednesday 21 June 2017

13:00 – 13:30

Welcome and coffee

Session 1. Thermal structure and dynamics (TSD)

13:30 – 13:50

Results from the MAVEN/IUVS Occultational Experiment

R. Yelle (LPL)

13:50 – 14:10

Highlights of MAVEN/IUVS Results in Mars' Middle and Upper Atmosphere

N. Schneider (LASP)

14:10 – 14:30

Seasonal Transport in Mars’ Mesosphere revealed by Nitric Oxide nightglow

A. Stiepen (ULg)

14:30 – 15:30



15:30 – 16:00

Coffee break

16:00 – 16:20

Martian neutral density and temperature from MAVEN/IUVS observations and general circulation modeling

A. Medvedev (MPI-SSR)

16:20 – 16:40

A 1D radiative transfer model at the terminator: Comparison with SOIR/VEx temperature profiles

A. Mahieux (IASB-BIRA)

16:40 – 17:00

Role of small-scale gravity waves on the formation and variations of high-altitude carbon dioxide ice clouds in Martian atmosphere

E. Yiğit (GMU)

17:00 – 18:00




Thursday 22 June 2017

9:00 – 9:20


Session 1. Thermal structure and dynamics (TSD) (continued)

9:20 – 9:40

Modelling the effects of gravity wave in the GEM-Mars GCM

L. Neary (IASB-BIRA)

9:40 – 10:00

Simulations of gravity waves, dust storms and water cycle on Mars using DRAMATIC MGCM

T. Kuroda (NICT)

10:00 – 10:20

Global distribution of gravity wave activity in Mars’ lower thermosphere derived from MAVEN/IUVS stellar occultations and analyzed using two Martian General Circulation Models

H. Nakagawa (TU)

10:20 – 11:20



11:20 – 11:50

Coffee break

Session 2. Surface-atmosphere interaction and atmospheric chemical composition (SAI / ACC)

11:50 – 12:10

Spectral properties of the Martian dust in the VNIR range       

F. Altieri (INAF)

12:10 – 12:30

Mars observations by SOFIA/EXES


12:30 – 12:50

The NOMAD Spectrometer Suite On The ExoMars 2016 Orbiter

I. Thomas (IASB-BIRA)

12:50 – 14:00

Lunch in the canteen of the Royal Meteorological Institute (RMI)

14:00 – 14:20

Retrieval and characterization of carbon monoxide (CO) vertical profiles in the Martian atmosphere from observations of PFS/MEX

S. Bauduin (ULB)

14:20 – 14:40

Synergistic atmospheric retrievals : Martian CO as a test-case

S. Robert (IASB-BIRA)

14:40 – 15:40



15:40 – 16:10

Coffee break

16:10 – 17:40

Session 3. Outreach



Friday 23 June 2017

9:00 – 9:20


Session 2. Surface-atmosphere interaction and atmospheric chemical composition (continued)

9:20 – 9:40

GEM-Mars atmospheric chemistry simulations

F. Daerden (IASB-BIRA)

9:40 – 10:00

Clathrate hydrates and possible methane outgassing scenarios on Mars

É. Gloesener (ROB)

10:00 – 10:20

Formation of layers of methane in the atmosphere of Mars after surface release

S. Viscardy (IASB-BIRA)

10:20 – 10:50

Coffee break

10:50 – 11:10

Modelling of the atmospheric methane transport with a GCM coupled with a subsurface model

O. Temel (VKI)

11:10 – 11:30

The Mars atomic oxygen dayglow: predictions based on the OI 297.2 nm MAVEN/IUVS observations

L. Gkouvelis (ULg)

11:30 – 12:30



12:30 – 13:30

Sandwich lunch

More News of the Planetary Division

in English

en Français

in het Nederlands

Destination Mars, episode 1: Searching for signs of life

26 Jan 2016 - Jorge Vago, one of the Exomars Project Scientists at the European Space Agency (ESA), outlined the mission.

TGO is at Baikonour !

23 Dec. 2015 - The 3rd ExoMars flight containing the Trace Gas Orbiter TGO safely arrived in Baikonur this morning.

More on ExoMars Twitter or ExoMars Website

Discrete and diffuse aurorae in the Martian Atmosphere, November 2015

6 November 2015 - The Belgian newspaper Le Soir dedicated a full page to the planet Mars. Dr Arnaud Stiepen from the ULg was interviewed over the last discoveries by the Nasa probe Maven (Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution) orbiting Mars since September 2014. For the first time, MAVEN surprinsingly detected diffuse aurorae in the Northern hemisphere of the planet Mars where a magnetic field is absent on the planet while it was thought it is an indispensable ingredient for the observation of aurorae. Both phenomena, discrete and diffuse auroraes on Mars, are detailed in Daily Science (in French).

5 November 2015 - A press release of the ESA (in English) placed the work by the team of Jean-Claude Gérard (LPAP, ULg) and the Mars Express mission in front. Armed with 10 years of MEX observations, they have detected discrete ultraviolet auroras in the Sourthern hemisphere on many occasions, and have analysed in detail how and where they are produced in the martian atmosphere. They concluded that the auroras appear only under special conditions, near the boundary between open and closed magnetic field lines (see Figure below). Unlike the northern hemisphere, the southern hemisphere of Mars has regions where the rocks have preserved the memory of a past magnetism. This residual magnetic field is called paleomagnetism. The ultraviolet auroras associated with known magnetic anomalies in Mars’ crust are confined, rare and transient events that vary in time and space. They are very different from the auroras seen on other planets.


Internal Meeting in Brussels, October 2015

12 October 2015 - The meeting of the SCOOP Project was held at IAB-BIRA in the brandnew Nicolet meeting room on the 23d of February. Each partners presented extensively their research in view of the first annual meeting with the follow-up committee to be held at BELSPO on December 1st.

PSS Special Issue : "Exploration of Venus"

Sep. 2015 - Compiling the latest results from the Venus Express ESA mission, a special issue has been published in Planet. Space Sc. - IASB-BIRA researchers have been very active

Several papers with IASB-BIRA first authors were published in the PSS special issue on the "Exploration of Venus":

and several papers where IASB-BIRA researchers are co-authors:

Kick-off Meeting in Brussels, February 2015

23 February 2015 - The kick-off meeting of the SCOOP Project was held at IAB-BIRA in the brandnew Nicolet meeting room on the 23d of February. Representatives of each Belgian partner were present and presented briefly the last developments in their research that are relevant for the tasks in which they are involved.



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