The Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy (BIRA-IASB) has a long standing expertise in and reputation for state of the art studies of the atmospheres of the Earth, as well as its sister planets Mars and Venus.
The study of these Earth-like planets, whose atmospheres have evolved towards different and extreme conditions, is a vital part of the understanding of the past and future of our subtle climate system.
Scientists in the planetary aeronomy division work with sophisticated models of atmospheric circulation to understand the dynamics and chemistry of the Martian atmosphere. Analysis of data from various space missions enriches the general knowledge of these atmospheres.
Mars, the planet
Besides Earth, Mars might be the best known planet in our solar system. But does Mars resemble Earth? Where does the red colour come from? Can we breathe on Mars and what is its atmosphere made of? Is it hot on Mars? In sum, what are its most particular characteristics?
Venus, the planet
Venus is an inner,or telluric, planet; the second from the sun. It is the third brightest object in the sky, after the Sun and the Moon. It is of similar size to the Earth and, according to observations, does not have a magnetic field. Venus rotates very slowly in a retrograde direction. The surface temperature is 470C, due to an extreme greenhouse effect...