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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.

For the first time since 1971, the Cumbre Vieja volcano on La Palma (Canary Islands, Spain) started to erupt on 19 September 2021. Together with the outflowing lava, the volcano emits ash and several gases, amongst these sulphur dioxide (SO2). Volcanic ash and SO2 are dangerous to public health and aviation. Therefore, tracking and monitoring volcanic plumes and their constituents is very important. For this reason, since 2009 the Support to Aviation Control Service (SACS) system uses satellite observations to detect ash and SO2 emissions...

World Space Week is an international celebration of science and technology, and their contribution to the betterment of the human condition. The United Nations General Assembly declared in 1999 that World Space Week will be held each year from October 4-10. These dates commemorate two events:

Each day, we get up and try to live our best lives. Besides going to work and making time for our family and friends, we also have to make efforts to keep our bodies and minds healthy. Unfortunately, there is one factor which affects our health, but which we have little control over as an individual: air pollution. The United Nations Environment Programme has chosen September 7 to be the International Day of Clean Air for blue skies in order to emphasise the need to tackle this specific global problem, which costs 7 million human lives per year.

-Article from NASA-
By combining observations from three international spacecraft at Mars (including BIRA-IASB's NOMAD instrument), scientists were able to show that regional dust storms play a huge role in drying out the Red Planet.

-Article from the European Space Agency-
New findings from the ESA-Roscosmos Trace Gas Orbiter set new upper limits on how much methane, ethane, ethylene and phosphine is in the martian atmosphere – four so-called ‘biomarker’ gases that are potential signs of life.

Astropolis, the new space science center in Ostend is finally opening its doors this summer! BIRA-IASB will also be present on July 22 & 23 with fun family activities.