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Nocturne MONKEYS
Film and debate The Vervet Forest

During the nocturne on 08.02.2018, we will show you the movie The Vervet Forest (in English), the story of five orphan baby monkeys and the struggle to save their home, followed by a debate (in English, French and Dutch)
With Josie Du Toit, co-director and rehabilitator at the Vervet Monkey Foundation (Tzaneen, nothern South Africa).

Job Opportunity: DARIAH Is Seeking to Appoint a Part-Time Member of the Board of Directors

DARIAH, the Digital Research Infrastructure for the Arts and Humanities, is a pan-European organization, which aims to enhance and support digitally-enabled research and teaching across the humanities and arts. DARIAH is formally an ERIC, a European Research Infrastructure Consortium and is one of only 29 Landmarks on the Roadmap of the European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures. To date, 17 countries – Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, Poland, Portugal, The Netherlands, Serbia and Slovenia have become Members, while we also have a growing number of Cooperating Partners. DARIAH is therefore both an ambitious and still expanding organization, with six further candidate countries due to become members in 2020.
We are looking to appoint a part-time member of the Board of Directors from 01 September 2018, who will work closely with two other Board members, including the Chair of the Board. The Board of Directors is the executive body of DARIAH and its legal representative, also providing strategic leadership for our activities.

The Royal Observatory of Belgium and EMXYS receive go for participation in planetary defence Hera space mission

The Royal Observatory of Belgium and EMXYS (Spain) have been selected by the European Space Agency to provide a gravimeter for the Juventas spacecraft that will land on asteroid Dimorphos as part of the European Space Agency’s planetary defence programme.
The Royal Observatory of Belgium with EMXYS will provide the GRASS instrument that will make measurements on the gravity field of the asteroid Dimorphos. The gravimeter is part of the Juventas CubeSat, manufactured by GomSpace Luxemburg, that will land on the asteroid in 2027, after travelling onboard the ESA’s Hera spacecraft to its vicinity. GRASS will be the first gravimeter ever on an asteroid.

Altius: a New Satellite « Made in Belgium » with SPACEBEL Software

A major Contract with ESA Ranks SPACEBEL among the Key Players in a Promising Earth Observation Mission
Already involved since 2018 in the Altius (Atmospheric Limb Tracker for the Investigation of the Upcoming Stratosphere) stratosphere observation mission at several levels, the software engineering company SPACEBEL is ending the year 2020 in style. The European Space Agency (ESA) has now officially awarded the SME a new contract to supply the payload data ground segment. This operational ground infrastructure will be located in Redu and Uccle will process the data produced by the on-board instrument before their transmission to the various users.
As part of the European "Earth Watch" programme, with Belgium as the main contributor accounting for 94% of the budget, Altius is a micro satellite dedicated to the operational monitoring of stratospheric ozone profiles. This new ESA mission, initiated by the Royal Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy (IASB), will detect the composition of the atmosphere and changes in the stratospheric ozone layer. In addition to greenhouse gases, the satellite will measure other traces of atmospheric gases such as aerosols that are damaging the quality of air on Earth.
In view of the current environmental challenges, Altius will also provide a response, for a minimum period of 3 years, to the imminent shortage of satellites capable of monitoring the presence of the atmosphere components. From a technological point of view, Altius is characterised by a sightline on the horizon that should establish ozone profiles with the required resolution. In keeping with the Proba family, the development and operation of the future Belgian satellite will go along with cost optimisation. Its launch is scheduled for the end of 2023 from Kourou.

IPCC Government and Expert Review of the Working Group II Contribution to the IPCC Sixth Assessment Report, Climate Change 2021: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability.

Period from 4 December 2020 – 29 January2021, 23:59 (GMT+1)
Expert Reviewers can register until 22 January 2021, 23:59(GMT+1). If you would like to participate or for more information, contact: Martine.Vanderstraeten@belspo.be, IPCC Focal Point.
For more information about the IPCC products and the assessment process: www.ipcc.ch

DIGICOLJUST - Colonial Violence, Subaltern Agency and Shared Archival Heritage: A Digital Platform of Colonial Judiciary Sources

The research project ‘DIGICOLJUST - Colonial Violence, Subaltern Agency and Shared Archival Heritage: A Digital Platform of Colonial Judiciary Sources’ has launched its blog. DIGICOLJUST is a two-year (2020-2022) digitizing and research program led by a team of historians and archivists from the State Archives of Belgium (AGR/ARA), the Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB) and the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB). The project starts from a poorly-known archival collection of fundamental significance for the history of colonial violence and of African agency under Belgian colonialism: the archives of the trial records of the military tribunals of the Congo Free State (1885-1908) and of the Belgian Congo (1908-1960). At the crossroad of heritage science, digital humanities and scholarly expertise, DIGICOLJUST aims to make a significant part of this archival collection accessible to researchers and citizens and to explore new historical questions about colonial repression. DIGICOLJUST’s blog will follow the development of the project and the challenges it raised i.a. about the contested heritage of displaced Belgian public colonial archives, about our understanding of colonial violence or about the topicality of the history of military justice in the light of current international debates about soldiers’ impunity in present-day Central African contexts.

Researchers to make an inventory of human remains in the Belgian collections

A team of researchers coordinated by the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences (RBINS) are carrying out a survey to make an inventory of human remains in Belgian museums, research institutes and private collections, which will include human remains from colonial times. The research team wants to discover the historical, scientific and ethical background of the human remains. The project will also investigate a legal framework for the repatriation of human remains.

Facing Van Eyck. The Miracle of Detail

This exhibition will open its doors for the first time on Tuesday 1 December 2020.
Facing Van Eyck. The Miracle of Detail looks at Jan van Eyck’s extraordinary works through a contemporary lens. Thanks to pioneering digital techniques and new scientific research at the Royal Institute for Cultural Heritage (KIK-IRPA), you can get closer to Van Eyck and his secrets than ever before. Take an immersive dive into Van Eyck’s pictorial microcosmos by zooming in on landscapes, architecture, textiles, human figures and everyday objects, and unveil fascinating details hardly visible to the naked eye. Benjamin Glorieux composed a Van Eyck-inspired piece especially for the exhibition - a sensory experience that fascinates both the eye and the ear.
A richly illustrated film focuses on Jan van Eyck’s devotional images and links him to the Byzantine icon. By delving deeper into the reception and appropriation of Byzantine models in Van Eyck's work the film explores the religious and artistic exchanges between East and West in the 15th century. ​​​​​​​
A new way of looking at Jan van Eyck's oeuvre through 20 digitized works that show you the radicality and freshness of his fascinating visual language!

SURA – Unlocking the Photographic Archives of the Pioneering Years of Egyptology at the Royal Museums of Art and History in Brussels

The research project ‘SURA – Unlocking the Photographic Archives of the Pioneering Years of Egyptology at the Royal Museums of Art and History in Brussels’ has launched its website.

SURA is a joint project (2020–2022) between the Royal Museums of Art and History (RMAH) and the Department of Archaeology of KU Leuven and will valorise a historical collection of ca. 7000 glass plate negatives kept in the famous Egyptological library of the RMAH. These images date to the first half of the 20th century and document the pioneering years of Egyptology in Belgium from the perspective of Jean Capart, first curator of the Egyptian department of the RMAH and founding father of Belgian Egyptology, and his collaborators. The archaeological sites where the RMAH excavated, and from which objects entered into the museum's collection, are featured among these glass negatives, as are photographs of sites and excavations by other teams. Images of objects in various museum collections worldwide, of the Egyptian landscape, flora, and population are part of the collection as well.

SURA is supported by BELSPO as part of the research program BRAIN-be 2.0 (2018–2023).

UNESCO-MAB Young Scientists Awards 2021

The MAB Young Scientists Awards targets young researchers carrying out interdisciplinary research in line with UNESCO's Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme. Priority is given to projects carried out in biosphere reserves. Until 2025, implementation of the UNESCO MAB Programme is guided by the MAB Strategy and Lima Action Plan for UNESCO’s MAB Programme and its World Network of Biosphere Reserves (LAP), which contributes to the achievement of the 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
MAB Young Scientists Award applicants are strongly encouraged to take into account the priorities of the LAP, and to identify in their applications how their research contributes to the research-related actions of the LAP and to the SDGs.
Deadline for applications: 15 January 2021.

INDIA Space-Astronomy: DOT Call for proposals - Cycle 2021-C1

DOT Online Proposal Submission and Evaluation System (DOPSES) is opened now for proposal submission for Cycle 2021-C1.
The deadline for submitting the proposals is 2020-11-30 17:00:00, Indian Standard Time (UTC + 5:30).

Will T. rex STAN remain accessible to the public and to science?

The Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences has followed the auction of the skeleton of Tyrannosaurus rex STANTM at Christie's in New York with interest, on October 6th 2020. The fact that this iconic fossil was acquired by a private person or company is of great concern to us: it is in everyone's interest that STANTM remains accessible to the general public, but also to the scientific world. On October 13th 2020, we will also closely follow the auction of the skeleton of an Allosaurus, another large predatory dinosaur discovered in the United States. The auction is organized by Binoche and Giquello in Paris.

Soapbox Science: women scientists in Belgium speak about their research live on social media

On Saturday October 10, from 2 p.m. to 5:10 p.m., seven women scientists in Belgium will tell you about their research during the first Soapbox Science event in Brussels, which will be exceptionally held online due to COVID-19.

Soapbox Science is a science outreach initiative that aims to promote the visibility of women scientists and their research by bringing them on the streets to reach the public. Soapbox Science events transform public areas in discussion forums based on Hyde Park’s Speaker’s Corner where women scientists, on their soapboxes, talk about their research to the people passing by. Why women scientists? Even today, women scientists constitute a minority in the research field, and their relative number dwindles as the seniority in the field increases. Recent research shows that women face a lot of obstacles from a very young age, notably due to strongly held stereotypes and biases related to the image of the scientist.

For those reasons, Soapbox Science aims at tackling stereotypes, and shows to the public that science is not an “old white man’s” business and that anyone has the opportunity to enjoy science in an interactive way.

18 Million Year Old Sperm Whale With 'Needle-Shaped' Snout

Paleontologists have excavated and described one of the oldest fossil sperm whales. The new species from Peru is approximately 18 million years old. Rhaphicetus valenciae was about 5 metres long and had an extremely long snout and slender, pointed teeth. It probably hunted small, fast-swimming prey in shallow waters. Today's sperm whales have a broad snout and 'suction feed' on squid at great depths.

Number of Dead Porpoises on North Sea Coasts on the Rise

A new study published in the leading scientific journal Biological Conservation reveals a striking increase in the number of stranded porpoises along the North Sea coast. Scientists from the various North Sea countries compiled their data for this purpose. This also provided insights into the distribution and mortality of the different age groups, but does not yet allow definitive statements to be made about the effects of different human activities.

Eternal Sleep: Dinosaurs Died Underground, Fossils Perfectly Preserved

Palaeontologists have described a new species of burrowing dinosaur from China. Two intact fossils of Changmiania liaoningensis suggest that the animals were trapped by a volcanic eruption while resting at the bottom of their burrows. The species just described is the most primitive ornithopod dinosaur to date, a group that also include our Bernissart Iguanodons.

Owl Discovered that Hunted like a Hawk 55 Million years ago

Paleontologists have described a large owl that killed medium-sized mammals with its feet and claws some 55 million years ago. “Today, owls kill with their beak," says paleontologist Thierry Smith (RBINS), who participated to the study of the well-preserved skeleton from Wyoming, USA. Primoptynx poliotaurus is a new species and a new genus.

UNESCO: Launch of a Masters on UNESCO Biosphere Reserves

Announcement of the enrolment for the first year of a new International Academic Master Programme on UNESCO Biosphere Reserves, at Eberswalde University of Germany. It will launch in winter term 2020/2021. Applications are possible from July 1, 2020.
Key words: biosphere reserves management, sustainable transformation, intercultural exchange, integrate approaches from natural and social sciences, green economy , nature based solutions...
This is the first international Master Programme in English language (a French language Master is offered by Toulouse University). Eberswalde University has decades of experience working in and with the UNESCO MAB programme. They have also just launched an international doctoral studies programme on MAB.
The new Master Programme „Biosphere Reserves Management“ focuses on UNESCO’s World Network of Biosphere Reserves and its great potential for sustainability transformation.

The University will present this and other study programmes during their online University Information Days 2020. There will be a special session on the “Biosphere Reserves Management” Programme next Friday (June 26th) at 10:00 a.m.

With the study course, Eberswalde University wants to educate future Biosphere Reserve managers and actors.
For this reason, they promote intercultural exchange, integrate approaches from the natural and social sciences, and work together with practitioners from UNESCO Biosphere Reserves from around the world.

DARIAH Theme Funding Call 2020 (#DigitalHumanities #Dariah)

The DARIAH Theme Call 2020/21 is now launched!
This year's call has two streams of funding:
DARIAH Arts Exchanges
With this call, we would like to explore what the current DARIAH knowledge base has to offer arts practitioners researchers, encourage institutional and organisational DARIAH partners within local and national DARIAH nodes to embark on collaborative projects with artists and grow our understanding of the infrastructural requirements of this community with regards to the technologies they use.
Arts, Humanities and COVID-19
One of the areas of emphasis in this scheme could be on how we will collect, curate, preserve and interpret the heterogeneous record of the experience of life and work in early 2020. We will also look for innovative projects exploring humanities contributions to understanding the virus and its impacts, and what the study of culture, the arts, values, practices and language can contribute to our response to this global challenge.

Maximum allowable budget is €10 000. Deadline for submissions is September 18, 2020.

Applications must be submitted on the Sciencesconf platform https://dariahtheme2020.sciencesconf.org/
and by e-mail to: theme@dariah.eu

In support of school education
ESA's new ITT for the implementation of ESERO in Belgium

On 12 June 2020 the European Space Agency (ESA) will publish an open Invitation to Tender (ITT), limited to Belgium, inviting companies and institutions located in Belgium to submit their proposals for the implementation of the ESA educational project 'ESERO' in Belgium from the end of 2020 until the end of 2022.
The ESERO Belgium project is co-funded by ESA and, nationally, by the Belgian Science Policy Office (BELSPO). For the purpose of this activity, BELSPO has delegated the management of its funding to ESA. Therefore, ESA is making the total cumulative ESA and BELSPO budget available through this ITT.

BELSPO supports the digitization of the federal cultural and scientific patrimony

Preserving Belgium’s rich cultural and scientific heritage and disclosing those valuable assets for researchers and the general public is important. DIGIT, the digitization Programme of the Belgian Science Policy (BELSPO), aims to support the Belgian federal museums, libraries and archives with the digitization of their cultural and scientific patrimony. BELSPO, with its 10 Federal Scientific Institutions, offers Belgian scientists an exceptional framework and toolset for their research activities. Their collections attract more than 1.2 million visitors per year. These 10 institutions, together with the Royal Belgian Film Archive (CINEMATEK) are the primary content partners of the DIGIT programme.

The future of ERA

Belgium's contribution to the debate
The European Research Area (ERA) is a wonderful, dynamic and unifying concept adopted in the year 2000 and since adapted. Its main goal is the creation of a unified research area open to the world. The implementation of its six main priorities has been guided and supported by a roadmap for the period 2015 - 2020 and by its monitoring. This monitoring shows that, even if large disparities between countries persist, Europe made huge progress in unifying its research and innovation (R&I) landscape and in enabling the free circulation of researchers, scientific knowledge and technology. ERA is a framework with strengths, weaknesses, and room for improvement. With the present document, Belgian administrations in charge of R&I hope to jointly contribute to the improvement of ERA and to the preparation of the European Commission's new communication on this subject, expected by mid-2020.

Darker bird skin protects against UV-light

Biologist from the University of Ghent discovered that bird skin becomes darker towards the equator. Tanned skin protects birds from harmful UV-light. This evolutionary pattern was already know for humans and reptiles. This pattern is most apparent in bald birds and birds with white plumage. The scientists investigated no less than 2.250 bird species from museum collections.

EURAXESS - European Science Diplomacy Online Free Course

The Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology (FECYT) participates in the S4D4C project (Using Science for/in Diplomacy for Addressing Global Challenges), which is supporting science diplomacy as a means to foster EU´s commitments to the SDGs.
Capacity building on science diplomacy among European researchers is key for this goal to happen.
We are happy to announce the launch of our European Science Diplomacy Online Course. We aim to provide participants with the relevant training, knowledge, and insights necessary to understand and navigate the European science diplomacy interface. The course is free of charge and offers eight modules (that can be completed in around 15 hours) which provide students with basic to more specific content on science diplomacy answering questions such as what it is, who are the stakeholders, how it is done in the EU, what approaches exists, what skills are needed, and some insights coming from S4D4C empirical case studies. The successful completion of the course is rewarded with an S4D4C certificate.

L’Oréal-UNESCO - For Women in Science International Awards

Created in 1998, the L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science International Awards recognize and support eminent women in science throughout the world. Each year, five Laureates are recognized for their contributions to the advancement of science, in Life Sciences or Physical Sciences, Mathematics and Computer Science in alternating years.
The 2021 edition of the Awards will designate five outstanding scientific researchers in the field of Physical Sciences, Mathematics and Computer Science, working in the following regions:
- Africa & the Arab States
- Asia and the Pacific
- Europe
- Latin America and the Caribbean
- North America
One candidate will be selected for each of the five regions, the determining factor being the place of work for at least 5 years, not the nationality of the candidate.
Each of the five Laureates will receive an award of €100,000.

OECD Science Barometer 2020

OECD Science Barometer 2020 - a flash survey to monitor experiences of how science and research has changed on account of the COVID-19 crisis and to collect views on the outlook moving forward.

This anonymous survey is open to anybody with an active interest in science including science policy experts. It only takes 5 minutes to reply.

3 Million Year Old Skeleton From Port of Antwerp New Puzzle Piece In Whale Evolution

Paleontologists have described a new baleen whale species that swam around the North Sea some 3 million years ago. Antwerpibalaena liberatlas is an extinct cousin of the modern right whales. The well-preserved fossil skeleton was found in 2013 during the construction of the Kieldrecht Lock in the port of Antwerp. An extensive study of the anatomical differences now provides more insight into the evolution of the balaenid whales, which, due to a lack of well-described fossils, remained unclear until now.

Catfish Genes Key to Evolution of the African Landscape

Researchers have reconstructed historical changes in the African landscape using the evolutionary history of the African sharptooth catfish. They were able to date important geological and climatic events, such as periods of severe drought, more precisely than ever before.

Find the ultimate overview of the treatment of the Van Eycks’ masterpiece in The Ghent Altarpiece. Research and Conservation of the Exterior

For four years, a multidisciplinary team from the Royal Institute for Cultural Heritage (KIK-IRPA, Brussels) worked on the research and conservation-restoration of the exterior of the Ghent Altarpiece by the Van Eyck brothers (1432). The re-discovery of their original creation, hidden for centuries under extensive overpaints, not only led to an unexpected visual revelation. Thanks to the accompanying research, knowledge about the iconic masterpiece is now taking a giant leap. In the reference work The Ghent Altarpiece. Research and Conservation of the Exterior, published by the KIK-IRPA, the restoration team presents its recent work, while bundling the broad findings of the multidisciplinary research. Richly illustrated, it includes a unique selection of photos, scientific imaging and explanatory diagrams.

Observing two couples of Peregrine falcons who installed their nests in Brussels

Nature and its lifecycles enter our houses and our day to day lives, during this strange period of confinement…

Falcons for Everyone is back! As of today, you can follow the daily lives of two falcon families in Brussels live: watch as the couples hatch, when the chicks come out of their egg and when they finally fly out of the nest.

Afterwork with Bruegel each first Thurday of the month!

After a day of hard work or for a special evening, take a sip of culture at ‘Back to Bruegel’! We organise specifically for the inhabitants of Brussels, commuters, and Bruegel amateurs a series of afterworks. Visit the exhibition or the panorama and let yourself be tempted by the special Bruegel beer!

The Planetarium is launching its crowfunding campaign

The Planetarium is launching its crowfunding campaign in the goal of getting a new spectacle for toddlers!
If you are interested in helping us to motivate young people to sciences, please help us! Join us on the Gingo platform !

Sterrenkijkdagen
op 28 en 29 februari 2020

Op 29 plaatsen in Vlaanderen kan je op vrijdag 28 en zaterdag 29 februari door kleine en grote telescopen naar de hemel turen. Tijdens de jaarlijkse sterrenkijkdagen van de Vereniging Voor Sterrenkunde is iedereen welkom om naar de maan, de planeet Jupiter en de sterren te kijken. Volkssterrenwachten en lokale verenigingen staan klaar om je te gidsen langs de wonderen van de nachtelijke sterrenhemel. Ook in jouw buurt kan je gaan sterrenkijken.

Planet Mars: first results of the InSight mission published in Nature Geoscience

The NASA InSight mission to Mars has benefited from a significant contribution from scientists of the Royal Observatory of Belgium since its inception. They have located the landing site, reconstructed the landing trajectory and helped interpret the seismic data. The journal Nature Geoscience just published a series of articles that present these results, obtained after ten months of observation on the Red Planet.

Teeth wear reveals: dogs already domesticated during the last Ice Age

Wear marks on 28,500-year-old teeth indicate dogs were already domesticated by hunter-gatherers during the last Ice Age. Dogs (domesticated wolves) were given harder food such as bones, while wild wolves were eating softer food.

Launch of Solar Orbiter (10 February 2020)

NASA will launch the Solar Orbiter spacecraft from Cape Canaveral, with 10 scientific instruments on board, including the space telescope Extreme Ultraviolet Imager (EUI). Solar Orbiter is an ESA mission, with an important contribution from NASA, which will study the Sun from close up. The EUI instrument was built by a European consortium under the leadership of the Centre Spatial de Liège. After the launch, the Royal Observatory of Belgium will manage the observations and coordinate the analysis of its unique solar images.

STEREO researcher goes on snow expedition along with NASA

The American space agency NASA is planning to develop a satellite to measure the amount of snow on Earth. In preparation of this mission, an international team of scientists left on January 24 on a snow expedition to Colorado, United States. Five years long they will conduct research there to determine which types of sensors and which technologies are best suited to make snow thickness measurements from space.
One of the researchers who flew to the snowy heights of Colorado is a Belgian, and part of our community of STEREO researchers too! Hans Lievens of KU Leuven is in charge of the STEREO projects SNOPOST and C-SNOW, two projects that were previously featured in this webstory on a method for satellite-based snow depth measurements.

A Lot of Birds On The Menu 14.000 Years Ago in Belgian Chaleux Cave

The hunter-gatherers who lived along the Lesse at the end of the last Ice Age exploited many different species of birds. Some bird remains suggest that humans attributed symbolic value to them. This is what emerges from the analysis of approximately 500 bird remains from the Trou de Chaleux Cave near Dinant (Belgium). The bones are about 14,000 years old and were collected in the 19th century.

Training courses in radiobiology and space biology, SCK•CEN, Mol, BE

Health effects induced by radiation and space conditions. 16-27/3/2020
(deadline for registration: 31/1/2020)

Space Summer School. 4-15/5/2020
(deadline for registration: 4/4/2020)

UNESCO International Conference «Water, Megacities and Global Change»
Call for papers

The Water, Megacities and Global Change conference will illustrate how the research community and the operational world benefit through collaboration. In addition to experts and scientists, it will include civil society representatives and elected officials to highlight the importance of the sound policy-making.
Youth will be given a voice to share their perspective on all topics covered by the conference, and artists will be invited to illustrate the symbolic and aesthetic dimensions of water management issues in megacities and their impact on global change.
Deadline: 29 February 2020.

Prize D4D - Edition 2020

Prize D4D rewards outstanding initiatives that use digitisation and (new) technologies as a lever for development towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set by the United Nations.

Call for proposals for the Prize D4D 2020 Edition is still open. Applicants have until February 28, 2020 (5 pm) to submit their project.

Copernicus at the Plaisirs d'Hiver - Winterpret 2019

If you live in Brussels or have visited during the Christmas period, you will have heard about the Plaisirs d’Hiver - Winterpret – the annual Brussels Christmas market in the city centre.
This year, Copernicus will be present at the event, from 29 November to 5 January. Various activities to promote the Copernicus programme to the general public and school students will take place.

ExoMars 2020: LaRa will be part of the trip

The Belgian instrument LaRa (Lander Radioscience) is accepted for integration on the Kazachok platform of the ExoMars 2020 mission.
The final inspection of LaRa was performed end of July at the Space Research Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences (IKI). Representatives of various international organisations attended to this event. In particular, Véronique Dehant, LaRa’s Project Manager (PI), and her Deputy PI Sébastien Le Maistre of the Royal Observatory of Belgium, along with Lieven Thomassen, representative of Antwerp Space, the Belgian instrument Prime Contractor, were present at this crucial moment. They were accompanied by Vaclav Valenta, ESA’s Technical Officer in the PRODEX programme (Scientific Experiment Development Programme), Russian mission experts, as well as staff members of IKI and TsNIIMash (Russian Space Research Institute).
This inspection included electrical and mechanical compatibility tests with the Russian platform. The tests were realised in a sterile environment to prevent contamination of Mars’ surface with biological traces from Earth. On November 7, the acceptance was pronounced, based on the test results during the Test Review Board (TRB). A graduation, in a way. “This is a wonderful achievement, because LaRa is the result of many years of dedicated work!”, says Véronique Dehant.

Launch of the Val-u-Sun citizen science project

Solar scientists from the Royal Observatory of Belgium launched the citizen science project Val-u-Sun. This project, open to everyone, allows citizens to help research by counting sunspots from their archive.

EUI and Solar Orbiter ready for launch!

Ever closer to the Sun! The instrument EUI (Extreme Ultraviolet Imager) is integrated into the Solar Orbiter satellite to be launched towards the Sun in February 2020. Today, Solar Orbiter can be seen for the last time before being shipped to Cape Canaveral, the launch site.

Antarctica (17/10/19 till 30/08/20)

Explore the Antarctic as if you were really there! The Antarctica exhibition takes you on an expedition to Adélie Land, on the outskirts of the French Dumont d’Urville base. Are you ready?
Start in the changing room where divers prepare before sliding into the frozen water in the Southern Ocean with seals and penguins. Join them in the watery depths teaming with strange and beautiful species. When you resurface, you’ll find yourself in the heart of an icefield, just a few metres from an emperor penguin colony. Take a seat and listen to their calls, observe how they look after their young and watch them huddle together for warmth. There is so much to see in this 360° landscape!
Antarctica is an immersive exhibition about the heart of the continent exclusively accessible to scientists. Superb films are projected onto big screens, including a final 360° projection, while infographics about the lives of animals help you discover the fascinating world of land and marine biodiversity in the South Pole.

STEREO researchers publish a method for measuring snow depth by satellite in Nature Communications

The importance of snow is often underestimated. In the Northern Hemisphere, nearly 50% of the land surface is covered with snow in winter. Globally, more than one billion people depend on melting snow for their drinking water supply.Melt water is also essential for agriculture and power generation. In addition, due to the strong reflection of sunlight, snow limits the energy absorbed by the ground and thus warming.

Astronomers show how supergiant stars repeatedly cool and heat up

An international team of professional and amateur astronomers, which includes Alex Lobel, astronomer at the Royal Observatory of Belgium, has determined in detail how the temperature of four yellow hypergiants increases from 4000 degrees to 8000 degrees and back again in a few decades. They publish their findings in the professional journal Astronomy & Astrophysics.

UNESCO MAB Young Scientists Awards

Since 1989 MAB has been supporting young researchers each year with awards of up to US$ 5,000 in support of their research on ecosystems, natural resources and biodiversity. Through the MAB Young Scientists Awards, MAB is investing in a new generation of scientists worldwide because well-trained and committed young people are key to addressing ecological and sustainability issues
Deadline for applications: 13 December 2019..
Read more...