PVT-GAMERS team at Gravity-related experiments training week

Álvaro Soria Salinas, Riccardo Lucchese and Erik Nyberg, members of the PVT-GAMERS (Pressure-Volume-Temperature Gauging Method for Electric Propulsion Systems) experiment team, attended the ESA’s Gravity-related experiments training week, the first milestone in the series of preparation meetings and workshops which will mark the development of the current edition of the Fly Your Thesis! Programme. [...]

Visit of SNSB's Director-General

Olle Norberg, Director-General of the Swedish National Space Board (SNSB-Rymdstyrelsen), visited LTU's Luleå's campus last January 31st, and devoted some time to meet Atmospheric Scienc Group members. [...]

Dr. Paul Overduin meets Atmospheric Science Group

Dr. Paul Overduin, a Senior Scientist at Alfred Wegener Institute's (AWI) Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research, Potsdam (Germany), visited the Atmospheric Science Group last 9th January, and interacted with some of its researchers and students. [...]

HABIT Electrical Test Model delivered!

On mid-December 2017, IKI gave the green light to the HABIT project to ship the Electrical Test Model to Russia. The European Space Agency, always supporting HABIT, issued the customs paperwork, and now the HABIT Electrical Test Model arrived to Moscow since January 15. [...]

Javier Martín-Torres to attend a Dream Chaser briefing

Javier Martín-Torres, head of the Atmospheric Science Group, is attending a briefing on the technical features of the Dream Chaser spacecraft. The meeting, which is organized by the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA), will be held at the UN office in Vienna, and will be devoted to informing about the capabilities of the Dream Chaser, its payload requirements and constraints, and to the presentation of the Dream Chaser User’s manual. [...]

Six proposals from LTU accepted in DSG call

The six proposals submitted by the Atmospheric Science Group to the ESA’s call for ideas for research opportunities to be developed within the Deep Space Gateway programme, were included for their presentation during a workshop held at the agency’s European Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC), Noordwijk, the Netherlands, on December 5th-6th. [...]

FORUM project to be developed within ESA’s Living Planet programme

The Far-Infrared Outgoing Radiation Understanding and Monitoring (FORUM), a project in which Prof. Javier Martín-Torres and Prof. María Paz Zorzano-Mier are Co-Investigators, has been selected by ESA, together with Sea Surface Kinematics Multiscale monitoring (SKIM) instrument, as the next missions to be developed within its Living Planet programme, devoted to observing Earth from space. The concepts will be studied during an initial feasibility phase A, after which one of them will be eventually chosen to be the ninth Earth Explorer mission. [...]

PES1 at LTU campus

A prototype of the Perpetual Environmental Station (PES1) has been mounted at LTU’s Luleå campus to test its performance during the winter time. PES1 is intended to be eventually installed in a remote location in Iceland, where it is expected to be providing real time data for a long period of time, so this first trial will serve to check its robustness. [...]

5th meeting of the Nordic Wind Energy Center hosted at LTU

The 5th meeting of the Nordic Wind Energy Center (WindCoE) was held at the Luleå campus of the Luleå University of Technology during November 14th-15th. The Atmospheric Science Group, one of the partners in the project, hosted the meeting devoted to share the advances in the different studies the member groups are carrying out, as well as the future activities of the Center. [...]

PVT-GAMERS experiment to fly in FYT! 2018 campaign

The improved Pressure-Volume-Temperature Gauging Method for Electric Propulsion Systems (PVT-GAMERS) has been one of the two selected projects to be included in the ESA’s Fly Your Thesis! 2018 campaign, which will take place in Autumn 2018. The PVT-GAMERS is a technological demonstrator proposal, aimed at validating a new methodology by operating it in a representative environment, in this case a zero-g and a modified-g scenario. In the future, this method may be used in propellant tanks of any electric propulsion spacecraft to determine, in the absence of gravity, the amount of remaining propellant during the full duration of its mission. [...]

PACKMAN B2 at Esrange Space Center

Last October 18th, the balloon version of Particle Counter K-index Magnetic Anomaly (PACKMAN-B), was launched from Esrange Space Center (SSC), in a flight which opened the regular collaboration agreed between the center and Atmospheric Science Group. Although this was the second flight of the instrument (called PACKMAN B2 on this occasion), which was already tested on board a balloon launched from Córdoba, Spain, last August, this time the operations have taken place in the arctic region, where the instrument has been specifically conceived to work. [...]

Reconstruction of the Himalaya’s glacier history

A recently published study, (Himalayan glaciers experienced significant mass loss during later phases of little ice age), co-authored by Anshuman Bhardwaj, Javier Martín-Torres and María Paz Zorzano, from the Atmospheric Science Group, has contributed relevant data to fill the existing gaps in the records of glacier’s mass balance in the Western Himalaya region. The study, based on an unprecedented dendrochronological sampling, casts light on the comprehension of the climate sensitive subtropical glacier systems evolution, and dates back to 1615, encompassing the latter period of the Little Ice Age. [...]

PACKMAN B in the air again

A unit of the balloon version of the Particle Counter K-index Magnetic Anomaly (PACKMAN-B) has been carried to Esrange Space Center (SSC) to be included in a balloon campaign. The launch window opens on Oct. 18th, and Samuel Konatham and Abhilash Vakkada, the members of the Atmospheric Science Group who are on charge of the works with the instrument, are already at the Center to accomplish the Flight Compatibility Test and the Flight Readiness Review. [...]

Drilling into the deep past

Between 5th-10th October, it took place a workshop intended to the localization of drilling points in the Barberton Greenstone Belt, South Africa, one of the only two places in the world, together with the Pilbara region, in which there are continental sedimentary deposits from the early Archean period. It was organized by the International Continental Scientific Drilling Programme (ICDP), and David Fernández Remolar, member of the Atmospheric Science Group, took part in the campaign. [...]

Boulby mine campaign

The 5th Mine Analog Research (MINAR 5) campaign at Boulby mine, England, has just started out with a high involvement of the Atmospheric Science Group, which has planned an intense work schedule including a wide series of experiments to be conducted. The campaign is framed in the NASA’s Spaceward Bound 2017 programme, and focus on different science areas, some of which are of special interest for the upcoming Mars exploration missions’ objectives, such as the inquiry into the preservation of biosignatures in salts, the study of the type of organisms inhabiting them, or the better characterization of evaporite deposits. [...]

Second chance for PVT-GAMERS experiment

The improved Pressure-Volume-Temperature Gaugin Method for Electric pRopulsion System (PVT-GAMERS) experiment has been short listed for its inclusion in the 2018 Fly Your Thesis! Campaign. This is the second attempt to get a post in the European Space Agency’s parabolic flights programme, after having been discarded in the final selection last year. On this occasion, the maturity acquired by the experiment poses a new hope of being among those eventually chosen to be carried out in the ongoing edition of the programme. [...]

Deep Space Gateway, next step forward into space

Atmospheric Science Group is submitting several proposals to Deep Space Gateway call, opened by European Space Agency for the selection of projects to be carried out along this ambitious series of missions, which will mean a big step forward in human space exploration and related science, regarding different research fields and technological development. [...]

HABIT Engineering Model delivered

The Engineering Model of HABIT (Habitability, Brines, Irradiation and Temperature) instrument was recently brought to Atmospheric Science Group’s headquarters at Luleå University of Technology, by representatives of the company in charge of its building, Omnisys. The model, which is getting closer and closer to the final design, will be submitted to a long, thorough and intense series of tests from now on, both in the Group’s lab and in field-site campaigns. [...]

Joint Arctic Agenda workshop at LTU

The Joint Artic Agendan (JAA) workshop 2017 was held at Luleå University of Technology (LTU) last 13th-14th September, with the participation of Prof. Javier Martín-Torres and Anshuman Bhardwaj, head and member of the Atmospheric Science Group respectively, who attended as representatives of LTU. [...]

European Planetary Science Congress 2017

Atmospheric Science Group, and in particular the studies which are being carried out regarding Mars exploration, is going to be present at the European Planetary Science Congress, which is being held at Riga, Latvia, between 17th and 22nd of September. [...]

Still more about Martian water

A recent study published in Scientific Reports, an open access Nature magazine’s journal, points to the likely possibility that Slope Streaks, one of the most conspicuous topographic features of the surface of Mars, have deliquescence as their root cause. The paper,entitled Martian slope streaks as plausible indicators of transient water activity and led by the Atmospheric Science Group with Anshuman Bhardwaj as first author, enhances the importance of the ground-atmosphere water exchange cycle and its liquid state phases in the Martian environmental dynamics, a matter that will be directly investigated by means of the HABIT instrument for the first time during the ExoMars 2020 mission. [...]

Successful 1st trial of PACKMAN-B

A first trial of a balloon version of the Particle Counter K-index Magnetic Anomaly (PACKMAN-B) took place last 30th August in Córdoba, Spain, on board a balloon launched from the city airport. Everything went as expected, and PACKMAN-B provided a first set of data which, even though won’t be valuable from a scientific point of view because of the latitude, have demonstrated the readiness and robustness of the instrument. The flight was scheduled by Zero2Infinity, a Spanish company devoted to the rendering of balloons and reusable rockets flights for the space industry and for scientific purposes. [...]

Mars highlighted in Icarus Journal

The volume 293 of the Icarus journal, to be published next September, highlight in his cover a paper signed among other authors by David Fernández-Remolar, member of the Atmospheric Science Group, appreciating this way the significance of the study presented in the paper as a contribution to Mars exploration and the current strength of this particular area of research within Solar System exploration. [...]

Busy week for Atmospheric Science Group

This one is being a busy week for Atmospheric Science Group, some of whose members are attending to two outstanding scientific events: the 23rd ESA Symposium on European Rocket & Balloon programmes and Related Research, and a meeting of the Planetary Protection Working Group. [...]

First HABIT science team meeting at LTU

The first meeting of HABIT science team has consisted of an intense series of lectures and discussions focused on the science that support the research to be carried out by means of the instrument regarding two main subjects: the formation of brines and the habitability potential on Mars. These issues constitute the core of HABIT operations within the upcoming ExoMars 2020 mission. [...]

Official inauguration of INSPIRE Lab

The Instrumentation for Space and Planetary Investigation, Resources and Exploration Lab (INSPIRE Lab), has been officially inaugurated on the occasion of the opening of the “Mars week” at Luleå University of Technology. The event counted on the attendance of the members of the HABIT science team, who are holding their first meeting these days. They could see an exhibition of the different projects which are being developed by Atmospheric Science Group. [...]

Schiaparelli module failure report released

The investigations of the ExoMars 2016’s Schiaparelli Entry Descent and Landing (EDM) demonstrator module have concluded, and a detailed report has been released by the Schiaparelli Inquiry Board (SIB), a pool of independent experts which was requested to elaborate it. The SIB, chaired by the ESA Inspector General Toni Tolker-Nielsen, has gone into depth in the sequence of errors which led to the crash of the module, has identify their causes and has recommended the convenient corrective actions to be taken into account with regard to ExoMars 2020 mission. [...]

Mars Week at Luleå University of Technology

Between May 29th and June 1st, the Luleå University of Technology (LTU) will host a “Mars Week”, on the occasion of the first HABIT science team meeting at LTU. Apart from the working sessions on the current stage of the instrument’s development and the pooling of the work lines to follow hereunder, a series of events for the spreading of the word about Mars and the investigations to be performed in the planet by means of HABIT during the ExoMars 2020 mission have been scheduled. [...]

Dr. Bhardwaj to join Cogent Geosciences editorial board

Anshuman Bhardwaj, Associate Senior Lecturer of the Atmospheric Science Group, has been invited to permanently join the editorial board of the Cogent Geosciences Journal, one of the open access publications of the online editor Taylor & Francis. Dr. Bhardwaj will apply his expertise in glaciology and remote sensing to the review, selection and edition of the submissions received by the publication concerning these research areas. [...]

RYMDFORUM 2017 in Kiruna

Last 8th-10th of May, the 2017’s edition of the Space Forum Sweden (Rymdforum)took place in Kiruna, with the attendance of several representatives from the Atmospheric Science Group, including its chair, Javier Martín-Torres. There was a talk in the agenda reserved to the Group’s activities which, as could not be otherwise, was focused on HABIT (Habitability, Brines, Irradiation and Temperature), one of the cornerstones for the Swedish space sector progress and the main project the Group is involved in. [...]

“Next Twenty Years will be a crucial time for Climate Change”

Interview with Sir Brian Hoskins
During the last visit to Luleå Tekniska Universitet, the eminent meteorologist Sir Brian Hoskins, apart from offering a lecture about his innovative studies on the Hadley Cell, devoted some time to discuss about some other subjects with several members of the Atmospheric Science Group. [...]

The thorough selection of ExoMars 2020 landing site.

To land a spacecraft on Mars is not an easy goal. Apart from the technological challenges it entails, there is another question which could seem prosaic but which require a painstaking and intense process of elucidation: the selection of the landing site. Professor Javier Martín-Torres and Professor María Paz Zorzano Mier, Principal Investigator and Co-Principal Investigator of the ExoMars 2020’s instrument HABIT [...]

“Space exploration expenses are extremely valuable”

Interview with Christer Fuglesang
Christer Fuglesang visited Luleå University of Technology’s Rymdcampus in Kiruna, where he gave a talk about his remarkable career as an astronaut and reviewed the main problems posed within human space exploration regarding his field of expertise: radiation. As the current director of the Royal Institute of Technology’s (KTH) Space Center, he presented a list of the ongoing projects of the institution with respect to this same topic and others. [...]

Field Site campaigns

HAbitability, Brines, Irradiation and Temperature (HABIT) is a novel instrument never used before in the exploration of Mars, nor even on any other place. Therefore, it is having to be developed from scratch, at least with regard to its Brine Observation Transition To Liquid Experiment (BOTTLE) unit. The Field Site Prototype (FSP-HABIT) has been the first embryo of the device, and has made possible to identify the very basic problems its design and functioning pose, as well as serving as the Master Thesis subject for Johannes Güttler, the master student who built it and tested it, pointing the ways to follow in the subsequent development of HABIT. [...]

The flight of SALACIA

SALACIA (Saline Liquids and Conductivity in the Atmosphere) was finally launched on board the 21 REXUS rocket from Esrange after one day delay with respect to schedule due to the weather conditions. Everything went according to plan and, after the recovery of the rocket, it could be verified that all the systems in the instrument functioned properly and the sensors took the expected measurements. This success gives place to the last but not least stage of the project: the scientific exploitation of the obtained data; the definitive task whose results will give a sense to all the earlier work. [...]

ExoMars and The Atmospheric Science Group

The first phase of the ExoMars programme, the ExoMars 2016 mission, left the Earth last 14 March and, after completing the manoeuvres to get into the correct trajectory, it got its way to Mars, where it arrived last October the 19th. The Atmospheric Science Group of the Luleå University of Technology will be very attentive to the course of the mission, since it is involved in several senses in this mission that will push the limits of the knowledge about Mars environment, and which is going to undertake expressly the direct search for signs of life on the planet. [...]

Improved PVT Gauging Method

Members of the Atmospheric Science Group have developed a new method to gauge the propellant content in the tanks of modern spacecrafts equipped with electric propulsion (EP) thrusters. It is called Improved Pressure-Volume-Temperature (PVT) method, and it allows for retrieving the amount of propellant throughout the whole operational lifetime of the spacecrafts with an accuracy 8 times higher than with the usually applied methods, which show increasing inaccuracy towards the end of the nominal missions, when the amount of propellant in the tank is scarce. The work, supported by experimental confirmation in laboratory, has been published in the International Journal of Mechanical, Aerospace, Industrial, Mechatronic and Manufacturing Engineering (A Xenon Mass Gauging through Heat Transfer Modeling for Electric Propulsion Thrusters). [...]

The study of Martian Water Quandary

The recently published paper Should we invest in Martian brine research to reduce Mars exploration costs? (Astrobiology, available online), authored by Professor Javier Martín-Torres and Professor María Paz Zorzano, focuses on one transcendent problem posed by the discovery of the formation of transient liquid brines on the surface of Mars: the presence of liquid water will mark the most interesting points to be explored by the coming missions, which are at the same time the points where an extreme caution must be observed in order to avoid an eventual and catastrophic contamination of the Martian environment with terrestrial organisms. [...]