Conference about “Societal changes determined by the national program of JAXA Space Education Center”

Organizers: ISS and the White Cross Foundation


When: 6th March 2018, from 09:00

Where: Institute of Space Science – ISS (Auditorium)


The speakers, experts of JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency), will present the premises, methods used and the national program results of promoting curiosity and the adventure spirit, as well as creativity, applied to children with the purpose of generating not only further generations of researchers in aerospace sciences but moreover citizens with broad vision and respect for scientific research.

Access to the conference <see program > will be made exclusively upon registration here.

The event can be followed live on the ISS Facebook and YouTube channels.

Contact person: Cristian Dumitru Ionescu <idcristi[at]spacescience[do]ro>


Participation of the Institute of Space Science to LISA space mission

Illustration of a LISA mission satellite. © AEI/MM/exozet; GW simulation: NASA/C. Henze

The Institute of Space Science was represented at the LISA Consortium Meeting – LISA Phase A Activities, which took place between January 29th – 30th, 2018, at the Max-Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics (Albert Einstein Institute), in Hannover, Germany, by Dr. Ion Sorin ZGURĂ, Director of the Institute of Space Science, Dr. Laurențiu Ioan CARAMETE, Head of the Cosmology and AstroParticle Physics Group and Dr. Eugeniu Mihnea Popescu, Head of the High Energy Astrophysics and Advanced Technology Group. The status of the future LISA space mission, which is an L-type (Large) mission of the European Space Agency, was presented, as well as the foreseen contributions of each entity in the consortium.

The Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA) will be the first space-based gravitational wave observatory and it will consist of 3 satellites joined by laser interferometers, placed in a triangle, at a distance of 2.5 million kilometers that will follow the Earth in its orbit around the Sun for an in-depth study of the Gravitational Universe. The satellites will have similar characteristics with the LISA Pathfinder mission, which flew successfully in December 2015 and has tested the most important technical components.

The Institute of Space Science will contribute to the LISA space mission with the Constellation Acquisition Sensor (CAS) system, which will verify the alignment of the 3 satellites, ensuring the acquisition of the laser signal on the interferometric detectors. Together with the Coarse Star Tracker (STR) system, CAS will check the visualization of the laser signal at the scanning maneuver stage. This contribution is fully supported by the Romanian Space Agency (by the programs “Romanian Incentive Scheme”, PRODEX and national programs) and is in excellent agreement with the Institute of Space Science strategy, as well as with the national strategy of research and development in Romania.

At the express request of the LISA Consortium, the Romanian Space Agency (ROSA) appointed as representative in the “LISA National Agency Board” (which has representatives from each national space agency in the consortium) Dr. Marius-Ioan Piso, president and CEO of the Romanian Space Agency, who is recognized by the scientific community as one of the main initiators of gravitational radiation research since the ’80s. Also, Dr. Ion Sorin ZGURĂ, Director of the Institute of Space Science was appointed as delegate member in the LISA National Agency Board.

LISA space mission is proposed by an international consortium made by researchers from Germany, Italy, Switzerland, United Kingdom, Spain, Denmark, Holland, Romania, Belgium, Portugal, Sweden, Hungary and United States of America. The launch of LISA is foreseen in 2034, with a lifetime of the mission for 4 years and the possibility of an extension up to 10 years.

Contact person: Dr. Laurențiu Ioan CARAMETE <lcaramete[at]spacescience[dot]ro>

Photo gallery


Dr. Laurențiu Ioan Caramete (left) and Dr. Ion Sorin Zgură (right) at the LISA Consortium Meeting – LISA Phase A Activities
Presentation of the Institute of Space Science contribution, at the LISA Consortium Meeting – LISA Phase A Activities, given by Dr. Laurențiu Ioan Caramete


Seminar about “Euclid Science Ground Segment, how to obtain Science from raw Space Telemetry”

Artist’s impression of the Euclid spacecraft. Credit: ESA/C. Carreau

Guest: Dr. Andrea Zacchei, Astronomical Observatory of Trieste

When: November 22th, 2017, 11h00

Where: Institute of Space Science – ISS (Auditorium)


The organization, development and operation of a Science Ground Segment for a Space Mission is a very complex system. Its costs are at the level of an instrument development with the additional complexity of a NOT centralized system. Strategy used in the creation of the Euclid Ground Segment will be discussed with emphasis on the technical solution adopted.

Contact person: Dr. Lucia A. Popa (ISS) <lpopa[at]spacescience[dot]ro>

Seminar on “History of the Romanian space magnetometers”

Organizer: ISS, The Space Plasma and Magnetometry Laboratory – 1040

Speakers: Dr. Mircea Ciobanu (ISS) and Dr. Marin Sâmpăleanu (University of Calgary, Canada)

When: 14 June 2017, at 11:00

Where: Institute of Space Science – ISS (Auditorium)


The space magnetometers designed and released at the Platform of Physics in Magurele, Romania, has become the most required instruments for measuring the Earth’s magnetic field in frame of the INTERCOSMOS Program, in period 1978-1990. The essential elements that have made possible this success would be presented.

The seminar is open to the public and it can be followed live on the ISS Facebook and YouTube channel.

Contact person: Cătălin Negrea <negreacatalin [at] spacescience [dot] ro>

Seminar on “High-Energy Cosmic Ray Acceleration in Relativistic Jets”

Artistic impression of a super-massive black hole with relativistic jets. Credit: ESA/NASA/AVO/Padovani

Guest: Dr. Athina Meli, Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Gent, Belgium

When: Wednesday, March 22nd, 2017, from 11h00

Where: Institute of Space Science (Auditorium)


The Fermi acceleration mechanism at shocks is invoked to explain non-thermal cosmic-rays in Supernova Remnants, Active Galactic Nuclei Jets and Gamma ray Bursts. The importance of achieving the highest observed cosmic-ray energies by such a mechanism in extragalactic astrophysical environments is a recurring theme. Moreover, relativistic shocks, either single or multiple, have been inferred by observations to be forming within a high-speed plasma jet in extragalactic, relativistic sources. The acceleration of cosmic-rays via the Fermi acceleration mechanism in these shocks is believed to be responsible for the observed cosmic-ray power-law distributions and consequently for the radiation of gamma-rays and neutrinos. In this talk, I will focus on the relativistic cosmic-ray shock acceleration mechanism by giving an overview, will present Monte Carlo test-particle simulation studies for relativistic single and multiple shocks, and will briefly discuss the secondary production and extragalactic propagation of the accelerated high-energy cosmic-rays, giving some insights of their relevance to a multi-messenger physics approach.

Contact person: Ioana Duțan <idutan [at] spacescience [dot] ro>


NASA reveals the existence of an exoplanetary system at 40 light years away from Earth

Artistic Illustration of the TRAPPIST-1 system. Source NASA.

On February 22nd, 2017, through a press release, NASA reveals a historic discovery concerning the existence of new exoplanetary system, called TRAPPIST-1, which hosts seven planets, comparable in size and mass with Earth; three of them being located in the habitable zone, the most likely to have liquid water. The super-cool dwarf star, located at about 40 light years away from Earth, is being named after the TRAPPIST mission – Transiting Planets and Planetesimals Small Telescopes.

”One light year means about nine trillion kilometers, i.e at one milliard add three more zeroes. At the moment we cannot perceive yet to cover such a distance with human capabilities. Perhaps, it is necessary a paradigm shift, a change of perception, which will allow us, hopefully in a near future, to see how we could access these stars”, says President of the Romanian Space Agency (ROSA), Dr. Marius-Ioan Piso, in an interview accorded at Radio France International (RFI).

The observations began at the end of 2015, when a team of astronomers from University of Liege, Belgium, decoded the data acquired with the Liege telescope TRAPPIST-Sud, located in Chile. Further ongoing observations have implied more telescopes on-ground (TRAPPIST-Nord in Morocco, UK Infrared Telescope – UKIRT in Hawaii, William Herschel and Liverpool telescopes in La Palma, and the South African Astronomical Observatory telescope) and the NASA’s Spitzer space telescope.

In order to detail the atmospheric composition, or the structure of the rock of those planets, we may need perhaps a decade from now on”, says scientific researcher at the Institute of Space Science (ISS), Dr. Gina Isar, in an interview accorded at Antena 1 Observator TV.

However, NASA has made the reveal that seven planets revolve around TRAPPIST-1, through long and dedicated observations of better precision with the Spitzer space telescope. The remarkable results were recently published in Nature, which conclude that: “The TRAPPIST-1 system represents a unique opportunity to thoroughly characterize temperature Earth-like planets that are orbiting a much cooler and smaller star than the Sun” [Gillon, M. et al. Nature, 2017].

The TRAPPIST telescopes are part of a wider project called SPECULOOS – Search for habitable Planets EClipsing Ultra-cOOl Stars, which aims to detect more systems of this type, with four new telescopes in Chile.

Further observations will continue with new performant telescopes, both on ground and in space.

More information on the TRAPPIST telescopes can be found here.

More information on the SPECULOOS project can be found here.


INA – An interactive software tool for the statistical analysis of time series with application to space plasma turbulence

The diagram of INA and the schematic illustration of its main functionalities.

INA (Integrated Nonlinear Analysis) is an interactive software product designed to analyze satellite data with advanced nonlinear methods adapted to space plasma turbulence research. The software is developed in the framework of the European Community’s Seventh Framework Programme project STORM (Solar system plasma Turbulence: Observations, inteRmittency and Multifractals) where ISS had a significant contribution. The main developers are Dr. Costel Munteanu (scientist at the Institute of Space Science – ISS), Dr. Marius Echim (senior scientist at ISS and also at the Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy (BISA), Brussels) and Dr. Peter Kovacs (senior scientist at the Geological and Geophysical Institute of Hungary, Budapest).

INA is publicly available from the website of the project ( as an executable file to be run under Windows or Linux operating systems. The download page is available after registration by email to

The software is written in MATLAB (version 2015a), but it can also be used independently by installing a MATLAB compiler, which can be downloaded freely from here. Through an intuitive graphical user interface (GUI), INA provides a complete statistical analysis of a time series and provides various methods: descriptive analysis, power spectral density (PSD), spectrogram analysis, analysis of probability distribution functions (PDF) of fluctuations, wavelet analysis, structure function analysis (SF), and multifractal analysis using the rank ordered multifractal analysis (ROMA).

INA is optimized for the analysis of magnetic field and plasma data provided by Venus Express, Cluster and Ulysses satellites, but has also adequate modules for reading and analyzing other data types.

For more information about INA, the software developers can be contacted directly by email: Dr. Marius Echim <marius.echim [at] oma [dot] be>, Dr. Costel Munteanu <costelm [at] spacescience [dot] ro>, Dr. Peter Kovacs <kovacs [dot] peter [at] mfgi [dot] hu>.

ISS’s researcher, IAA Newly Elected Member 2016

©ISS The award ceremony of IAA member, L. A. Popa together with IAA’s President and Vicepresident.

On the 25th September 2016, Dr. Lucia Aurelia Popa, senior researcher at the Institute of Space Science (ISS), became a full member of the International Academy of Astronautics (IAA) at the Basic Sciences Section.

The award ceremony took place in frame of the 67th International Astronautical Congress in Guadalajara, Mexico.

Dr. Lucia Popa is the Romanian representative of the Planck and Euclid ESA’s Missions and has been a Corresponding Member of IAA for three years, since 2013.


This post is also available in: Romanian

©ISS The IAA award of L. A. Popa

Celebrating 30 years of PRODEX

Source of the artistic image of Euclid: ESA

On September 5th and 6th 2016, PRODEX is organising an event for the “PRODEX 30th anniversary” at the ESA’s Space Research and Technology Centre, ESTEC, in Noordwijk, The Netherlands.

Created in June 1986, PRODEX (PROgramme de Développement d’Expériences scientifiques) offers institutions and industry the chance to work on ESA experiments. The programme works to help countries to get returns on their investments, and to promote scientific and industrial excellence and competitiveness.

The PRODEX Programme is an open programme. ESA Member States, as well as non-Member States, can become participating states. Romania became the 16th full ESA member state in 2011, and joined the PRODEX Programme in 2012. The PRODEX Participating States are 12 in total, reprezentated by Switzerland, Ireland, Belgium, Norway, Austria, Denmark, Hungary, Czech Republic, Greece, Romania, Netherlands, Poland.

In this image: Dr. Lucia Popa

In the presence of the PRODEX team and delegates from participating countries, Dr. Lucia Popa, seniour researcher at the Institute of Space Science (ISS), is invited to give a talk on the PRODEX project “Romanian Contribution to the Science Ground Segment of the Euclid Mission”. The detailed program of the event can be found here.

ISS signed a PRODEX Institute Agreement in September 2015, which enhance the project contributions in the field of space science to the PRODEX Programme.



Flag raising Ceremony for Romania at CERN


On 5th of September 2016, in the Globe of Science and Innovation at CERN, Geneva, Switzerland, takes place a great ceremony in the presence of His Excelency Mr. Klaus Iohannis, President of Romania, including national institutional representatives and romanian scientists, marking the accession of Romania as a Member State of CERN (the European Organization for Nuclear Research, the world’s leading laboratory for particle physics).

This is a memorable day, since Romania became the 22nd Member State of CERN on 18th July 2016.

However, bilateral contacts began back in 1991, when a scientific and technical cooperation agreement was signed between CERN and the Government of Romania, establishing the legal framework for later developments. Presently, Romania has particularly strong involvement in several LHC experiments, like ATLAS, ALICE and LHCb, with main contributions from the National Institute of Physics and Nuclear Engineering “Horia Hulubei” and the Institute of Space Science (ISS).

ISS is part of the ALICE Collaboration since 2006, and has a long-standing experience in the study of Quark Gluon Plasma produced in heavy ion collisions at relativistic energies. The ISS-ALICE group, consisting of 6 physicists and 3 guest scientists, has various activities related to jet and flow analysis, offline production management and software service tasks, GRID maintenance and operation in frame of the ALICE Collaboration. ALICE (A Large Ion Collider Experiment) is one of the four large experiments operating at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), dedicated to study the properties and behaviour of the strongly interacting matter, at the very high temperatures and energy densities reached in ultra-relativistic collisions.

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