• Photo by Nicolas J Leclercq on Unsplash
  • Photo by Nicolas Tissot on Unsplash
  • Photo by NASA on Unsplash
  • Photo by USGS on Unsplash

ESA's Planetary Science Archive (PSA)

Wondering where to find, or even if you can use at all, science data from the European Space Agency’s Solar System missions?

This is where you need to go -->  https://psa.esa.int !

The European Space Agency's past and current Solar System space missions have produced, and continue to produce, tons of data for scientific use, which are available in ESA's Planetary Science Archive (PSA) and can be accessed through the web user interface (web UI) at https://psa.esa.int.

PSA data products are all scientifically peer-reviewed in the Planetary Data System (PDS) standard with the aim of preserving the data for the long term, having in view the use of new techniques or methodologies that are not available when the missions are carried out. Space missions with data in the PSA include BepiColombo, ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter, Giotto, Huygens, Juice, Mars Express, Rosetta, SMART-1 and Venus Express.

The web UI provides search by mission, target, instrument type, processing level, observational geometry and other parameters, so you can easily find the data you are looking for. This interface also allows a user to skim through "browse" data products, which give a quick, visual, snapshot of the data. In addition, where possible, map-based searches in 2D and 3D are possible. The web UI is supplemented by programmatic interfaces (APIs) and a secure FTP server. All of these services are under constant evolution and your feedback is greatly appreciated on how we can improve.

Joana S. Oliveira is an archive scientist working for the European Space Agency (ESA) JUICE and Heliophysics missions, with a background in planetary sciences. She is interested in learning about the history of rocky planets through their magnetic field signals.

A magnetic journey from core to space

Katia Pinheiro, from IAGA, won the IAGA Grant for her project "A magnetic journey: from core to space".

The project involved interviews with Early-Career Scientists (ECS) during the 6th IAGA Summer School in Niemegk and senior scientists discussing the Geomagnetic Grand Spectrum. The interviews with ECS led to fascinating testimonies about their research, career, and expectations. We hope these short movies will encourage young students to start careers in geosciences. 

In a parallel project, experienced scientists addressed the Geomagnetic Grand Spectrum, giving exciting talks about the time variations of the geomagnetic field. These movies will be presented as a web series and may interest the general public and students in Earth Sciences. 

We invite you to watch all these movies on the IAGA YouTube channel, starting next month. Keep a look out at our social media channel to know when we upload new videos and subscribe to our YouTube for more!

Where is the magnetized material located on the lunar surface?

Magnetometers onboard spacecraft have detected magnetic field signals originating from the lunar crust. These signals are known as magnetic anomalies and are generated by rocks that are permanently magnetized. Lunar magnetic anomalies are distributed heterogeneously over the lunar surface and the geological processes that gave rise to them is under debate. Thus, the Moon's geological history can be further assessed by inferring the shape of the underlying magnetized material. Up to now, these sources were not fully described for such geological assessment studies.

Joana Oliveira and her colleagues, in a recently published work, evaluated the ability of a methodology up to now used to infer the direction of the magnetization, called the method of Parker, to recover the location and shape of the magnetized material by using orbital magnetic field data only.

Lunar magnetic field map at 30 km altitude using Tsunakawa et al. 2015 model.

Through a series of tests, the authors of this study have shown that the Parker’s method can constrain the shape of the source of a magnetic anomaly, provided that the respective part of the crust is magnetized along a common direction.

"We tried to take it a step further to crack the unidirectional assumption by testing complex bodies with different directions, and we were surprised by how this method was still able to recover most of the magnetized structure”, Joana said.

The authors also applied the method to two lunar magnetic anomalies related to two visible geological features an impact crater and an albedo anomaly, also know by swirls. Results show that the inferred shape and location of the magnetized material are in good agreement with the associated geological features and suggest that one originated by an impact event and the other by volcanic activity.

Parker inversion results for the Mendal-Rydberg basin. The magnetized material (related to the dipole moments) is correlated with the inner depression in blue color of the topography map, despite the magnetic field signal being shifted to the southwest from the center of the basin. Figure adapted from Oliveira et al. 2024.

Future applications can focus on constraining the origin of the many lunar magnetic anomalies that are not associated with visible geological features.

Joana S. Oliveira is an archive scientist working for the European Space Agency (ESA) JUICE and Heliophysics missions, with a background in planetary sciences. She is interested in learning about the history of rocky planets through their magnetic field signals.