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Since the 14th of August, the Planck satellite has departed from its observing orbit. This was the first of a series of steps followed by the switching off, on the 19th of October, of the science instruments on board: HFI (High Frequency Instrument) and LFI (Low Frequency Instrument). On Wednesday the 23rd of October, that is 1624 days after launch, communication with the Planck satellite ceased.
After 1,554 days in space, the Planck satellite has completed its observations on 14 August 14th, 2013. If the high frequency instrument HFI stopped operating on January 14th, 2012, the low frequency instrument LFI was able to work around an additional 600 days as its operating temperature is much higher than HFI. There remains to "park" the satellite in the solar system before saying goodbye.
After a mission that lasted twice as long as planned, CNES’s CoRoT spacecraft—capable of seeing the vibrations of stars and hunting for exoplanets—is to be retired from service. Launched on 26 December 2006, the CoRoT space telescope has been co-led under CNES oversight by the Paris Observatory and the LAM ; IAS has participated to its development and data analysis, and hosts the CoRoT data centre.
On June the 20th, IAS organizes in the Lehmann amphitheatre (LAL, building 200 of University Paris-Sud) the conference “Atomic physics, plasma spectroscopy, and solar physics from space: Celebrating the achievements of Alan Gabriel”. This conference aims at presenting the status of atomic physics, plasma spectroscopy, and solar physics from space, put in the perspective of the achievements made with SOHO and the missions that followed. In addition, our friend and colleague Alan Gabriel will celebrate his 80th birthday.
ESA celebrated the 10 year anniversary in space of Mars Express, launched on June 2, 2003 from the Baikonour space centre. Mars Express, which is still in operation, is the first planetary space mission of ESA. For the first time, the satellite performed coupled analyses of the various Martian envelopes, from the exosphere and the high atmosphere to surface and subsurface, thanks to six instruments, including OMEGA, of which IAS is Principal Investigator. This space mission was very successful; it changed major paradigms in understanding the history of Mars.