Project PLATINUM builds on the expertise of space plasma scientists at the Royal Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy (BIRA-IASB) and the scientific synergies with Belgian and international partners in the field of space plasma turbulence and complexity. The project is devoted to study the planetary plasma response to variability and turbulence induced by interplanetary extreme events and transients (e.g., Corotating Interaction Regions - CIR, Coronal Mass Ejections – CME).
Turbulence is a strategic topic at BIRA-IASB who became a European center of expertise in the field. The Institute was the promoter and principal investigator of the European FP7 project STORM devoted to this theme ( and has leading role in various scientific studies published in highly ranked international journals. The project targets advanced data analysis tools (statistical analysis based on Probability Density Functions - PDFs, multifractal analysis, information theory based approaches) to be applied on plasma and electromagnetic field data provided by planetary and terrestrial space missions. The data analysis for interplanetary transients is supported by the Royal Observatory of Belgium (led by Dr. Luciano Rodriguez) and is complemented by advanced numerical simulations tailored to describe the couplings between planetary plasma turbulence and intermittency and the interplanetary variability. The simulations are performed in collaboration with the Belgian team led by Prof. Giovanni Lapenta (Catholic University Leuven) and the International team led by Dr. Eliza Teodorescu (Institute of Space Science Romania)– world class experts in the field. The project targets a scientific investigation of the topology and properties of the planetary plasma turbulence and intermittency and the response and nonlinear couplings to external driving. The project benefits from state-of-the art satellite data provided by the European Cluster and Venus Express missions, and NASA MMS, THEMIS, MAVEN. The project is highly relevant for recent and/or future European space exploration initiatives (e.g. Solar Orbiter, SMILE, Bepi Colombo) where Belgium is involved at various levels (hardware, software, data analysis).