Olivier Witasse

Planetary Scientist


Main Research Fields

Planetary science, plasma physics, planetary space weather


  • Study of planetary upper atmospheres (Venus, Earth, Mars, Titan)
    • Ionosphere, airglow and auroras
    • Couplings between atmospheric envelopes
    • Interaction solar wind-atmosphere
    • Planetary space weather
  • Propagation of solar wind features in the heliosphere
  • Analysis of radiation monitor data (onboard INTEGRAL, Rosetta,...)
  • Numerical modelling, data analysis, data processing techniques
  • Study of the martian moons: solar wind interactions, origin(s)

Ongoing collaborations

  • Institut de Recherche en Astrophysique et Planétologie (Toulouse, France)
  • Observatoire Royal de Belgique (Bruxelles, Belgium)
  • University of Leicester (UK)



A selection of recent publications:

Sánchez-Cano et al., Spatial, seasonal and solar cycle variations of the Martian total electron content (TEC): Is the TEC a good tracer for atmospheric cycles? Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets, doi: https://doi.org/10.1029/2018JE005626, 2018

Molina-Cuberos, G, et al, Aerosols: The key to understanding Titan's lower ionosphere, Planetary and Space Science, Volume 153, p. 157-162, 2018

Witasse, O., et al, Interplanetary coronal mass ejection observed at STEREO-A, Mars, comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, Saturn, and New Horizons en route to Pluto: Comparison of its Forbush decreases at 1.4, 3.1, and 9.9 AU, Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics, Volume 122, Issue 8, pp. 7865-7890, 2017 *Web story*

Cardnell, S.; Witasse, O., et al., A photochemical model of the dust-loaded ionosphere of Mars, J. Geophys. Res. Planets, 121, doi:10.1002/2016JE005077, 2016

Mangold, N. et al, Mars: a small terrestrial planet, The Astronomy and Astrophysics Review, Volume 24, Issue 1, article id.15, 107 pp, 2016

Ramirez-Nicolas, M. et al., The effect of the induced magnetic field on the electron density vertical profile of the Mars' ionosphere: A Mars Express MARSIS radar data analysis and interpretation, a case study, Planetary and Space Science, Volume 126, p. 49-62, 2016

Sánchez-Cano, B. et al., Solar cycle variations in the ionosphere of Mars as seen by multiple Mars Express data sets, 
Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics, Volume 121, Issue 3, pp. 2547-2568, 2016


Project/mission at ESA

Past projects:

  • Cassini-Huygens
  • Venus Express
  • Chandrayaan-1
  • Mars Express
  • ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter

Current project:

  • JUICE: JUpiter ICy moon Explorer (since January 2015)