ASIM based research hit the frontpage of Science 10 January 2020. (Photo: Science)

Denmark's space mission ASIM constitute a cycle of knowledge

Friday 17 Jan 20


Torsten Neubert
Chief Consultant
DTU Space
+45 45 25 97 31


Carol Anne Oxborrow
Special Consultant
DTU Space
+45 45 25 97 33

ASIM is based on a Danish idea

ASIM is an international mission of the European Space Agency, ESA, based on an idea from DTU Space researchers.


The scientific leadership is at the Technical University of Denmark, DTU Space. The main industrial contractor is the Danish aerospace company, Terma.


Other partners are University of Valencia in Spain, University of Bergen in Norway, the Space Research Center in Poland and OHB-Italia.


Read more about the ASIM-mission here at our ASIM mission homepage


Read the full article in Science here (front page story 10 January 2020)

The first major results from the Danish-led ASIM mission, which investigates lightning in space, were recently on the front page of Science. This concludes a cycle of knowledge for DTU Space

In 2018 ASIM was launched to the International Space Station ISS and mounted on the outside. Since then, the ASIM instruments have collected large amounts of data and made discoveries about extreme phenomena arising in connection with thunderstorms over the clouds.

One of these phenomena is extremely energy-rich X-ray glow from thunder clouds called Terrestrial Gamma-ray Flashes (TGF). It is the most energy-rich, naturally occurring energy discharge in the earth.

DTU Space has the scientific leadership of the mission and has also been responsible for a large part of the development work behind it. With the ASIM instruments the scientists have been able to describe this phenomena in much greater detail than it previously has been possible. The researchers have been able to pinpoint quite precisely where the TGF’s occur and to understand more about what happens when the large amounts of energy are discharged.

Cover story on Science concludes an important circle for DTU

On 10 January the were on the cover of the reputed scientific magazine Science with DTU Space scientists as leading authors.

Thus, DTU Space has concluded a cycle, which is one of the hallmarks of DTU and DTU Space; That our engineers and researchers develop the ideas and develop technologies for research. Use them for research. And create significant and internationally recognized scientific results.

ASIM is also an international cooperation between DTU Space, the European Space Agency ESA, Danish company Terma and other partners such as the universities in Valencia and Bergen. All together ASIM involves some 80 scientific groups from 30 different countries.

Hundreds of TGF's observed with ASIM

The TGF’s occur far less frequently than regular lightning.

But ASIM has been able to record about 464 of the violent discharges. At least 54 of them have emitted so much X-rays that scientists have been able to analyze and create images of these incidents.

Thus, researchers have come a step closer to understanding the mechanisms of the fascinating TGFs, which were first discovered in 1994. And that's what science is all about.

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