ESA kosmose uudised
ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet takes you on a tour of the International Space Station like no other. Filmed with a 360 camera, the Space Station 360 series lets you explore for yourself alongside Thomas’s explanation – starting with Europe’s science laboratory, Columbus.
Columbus is not the Station’s largest module, but it is one of the best equipped. It is the place where European astronauts conduct most of their work on board and has an external platform that allows experiments to be exposed to the vacuum of space. In addition to science racks, Columbus offers storage space and even a new crew quarter for sleeping. Click and drag with your mouse or move your smartphone around see different angles and feel like you too are in space.
The video is in French, to activate the English subtitles, click on the CC icon at the bottom right of the YouTube player.
Samples of the Biofilms experiment are headed to the International Space Station on the SpaceX CR23 cargo resupply mission this weekend to help maintain astronaut and material safety in space.
A common piece of advice of the past 18 months has been to make sure you wash your hands thoroughly. This is because microorganisms are easily spread across common surfaces like door handles and light switches, and it is no less true in space. The Space Station is, after all, a lab as well as a home to astronauts. It is especially important to keep this environment safe for the long-term health of astronauts and equipment on board.
Funded by ESA and developed by the Chair of Functional Materials at Saarland University and the Working Group for Aerospace Microbiology at German Aerospace Center DLR, Biofilms will test the antimicrobial properties of laser-structured metal surfaces such as steel, copper and brass under microgravity conditions.
But what is biofilm? When growing on surfaces, bacteria can ooze a mixture of microbial structures such as proteins and lipids. The biofilm is what makes microbes resistant to antibiotics and disinfectants. Left to grow, biofilm can be hard to clean and can erode surfaces, especially metals.
To combat microbial growth, Biofilms will test the growth of bacteria such as human skin-associated bacteria Staphylococcus capitis with a novel approach. The innovation of the experiment lies in the structured surfaces of common metals. Using Direct Laser Interference Patterning (DLIP) to add texture to the surfaces, researchers will study how well microbes grow (or not) on copper, metal and steel. Findings could help prevent microbial contamination in space.
Researchers performed a dry run of the experiment on Earth and all parameters, including hardware provided by Keyser Italia, checked out. The experiment will soon take center stage in space, where 24 experiment cultures will grow in the European Columbus module of the Space Station.
Water is life, on Earth and in space. Dutch ESA astronaut André Kuipers recounts his experience living in space for 204 days, and his time looking back on the blue face of ‘Planet Aqua’, comparing notes with divers about what is going on beneath the waves. He goes on to explore how space technology is being used for water management, from orbital tracking of water quality and pollution to spacecraft-grade recycling systems deployed down on the ground, as well as ambitious efforts to identify marine plastic litter using satellites. Produced for SIWI World Water Week with the support of the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
ESA safeguards Europe’s guaranteed access to space through its Future Launchers Preparatory Programme, FLPP.
From space, the synchronous retreat of the world’s glaciers can be clearly observed. To get a first-hand view of these changes, ESA astronaut Luca Parmitano, along with Susanne Mecklenburg, Head of ESA’s Climate Office, have joined a science expedition taking place at one of the biggest ice masses in the Alps: the Gorner Glacier.
Astronaut hopefuls are being asked for their patience as ESA processes over 23 000 applications to its Astronaut and Astronaut (with a disability) vacancies. This number far exceeds the Agency’s most optimistic forecasts.
Week in images: 16 - 20 August 2021
Discover our week through the lens
After four months of darkness, it is finally time to rise and shine for the crew at Concordia Research Station in Antarctica. The most-welcome Sun finally made its appearance on 11 August and ESA-sponsored medical doctor Nick Smith was not about to miss it.
For nine months Nick and his fellow crew mates have been living and working in one of the most isolated, confined and extreme environments on Earth, with no way in or out of the Station during the winter-over period.
Nick is overseeing experiments in human physiology and biology, atmospheric physics, meteorology, and astronomy, among other disciplines. Along with the rest of the crew, he is also maintaining the base – one of only three to run year-round in the Antarctic.
Four months of complete darkness is quite the challenge, and one researchers are very interested in studying from a physiological and psychological point of view. From questionnaires to blood and stool samples, the crew are poked and prodded to understand how better to prepare humans for deep space travel.
Social dynamics are also of interest to researchers during the period of darkness. Stress brought on by lack of sunlight, changing sleep patterns, fatigue and moodiness can affect the group. The crew are especially encouraged to take on group activities and get creative to combat the isolation of the winter. And not just with their own station crew.
Bases across Antarctica take part in the annual Antarctic Film Festival. Crews from each base submit an entry for different categories, and the creativity and cooperation required to come up with an idea and script, film and edit the entry makes for friendly competition and camaraderie. Look out for 2021 entries here.
The first sunrise is always a remarkable moment, signalling the home stretch of their Antarctic residency. From now on the winter crew will start preparing for summer and the return of scientists that arrive for the warmer months starting in November. The base is cleaned thoroughly, machinery is serviced, tents are erected and heated, and the runway is cleared of snow. Extensive work is required to welcome the new arrivals back to the base at the end of the world.
Follow the adventures in science and socialisation at Concordia on the blog.
Europe’s Vega has delivered Pléiades Neo-4 and four auxiliary payloads, SunStorm, RadCube and LEDSAT developed through ESA, and BRO-4, to their planned orbits.
Tune in to ESA Web TV from 02:37 BST / 03:37 CEST on 17 August to watch the Vega launch live.
Week in images: 09 - 13 August 2021
Discover our week through the lens
A stunning sequence of 89 images taken by the monitoring cameras on board the European-Japanese BepiColombo mission to Mercury, as the spacecraft made a close approach of Venus on 10 August 2021.
The sequence includes images from all three Monitoring Cameras (MCAM) onboard the Mercury Transfer Module, which provides black-and-white snapshots in 1024 x 1024 pixel resolution. It is not possible to image with the high-resolution camera suite during the cruise phase. The images have been lightly processed to enhance contrast and use the full dynamic range. A small amount of optical vignetting is seen in the corners of some of the images.
The first image is from MCAM 1, and was taken at 13:41:02 UTC, prior to close approach. As such, the spacecraft was still on the nightside of the planet, but the dayside can just be seen creeping into view. Part of the spacecraft’s solar array can also be seen.
The second image was taken by MCAM 2 at 13:51:56 UTC, two seconds after closest approach. With the Venus surface just 552 km away, the planet fills the entire field of view. The camera is not able to image detail of the planet’s atmosphere. The image also captures the Mercury Planetary Orbiter’s medium gain antenna and magnetometer boom.
The rest of the sequence is from MCAM 3, while the spacecraft was pointed at Venus, and then as it slews away and gradually recedes from view, covering the time period 13:53:56 UTC on 10 August until 12:21:26 UTC on 11 August. The high gain antenna of the Mercury Planetary Orbiter is also seen changing orientation as it points towards Earth.
The music accompanying the compilation was composed especially for the occasion, by Anna Phoebe.
The images were captured during the second of two Venus flybys, and the third of nine flybys overall. The flybys are gravity assist manoeuvres needed to help steer the spacecraft on course for Mercury. During its seven-year cruise to the smallest and innermost planet of the Solar System, BepiColombo makes one flyby at Earth, two at Venus and six at Mercury in order to approach the orbit around Mercury. Its first Mercury flyby will take place 1-2 October 2021 from a distance of just 200 km.
BepiColombo, which comprises ESA’s Mercury Planetary Orbiter and the Mercury Magnetospheric Orbiter of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), is scheduled to reach its target orbit around the smallest and innermost planet of the Solar System in 2025. The spacecraft will separate and enter into their respective orbits before starting their science mission in early 2026 .
Credit: ESA/BepiColombo/MTM, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO
Music composed by Anna Phoebe, with additional soundscapes by Mark McCaughrean
Meet bag, bottle and straw, three bits of plastic left on the beach.
They are only small, but they are heading into the ocean, where they could cause big damage. ESA is exploring how satellites can help detect and reduce plastic pollution in the ocean. From spotting build-ups of marine litter to tracking ocean currents, satellites could be game-changing in tackling this enormous environmental problem.
Though engaging for children and adults alike, this video is designed with 8–12-year-olds in mind. In particular, teachers can use it to introduce the topic of marine litter in subjects such as geography and science. A Dutch version will be available very soon.
This video was produced by the Discovery & Preparation elements of ESA’s Basic Activities.
Credit: ESA – Science Office
Project coordination: Nicole Shearer (EJR-Quartz for ESA) and Mariana Barrosa (Science Office) / Scientific advice: Peter de Maagt and Paolo Corradi (both ESA), Joana Mira Veiga (Deltares) / Educational advice: Petra de Clippelaar (BSO 't Vogelnest) and Connor Mackelvey (Iroquois Elementary School) / Design and animation: David Santos and Rui Braz (both Science Office)
The International Space Station Expedition 65 crew recorded themselves on a day off after a long week of work having some weightless fun. From Earth orbit, 400 km above our planet, the crew present the very first Space Olympics.
ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet shared this video on social media with the caption:
“The first ever Space Olympics ! A Saturday afternoon on the International Space Station. Four disciplines. Rules that evolved as we played. Seven athletes. Four nations. Two teams. Crew cohesion and morale boosted like never before. The first Space Olympics saw Team Crew Dragon and Team Soyuz compete in lack-of-floor-routine, no-handball, synchronised space swimming and weightless sharpshooting.”
Over 200 experiments are planned during Thomas’ time in space, with 40 European ones and 12 new experiments led by the French space agency CNES. Throughout Mission Alpha Thomas is highlighting the parallels between being an astronaut and an athlete: both need to perform at key moments, and train hard to be at their best. Thomas has often said that sport taught him the values of team spirit and respecting team mates, and no astronaut is an island – if one profession is an example of teamwork it is being an astronaut. It takes a team to ensure they are at their best
With the first Copernicus Sentinel-2 satellite in orbit since 2015 and the second since 2017, engineers are busy preparing the mission’s follow-on pair to eventually pick up the baton to supply images for a myriad of applications from food security to monitoring the decline of Earth’s ice. Slated for launch at the beginning of 2024, Sentinel-2C has just started a punishing five-month testing programme to ensure that it is fit for its life in space.
Week in images: 02 - 06 August 2021
Discover our week through the lens