ESA kosmose uudised
Measurements from the Copernicus Sentinel-5P satellite show that this year’s ozone hole over the Antarctic is one of the largest and deepest in recent years. A detailed analyses from the German Aerospace Center indicates that the hole has now reached its maximum size.
With less than a month to go before a SpaceX Falcon 9 takes Copernicus Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich into orbit to chart sea-level rise, preparations are forging ahead at the launch site.
Week in images: 12-16 October 2020
Discover our week through the lens
In this week's edition of the Earth from Space programme, the Copernicus Sentinel-2 mission takes us over Zeeland – the westernmost province in the Netherlands.
See also Zeeland, Netherlands to download the image.
All three engines developed to power Europe’s future Ariane 6 rocket have completed extensive tests – the P120C solid rocket motor for the boosters, the Vulcain 2.1 engine for the core stage and the Vinci for the upper stage.
The ESA-JAXA BepiColombo mission has completed the first of two Venus flybys needed to set it on course with the Solar System’s innermost planet, Mercury.
ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet trains for the Time experiment at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, USA ahead of his Alpha mission to the International Space Station in 2021.
This European experiment on the International Space Station investigates the hypothesis that time subjectively speeds up in microgravity and was first run in space in 2017.
Whether an activity takes seconds or hours depends on your point of view. For astronauts living off-planet and experiencing roughly 16 sunrises and sunsets a day, the concept of time is even more warped. If astronauts float through space, do they also cruise through an altered sense of time?
Since perceptions of time and space are believed to share the same neural processes, and research on depth perception in weightlessness has shown that astronauts often underestimate distance, scientists speculate that for astronauts time also flies in space.
Thomas demonstrates the experiment perfectly in this image, wearing a virtual reality headset to block external visual cues that could influence results. While wearing this headset, astronauts are tasked with gauging how long a visual target appears before them and their reaction times to these prompts are recorded to process speed and attention.
The astronauts run the experiment before flight, on the International Space Station and again when they land to compare results.
Scientists are not only collecting data on the neurological mechanisms at work here. The relativity of time, after all, implies that it is all in your head. As much as we can objectively measure and plot time, how individual humans perceive it is not just neurological but also psychological.
This is an important factor to life both on and off Earth.
As home-like as the Space Station tries to be for its astronaut inhabitants, it still lacks many of the comforts that we know on Earth. Naturally, this can affect mental health and in turn astronauts’ cognitive abilities. Being alert and focused in space is crucial to safety. An astronaut misjudging time can delay reaction and risk the safety and success of crews and missions.
Understanding the neurological and psychological triggers that warp our sense of time means countermeasures can be developed to calibrate our mental clocks.
Bringing these countermeasures down to Earth could improve the lives of those who suffer from isolation or confinement, something of particular relevance during the current COVID-19 pandemic.
Check out this infographic for more on the Time experiment.
The structure that will fly the first woman and next man to land on the Moon and return on the Artemis III mission by 2024 arrived at the Airbus integration hall in Bremen, Germany, from its Thales Alenia Space manufacturing site in Turin, Italy.
This year’s International Astronautical Congress will be visiting virtually the sites where Europe’s exploration of our Solar System for the 2020s is beginning. Join the free live event on 14 October that will showcase the hardware and the people that are taking Europe to the Moon and Mars and back.
A natural fibre that once wrapped early Egyptian mummies and was worn by Roman aristocrats has found a space-age purpose. Threading fibres from the flax plant through satellite panel material can help space missions burn up more rapidly during atmospheric reentry – making their disposal safer for people and property on the ground.
A crucial part of rocket reusability is a smooth return and landing. ESA has helped Romania’s National Institute for Aerospace Research, INCAS, to demonstrate vertical takeoff, short hovering and landing manoeuvres using a small-scale flight demonstrator.
Media representatives are invited to join an online press conference on Friday, 16 October, at 16:00 CEST (10:00 EDT) to discuss the November launch of the Copernicus Sentinel-6 ‘Michael Freilich’ ocean-monitoring satellite. Follow the briefing live on ESA Web TV.
A controller in Germany operated ESA’s gripper-equipped Interact rover around a simulated moonscape at the Agency’s technical heart in the Netherlands, to practice retrieving geological samples. At the same time a smaller Germany-based rover interacted with ESA’s rover as if together at the same site – in a dress rehearsal for a robotic test campaign to the Moon-like volcanic slopes of Mount Etna, scheduled for next year.