ESA kosmose uudised
Discover our new Solar Orbiter range
ESA’s technical heart has begun to produce oxygen out of simulated moondust.
The Copernicus Sentinel-3 mission takes us over the Japanese archipelago – a string of islands that extends about 3000 km into the western Pacific Ocean.
While the archipelago is made up of over 6000 islands, this image focuses on Japan's four main islands. Running from north to south, Hokkaido is visible in the top right corner, Honshu is the long island stretching in a northeast–southwest arc, Shikoku can be seen just beneath the lower part of Honshu, and Kyushu is at the bottom.
Honshu’s land mass comprises approximately four-fifths of Japan’s total area. Honshu’s main urban areas of Tokyo, Nagoya, and Osaka are clearly visible in the image. The large grey area in the east of the island, near the coast, is Tokyo, while the smaller areas depicted in grey are the areas around Nagoya and Osaka.
Honshu is also home to the country’s largest mountain, Mount Fuji. A volcano that has been dormant since it erupted in 1707, Mount Fuji is around 100 km southwest of Tokyo and its snow covered summit can be seen as a small white dot.
The Sea of Japan, also referred to as the East Sea, (visible to the west of the archipelago) separates the country from the east coast of Asia. The turquoise waters surrounding the island of Hokkaido can be seen at the top of the image, while the waters in the right of the image have a silvery hue because of sunglint – an optical effect caused by the mirror-like reflection of sunlight from the water surface back to the satellite sensor.
Sentinel-3 is a two-satellite mission to supply the coverage and data delivery needed for Europe’s Copernicus environmental monitoring programme. Each satellite’s instrument package includes an optical sensor to monitor changes in the colour of Earth’s surfaces. It can be used, for example, to monitor ocean biology and water quality.
This image, which was captured on 24 May 2019, is also featured on the Earth from Space video programme.
Ariane 5’s first launch of 2020 has delivered two telecom satellites, Konnect and GSAT-30, into their planned transfer orbits. Arianespace announced liftoff at 21:05 GMT (22:05 CET, 18:05 local time) this evening from Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana.
On 16 January 2020, Ariane 5 flight VA251 lifted off from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana and delivered two telecom satellites, Konnect and GSAT-30, into their planned orbits.
The Rosalind Franklin rover of the joint ESA-Roscosmos ExoMars mission completed a series of environmental tests at the end of 2019 at Airbus, Toulouse, France. This included final thermal and vacuum tests where the Rover is heated and cooled to simulate the temperatures of its journey through space and on the surface of Mars. For example, Rosalind Franklin can expect temperatures dropping to –120°C outside, and –50 °C inside the rover once on Mars. It must also be able to operate in less than one hundredth of Earth’s atmospheric pressure – and in a carbon dioxide-rich atmosphere.
Last year the ‘structural and thermal model’ of the rover successfully completed a rigorous environmental test campaign; the latest round of tests subjected the real flight-model to the simulated space environment.
Now the focus moves to final checks on the rover systems. This includes checking the alignment of instruments working together, such as the imaging systems, and a final functional test of the integrated system after the environmental campaign. Once these verifications on the rover are completed, a functional check of the interfaces with the surface platform and descent module that will deliver it safely to the surface of Mars will be performed at Thales Alenia Space, Cannes, France.
The primary goal of the mission is to determine if there is or there has ever been life on Mars, and to better understand the history of water on the planet. The rover will seek out interesting geological locations to examine with its scientific tools and to drill to retrieve underground samples, on a quest to tackle these questions.
The mission is foreseen for launch in the launch window 26 July–11 August 2020 on a Russian Proton-M rocket with a Breeze-M upper stage from Baikonur, Kazakhstan, arriving at Mars 19 March 2021.
Astronomers using the combined powers of ESA’s Rosetta mission and the ground-based Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) have traced the journey of phosphorus – one of life’s building blocks – from star-forming regions to comets.
Heavy rainfall has triggered flooding in southern Iran, particularly in the Sistan and Baluchestan, Hormozgan and Kerman provinces. The downpour has led to blocked roads and destroyed bridges, crops and houses – displacing thousands of people.
This image, captured by the Copernicus Sentinel-2 mission, shows the extent of the flooding in the Sistan and Baluchestan province on 13 January 2020. Flooded areas are visible in brown, while the flooded villages are highlighted by dotted circles. Sediment and mud, caused by the heavy rains, can be seen gushing from the Bahu Kalat River, Iran, and Dasht River, Pakistan, into Gwadar Bay.
Zoom in to view the image of the floods at its full 10 m resolution.
The flooding has also affected Zahedan, as well as Konarak, Saravan, Nik Shahr, Delgan, Bazman, Chabahar, Zarābād and Khash.
In response to the flood, the Copernicus Emergency Mapping Service was activated. The service uses satellite observations to help civil protection authorities and, in cases of disaster, the international humanitarian community, respond to emergencies.
Recording of the ESA Director General’s start-of-the-year press briefing, held at ESA headquarters in Paris, France, on 15 January 2020.
This briefing, with DG Jan Wörner and ESA Directors, lays out plans for the new budget committed to by Member States at Space19+ and looks ahead to activities in 2020.
A device that uses electricity generated by plants as its power source has communicated via satellite – a world first.
Such sensors could be used to connect everyday objects in remote locations, enabling them to send and receive data as part of the Internet of Things.
What might look like jelly being stirred is actually water subjected to 20 times normal Earth gravity within ESA’s Large Diameter Centrifuge – as part of an experiment giving new insight into the behaviour of wave turbulence.
This research, led by Stéphane Dorbolo of University of Liège and Eric Falcon of CNRS and University of Paris, has been published in the prestigious Physical Review Letters.
Wave turbulence occurs anywhere where a set of random waves interact with each other – from the ocean to the atmosphere, or in plasmas – but the exact mechanisms behind it are only dimly understood. For surface waves on a liquid, gravity dominates the behavior at low frequencies, while ‘capillary action’ based on surface tension becomes more important at high frequencies.
To increase the range of frequencies where waves are dominated by gravity, the researchers conducted their experiment in the ESA’s Large Diameter Centrifuge (LDC) where they can create effective gravity levels up to 20 times that of Earth’s gravity.
Within this extended range, the result was a surprise: the typical timescales of wave interactions and dissipation did not depend of the wave frequency, as predicted theoretically.
Instead these timescales are set by the longest available wavelength within the system – namely the size of the container the waves occur within, an effect that current wave turbulence theories does not take into account.
Prof. Falcon explains: “This result suggests that ‘container’ size needs to be considered in studies of water waves within an ocean—as well as atmospheric waves on Earth and magnetically confined plasma waves as in fusion experiments.
“Notably, this experiment serves to complete the scientific picture of how gravity has an impact on surface wave turbulence, because tuning the gravity level to an opposing low value has already been performed in experiments in zero-G parabolic flights in 2009 and more recently aboard the International Space Station in 2019. This has allowed us to successfully observe pure capillary wave turbulence with no contribution from gravity.”
Operating within a sci-fi style white dome, the LDC is an 8-m diameter four-arm centrifuge that gives researchers access to a range of hypergravity up to 20 times Earth gravity for weeks or months at a time. At its fastest, the centrifuge rotates at up to 67 revolutions per minute, with its six gondolas placed at different points along its arms weighing in at 130 kg, and each capable of accommodating 80 kg of payload.
The LDC was made available for this experiment through the Continously Open Research Announcement of the SciSpace Programme, supported by ESA’s Directorate of Human and Robotic Exploration.
Fifteen years ago today, ESA’s Huygens probe made history when it descended to the surface of Saturn’s moon Titan and became the first probe to successfully land on another world in the outer Solar System. However, during its descent, the probe began spinning the wrong way – and recent tests now reveal why.
Another pair of eyes provides a sobering perspective on the fires ravaging Australia. ESA astronaut Luca Parmitano took images such as this one on 12 January from his vantage point of the International Space Station.
From satellite imagery tracing smoke and pollution, to images from the ground depicting apocalyptic red skies, there is no denying the fires’ devastating effect.
Starting in New South Wales and extending into Victoria, the ferocious bushfires have been raging since September and are fuelled by record-breaking temperatures. In the midst of a climate crisis, 2019 was the hottest year on record in Australia and with drought and wind, the fires have raged beyond seasonal expectations.
Winds have blown smoke over New Zealand and crossed the South Pacific Ocean, even reaching Chile and Argentina.
A staggering 10 million hectares of land have been burned, at least 24 people have been killed and it has been reported that almost half a billion animals have perished.
Damage to wildlife notwithstanding, the fires have had a serious effect on air quality. Earth observation satellites like Copernicus Sentinel-5 Precursor has traced increased concentrations of carbon monoxide in the past months along Australia’s southeast coast.
This image was taken as the Station flew above Fraser Range, in Western Australia, near the Dundas Nature Reserve.
Luca posted images of the fire to social media and said: “Talking to my crew mates, we realised that none of us had ever seen fires at such terrifying scale”.
Astronaut photographs of Earth from space complement satellite imagery, allowing experts and the general public more insight on global events.
Like Luca, the world continues to monitor the fires. If there is a silver lining around the smoke, it is the increased awareness of and calls for urgent action on climate change that is continuing to sweep the globe.
The first flight of the Artemis programme, which will see humans return to the Moon, is scheduled to begin soon. The lunar spacecraft consists of NASA's Orion crew module and the European Service Module, or ESM. Developed by ESA and building on technology from its Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV), the ESM will provide propulsion, life support, environmental control and electrical power to Orion. The Artemis 1 spacecraft modules are undergoing thermal vacuum and electromagnetic interference tests in the world's largest space simulation vacuum chamber at the Glenn Research Centre's Plum Brook Station in Sandusky, Ohio, USA.
This A&B Roll highlights preparations and testing of Orion at Plum Brook Station with interviews in English and French.
Mission X: train like an astronaut is an international educational challenge, focusing on health, science, fitness and nutrition, which encourages pupils to train like an astronaut.
Follow the ESA Director General’s start-of-the-year press briefing at 08:30 GMT (09:30 CET) on 15 January 2020.
The first satellite developed under an initiative to help European industry deliver competitive satellites for the commercial telecommunications market has entered its final phase before launch.
Konnect will provide broadband services for Europe and Africa, and was built by Thales Alenia Space for Eutelsat, its commercial operator, under an ESA Partnership Project.
This image shows part of the ice cap sitting at Mars’ north pole, complete with bright swathes of ice, dark troughs and depressions, and signs of strong winds and stormy activity.
The landscape here is a rippled mix of colour. Dark red and ochre-hued troughs appear to cut through the icy white of the polar cap; these form part of a wider system of depressions that spiral outwards from the very centre of the pole. Visible to the left of the frame are a few extended streams of clouds, aligned perpendicularly to a couple of the troughs. These are thought to be caused by small local storms that kick up dust into the martian atmosphere, eroding scarps and slopes as they do so and slowly changing the appearance of the troughs over time.
This image comprises data gathered on 16 November 2006 during orbit 3670. The ground resolution is approximately 15 m/pixel and the images are centred at about 244°E/85°N. This image was created using data from the nadir and colour channels of the High Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC). The nadir channel is aligned perpendicular to the surface of Mars, as if looking straight down at the surface. North is to the upper right.
ESA’s Mars Express has captured beautiful images of the icy cap sitting at Mars’ north pole, complete with bright swathes of ice, dark troughs and depressions, and signs of strong winds and stormy activity.