ESA kosmose uudised
ESA’s Mars Express recently tracked Phobos as the moon passed in front of the spacecraft's camera, capturing detailed views of the small, irregularly shaped body at different angles and stages of the flyby. This sequence comprises 41 images taken by the High Resolution Stereo Camera’s Super Resolution Channel on 17 November 2019 during orbit 20 076, when Phobos passed Mars Express at a distance of roughly 2400 km. The images have a resolution of 21 m/pixel.
This opportunity allowed the spacecraft to capture many features across the moon’s surface; alongside a number of impact craters (including the large and prominent Stickney crater), one can see a number of linear marks and furrows.
The movie shows Phobos at a number of angles – the moon can be seen rotating, and slowly lightens up before it begins to darken again. The slight up-and-down motion of the moon is caused by the oscillation of Mars Express. It nicely illustrates the concept of ‘phase angle’: the angle between a light source (in this case, the Sun) and the observer (Mars Express’ HRSC), as viewed from the target object itself (Phobos). The initial phase angle is 17 degrees, drops to almost 0 degrees mid-way through (0.92, when Phobos is at its brightest), and then rises to 15 degrees by the end of the animation.
This arrangement – of the Sun, Mars Express and Phobos where the latter is observed at a phase angle of near zero degrees – is very rare, and happens only three times a year at most. Other chances to achieve a phase angle of under one will not occur until April and then September of 2020. As such, Mars Express takes every opportunity to view this small and intriguing moon from this angle, to shed light on its properties, behaviour, possible origin, orbital characteristics and location in space – and to probe its potential as a mission destination.
ESA’s Mars Express has captured detailed views of the small, scarred and irregularly shaped moon Phobos from different angles during a unique flyby.
English Paxi explores exoplanets!
Join Paxi on a trip beyond our Solar System. In this video, targeted at children aged between 6 and 12 years, Paxi explores exoplanets.
French Paxi explore les exoplanètes!
Rejoignez Paxi dans un voyage au-delà de notre système solaire. Dans cette vidéo destinée aux élèves de 6 à 12 ans, Paxi explore les planètes extrasolaires.
Italian Paxi esplora gli esopianeti!
Unitevi a Paxi in un viaggio oltre il nostro sistema solare. In questo video, pensato per bambini di età da 6 a 12 anni, Paxi esplora pianeti extrasolari
Portuguese Paxi explora exoplanetas!
Junta-te ao Paxi numa viagem para lá do Sistema Solar. Neste vídeo, destinado a crianças dos 6 aos 12 anos de idade, o Paxi explora planetas extrassolares.
Swedish Paxi utforskar exoplaneter!
Följ med Paxi på en resa utanför vårt eget solsystem. I den här videon, för barn från 6 till 12 år, utforskar Paxi extrasolära planeter.
To conclude our series on the stories of ESA’s YGT alumni, we caught up with Julia Schwartz, ESA Flight Dynamics Engineer and physicist. Julia joined ESA as a Young Graduate Trainee in 2006 and has stayed with the Agency ever since.
ESA’s short film, The Burn, takes us into the heart of Europe’s mission control during a critical moment in the life of a future mission.
The Christmas tree’s lights will have taken about 15 billionths of a second to travel to this multi-segment mirror, but the actual JWST’s 6.5 m mirror will observe cosmic sights from far further away.
Scheduled for launch by Ariane 5 in 2021, JWST is designed to collect almost six times more light than the current Hubble Space Telescope, peering back in infrared to the era of the first galaxies in the Universe and hunting out planets around other stars.
The Greenland ice sheet is losing mass seven times faster than in the 1990s, according to new research.
This box of holiday cheer is actually tubes of plasma containing suspended microparticles exposed to an electrical current to form 3D crystal structures.
Called Plasma Kristall-4, this ESA–Roscosmos experiment has been helping to visualise atoms on the International Space Station to provide insights on basic physical processes.
A plasma is an electrically charged gas, somewhat like lightning, that rarely occurs on Earth. It is considered to be the fourth state of matter, distinct from gas, liquids and solids.
Plasma for the PK-4 experiment is created with neon or argon gas in tubes that make particles electrically charged. Scientists excite the particles with electrical fields, a laser and changes in temperature to get them to move them in the plasma.
These manipulations cause the proxy atoms to interact strongly, leading to organised structures – plasma crystals. The plastic particles in PK-4 bond or repulse each other just as atoms do on Earth in fluid state.
By adjusting the voltage across the experiment chamber scientists can tailor their interactions, and observe each particle as if in slow motion. Using PK-4, researchers across the world can follow how an object melts, how waves spread in fluids and how currents change at the atomic level.
The experiment is installed in the European Physiology Module on the European space laboratory Columbus and was last run in November with assistance from cosmonaut Alexander Skvorstov.
The science team recently met in Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany, to review the insights gleaned from five years of research on the Space Station.
A powerful space telescope, due for launch from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana on 17 December 2019, will give scientists a new insight into the nature of planets outside our Solar System.
Cheops, the 'Characterising Exoplanet Satellite', will study known exoplanets that are orbiting bright stars.
More than 4000 exoplanets have been discovered and Cheops will be targeting known planets between the size of Earth and Neptune, to find out more about their composition, internal structure and whether they might be able to support life.
Cheops' mission is a partnership between ESA and Switzerland with additional contributions from Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and the UK.
This film examines the nature of exoplanets, the challenge of exoplanet exploration and features the Cheops Science Operations Centre in Geneva, it includes interviews with Didier Queloz, Chair of the Cheops Science Team and 2019 Nobel Physics Laureate, University of Geneva; Willy Benz, Cheops Principal Investigator, University of Bern; and Matthias Beck, Cheops Ground Segment Manager, University of Geneva).
Press Release N° 24–2019
Cheops, ESA’s ‘Characterising Exoplanet Satellite’, is scheduled to be launched on a Soyuz-Fregat rocket from Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana, at 09:54 CET on 17 December 2019. Representatives of traditional and social media are invited to apply for accreditation to follow the launch live from ESA’s European Space Astronomy Centre (ESAC) near Madrid, Spain.
Matyas Hazadi shares his YGT experience as a system engineer in the Lunar Resource Lander Team working in ESTEC, the Netherlands.
On 10 December, ESA’s XMM-Newton X-ray space observatory is celebrating its 20th launch anniversary. In those two decades, the observatory has supplied a constant stream of outstanding science. One area that the mission has excelled in is the science of black holes, having had a profound effect on our understanding of these cosmic enigmas.
Black holes are celestial objects so dense that nothing, not even light, can escape their pull. In this artist’s impression, the weird shapes of light around the black hole are what computer simulations predict will happen in the vicinity of its intense gravitational field.
Although neither XMM-Newton nor any other telescope can actually see black holes in this detail, the mission’s data and observations have provided a great source of information about these mysterious gravitational traps. In particular, XMM-Newton has been particularly good at isolating the X-rays given out by high-temperature, ionised atoms of iron as they swirl towards doom in the black hole.
The X-rays given out from the iron contain information about the geometry and dynamics of the black hole. In 2013, XMM-Newton was used to measure such emission in order to study the rotation rate of the supermassive black hole at the centre of the spiral galaxy NGC 1365.
Supermassive black holes, with masses between millions and billions of times the mass of our Sun, are thought to lurk in the centre of almost every large galaxy in the Universe. Their rotation rate is important because it can give away important details about the history of their host galaxy.
A fast rotating black hole is fed by a uniform stream of matter falling together, or by galaxies merging with one another, whereas a slowly rotating black hole is buffeted from all sides by small clumps of matter hitting it. In the case of NGC 1365, XMM-Newton showed that the black hole was rotating quickly and so the galaxy probably grew steadily over time, or merged with others.
More recently, XMM-Newton discovered mysterious flashes from the black hole at the centre of another galaxy called GSN 069. These flares took place every nine hours or so, raising the brightness of the X-ray emission by a factor of 100. These eruptions are thought to be coming from the matter caught in the black hole’s gravitational grip or from a less massive black hole circling the more massive one.
As XMM-Newton continues into its third decade, black holes and the galaxies they are found in will continue to be a priority target.
More about XMM-Newton’s first two decades in space:
XMM-Newton at 20: The fascinating X-ray Universe
XMM-Newton at 20: The large-scale Universe
XMM-Newton at 20: Taking care of the science operations
ClearSpace-1 will be the first space mission to remove an item of debris from orbit, planned for launch in 2025. The mission is being procured as a service contract with a start-up-led commercial consortium, to help establish a new market for in-orbit servicing, as well as debris removal.
A new easy-to-read guide, ‘10 New Insights in Climate Science’ has been presented to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change’s Executive Secretary, Patricia Espinosa, at the COP25 climate conference.
Station on 6 December 2019. The call was made from Stockholm, Sweden, at the start of Nobel Week festivities. ESA astronaut Christer Fuglesang moderated the conversation between two of the Nobel Prize laureates in physics, Didier Queloz and Michel Mayor, and the Nobel Prize laureate in chemistry, Stanley Whittingham.
The first of a series of global maps aimed at quantifying change in carbon stored as biomass across the world’s forests and shrublands has been released today by ESA’s Climate Change Initiative at COP25 – the United Nation Climate Change Conference currently taking place in Madrid.
ESA’s latest space mission has reached orbit. The Qarman CubeSat flew to space aboard SpaceX’s Dragon launched from Florida, USA, on Thursday 5 December, ahead of a planned rendezvous with the International Space Station on Sunday 8 December. From there, Qarman – seen here during plasma wind tunnel testing – will be deployed into space in late January 2020.
CubeSats are low-cost nanosatellites based around standard 10 cm units and typically end their spaceflights burning up in the atmosphere as their orbits gradually decay. But the three-unit Qarman (QubeSat for Aerothermodynamic Research and Measurements on Ablation) is designed with this fiery fate in mind.
Designed for ESA by Belgium’s Von Karman Institute, Qarman will use internal temperature, pressure and brightness sensors to gather precious data on the extreme conditions of reentry as its leading edges are enveloped in scorching plasma.
Qarman’s blunt-nosed front contains most of its sensors, protected by a cork-based heatshield. The CubeSat is expected to survive its reentry, although not its subsequent fall to Earth – making it imperative that its results make it back in the time in between, using the Iridium commercial satellite network.
Other ESA cargo launched for the International Space Station includes radiation-resistant aquatic organisms to study their secrets and learn how they could protect astronauts and people on Earth from harmful radiation.
A fine coffee froth does not last forever. The bubbles that make the milk light and creamy are eventually torn apart by the pull of gravity. But there is a place where foams have a more stable life – in the weightless environment of the International Space Station, bubbles don’t burst so quickly and foams remain wet for longer.