Who are we? We find that we live on an insignificant planet of a humdrum star lost in a galaxy tucked away in some forgotten corner of a universe in which there are far more galaxies than people

— Carl Sagan

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Updated: 9 weeks 2 days ago

Euclid telescope ready for extreme space environment

Wed, 09/29/2021 - 4:00am

ESA’s Euclid mission has reached a new milestone in its development with successful testing of the telescope and instruments showing that it can operate and achieve the required performance in the extreme environment of space.

Categories: Astronomy

Ariane 6 launch complex inaugurated at Europe’s Spaceport

Tue, 09/28/2021 - 12:40pm

The new launch complex built for Europe’s upcoming Ariane 6 rocket is inaugurated at Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana.

Categories: Astronomy

Node 3 | Space Station 360 (in French with English subtitles available)

Tue, 09/28/2021 - 10:30am
Video: 00:03:19

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 – episode six is NASA’s Node-3, also known as Tranquility.

Node 3 has cylindrical hull 4.5 m in diameter with a shallow conical section enclosing each end. It is almost 7 m long and, together with the Space Station’s observatory Cupola, weighed over 13.5 tonnes at launch. Built in Europe, Node 3 houses the life-support equipment, the toilet and equipment racks.

Follow Thomas: https://blogs.esa.int/exploration/it/category/astronauts/thomas-pesquet/

The video is in French, to activate the English subtitles, click on the CC icon at the bottom right of the YouTube player.

Access the other Space Station 360 videos

Categories: Astronomy

Space for our Planet: Space Solutions for a Sustainable World

Tue, 09/28/2021 - 6:00am

At ESA, we believe that we have a responsibility to use our space technologies, applications and services to benefit planet Earth and humankind. Some examples of how we do this are now on display in Paris and Brussels at a new exhibition called Space for our Planet: Space Solutions for a Sustainable World.

Categories: Astronomy

Mercury ahead!

Tue, 09/28/2021 - 5:00am

The ESA/JAXA BepiColombo mission to Mercury will make the first of six flybys of its destination planet on 1 October before entering orbit in 2025.

Categories: Astronomy

Microgravity on demand with Earth return through ESA’s Boost!

Mon, 09/27/2021 - 6:30am

A new round-trip commercial space transportation service from 2022, backed by ESA, will enable companies to manufacture in space very pure and more capable materials, discover new pharmaceutical drugs and bring them back for use on Earth.

Categories: Astronomy

ESA Open Day 2021

Mon, 09/27/2021 - 4:00am
Video: 00:01:09

What’s coming next in space? Find out at our virtual ESA Open Day on Sunday 3 October, from 1300 – 1600 CEST (1200 – 1500 BST). Your chance to talk to the people behind future space missions, get close-up views of space hardware and hear from astronaut Alexander Gerst. The Open Day is open to anyone; all you have to do is register to attend.

Find out more here

Categories: Astronomy

Going hyperspectral for CHIME

Mon, 09/27/2021 - 3:15am

With Covid restrictions a little more relaxed, scientists from Europe and the USA were finally able to team up for a long-awaited field experiment to ensure that a new Copernicus satellite called CHIME will deliver the best possible data products as soon as it is operational in orbit. This new mission is being developed to support EU policies on the management of natural resources, ultimately helping to address the global issue of food security.

Categories: Astronomy

For reasons by Vivaldi

Fri, 09/24/2021 - 9:10am
Image:

A female volunteer gets comfortable in her waterbed, as the dry immersion study to recreate some of the effects of spaceflight on the body kicks off this week in Toulouse, France. Called Vivaldi, or Validation of the Dry Immersion, the campaign features all female-participants in a European first.

Immersion begins when water covers the subject above the thorax, immobilised with legs and trunk covered with a cotton sheet. Only the arms and head remain free outside the tarp.

As a result, the body experiences ‘supportlessness’ – something close to what astronauts feel while floating on the International Space Station.

In weightlessness, astronauts’ bodies lose muscle and bone density, vision changes and fluids shift to the brain. Finding ways to stay healthy in orbit is a large part of human spaceflight research.

Volunteers spend almost 24 hours a day in the immersion tank, limiting their movements as much as possible. Each day starts at 7 am with urine and blood samples, followed by scientific protocols and measurements to study how the body adapts.

All activities from leisure to hygiene are done within the constraints of immersion. Only a small pillow is allowed during meals to ease eating. Showering and transfer to other experiments are done outside of the tank while lying on their backs and with their head tilted 6 degrees down to minimise fluid shifts.  

The results from this type of research do not only benefit astronauts but have implications for patients on Earth with similar disorders and elderly people.  

This is the only the second time a dry immersion campaign takes place with all-female participants, and it is a first for Europe. ESA decided to launch the study to address the gender gap in science data.

Categories: Astronomy

Week in images: 20 - 24 September 2021

Fri, 09/24/2021 - 9:00am

Week in images: 20 - 24 September 2021

Discover our week through the lens

Categories: Astronomy

Layered history

Fri, 09/24/2021 - 6:00am
Image: Layered history
Categories: Astronomy

Earth from Space: Calabria, Italy

Fri, 09/24/2021 - 4:00am

Calabria, often referred to as the ‘boot’ of Italy, is featured in this image captured by the Copernicus Sentinel-2 mission.

Categories: Astronomy

Node 1 | Space Station 360 (in French with English subtitles available)

Wed, 09/22/2021 - 1:00pm
Video: 00:02:40

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 – episode five is NASA’s Node-1, also known as Unity.

Unity is the module that connects the Russian segment of the International Space Station to the other modules. Launched on 4 December 1998 inside Space Shuttle Endeavour, it was joined to the Russian Zarya module two days later, forming the basis of the International Space Station. The cylindrical module has six docking ports to connect visiting spacecraft and other modules. 

Follow Thomas: https://blogs.esa.int/exploration/it/category/astronauts/thomas-pesquet/

The video is in French, to activate the English subtitles, click on the CC icon at the bottom right of the YouTube player.

Access the other Space Station 360 videos

Categories: Astronomy

All-female crew in water-tank spaceflight study

Wed, 09/22/2021 - 8:22am

This week 20 women are tucking themselves in a waterbed for five days as part of a dry immersion study to recreate some of the effects of spaceflight on the body. The campaign kicked off yesterday with the first two subjects at the Medes space clinic in Toulouse, France.

Categories: Astronomy

Gloomy moonscape for rover test

Wed, 09/22/2021 - 6:09am
Image: Gloomy moonscape for rover test
Categories: Astronomy

Joining forces for Aeolus

Mon, 09/20/2021 - 3:00am

For a team of scientists and technicians from Europe and the US, the fact of ‘going back to the office’ this September has meant heading off to the Cabo Verde islands in the Atlantic – not to extend their summer holidays, but for a complex international experiment campaign that will scrutinise the data being delivered by one of today’s most innovative Earth observation satellites: ESA’s Aeolus wind mission.

Categories: Astronomy

Week in images: 13 - 17 September 2021

Fri, 09/17/2021 - 9:05am

Week in images: 13 - 17 September 2021

Discover our week through the lens

Categories: Astronomy

Back to School with ESA astronaut Matthias Maurer

Fri, 09/17/2021 - 8:30am
Video: 00:04:32

Kick off the 2021-22 school year with ESA school projects. ESA astronaut Matthias Maurer introduces the wide range of space-based STEM projects available to primary and secondary students: Moon Camp, Climate Detectives, Astro Pi, CanSat and Mission X.

Learn more

Categories: Astronomy

Earth from Space: Maharloo Lake

Fri, 09/17/2021 - 4:00am

Maharloo Lake, a seasonal salt lake in Iran, is featured in this image captured by the Copernicus Sentinel-2 mission.

Categories: Astronomy

Quest airlock | Space Station 360 (in French with English subtitles available)

Thu, 09/16/2021 - 9:30am
Video: 00:01:34

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 – episode four is NASA’s Quest airlock.

The Quest airlock is the Station’s smallest module, but it is vital for going on spacewalks. This is where the astronauts suit up into their spacesuits, prepare for the spacewalk and enter the airlock to go outside for maintenance, installing new equipment or science experiments.

Follow Thomas: https://blogs.esa.int/exploration/it/category/astronauts/thomas-pesquet/

The video is in French, to activate the English subtitles, click on the CC icon at the bottom right of the YouTube player.

Access the other Space Station 360 videos

Categories: Astronomy