News archive

News archive

15 years after ESA's Giotto spacecraft achieved an historic close range reconnaissance of Comet Halley, another probe from Earth has successfully followed in its footsteps.
Published: 26 September 2001
The status of INTEGRAL - the International Gamma-Ray Astrophysics Laboratory of the European Space Agency (ESA) - and the Irish involvement in the mission are being presented at a press conference organised in Dublin on 4 October by the Royal Irish Academy (RIA), Enterprise Ireland and ESA.
Published: 26 September 2001
ESA's Huygens probe came through its 8th in-flight check-out on 20 September with flying colours. Signals sent from the Cassini-Huygens spacecraft when it was almost 1 billion kilometres from home indicated that all is well with the probe's sensitive systems.
Published: 24 September 2001
Sending a spacecraft such as Rosetta millions of kilometres into space to explore other worlds is one of the most exciting endeavours undertaken by modern science. However, the fiery launch and prolonged trek to rendezvous with a comet is not the only part of the story. Without a means of gathering the data from deep space, analysing and storing it, the spacecraft's mission is worthless.
Published: 20 September 2001
Spacecraft are built to be as sturdy and as light as possible but their ride into space can be a bit rough. To ensure they will survive the launch and function as planned in orbit, all satellites are submitted tostrenuous vibration tests before launch.
Published: 19 September 2001
Everyone is familiar with animals' tails, but less well known is the fact that most planets have tails too - huge, magnetic tails filled with electrified gas rather than fur, flesh and muscle. Since the end of August, ESA's four Cluster spacecraft have been flying along the middle of the Earth's magnetotail, carrying out the most in-depth exploration of this region ever undertaken.
Published: 17 September 2001
The dedicated team effort to understand and correctsystematic effects in observations from Hubble's Faint ObjectSpectrograph has now been concluded. In future astronomers who usethe observations from this instrument will be able to measure theexact velocity of interstellar clouds, as well as the motions ofindividual parts of nebulae and galaxies. This will for instance leadto better determinations of black hole masses.
Published: 11 September 2001
This is such an unusual view of the impressive M16 nebula, also known as 'The Eagle', that even the most devoted sky-lovers will be surprised. It shows exactly what in the best known pictures of this famous nebula remains invisible: huge amounts of the cold dust that enshrouds newborn stars.
Published: 7 September 2001
By studying lunar samples meteoriticists have contributed hugely to our understanding of the Moon. A sample-return mission to Mars would provide the community with a rich resource with which to investigate our nearest neighbour.But when will there be a such a mission? A meeting to be held in Rome will provide the meteoritical community with an opportunity to express their interest in a sample-return mission to Mars.
Published: 3 September 2001
ESA's four Cluster spacecraft continue to provide ground-breaking new information about the interaction between our nearest star - the Sun - and planet Earth. As they sail through the sea of plasma (electrons and protons) that fills near-Earth space, the identical instruments on the Cluster quartet are helping scientists to create the first three-dimensional views of this turbulent region.
Published: 30 August 2001
The structural model of the Mars Express spacecraft arrived at Intespace, Toulouse on 29 August to begin its first system level test campaign. During this six-week campaign, the spacecraft will be subjected to mechanical qualification tests to ensure the integrity of the structure during launch.
Published: 30 August 2001
Geologists poring over the latest images from Mars keep on turning up new and tantalising evidence that water once flowed freely on the planet's surface - and may still flow from time to time. If their interpretation is right, underground aquifers or ice layers should be commonplace on the planet. Yet no spacecraft flown so far has been capable of identifying them.
Published: 27 August 2001
A new, detailed Hubble image of a planetary nebula inthe making shows for the first time the complex gas structurespredicted by theory. Astronomers are thrilled by observations showingthe violent gas collisions that give rise to supersonic shock fronts.
Published: 24 August 2001
Professor Sir Fred Hoyle, astronomer, cosmologist and science author has died at the age of 86. Although best known as a supporter of the Steady State theory of the Universe, and a determined opponent of the commonly accepted Big Bang theory, Hoyle also received international acclaim for his original work on stars, galaxies, gravity and the origin of atoms.
Published: 23 August 2001
Ceres, the first asteroid (minor planet) to be discovered in the Solar System, has held the record as the largest known object of its kind for two centuries. However, recent observations at the European Southern Observatory with the worlds first operational virtual telescope, Astrovirtel, have determined that the newly discovered distant asteroid '2001 KX76' is significantly larger, with a diameter of 1200 km, possibly even 1400 km.
Published: 23 August 2001
As space engineers and scientists met last month for a final review of the Mars Express spacecraft design, the spacecraft itself was taking shape at the premises of Alenia, Torino, Italy. "Normally, we would have the critical design review (CDR) after tests of the spacecraft structural model (SM tests) have been completed. But because of the tight schedule for Mars Express, most of the review had to be completed early. We've done all the reviewing we can. A few items have to wait until after the SM tests," says Rudi Schmidt, Mars Express Project Manager.
Published: 10 August 2001
What do a comet, the Voyager mission, the Big Bang and the search for extraterrestrial intelligence have in common? Answer: Dr. Samuel Gulkis from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Principal Investigator for the Microwave Instrument for the Rosetta Orbiter (MIRO), has played a leading role in each of them.
Published: 10 August 2001
The vacuum of space is hardly a suitable habitat for birds, but someone tuning in to the signals detected by the Wide Band Data (WBD) experiment on ESA's Cluster spacecraft might be forgiven for thinking that this was not the case.
Published: 9 August 2001
The world's astronomers now have access to amazing details about the invisible ultraviolet light from the Sun, thanks to a new 'spectral atlas' prepared with the SUMER instrument on the SOHO spacecraft. It shows bright emissions at more than 1100 distinct wavelengths, more than 150 of which were not recorded or not identified before SOHO. The atlas is being presented today at an international meeting of astronomers, by Werner Curdt of Germany's Max-Planck-Institut f|r Aeronomie, the lead laboratory for the SUMER instrument.
Published: 31 July 2001
After being assembled by prime contractor Alenia Spazio, INTEGRAL has now been delivered to ESA's ESTEC facility in the Netherlands. Environmental and system tests are now to take place on the gamma-ray observatory in view of a launch in October 2002.
Published: 30 July 2001
8-Mar-2021 01:20 UT

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