News archive

News archive

The Cassini/Huygens spacecraft has already completed a third of its interplanetary journey to Saturn and Titan. During the journey the Huygens Probe is usually dormant, so it does not require much electrical power to stay healthy. Even when it does need electrical power for the periodic checkout activities, it can always rely on the Orbiter's radio-isotope thermo-electric generators. So the probe is like a baby in the womb, being fed by the mother Orbiter. Once the baby is born, it has to learn to survive by itself and the same applies to Huygens. After the release from Cassini, the Probe will have to rely on its own power electrical generator: 5 LiSO2 batteries with a total capacity of 1800 Wh.
Published: 27 March 2000
Fundamental Physics in Space and Related TopicsA workshop on Fundamental Physics in Space and Related Topics will be held at CERN on 5-7 April 2000. The purpose of this workshop is to draw the attention of a wide community to the perspectives offered by space technology which now permits fundamental physics experiments (e.g., tests of General Relativity) to be carried out in space with a sensitivity that is orders ofmagnitude higher than what can be expected from the best ground-based experiments.
Published: 24 March 2000
Epinal, Parc des Expositions, 25 March-2 AprilHow does the Sun affect our environment? Are there other forms of life in the Universe? What worlds should be explored in the solar system? How can we observe and understand black holes and the Big Bang?All these questions will be on the agenda of the 2nd Vosgian Exhibition onSpace and Astronomy, at Epinal(Vosgian capital, in the Alsace-Lorraine region) from 25 March to 2 April.
Published: 23 March 2000
Imagine leaving home for 11 years, to embark on a trek which will take you from the frozen wastes of Antarctica to the sizzling deserts of Arabia. Working out how to survive such extreme temperature variations would be a major headache.A similar problem is facing the designers of ESA's Rosetta comet chaser. In the early and late stages of its prolonged expedition, the spacecraft will sweep across the inner Solar System, where sunlight is plentiful. However, in order to rendezvous with Comet Wirtanen, Rosetta will have to probe beyond the asteroid belt, more than 5 times the Earth's distance from the Sun. In those frigid regions, the solar energy levels are only 4% of the those that we enjoy on our balmy planet.
Published: 22 March 2000
Preliminary analysis of Monday's Cluster II Mission Validation Flight showsthat the Fregat upper stage on the Russian Soyuz rocket has passed itssecond test with flying colours.The objectives of this flight were to confirm the re-ignition and orbitalmanoeuvring capabilities of the Fregat, and to validate the mission profileto be used by ESA's Cluster II scientific satellites. The newly developedFregat ('frigate' in English) is now ready to launch the Cluster II quartetthis summer.
Published: 21 March 2000
How do you know that a satellite in space does exactly what you want it to do? You can't have a close look at the spacecraft once it has been launched. A thorough and systematic series of tests must therefore be carried out before launch to make sure that the commands will have the desired effect and that the data sent by the satellite are correctly interpreted. This is what experts at the European Space Operations Centre (ESOC) at Darmstadt are now doing with Integral, ESA's gamma-ray observatory.
Published: 21 March 2000
ESA scientists at the UNESCO forum in The Hague: 'Water, a fragile gift fromStars to planets'The water that we drink and that fills the world's oceans comes from thestars, as the detection of huge amounts of water in many regions of theuniverse by ESA's infrared space telescope, ISO, has recently proved.This fact opened the one-day session on 'Water and Space' organised byESA and UNESCO at a World Water Forum being held in The Hague (NL).
Published: 20 March 2000
A lot of down-to-Earth preparations have to take place before the ambitious Cluster II mission to study the magnetosphere can be launched into space this summer. One of the most difficult stages was completed at the weekend when a high security cargo of explosive fuel arrived under armed guard at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
Published: 20 March 2000
Planck, ESA's satellite to study the origins of the Universe, will makeits first 'public appearance' this week in Bologna (Italy): a full-scalemock-up of the satellite, due for launch in 2007, will be unveiled forthe first time at the 'Settimana della cultura scientifica' ('Scientific knowledge week') organised by the Institutes of the ItalianResearch Council (Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche) of the BolognaResearch Area. Themock-up, a structure of wood and aluminium recently built for technicalpurposes, will now serve to explain how Planck will answer the mostfundamental questions about the Universe.
Published: 20 March 2000
Following the recent visit of a Chinese delegation to ESA Headquarters and ESTEC, European scientists are looking forward to participation in a 'mini-Cluster' mission, known as Double Star.
Published: 17 March 2000
The XMM-Newton space observatory has formally been handed over to the science team that will be operating it for the years to come. Following a commissioning phase review, held at the mission's Science Operations Centre in Villafranca on 8/9 March, ESA management has declared that the commissioning of the spacecraft and the instruments is completed. Operations can now commence with the start of the calibration of its science instruments, essential before regular science observations can begin in June.
Published: 16 March 2000
Stunning images and movies of the stormy Sun are included in ESA's newCD-ROM "SOHO: Exploring the Sun". The material comes from four years'observations of the Sun by the ESA-NASA SOHO spacecraft since its launchat the end of 1995. The CD-ROM is organized by subjects in an easy-to-use format.Nearly 200,000 copies are being distributed to the readersof several astronomy and space magazines, with the April 2000 issues ofAstronomy Now (United Kingdom) and Orione (Italy), and the May issuesof Ciel et Espace (France) and Sterne und Weltraum (Germany).
Published: 16 March 2000
What happens with an astronomical satellite after it is switched off? Answer: it keeps producing science. That is at least the true of the legendary International Ultraviolet Explorer (IUE) satellite, an ESA/NASA/UK project. IUE was the first space observatory ever launched and also the one that lived the longest - nearly two decades! This week ESA will release the new IUE archive (INES), the first astronomical database distributed to national data centres all over the world for faster and easier access. This new archive will no longer belong to ESA but to the entire scientific community.
Published: 14 March 2000
On 9 March, after a successful stack test with its sister spacecraft (FM 8), the fourth and final Cluster II satellite (FM 5) completed its rigorous series of environmental tests. With the successful culmination of their assembly, integration and verification programme, the Cluster II quartet are now ready for transportation to Baikonur Cosmodrome, the next major landmark on the road towards launch this summer.
Published: 12 March 2000
Supersonic shock waves detected at the edge of the Solar System - a new study by Europeanscientists clarifies conditions at our Earth's outermost shield against interstellar charged particles.
Published: 12 March 2000
During operations to fine tune the XMM-Newton Optical Monitor, theobservatory was pointed close to the Large Magallenic Cloud galaxy, to a location where 20 years ago ESA's first X-ray observatory, Exosat,discovered a bright new X-ray source which astronomers named EXO 0748-676. This source consists of two stars orbiting around each other in only 3.8 hours. One of these stars is a neutron star, essentially a giant atomic nucleus 20 km in diameter. This star is so dense that a teaspoon full would weigh a hundred million tonnes! The other star is a normal star, much like the Sun, but distorted into an egg-like shape by the intense gravitational field of the neutron star. Gas is being pulled from the normal star and is falling onto the neutron star via a giant swirling accretion disk. As the gas spirals in the accretion disk and falls onto the neutron star it reaches temperatures of several million degrees - hot enough to emit X-rays.
Published: 9 March 2000
One of the highest hopes for SOHO, the European Space Agency (ESA)-NASA spacecraft is fulfilled with the detection of sunspots on the invisible far side of the Sun. This scientific marvel promises practical benefits. It could give an extra week's warning of possible bad weather in space, to astronauts and operators of satellites, power networks and other systems liable to be affected by eruptions on the Sun linked to sunspots.
Published: 9 March 2000
Six proposals, ranging from a visit to the Asteroid Belt to amazingly sensitive gyroscopes, will undergo close examination during the next six months, as the European Space Agency's science advisors move towards the selection of Flexi-missions for launch between 2005 and 2009. Science working groups and the Space Science Advisory Committee have chosen them from 49 ideas submitted after a call for proposals last October.
Published: 6 March 2000
An interest in space exploration is frequently considered to be the preserve of scientists, but, as a concert last night demonstrated, this is not necessarily the case. A packed audience at St Patricks College, Maynooth, near Dublin, enjoyed a unique aesthetic experience in which space science and music were intertwined.
Published: 5 March 2000
An interest in space exploration is frequently considered to be the preserve of scientists, but, as a concert last night demonstrated, this is not necessarily the case. A packed audience at St Patricks College, Maynooth, near Dublin, enjoyed a unique aesthetic experience in which space science and music were intertwined.
Published: 5 March 2000
31-Oct-2020 07:56 UT

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