News archive

News archive

During the total eclipse of the Sun on 11 August, the sky will be darkand some bright stars should be easy to see. Avert your eyes for amoment from the glories of the solar atmosphere, and you can glimpse theplanet Mercury, a newly fashionable target for space exploration.
Published: 5 August 1999
The announcement of an extra #5 million of UK government money for the Mars Express lander, Beagle 2, puts the project firmly on track to secure full funding from a mixture of public and private sources. When announcing the extra finance at the Science Museum in London yesterday morning, the UK science minister, Lord Sainsbury, described Beagle 2 as "world class science". "It will demonstrate a remarkable public/private partnership and will bring scientists and industrialists into a closer relationship," he said.
Published: 4 August 1999
The media and the web-surfing public, including teachers, now have instant access to the newest images of the Sun from the ESA-NASA SOHOspacecraft. In addition to still pictures from selected instruments, movies compiled from images of the previous 48 hours are available on-line. Although its introduction is timely, with a total eclipse of the Sun due on 11 August, this service of "The very latest SOHO images" will be used by solar physicists and space weather forecasters for years to come.
Published: 4 August 1999
What if it's cloudy on the morning of August 11? That is the question.Thousands, maybe millions of eclipse-lovers must now be worrying overthis dark thought. Well, here's something to make them feel envious.Irish ESA astronomer Leo Metcalfe will chase the eclipse whilst flying high through acloud-free sky, on board a plane that is likely to be one of thefirst meeting the lunar shadow. The plane will take off from Dublin andwill try to stretch the duration of the millennium's last eclipse by halfa minute, from 2 to 2.5 minutes. Not much, but enough to boost theemotion of a bunch of lucky adventurous scientists.
Published: 3 August 1999
What happens to a spacecraft when it has been assembled and tested, and its launch date is still almost a year away? For Cluster II engineers and technicians, pushing the spacecraft into a dusty cupboard and forgetting about it is not an option.The satellite has to be continually monitored and looked after with tender, loving care.
Published: 2 August 1999
The most important eclipse in the history of science occurred on 29 May1919. Just six months after the end of World War I, British astronomersused it to test a crazy idea that emanated from Germany in 1915.Theproposition was that gravity affected light, space and time itself, andas a result the Sun would deflect starlight passing by it. Changes inthe apparent direction of stars in the sky, seen close to the Sun duringa total eclipse, could confirm the idea.
Published: 29 July 1999
The Shuttle launch of NASA's Chandra X-Ray Observatory on 23 July heralds a golden age of space astronomy. Because next December the European Space Agency's XMM satellite will follow the US telescope into space. Many of the world's astronomers are directly involved and have observing time on both missions. In six months' time, the scientific community will have not one but two amazing discovery machines to probe the hot spots of the sky producing X-rays, to which one must add the forthcoming Japanese spacecraft, Astro-E.
Published: 23 July 1999
The Russian Yuri Gagarin was the first man in orbit, the American Neil Armstrong the first man on the Moon, on 21 July 1969. Is there a chance that the first human being to set foot on Mars will be a European? Attendants at the 1999 Alpbach Summer School will be putting their minds to this challenging question.
Published: 22 July 1999
Deep in the Finnish countryside, the Structural and Thermal Model (STM) ofthe Rosetta orbiter is nearing completion. At the Finavitec factory in thevillage of Halli, some 250 km north of Helsinki, engineers are addingequipment panels to the spacecraft's main structure before shipment toItaly next month.
Published: 21 July 1999
What is bigger than ESA's largest science satellite? Answer: the spacecraft transport container in which XMM will leave for French Guiana in two months' time. On Monday 19 July, after a four-day trip down the Rhine on a barge, this Swiss-made very large container arrived at Katwijk, a few kilometres from ESTEC.
Published: 20 July 1999
30 years after the Apollo lunar landing, the International Lunar Exploration Working Group (ILEWG) is enthusiastic about the future of lunar exploration and human expansion into the solar system. Bernard H. Foing, ILEWG president (1998-2000), announced today that the next ILEWG conference will take place in Europe at ESA/ESTEC, Noordwijk near The Hague, on 10-14 July 2000, in exactly one year.
Published: 20 July 1999
The European Space Agency and the Japanese Institute of Space and Astronautical Science (ISAS) have agreed to open up their Mars missions to each other's scientists. European principal investigators on ESA's Mars Express mission are due to travel to Japan later this year to learn about the science on ISAS' Nozomi mission. Their Japanese equivalents will visit Europe to learn about Mars Express next year. "We are setting up a joint programme of Mars exploration between ESA and ISAS which links the two agencies as equal partners," says Agustin Chicarro, project scientist for Mars Express at ESTEC, ESA's technical centre in The Netherlands.
Published: 16 July 1999
Following an invitation to ESA by the Institute of Space and AstronauticalScience (ISAS),the First European Announcement of Opportunity (EAO-1B) for participation in theAstro-E observing programme opened on 15 July 1999.This EAO covers a nine-month period commencing aroundAugust 2000. The proposal deadline is 17 September 1999.Approximately 5.5% of the total observing time will be allocated to proposalswith Principal Investigators from ESA Member States for collaborativeinvestigations with Japanese astronomers.
Published: 15 July 1999
Astounding new images of more than a dozen very distant colliding galaxies have been obtained by a European-led team of astronomers using the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. These colliding objects are part of a large concentration of galaxies, a galaxy cluster. Though collisions have been observed in other clusters this particular cluster displays by far the largest number ever seen. To astronomers, the finding indicates that, at least in some cases, the big, massive galaxies form through collisions between smaller ones, in a "generation after generation" never-ending story.
Published: 15 July 1999
The real countdown to the total solar eclipse begins today, one solar rotation (27 days) before the 11 August. Near-real time images of the solar corona from the SOHO spacecraft can be used to prepare for your observations on the day. This, the last total solar eclipse of the millenium, is an opportunity to address questions about the Sun, the Sun-Earth interaction, the Solar System and astronomy in general.
Published: 15 July 1999
A new design for the Mars Express lander, Beagle 2, was revealed to the public last month at the Le Bourget airshow in Paris and at the Royal Society and Tomorrow's World exhibitions in London. The pyramid of the previous model is out: something resembling a clam shell or a large pill box is in.
Published: 9 July 1999
Solar scientists believe they may have solved yet another long-standing enigma about the Sun. Working on data first gathered from the ESA's Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) and then by NASA's Spartan 201 spacecraft, researchers have found that the solar wind streams out of the Sun by "surfing" waves in the Sun's atmosphere.
Published: 8 July 1999
How might it feel to stand but a few metres behind a 747 Jumbo jet with its reactors at full thrust for takeoff ? A human being would probably not survive - at the very least his eardrums would be shattered !This is the kind of ordeal that XMM has just experienced. On the 6th July, ESA's X-ray space observatory successfully passed its last major and crucial environmental test before launch. The fully assembled spacecraft standing 10 metres tall, now bearing its solar arrays and telescope sunshield, was submitted to a barrage of sound, simulating the conditions it will encounter during the first 60 seconds after liftoff.
Published: 8 July 1999
To gather the most energetic radiation that comes from space will be the task of Integral, ESA's International Gamma-Ray Astrophysics Laboratory. The spacecraft is scheduled for launch inSeptember 2001 and will help to solve some of the biggest mysteries in astronomy. A new overview of the mission is today published on this web page.
Published: 5 July 1999
Some of the clearest pictures of Mars ever were captured by the HubbleSpace Telescope during the planet's recent closest approach to Earth. NASA made them public to commemorate thesecond anniversary of the landing of its Mars Pathfinder mission.
Published: 2 July 1999
31-Oct-2020 07:48 UT

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