News archive

News archive

The Brazilian World Cup celebrations may have started to die down, but in space the never-ending football match between the Sun and Earth continues. And watching this match closely are Salsa, Samba, Rumba and Tango, the four satellites that make up the Cluster mission. They are performing their Brazilian dances 119 000 kilometres above our heads.
Published: 5 July 2002
Blinding dust storms can seriously ruin your plans for a landing on Mars. ESA is adapting the global climate models that we use to forecast our weather on Earth for the turbulent conditions that Mars offers its future visitors.
Published: 3 July 2002
The hectic schedule of ground tests on ESA's comet chaser has continued in recent weeks as engineers at the European Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC) in the Netherlands put the Rosetta spacecraft through its paces.
Published: 3 July 2002
Comets are suddenly in vogue in space research. ESA is getting ready to send its comet chaser Rosetta in January 2003 to rendezvous with Comet Wirtanen and study it in immense detail. Rosetta aims to physically drop a lander on a comet for the first time. Before that, however, on 1 July 2002, NASA will dispatch its CONTOUR spacecraft to fly past at least two comets, and it has two other small comet missions planned.
Published: 27 June 2002
Combining data from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope and the ESO Very Large Telescope (VLT), a group of European and American astronomers have made a major discovery. They have identified a huge number of 'young' stellar clusters, in an old elliptical galaxy. For the first time, it has been possible to identify several distinct periods of star formation in a galaxy as old as this one. Elliptical galaxies have always been considered to have undergone one early star-forming period and thereafter to be devoid of star formation. However, the combination of the best and largest telescopes in space and on the ground has now clearly shown that there is more than meets the eye.
Published: 26 June 2002
Two pieces of 'retired' hardware retrieved from the Hubble Space Telescope provide scientists and engineers with unique knowledge of how long-term exposure to the harsh space environment affects hardware.
Published: 20 June 2002
An interview with Didier Queloz, one of the world's most successful planet hunters.The last five days have witnessed the unprecedented announcement of 25 new planet discoveries. These discoveries are split almost evenly between European and American astronomers. Didier Queloz and his colleagues at the Observatoire de Genève, Switzerland, have found a dozen of the new planets. Their discoveries include the most tantalising one yet: a planet that closely resembles Jupiter in our own Solar System. The find brings astronomers another step closer to detecting an Earth-like world.
Published: 18 June 2002
Huge loops of very hot gas rising above the Sun's surface vibrate with enormous energy at times of solar storms. This is the latest surprise from ESA's flotilla of spacecraft - SOHO, Ulysses and the four Cluster satellites - with which scientists are trying to make sense of how disturbances on the Sun affect the Earth.
Published: 13 June 2002
As scientists demand more from space missions travelling to other worlds and beyond, traditional rocket technologies are beginning to show shortcomings. In response, ESA are helping to develop a new type of rocket engine, known as solar-electric propulsion, or more commonly, an ion engine, that can mark a whole new era of space exploration.
Published: 11 June 2002
Two contrasting space missions are in the final stages of preparation at ESA's Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC) in Noordwijk, the Netherlands. They are the Rosetta mission to rendezvous with Comet Wirtanen and study the origins of our Solar System and the INTEGRAL spacecraft to study the most violent phenomena in the Universe. Both spacecraft are nearing their launch dates.
Published: 7 June 2002
After more than three years of inactivity, today the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope's Near Infrared Camera and Multi-Object Spectrometer (NICMOS) is once again active. Equipped with a new cryogenic refrigerator, it reveals various breathtaking views of the Universe.
Published: 5 June 2002
"The presence of such a large amount of water ice under Mars's surface is very surprising. Especially so close to the surface!" says Gerhard Schwehm, Head of the Planetary Missions Division at ESA. The team working on ESA's Mars Express, the next mission to the Red Planet, is thrilled by NASA's Mars Odyssey detection of hydrogen-rich layers under the Martian surface. This hydrogen indicates the presence of water ice in the top surface of the Martian soil in a large region surrounding the planet's south pole. ESA's Mars Express, ready for launching in June 2003, has the tools for searching much deeper below the surface, down to a few kilometres.
Published: 30 May 2002
Is life a highly improbable event, or is it rather the inevitable consequence of a rich chemical soup available everywhere in the cosmos? Scientists have recently found new evidence that amino acids, the 'building-blocks' of life, can form not only in comets and asteroids, but also in the interstellar space. This result is consistent with (although of course does not prove) the theory that the main ingredients for life came from outer space, and therefore that chemical processes leading to life are likely to have occurred elsewhere. This reinforces the interest in an already 'hot' research field, astrochemistry. ESA's forthcoming missions Rosetta and Herschel will provide a wealth of new information for this topic.
Published: 28 May 2002
Following the outcome of Council of Ministers in Edinburgh in November 2001, the Director of Science undertook a complete reassessment of the ESA Science Programme. This was done in close collaboration with the science community, represented by the Space Science Advisory Committee, industry and Member States delegations. The results of this exercise were presented as a proposal to the 99th meeting of the Science Programme Committee of the European Space Agency held in Andenes (Norway) on 22-23 May. Whilst noting the withdrawal by the Executive, during the meeting itself, of the Venus Express mission, the Science Programme Committee strongly endorsed the plan proposed by the Executive and encouraged it to proceed vigorously with its implementation.
Published: 27 May 2002
Europe's comet chaser has not yet left the planet, but the Rosetta spacecraft has already broken the sound barrier during preparations for its launch nextJanuary.
Published: 23 May 2002
For centuries, we have worshipped it and wondered at it, but it's only now that we are getting a really good look at it. Although you can't gaze at the Sun with the naked eye, thanks to modern science we can view images of our nearest star that confirm the fiery glory our ancestors could only imagine.
Published: 21 May 2002
Last November the ESA Director of Science, Professor David Southwood, announced the need for a complete reassessment of the ESA science programme. Following the Council meeting at ministerial level, funds for ESA's space science would be substantially less than had been hoped. Realistic planning would have to replace optimistic planning.
Published: 16 May 2002
The SUMER instrument on the ESA-NASA SOHO spacecraft has measured amazing wind speeds during its observations of the Sun. It sets a new record in its examination of two loops of gas arching in the solar atmosphere, where NASA's TRACE satellite spotted bright blobs of gas. Shifts in the wavelength of ultraviolet light from highly ionized neon atoms, seen by SUMER, revealed steady wind speeds of up to 320 000 kilometres per hour. That's fast enough to cross the Atlantic Ocean in less than a minute.
Published: 16 May 2002
Guess when a comet will be spotted to win a SOLARMAX DVDESA's solar satellite, SOHO, has become the best comet spotter the world has ever known. When SOHO's latest solar images are posted on the Internet, astronomers and space enthusiasts alike are thrilled when they spot evidence of new comets that have never been seen before as they pass close to the Sun. Since SOHO's launch in 1995, 435 new comets have been discovered. And, in the very near future, the 500th new comet will be found.
Published: 10 May 2002
Conditions in space are unlike anything we experience on Earth. Incredible extremes of temperature that can switch in an instant, startling vacuum conditions, not to mention radiation - it's a tough life for a spacecraft. So it is essential to make sure they are prepared to withstand these conditions before they are launched into this wholly unfriendly environment.
Published: 7 May 2002
7-May-2021 22:52 UT

ShortUrl Portlet

Shortcut URL

https://sci.esa.int/p/QwQ7rr8