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Space

British astronaut pilots earthbound rover from aboard ISS

Deep space exploration has taken one small step (or roll) forward with the successful test of space-based control of a robot rover from aboard the International Space Station. The experiment saw British ESA astronaut Tim Peake take control of a British-built rover named "Bridget" and guide it around a simulated Martian landscape back on Earth, avoiding obstacles and locating scientific targets along the way.Read More

Space

Study of Titan sea reveals unexpected composition

We've known for more than a decade that the largest of Saturn's moons plays hosts to lakes and seas of liquid hydrocarbons, but the exact make-up of these reservoirs has remained a mystery. Until now that is, with scientists from the European Space Agency (ESA) using data from eight years worth Cassini flybys to confirm that Ligeia Mare – one of the largest seas on the moon – is made up largely of liquid methane.Read More

Space

ExoMars opens its eyes en route to the Red Planet

ESA has confirmed that the ExoMars 2016's Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO) mothership has opened its "eyes" and sent back its first test images. Launched on March 14 from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, the joint ESA/Roscosmos mission to Mars was over 83 million km from Earth on April 7 when it transmitted a picture of random section of sky near the southern celestial pole as part of its commissioning process.Read More

Space

Hubble zooms in on galactic core

A new Hubble image has presented a stunning glimpse of the nuclear star cluster known to shroud Sagittarius A* (Sgr A*) – the supermassive black hole that lurks at the heart of our galaxy. The spectacular 50 light-year wide image was captured in the infrared spectrum by Hubble's Wide Field Camera 3.Read More

Space

ESA puts 3D-printed satellite antenna to the test

We can't print entire satellites yet, but the 3D printing of major components is moving forward with ESA unveiling a prototype 3D-printed radio antenna. Currently undergoing testing at ESA's Compact Antenna Test Facility in Noordwijk, the Netherlands, it's the space agency's first 3D-printed dual-reflector antenna incorporating a corrugated feed horn and two reflectors.Read More

Space

ExoMars 2016 is on its way to the Red Planet

The latest mission to Mars began its long journey today as the ExoMars 2016 lifted off at 09:31 GMT atop a Russian Proton-M/Breeze-M rocket at the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. A joint effort led by the European Space Agency (ESA) and Roscosmos, ExoMars 2016 is the first of a two-spacecraft mission to the Red Planet with the second unmanned probe scheduled to launch in 2018.Read More

Space

Orion's solar panels readied for Moon mission

When NASA's Orion capsule made its maiden flight in 2014, it was easy to forget that only half of the spacecraft actually went into orbit. A dummy version of the European Service Module (ESM), which is still undergoing development, sat behind the the unmanned capsule as it lifted off from Cape Canaveral. That development has just passed a major milestone according to the main contractor, Airbus Defence and Space, with a model of the ESM's solar array performing "flawlessly" in a deployment test this week.Read More

Space

Solar sails to help keep pole-sitting satellites in their place

Pole sitting was a fad in the United States in the 1920s, but ESA is putting a modern orbital spin on the practice. Investigating advanced orbital mechanics, the space agency has concluded that it's possible to build a hybrid solar-sail/electric-propulsion satellite that could hover over either of the Earth's poles by balancing the pull of the Earth and the Sun.Read More

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