June 30th marked the
world's first Asteroid Day – a global awareness campaign
designed to promote an understanding of the dangers presented by the
rocky bodies, and how best to protect our planet from a potentially
catastrophic asteroid impact. Significantly, the
campaign was held on the anniversary of the 1908 Tunguska asteroid
strike – an impact that devastated eight hundred square miles of
Siberian forest, and served as a powerful indicator of the damage
that could be wrought by just one of the 600,000 plus known asteroids
whizzing around our solar system.
ESA's Venus Express spacecraft has found the best evidence yet of active lava flows on Venus. Earlier missions to Venus have shown that the surface bears the unmistakable scarring of fierce, ancient volcanic activity. However, prior to Venus express, no mission had been successful in directly imaging clues to contemporary volcanism. This quirk has baffled scientists for years, as it has long been assumed that Venus hosts an internal heat source, and that heat has to escape somehow.
ESA has announced that its Rosetta comet orbiter mission will be extended by nine months. The unmanned spacecraft that rendezvoused with comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko last year will carry out further observations until September 2016, by which time it will be too far from the Sun to power itself and will land on the comet.
The European Space Agency (ESA) has successfully test fired a 3D printed platinum alloy thruster combustion chamber and nozzle. The world first test is further evidence that the 3D printing approach is a viable one for the aerospace industry, with the potential to cut costs by streamlining production methods and adding a greater level of flexibility in terms of supply and demand construction.
After seven months of hibernation and dwindling hopes, the European Space Agency has announced that its unmanned Philae comet lander has reestablished contact with the Rosetta mothership and mission control. The European Space Operations Centre in Darmstadt received the first signals on Saturday at 22:28 CEST, indicating that the lander has warmed up and charged its batteries sufficiently to return to active duty.
ESA has released an interactive panorama that allows the earthbound to take in the interior of the International Space Station (ISS). This first offering allows users to pan around and explore the Columbus space laboratory, which is the agency's single biggest contribution to the ISS and became a permanent fixture in 2008 after being delivered by the Space Shuttle Atlantis.
ESA's mission to
mitigate the environmental impacts on low-Earth orbit from mankind's
relentless march into space has entered a new phase, ahead of its
make-or-break review before the ESA's Council of Ministers in
December 2016. The e.Deorbit program would launch multiple
debris-seeking probes into orbit each year, tasked with the removal of
defunct satellites and other potentially hazardous man-made objects
from low-Earth orbit.
NASA astronaut Terry Virts, aboard the International Space Station (ISS), and ESA telerobotics specialist André Schiele, in the Netherlands, made space history this week with the first telerobotic "handshake" between space and Earth. Using special force feedback joysticks that acquire force data and create the sensation of pressure, Virts and Schiele brought the agencies closer to allowing astronauts in remote locations to naturally and safely control robotic devices and perform potentially dangerous or otherwise impossible tasks.
Around seven months after the European Space Agency's Rosetta probe made history by deploying its Philae lander onto the surface 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, an expansive catalogue of images has been released providing an up-close look at the comet's rugged landscape. The photos were snapped by Rosetta's NavCam between September and November last year, as the spacecraft came as close as 8 km from the surface.
The ESA CryoSat mission has detected significant ice loss in a usually
stable Antarctic region. The data recorded by the satellite revealed how
multiple glaciers along the Southern Antarctic Peninsula started
shedding ice in the 2009, with no prior warning.