Global Citizen Science Project Finds Over 1700 Asteroid Trails in Hubble Images

[Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA, S. Kruk (ESA/ESTEC), Hubble Asteroid Hunter citizen science team, M. Zamani (ESA/Hubble)]

PARIS (ESA PR) — Combining artificial intelligence with many keen human eyes, astronomers have found 1,701 new asteroid trails in archival data from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, consisting of more than 37,000 images that span two decades. The project reflects both Hubble’s value to scientists as an asteroid hunter and how the public can effectively contribute to citizen science initiatives.

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Team Chosen to Make First Oxygen on the Moon

The European Large Logistic Lander touches down on the moon. (Credit: ESA/ATG-Medialab)

PARIS (ESA PR) — Following a competition, ESA has selected the industrial team that will design and build the first experimental payload to extract oxygen from the surface of the Moon. The winning consortium, led by Thales Alenia Space in the UK, has been tasked with producing a small piece of equipment that will evaluate the prospect of building larger lunar plants to extract propellant for spacecraft and breathable air for astronauts – as well as metallic raw materials for equipment.

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Two New Satellites Mark Further Enlargement of Galileo

Soyuz rocket lifts off with the Galileo 27 and 28 satellites. (Credit: Arianespace webcast)

KOUROU, French Guiana (ESA PR) — Europe’s largest satellite constellation has grown even bigger, following the launch of two more Galileo navigation satellites by Soyuz launcher from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana on 5 December. Galileo satellites 27-28 add to an existing 26-satellite constellation in orbit, providing the world’s most precise satnav positioning to more than 2.3 billion users around the globe.

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Tiny Crystal Could Power Lunar Settlement

Iron pyrite crystal (Credit: TalTech)

TALLINN, Estonia (ESA PR) — This crystal of iron pyrite, just four hundredths of a millimetre in size, could function as the light absorbing layer of a tiny solar cell – potentially a promising future source of power on the Moon.

Working with Estonia’s Tallinn University of Technology (TalTech), ESA has studied the production of sandpaper-like rolls of such microcrystals as the basis of monograin-layer solar cells.

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Watch Ariane 5 Launch Galileo Satellites on Night of 3-4 December

A Soyuz-2 launches the CSO-2 defense satellite on Dec. 29, 2020. (Credit: Arianespace)

KOUROU, French Guiana (ESA PR) — Europe’s latest Galileo satellites will be launched on the night of 3-4 December. Arianespace has taken the decision to begin fuelling their three-stage Soyuz launcher.

Galileo satellites 27 – 28 are now scheduled to be launched by Soyuz launcher VS26 from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana on 4 December at 01:23 CET (3 December at 21:23 local Kourou time). Follow the launch live on ESA Web TV Two from 01:00 CET.

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Galileo Navigation Satellites in Place for Dec. 2 Launch From French Guiana

Galileo satellites 27 – 28 being lowered onto their Fregat upper stage ahead of their launch on 2 December 2021. (Credit: ESA-CNES-Arianespace Optique Video du CSG – P Baudon)

KOUROU, French Guiana (ESA PR) — Europe’s next two Galileo satellites have been attached to the dispenser on which they will ride to orbit, and the launcher fairing that will protect them during the first part of the ascent to orbit has been closed around the pair.

Galileo satellites 27 – 28 are scheduled to be launched by Soyuz launcher from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana on 2 December at 01:31 CET (1 December at 21:31:27 local Kourou time).

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Planetary Defenders: After NASA’s DART Comes ESA’s Hera Mission

NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirect Test, DART, mission is intended to collide with the smaller of two bodies of the Didymos binary asteroid system in autumn 2022. ESA’s Hera mission will then perform follow-up post-impact observations. (Credit: ESA)

PARIS (ESA PR) — The world will be watching the milestone launch of NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test, DART, spacecraft on Wednesday, 24 November, intended to alter one small part of the Solar System forever.

DART will collide with the small moon of an asteroid in order to shift its orbit around its parent body – to test the concept of diverting threatening objects away from Earth.

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Testing Mini-radar to Peer Inside an Asteroid

Juventas CubeSat undergoing tests at ESTEC in The Netherlands. (Credit: ESA-P. de Maagt)

NOORDWIJK, The Netherlands (ESA PR) — A specially upgraded radio-frequency chamber in ESA’s technical heart is testing what is set to become the smallest radar system to be flown in space, hosted aboard a breadbox-sized spacecraft.

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ESA Scales Up Planetary Defense Facilities

Europe’s Planetary Defenders settle into their new home. (Credit: ESA)

FRASCATI, Italy (ESA PR) — The new heart of ESA’s Planetary Defence Office was inaugurated today, heralding a new chapter in the Agency’s work to protect Earth from dangerous near-Earth objects, aka asteroids.

For years, ESA has been dedicated to opening our eyes to hazards in space, and when it came to asteroids this meant ensuring Europe had the capability to detect, track and understand what’s out there.

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Studying Wound Healing in Hypergravity

The FORTE team with staff supporting the Educational Campaign Spin Your Thesis! (Credit: ESA)

NOORDWIJK, The Netherlands (ESA PR) — A team of students from the SCK•CEN (Belgian nuclear research centre) located in Mol, Belgium, began their hypergravity research campaign at ESA’s Large Diameter Centrifuge (LDC) at ESTEC on 27 September and successfully completed their experiment on 1 October.

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Dutch Experiment Adds New Dimension to Research Mission to the Moons of Jupiter

JUICE wants to determine what is under the ice of Jupiter’s moons. (Source: Airbus)

NOORDWIJK, The Netherlands (Netherlands Space Office PR) — ESA’s new space probe JUICE – which stands for Jupiter Icy moons Explorer – will be tested this month at the ESTEC testing centre in Noordwijk. The Netherlands is responsible for powering JUICE with solar panels developed by Airbus in Leiden. Our country is also involved in the mission on a scientific level. Scientists and engineers from Delft University of Technology are preparing for their work on this mission together with their colleagues from JIVE in Dwingeloo. They will use radio telescopes located all over the planet, including in Westerbork in the Dutch province of Drenthe, to closely monitor the planetary explorer’s progress. In this manner, they are paving the way for ground-breaking scientific research of the icy moons of Jupiter.

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ESA Funds Research into Lunar Cave Explorer

DAEDALUS robot (Credit: Julius-Maximilians-University)

WURZBURG, Germany (ESA PR) — What might look like a dangling hamster ball is actually a robotic sphere to explore the depths of lunar caves.

Designed by a team coordinated by Germany’s Julius-Maximilians-Universität of Würzburg (JMU), the Descent And Exploration in Deep Autonomy of Lunar Underground Structures, DAEDALUS, robot is being evaluated by ESA’s Concurrent Design Facility, as part of a larger study of lunar cave mission concepts.

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ESA Develops Breakthrough Mesh Reflector for Shaped Radio Beams

A prototype 2.6-m diameter metal-mesh antenna reflector. (Credit: Leri Datashvili/Large Space Structures GmbH)

NOORDWIJK, Netherlands (ESA PR) — This prototype 2.6-m diameter metal-mesh antenna reflector represents a big step forward for the European space sector: versions can be manufactured to reproduce any surface pattern that antenna designers wish, something that was previously possible only with traditional solid antennas.

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ESA Selects New CubeSat Missions for Fly Your Satellite Program

Fly Your Satellite! selection workshop (Credit: ESA)

NOORDWIJK, Netherlands (ESA PR) — Three university teams have been selected for the third edition of the Fly Your Satellite! programme following a call for proposals open in the second half of 2019. The CubeSats’ evaluation and selection was carried out by a CubeSat Evaluation Panel, consisting of ESA experts from a range of disciplines. 

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Qarman CubeSat: Falling Into a Fireball

ESA’s next CubeSat mission seen enduring the scorching heat of simulated atmospheric reentry inside the world’s largest plasma wind tunnel. (Credit: ESA)

PARIS (ESA PR) — ESA’s latest mission will enter the vacuum of space, not aboard a rocket but by being released from the International Space Station. The first task of the shoebox-sized Qarman CubeSat is simply to fall. While typical space missions resist orbital decay, Qarman will drift down month by month until it reenters the atmosphere, at which point it will gather a wealth of data on the fiery physics of reentry.

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