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  • richardmitnick 8:31 am on January 10, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Pinpointing Emission Sources from Space", , , , ESA, ESA Copernicus Sentinel-5P with Tropospheric Monitoring Instrument (TROPOMI), New research combines satellite images with wind models to locate sources of air pollution.   

    From ESA via Eos: “Pinpointing Emission Sources from Space” 

    ESA Space For Europe Banner

    From European Space Agency – United space in Europe

    via

    From AGU
    Eos news bloc

    From Eos

    2 January 2020
    Mary Caperton Morton

    Satellite data combined with wind models bring scientists one step closer to being able to monitor air pollution from space.

    1
    New research combines satellite images with wind models to locate sources of air pollution. This map shows emissions of nitrogen oxides in western Germany, dominated by lignite power plants. Credit: Data from TROPOMI/ESA; created by Steffen Beirle.

    Nitrogen oxides are some of the main ingredients in air pollution, smog, acid rain, and greenhouse gas–driven warming. Quantifying large-scale sources of nitrogen oxide pollution has long proved challenging, making regulation difficult, but now a new high-resolution satellite monitoring system, combined with wind modeling, is providing the tools needed to remotely monitor nitrogen oxide emissions anywhere in the world from space.

    The Tropospheric Monitoring Instrument (TROPOMI) on board the European Space Agency’s Copernicus Sentinel-5 Precursor satellite, launched in October 2017, offers “unparalleled spatial resolution” of greenhouse gases and pollutants, including nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, and methane, over industrial complexes and major cities, said Steffen Beirle, a geochemist at the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry in Germany and lead author of the new study published in Science Advances.

    ESA Copernicus Sentinel-5P with Tropospheric Monitoring Instrument (TROPOMI)

    But it’s not enough to simply image the gas plumes, as they tend to be smeared horizontally by wind currents. To quantify the amount of gas being emitted, the satellite data must be processed to take wind patterns into account, Beirle said. “If you just look at the map of the satellite measurements, you see polluted spots over the east coast of the U.S. and China, for example. The difficulty comes when you try to quantify the emissions coming from those hot spots.”

    The majority of stationary emissions (as opposed to mobile emissions from vehicles) of nitrogen oxides (NO and NO2, commonly combined as NOx) come from power plants. To quantify emissions from individual power plants, Beirle and colleagues combined TROPOMI data with three-dimensional models of wind spatial patterns. “Previous approaches have taken wind data into account, but not in this kind of systematic way,” he said.

    The team first focused their efforts on Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia. Riyadh is fairly remote from other cities, industrial areas, and other sources that could complicate the emission signal. Initially, the satellite data showed a strong NOx signal centered over Riyadh, smeared to the south and east by prevailing winds. Further analysis using the wind models revealed five localized point sources within the smear that corresponded to four power plants and a cement plant.

    In total they found that the city produces 6.6 kilograms of NOx per second, with the four power plants accounting for about half of those emissions. Individually, emissions from Riyadh’s crude oil– and natural gas–powered plants were comparable to emissions from coal-fired power plants in the United States.

    The team also tested their techniques in South Africa and Germany, where cloud cover can make collecting satellite data difficult. They found the method worked well in both places, but with higher uncertainties in quantifying emissions.

    The study represents an important step in being able to monitor greenhouse gas emissions from space, said Andreas Richter, an atmospheric chemist at the University of Bremen in Germany who was not involved in the new study.

    “In Germany, industrial facilities are required to track and report their emissions. Where it’s not required, being able to monitor emissions remotely using satellites will be very valuable,” Richter said. The method also has the “potential to validate or check emission inventories that are reported by different countries using different methods, using a consistent methodology globally,” Beirle says. In Germany, the emissions calculated using the new satellite and wind model method “matched up well to the inventory provided by the facilities,” he said.

    Power plants are the primary concern for point source emissions, with large industrial facilities like steel factories and cement plants also contributing significant amounts of nitrogen oxides. Diffused emissions from moving sources such as vehicles are harder to pin down. “The total emission from cities may be as large as from a big power plant, but because it’s not as localized, this particular method doesn’t work as well,” Richter said.

    Beirle and colleagues also hope to apply their methods to other pollutants, such as sulfur dioxide. “We hope to do something similar for sulfur dioxide, but the background noise levels are higher,” he said. “This satellite is opening up a whole new line of inquiry: What other emissions can we track from space? It will be exciting to see what happens in the next few years.”

    See the full article here .

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    Eos is the leading source for trustworthy news and perspectives about the Earth and space sciences and their impact. Its namesake is Eos, the Greek goddess of the dawn, who represents the light shed on understanding our planet and its environment in space by the Earth and space sciences.

    The European Space Agency (ESA), established in 1975, is an intergovernmental organization dedicated to the exploration of space, currently with 19 member states. Headquartered in Paris, ESA has a staff of more than 2,000. ESA’s space flight program includes human spaceflight, mainly through the participation in the International Space Station program, the launch and operations of unmanned exploration missions to other planets and the Moon, Earth observation, science, telecommunication as well as maintaining a major spaceport, the Guiana Space Centre at Kourou, French Guiana, and designing launch vehicles. ESA science missions are based at ESTEC in Noordwijk, Netherlands, Earth Observation missions at ESRIN in Frascati, Italy, ESA Mission Control (ESOC) is in Darmstadt, Germany, the European Astronaut Centre (EAC) that trains astronauts for future missions is situated in Cologne, Germany, and the European Space Astronomy Centre is located in Villanueva de la Cañada, Spain.

     
  • richardmitnick 1:54 pm on December 30, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "These Are The Most Distant Astronomical Objects In The Known Universe", , , , , , ESA, , , , , , Our most distant “standard candle” for probing the Universe is SN UDS10Wil located 17 billion light-years (Gly), , , ,   

    From Ethan Siegel: “These Are The Most Distant Astronomical Objects In The Known Universe” 

    From Ethan Siegel
    Dec 30, 2019

    Astronomy’s enduring quest is to go farther, fainter, and more detailed than ever before. Here’s the edge of the cosmic frontier.

    1
    The distant galaxy MACS1149-JD1 is gravitationally lensed by a foreground cluster, allowing it to be imaged at high resolution and in multiple instruments, even without next-generation technology.

    Gravitational Lensing NASA/ESA

    This galaxy’s light comes to us from 530 million years after the Big Bang, but the stars within it are at least 280 million years old. It is the second-most distant galaxy with a spectroscopically confirmed distance, placing it 30.7 billion light-years away from us. (ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO), NASA/ESA HUBBLE SPACE TELESCOPE, W. ZHENG (JHU), M. POSTMAN (STSCI), THE CLASH TEAM, HASHIMOTO ET AL.)

    ESO/NRAO/NAOJ ALMA Array in Chile in the Atacama at Chajnantor plateau, at 5,000 metres

    NASA/ESA Hubble Telescope

    Astronomers have always sought to push back the viewable distance frontiers.

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    Although there are magnified, ultra-distant, very red and even infrared galaxies in the eXtreme Deep Field, there are galaxies that are even more distant out there than what we’ve discovered in our deepest-to-date views. These galaxies will always remain visible to us, but we will never see them as they are today: 13.8 billion years after the Big Bang. (NASA, ESA, R. BOUWENS AND G. ILLINGWORTH (UC, SANTA CRUZ))

    More distant galaxies appear fainter, smaller, bluer, and less evolved overall.

    3
    Galaxies comparable to the present-day Milky Way are numerous, but younger galaxies that are Milky Way-like are inherently smaller, bluer, more chaotic, and richer in gas in general than the galaxies we see today. For the first galaxies of all, this ought to be taken to the extreme, and remains valid as far back as we’ve ever seen. The exceptions, when we encounter them, are both puzzling and rare. (NASA AND ESA)

    Milky Way NASA/JPL-Caltech /ESO R. Hurt. The bar is visible in this image

    Laniakea supercluster. From Nature The Laniakea supercluster of galaxies R. Brent Tully, Hélène Courtois, Yehuda Hoffman & Daniel Pomarède at http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v513/n7516/full/nature13674.html. Milky Way is the red dot.

    Individual planets and stars are only known relatively nearby, as our tools cannot take us farther.

    Local Group. Andrew Z. Colvin 3 March 2011

    4
    A massive cluster (left) magnified a distant star known as Icarus more than 2,000 times, making it visible from Earth (lower right) even though it is 9 billion light years away, far too distant to be seen individually with current telescopes. It was not visible in 2011 (upper right). The brightening leads us to believe that this was a blue supergiant star, formally named MACS J1149 Lensed Star 1. (NASA, ESA, AND P. KELLY (UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA))

    As the 2010s end, here are our presently known most distant astronomical objects.

    4
    The ultra-distant supernova SN UDS10Wil, shown here, is the farthest type Ia supernova ever discovered, whose light arrives today from a position 17 billion light-years away.

    A white dwarf fed by a normal star reaches the critical mass and explodes as a type Ia supernova. Credit: NASA/CXC/M Weiss

    Type Ia supernovae are used as distance indicators because of their standard intrinsic brightnesses, and are some of our strongest evidence for the accelerated expansion best explained by dark energy.

    Standard Candles to measure age and distance of the universe from supernovae NASA

    (NASA, ESA, A. RIESS (STSCI AND JHU), AND D. JONES AND S. RODNEY (JHU))

    The farthest type Ia supernova, our most distant “standard candle” for probing the Universe, is SN UDS10Wil, located 17 billion light-years (Gly) away.

    4
    This illustration of superluminous supernova SN 1000+0216, the most distant supernova ever observed at a redshift of z=3.90, from when the Universe was just 1.6 billion years old, is the current record-holder for individual supernovae. Unlike SN UDS10Wil, this supernova is a Type II (core collapse) supernova, and may have formed via the pair instability mechanism, which would explain its extraordinarily large intrinsic brightness. (ADRIAN MALEC AND MARIE MARTIG (SWINBURNE UNIVERSITY))

    The most distant supernova of all, 2012’s superluminous SN 1000+0216, occurred 23 Gly away.

    6
    The most distant X-ray jet in the Universe, from quasar GB 1428, sends us light from when the Universe was a mere 1.25 billion years old: less than 10% its current age. This jet comes from electrons heating CMB photons, and is over 230,000 light-years in extent: approximately double the size of the Milky Way. (X-RAY: NASA/CXC/NRC/C.CHEUNG ET AL; OPTICAL: NASA/STSCI; RADIO: NSF/NRAO/VLA)

    NASA/Chandra X-ray Telescope

    NRAO/Karl V Jansky Expanded Very Large Array, on the Plains of San Agustin fifty miles west of Socorro, NM, USA, at an elevation of 6970 ft (2124 m)

    The most distant quasar jet, revealed by GB 1428+4217’s X-rays, is 25.4 Gly distant.

    7
    This image of ULAS J1120+0641, a very distant quasar powered by a black hole with a mass two billion times that of the Sun, was created from images taken from surveys made by both the Sloan Digital Sky Survey and the UKIRT Infrared Deep Sky Survey.

    SDSS Telescope at Apache Point Observatory, near Sunspot NM, USA, Altitude2,788 meters (9,147 ft)


    UKIRT, located on Mauna Kea, Hawai’i, USA as part of Mauna Kea Observatory,4,207 m (13,802 ft) above sea level

    The quasar appears as a faint red dot close to the centre. This quasar was the most distant one known from 2011 until 2017, and is seen as it was just 745 million years after the Big Bang. It is the most distant quasar with a visual image available to be viewed by the public. (ESO/UKIDSS/SDSS)

    The first discovered object whose light exceeds 13 billion years in age, quasar ULAS J1120+0641, is 28.8 Gly away.

    9
    This artist’s concept shows the most distant quasar and the most distant supermassive black hole powering it. At a redshift of 7.54, ULAS J1342+0928 corresponds to a distance of some 29.32 billion light-years; it is the most distant quasar/supermassive black hole ever discovered. Its light arrives at our eyes today, in the radio part of the spectrum, because it was emitted just 686 million years after the Big Bang. (ROBIN DIENEL/CARNEGIE INSTITUTION FOR SCIENCE)

    However, quasar ULAS J1342+0928 is even farther at 29.32 Gly: our most distant black hole.

    10
    This illustration of the most distant gamma-ray burst ever detected, GRB 090423, is thought to be typical of most fast gamma-ray bursts. When one or two objects violently form a black hole, such as from a neutron star merger, a brief burst of gamma rays followed by an infrared afterglow (when we’re lucky) allows us to learn more about these events. The gamma rays from this event lasted just 10 seconds, but Nial Tanvir and his team found an infrared afterglow using the UKIRT telescope just 20 minutes after the burst, allowing them to determine a redshift (z=8.2) and distance (29.96 billion light-years) to great precision. (ESO/A. ROQUETTE)

    Gamma-ray bursts exceed even that; GRB 090423’s verified light comes from 29.96 Gly away in the distant Universe, while GRB 090429B might’ve been even farther.

    9
    Here, candidate galaxy UDFj-39546284 appears very faint and red, and from the colors it displays, it has an inferred redshift of 10, giving it an age below 500 million years and a distance greater than 31 billion light-years. Without spectroscopic confirmation, however, this and similar galaxies cannot reliably be said to have a known distance; more data is needed, as photometric redshifts are notoriously unreliable. (NASA, ESA, G. ILLINGWORTH (UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, SANTA CRUZ), R. BOUWENS (UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, SANTA CRUZ, AND LEIDEN UNIVERSITY) AND THE HUDF09 TEAM)

    Ultra-distant galaxy candidates abound, including SPT0615-JD, MACS0647-JD, and UDFj-39546284, all lacking spectroscopic confirmation.

    11
    The most distant galaxy ever discovered in the known Universe, GN-z11, has its light come to us from 13.4 billion years ago: when the Universe was only 3% its current age: 407 million years old. The distance from this galaxy to us, taking the expanding Universe into account, is an incredible 32.1 billion light-years. (NASA, ESA, AND G. BACON (STSCI))

    The most distant galaxy of all is GN-z11, located 32.1 Gly away.

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    The James Webb Space Telescope vs. Hubble in size (main) and vs. an array of other telescopes (inset) in terms of wavelength and sensitivity. It should be able to see the truly first galaxies, even the ones that no other observatory can see. Its power is truly unprecedented. (NASA / JWST SCIENCE TEAM)

    NASA/ESA/CSA Webb Telescope annotated

    With the 2020s promising revolutionary new observatories, these records may all soon fall.

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    Our deepest galaxy surveys can reveal objects tens of billions of light years away, but there are more galaxies within the observable Universe we still have yet to reveal between the most distant galaxies and the cosmic microwave background [CMB], including the very first stars and galaxies of all.

    CMB per ESA/Planck

    It is possible that the coming generation of telescopes will break all of our current distance records. (SLOAN DIGITAL SKY SURVEY (SDSS))

    See the full article here .

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    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    “Starts With A Bang! is a blog/video blog about cosmology, physics, astronomy, and anything else I find interesting enough to write about. I am a firm believer that the highest good in life is learning, and the greatest evil is willful ignorance. The goal of everything on this site is to help inform you about our world, how we came to be here, and to understand how it all works. As I write these pages for you, I hope to not only explain to you what we know, think, and believe, but how we know it, and why we draw the conclusions we do. It is my hope that you find this interesting, informative, and accessible,” says Ethan

     
  • richardmitnick 1:27 pm on December 2, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "European space windfall will fast-track science missions", , , , , , ESA, Europe’s space agency is set to receive 45% more money than in the previous three-year budget.   

    From Nature: “European space windfall will fast-track science missions” 

    Nature Mag
    From Nature

    29 November 2019
    Elizabeth Gibney

    Europe’s space agency is set to receive 45% more money than in the previous three-year budget.

    1
    The Copernicus Sentinel-6 satellite undergoing tests near Munich, Germany. Credit: S. Corvaja/ESA

    The European Space Agency has secured a massive boost to its budget. At a pow-wow of European ministers in Seville, Spain, on 27–28 November, the agency’s member states pledged €12.5 billion (US$13.8 billion) for 2020–22, compared with the €8.6 billion approved at the last meeting in 2016.

    The hike means that the European Space Agency (ESA) can accelerate the schedule of its flagship gravitational-wave mission LISA, and boost the capabilities of its next-generation array of climate-observing Copernicus satellites.

    “For me it’s a surprise. It is even more than I proposed,” ESA director-general Jan Wörner told journalists at a press briefing after the event. Although ministers have not yet provided a detailed breakdown of the upcoming budget, Wörner said that they had pledged a 10% hike for ESA’s basic-science projects — smaller than the overall increase, but still the biggest rise in 25 years. Science funding at the agency had stagnated and failed to keep pace with inflation. “After a long period, we got this increase, and I am very grateful,” said Wörner.

    Huge dividend

    The boost to the science budget will allow the agency to bring forward its space-based gravitational-wave mission, the Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA), by two years, from 2034 to 2032.

    Gravity is talking. Lisa will listen. Dialogos of Eide

    ESA/NASA eLISA space based, the future of gravitational wave research

    This could bring a huge dividend for scientists: it would allow them to observe merging supermassive black holes both through the ripples such mergers generate in space-time, and through the X-ray radiation caused by falling matter, which will be picked up by ESA’s Athena X-ray telescope, set to launch in 2031. In addition, the uptick in science funding will allow ESA to fund new ‘fast-class’ missions that will go from selection to launch in around eight years, compared with a typical ten years or more.

    As part of a new €432-million ‘space safety’ budget stream, European nations also backed a science and planetary-defence mission known as HERA that scientists have been working towards for 15 years. The mission will observe the aftereffects of NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test, which is due to crash into the moon of the binary asteroid system Didymos in 2022.

    ESA’s proposed Hera spaceraft depiction

    NASA DART Double Impact Redirection Test vehicle depiction schematic

    Studying such impacts is crucial to understanding how planets form and how to protect Earth from asteroid strikes, says Patrick Michel, a planetary scientist at the French National Centre for Scientific Research in Nice and principal investigator for HERA. A previous proposal failed to secure funding at the last ministerial meeting, in 2016. “I’m so happy the ESA delegations were convinced this time,” he says. “This is a great moment for asteroid missions, planetary defence, and also science as a bonus.”

    For human and robotic exploration, ministers agreed to a budget of nearly €2 billion. This includes around €300 million to make transportation and habitation modules for NASA’s moon-orbiting Gateway, as well as €150 million for robotic lunar missions.

    The projects funded “will enable lunar science that would not otherwise be practical,” says Ian Crawford, a planetary scientist at Birkbeck College London. In particular, he adds, it will enable access to the lunar geological record, which can shed light on the origin of the Moon itself and of the Earth-Moon system.

    The Copernicus Sentinel-6 stands on display at the IABG space test centre, near Munich, Germany.

    The Copernicus Sentinel-6 satellite undergoing tests near Munich, Germany. Credit: S. Corvaja/ESA

    The European Space Agency has secured a massive boost to its budget. At a pow-wow of European ministers in Seville, Spain, on 27–28 November, the agency’s member states pledged €12.5 billion (US$13.8 billion) for 2020–22, compared with the €8.6 billion approved at the last meeting in 2016.

    The hike means that the European Space Agency (ESA) can accelerate the schedule of its flagship gravitational-wave mission LISA, and boost the capabilities of its next-generation array of climate-observing Copernicus satellites.

    “For me it’s a surprise. It is even more than I proposed,” ESA director-general Jan Wörner told journalists at a press briefing after the event. Although ministers have not yet provided a detailed breakdown of the upcoming budget, Wörner said that they had pledged a 10% hike for ESA’s basic-science projects — smaller than the overall increase, but still the biggest rise in 25 years. Science funding at the agency had stagnated and failed to keep pace with inflation. “After a long period, we got this increase, and I am very grateful,” said Wörner.
    Huge dividend

    The boost to the science budget will allow the agency to bring forward its space-based gravitational-wave mission, the Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA), by two years, from 2034 to 2032. This could bring a huge dividend for scientists: it would allow them to observe merging supermassive black holes both through the ripples such mergers generate in space-time, and through the X-ray radiation caused by falling matter, which will be picked up by ESA’s Athena X-ray telescope, set to launch in 2031. In addition, the uptick in science funding will allow ESA to fund new ‘fast-class’ missions that will go from selection to launch in around eight years, compared with a typical ten years or more.

    As part of a new €432-million ‘space safety’ budget stream, European nations also backed a science and planetary-defence mission known as HERA that scientists have been working towards for 15 years. The mission will observe the aftereffects of NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test, which is due to crash into the moon of the binary asteroid system Didymos in 2022.

    Studying such impacts is crucial to understanding how planets form and how to protect Earth from asteroid strikes, says Patrick Michel, a planetary scientist at the French National Centre for Scientific Research in Nice and principal investigator for HERA. A previous proposal failed to secure funding at the last ministerial meeting, in 2016. “I’m so happy the ESA delegations were convinced this time,” he says. “This is a great moment for asteroid missions, planetary defence, and also science as a bonus.”

    For human and robotic exploration, ministers agreed to a budget of nearly €2 billion. This includes around €300 million to make transportation and habitation modules for NASA’s moon-orbiting Gateway, as well as €150 million for robotic lunar missions.

    The projects funded “will enable lunar science that would not otherwise be practical,” says Ian Crawford, a planetary scientist at Birkbeck College London. In particular, he adds, it will enable access to the lunar geological record, which can shed light on the origin of the Moon itself and of the Earth-Moon system.
    Big winner

    Meanwhile, Europe’s flagship Earth-observation programme, Copernicus, received a surprise windfall: €400 million more than the agency had asked for.

    ESA Sentinels (Copernicus)

    In partnership with the European Union, ESA will now develop six environmental-monitoring satellite systems under the programme. The extra cash will allow ESA to increase the resolution of instruments on a carbon dioxide-monitoring mission known as CO2M and allow a hyperspectral camera, known as CHIME, to fly on a craft of its own, rather than wait for a ride on a later mission in the 2030s.

    Other projects that can now press ahead include the design of Europe’s first quantum satellite, SAGA — which will form part of a wider European quantum-communication network — and a project designed to demonstrate ways to remove space debris from orbit.

    Not every mission got the funding it wanted. Lagrange, a proposed European space-weather satellite that would give early warnings of catastrophic solar storms heading for Earth, will not be able to develop “at full speed”, because it failed to get the full amount it needed, said Wörner. Member states also deferred a decision on whether to fund a robotic science mission to Neptune or Uranus until their next meeting in 2022, by which time it should be clearer whether US collaborators can raise the cash for a joint mission.

    See the full article here .

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    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

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    Nature is a weekly international journal publishing the finest peer-reviewed research in all fields of science and technology on the basis of its originality, importance, interdisciplinary interest, timeliness, accessibility, elegance and surprising conclusions. Nature also provides rapid, authoritative, insightful and arresting news and interpretation of topical and coming trends affecting science, scientists and the wider public.

     
  • richardmitnick 12:48 pm on November 11, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Ozone hole set to close", , , , , , ESA, , United space in Europe   

    From European Space Agency – United space in Europe: “Ozone hole set to close” 

    ESA Space For Europe Banner

    From European Space Agency – United space in Europe

    08/11/2019

    1

    The size of the ozone hole fluctuates – usually forming each year in August, with its peak in October, before finally closing in late November or December. Not only will the hole close earlier than usual in 2019, but it is also the smallest it has been in 30 years owing to unusual atmospheric conditions.

    Forecasts from the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS), which uses total ozone measurements from the Copernicus Sentinel-5P mission processed at the German Aerospace Center, have forecasted that this year’s ozone hole will close sooner than usual.

    Antje Inness, CAMS Senior Scientist commented, “The ozone hole’s maximum extent this year was around 10 million sq km, less than half of the size the ozone hole usually reached in the last decades. This makes it one of the smallest ozone holes since the 1980s. Our CAMS ozone forecasts predict that the ozone hole will close within a week.”

    2

    Ozone Forcast Charts

    ESA’s mission manager for Copernicus Sentinel-5P, Claus Zehner, noted, “This record-breaking small ozone hole size and duration during 2019 was caused by a warming of the stratosphere over the South Pole. However, it’s important to note that this is an unusual event and does not indicate that the global ozone recovery is speeding up.”

    ESA Copernicus Sentinel-5P

    Large fluctuations in polar vortices and temperatures in the stratosphere lead to ozone holes that vary in size. This year, the warmer polar stratosphere caused a slowing down of the wind fields around the South Pole, or the polar vortex, and reduced the formation of the ‘polar stratospheric clouds’ that enable the chemistry that leads to rapid ozone loss.

    Josef Aschbacher, ESA’s Director of Earth Observation programmes, said, “The ozone hole is a perfect example where scientific evidence led to significant policy change and subsequently changes in human behaviour. The ozone hole was discovered in the 1970s, continuously monitored from space and by in situ devices and, finally in the 1980s led to the Montreal Protocol forbidding the use of chlorofluorocarbons.

    “Today, the ozone hole is recovering thanks to clear political action. This example shall serve as inspiration for climate change.”

    3
    The animation shows the size of the ozone hole in 2019 compared to 2018

    High up in the stratosphere, the ozone acts as a shield to protect us from the Sun’s harmful ultraviolet radiation, which is associated with skin cancer and cataracts, as well as other environmental issues.

    In the 1970s and 1980s, the widespread use of damaging chlorofluorocarbons in products such as refrigerators and aerosol tins damaged ozone high up in our atmosphere – which led to a hole in the ozone layer above Antarctica.

    In response to this, the Montreal Protocol was created in 1987 to protect the ozone layer by phasing out the production and consumption of these harmful substances, which is leading to a recovery of the ozone layer.

    Recovery of the ozone hole will continue over the coming years. In the 2018 Scientific Assessment of Ozone Depletion, data shows that the ozone layer in parts of the stratosphere has recovered at a rate of 1-3% per decade since 2000. At these projected rates, the Northern Hemisphere and mid-latitude ozone is predicted to recover by around 2030, followed by the Southern Hemisphere around 2050, and polar regions by 2060.

    ESA has been involved in monitoring ozone for many years. Launched in October 2017, Copernicus Sentinel-5P satellite maps a multitude of air pollutants around the globe. With its state-of-the-art instrument, Tropomi, it is able to detect atmospheric gases to image air pollutants more accurately and at a higher spatial resolution than ever before from space.

    4
    Ozone hole duration and extension as monitored by CAMS

    See the full article here .


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    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The European Space Agency (ESA), established in 1975, is an intergovernmental organization dedicated to the exploration of space, currently with 19 member states. Headquartered in Paris, ESA has a staff of more than 2,000. ESA’s space flight program includes human spaceflight, mainly through the participation in the International Space Station program, the launch and operations of unmanned exploration missions to other planets and the Moon, Earth observation, science, telecommunication as well as maintaining a major spaceport, the Guiana Space Centre at Kourou, French Guiana, and designing launch vehicles. ESA science missions are based at ESTEC in Noordwijk, Netherlands, Earth Observation missions at ESRIN in Frascati, Italy, ESA Mission Control (ESOC) is in Darmstadt, Germany, the European Astronaut Centre (EAC) that trains astronauts for future missions is situated in Cologne, Germany, and the European Space Astronomy Centre is located in Villanueva de la Cañada, Spain.

    ESA50 Logo large

     
  • richardmitnick 7:53 am on November 6, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , ESA,   

    From European Space Agency: “Cargo load” 

    ESA Space For Europe Banner

    From European Space Agency

    05/11/2019

    1
    The Cygnus NG-12 cargo vehicle hangs out after arriving to the International Space Station on 4 November.

    The latest resupply mission includes over 4 tonnes of science experiments, crew supplies, and station hardware. It also crucially includes components essential for the series of spacewalks taking place this month.

    In a few weeks ESA astronaut Luca Parmitano and NASA astronaut Drew Morgan will venture out to perform a series of spacewalks four years in the making. The extravehicular activities, or EVAs, will service and enhance the dark matter-hunting Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer AMS-02.

    CERN Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer

    The space-based Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer on the ISS

    The dark-matter hunter was launched in 2011 and records over 17 billion cosmic rays, particles and nuclei a year. Results from the particle physics detector are among the top five most-cited publications from International Space Station research.

    The instrument was initially meant to run for only three years but has been so successful that its mission has been extended. However, three of the four cooling pumps have stopped functioning and will require multiple spacewalks to repair.

    Luca will take a leading role in the spacewalks with the first intended to determine just how and where to intervene, and what tools will be needed for the process.

    Listen to the ESA Explores podcast on spacewalks to learn how astronauts prepare to venture into the cold dark of space.

    In the meantime, the crew are unloading the supplies, which also include fresh food and hardware for the rover-driving Analog-1 experiment, parts for ESA’s next-generation life support system as well as a software upgrade for boiling experiment Rubi and parts for the commercial external platform Bartolomeo that will be installed outside Europe’s space lab Columbus.

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings
    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The European Space Agency (ESA), established in 1975, is an intergovernmental organization dedicated to the exploration of space, currently with 19 member states. Headquartered in Paris, ESA has a staff of more than 2,000. ESA’s space flight program includes human spaceflight, mainly through the participation in the International Space Station program, the launch and operations of unmanned exploration missions to other planets and the Moon, Earth observation, science, telecommunication as well as maintaining a major spaceport, the Guiana Space Centre at Kourou, French Guiana, and designing launch vehicles. ESA science missions are based at ESTEC in Noordwijk, Netherlands, Earth Observation missions at ESRIN in Frascati, Italy, ESA Mission Control (ESOC) is in Darmstadt, Germany, the European Astronaut Centre (EAC) that trains astronauts for future missions is situated in Cologne, Germany, and the European Space Astronomy Centre is located in Villanueva de la Cañada, Spain.

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  • richardmitnick 10:12 am on November 5, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , ESA, Proba2, Proba2 has two main solar instruments SWAP and LYRA designed for studying events at the Sun that could impact Earth., ,   

    From European Space Agency: “A decade probing the Sun” 

    ESA Space For Europe Banner

    From European Space Agency

    1
    Proba2 view of the solar north pole pillars.

    04/11/2019

    ESA/Proba2

    Ten years ago, a small satellite carrying 17 new devices, science instruments and technology experiments was launched into orbit, on a mission to investigate our star and the environment that it rules in space.

    On 2 November, 2009, Proba2 began its journey on board a Rockot launcher from the Russian launch base, Plesetsk, and was inserted into a Sun-synchronous orbit around Earth.

    Tracing this ‘dusk-dawn’ line – where night meets day – Proba2 maintains a constant view of the Sun, keeping its batteries charged and its target in sight.

    The second in ESA’s ‘Project for Onboard Autonomy’ series, Proba2 is so advanced it is able to look after itself on a day-to-day basis, needing just a small team at the Agency’s control station at ESEC in Redu, Belgium, to run the mission.

    Instrumental solar observations

    Proba2 has two main solar instruments, SWAP and LYRA, designed for studying events at the Sun that could impact Earth.

    SWAP takes images of the Sun’s corona, the roughly 1 million degree plasma-filled atmosphere that surrounds the star.

    3
    Sun’s shape-shifting atmosphere viewed by Proba2’s SWAP camera

    With an extremely wide field-of-view, SWAP is able to see structures around the edge of the Sun, such as huge outbursts of hot matter known as coronal mass ejections, sudden flares releasing enormous amounts of light as well as eerie ‘coronal holes’, dark shadowy regions spewing out fast-moving solar wind.

    The LYRA instrument monitors the Sun’s ultraviolet output, and is able to make up to 100 measurements per second. This high rate means the instrument can make detailed studies of fast-moving ‘transient’ events such as solar flares.

    A stellar record

    During its decade in space, the small satellite – less than a cubic metre in size – has:

    Orbited the Earth ~53,000 times
    Produced ~30,000 LYRA data files on solar ultraviolet emission
    Produced ~2,090,000 SWAP images of the solar disk
    Passed our ground stations in Redu, Belgium and Svalbard, Norway (Arctic) 32,453 times
    Helped produce more than 100 peer-reviewed papers

    More information about Proba2 satellite and its measurements can be found at the Proba2 Science Center 10 year anniversary page.

    What next for Proba2?

    5
    The Sun in 2018

    One of the many mysteries of our star is the way its activity rises and falls in 11 year cycles. From one cycle to the next, the Sun’s north and south poles trade places and the number of flares, coronal mass ejections, sunspots and coronal loops fluctuate from many per day in active periods to weeks without any when it is quiet.

    In 2020, the 11th year of the Proba2 mission, it will have been monitoring the Sun for a full solar cycle.

    This landmark period will allow the satellite to probe the Sun’s evolution over the long term, comparing the current quiet period with the last solar minimum, and ready for when the Sun again ‘wakes up’ in 2024/2025.

    Space weather

    6
    Space weather effects

    Unpredictable and temperamental, the Sun makes life on the innermost planets of the Solar System impossible due to intense radiation and colossal amounts of energetic material that it blasts in every direction, creating the ever-changing conditions in space known as ‘space weather’.

    At Earth, extreme solar events have the potential to disrupt and damage infrastructure in space and on the ground, and intense bursts of radiation threaten future explorers to the Moon and Mars.

    ESA’s Space Weather Office, part of the agency’s Space Safety activities, is working to help European operators of sensitive infrastructure including satellites, power lines, aviation and transport to avoid adverse impacts of space weather. The mission of the Space Weather Office is to develop a system that provides timely and accurate space weather information and forecasts to operational users and public in Europe.

    Find out about ESA’s planned Lagrange mission to provide solar warning, here, and the Space Weather Service Network, getting the word out to those who need to know.

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings
    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The European Space Agency (ESA), established in 1975, is an intergovernmental organization dedicated to the exploration of space, currently with 19 member states. Headquartered in Paris, ESA has a staff of more than 2,000. ESA’s space flight program includes human spaceflight, mainly through the participation in the International Space Station program, the launch and operations of unmanned exploration missions to other planets and the Moon, Earth observation, science, telecommunication as well as maintaining a major spaceport, the Guiana Space Centre at Kourou, French Guiana, and designing launch vehicles. ESA science missions are based at ESTEC in Noordwijk, Netherlands, Earth Observation missions at ESRIN in Frascati, Italy, ESA Mission Control (ESOC) is in Darmstadt, Germany, the European Astronaut Centre (EAC) that trains astronauts for future missions is situated in Cologne, Germany, and the European Space Astronomy Centre is located in Villanueva de la Cañada, Spain.

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  • richardmitnick 9:30 am on November 5, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , ESA, Juice-ESA’s Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer   

    From European Space Agency: “Juice cast in gold” 

    ESA Space For Europe Banner

    From European Space Agency

    04/11/2019

    ESA JUICE Schematic

    ESA/Juice spacecraft depiction

    1
    G. Fischer/IWF Graz

    This model of Juice was built by the Technical University of Dresden, Germany, and the tests were performed by the Austrian Academy of Sciences’ Space Research Institute in Graz, Austria, as part of a project financed by the Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG). The lead scientist for the calibration effort was Georg Fischer of the Space Research Institute, also using computer simulations performed by Mykhaylo Panchenko.

    In a decade’s time, an exciting new visitor will enter the Jovian system: ESA’s Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer, or Juice. As its name suggests, the mission will explore Jupiter and three of its largest moons – Ganymede, Callisto and Europa – to investigate the giant planet’s cosmic family and gas giant planets in general.

    Juice is planned for launch in 2022, and its instruments are currently being perfected and calibrated so they are ready to start work once in space. This image shows one of the many elements involved in this calibration process: a miniature gold-plated metallic model of Juice used to test the spacecraft’s antennas.

    Juice will carry multiple antennas to detect radio waves in the Jupiter system. These antennas will measure the characteristics of the incoming waves, including the direction in which they are moving and their degree of polarisation, and then use this information to trace the waves back to their sources. In order to do this, the antennas must work well regardless of their orientation to any incoming waves – and so scientists must figure out and correct for the antennas’ so-called ‘directional dependence’.

    This shiny model was used to perform a set of tests on Juice’s Radio and Plasma Wave Instrument (RPWI) last year. It was submerged in a tank filled with water; an even electric field was then applied to the tank, and the model was moved and rotated with respect to this field. The results revealed how the antennas will receive radio waves that stream in from different directions and orientations with respect to the spacecraft, and will enable the instrument to be calibrated to be as effective as possible in its measurements of Jupiter and its moons.

    Similar tests, which are technically referred to as rheometry, were conducted in the past for spacecraft including the NASA/ESA/ASI Cassini-Huygens mission to Saturn (which operated at Saturn between 2004 and 2017), NASA’s Juno spacecraft (currently in orbit around Jupiter), and ESA’s Solar Orbiter (scheduled for launch in early 2020 to investigate the Sun up close).

    NASA/ESA/ASI Cassini-Huygens Spacecraft schematic

    NASA/ESA/ASI Cassini-Huygens Spacecraft

    NASA/Juno

    ESA/NASA Solar Orbiter depiction

    The test performed for Juice posed a few additional hurdles – the model’s antennas were especially small and needed to be fixed accurately onto the model’s boom, which required scientists to create a special device to adjust not only the antennas, but also the boom itself.

    The model was produced at a 1:40 scale, making each antenna 62.5 millimetres long from tip to tip; scaled up, the antennas will be 2.5 metres long on Juice. The main spacecraft parts modelled here include the body of the probe itself, its solar panels, and its antennas and booms. The model has an overall ‘wingspan’ of 75 centimetres across its solar panels. The photo also shows a spacecraft stand, which extends out of the bottom of the frame. The gold coating ensured that the model had excellent electric conducting properties, and reacted minimally with the surrounding water and air during the measurements.

    Meanwhile, the assembly of the Juice flight model has started in September, with the delivery of the spacecraft’s primary structure, followed by integration of the propulsion system.

    From ESA 23 October 2019

    JUICE begins to take shape

    The assembly of the flight model of ESA’s JUICE spacecraft began in September, with the delivery of the spacecraft’s primary structure, followed by integration of the propulsion system that will enable the mission to reach and study Jupiter and its moons.

    3
    Unpacking of JUICE primary structure in Lampoldshausen. Credit: Courtesy of Airbus and ArianeGroup

    On 2 September, the main skeleton of JUICE was delivered to the Arianegroup facility in Lampoldshausen, Germany.

    The primary structure of the spacecraft features a central tube – the main load bearing element – with vertical shear panels located radially around the tube, and horizontal floor panels. This will be completed later with the optical bench and external closing panels that will form the outer walls and will be added when all the internal equipment has been integrated.

    The structure is part of the so-called Structure, Shielding and Thermal Subsystem (SSTS), built under the responsibility of Airbus Defence & Space in Madrid, Spain, with participation by RUAG Space Switzerland and RUAG Space Austria.

    One of the features of the JUICE SSTS is that the some of the vertical panels and parts of the closing walls of the structure are lined with a thin layer of lead, which provides shielding to protect the spacecraft’s electronic systems from damage by the severe radiation environment at Jupiter.

    4
    JUICE propulsion system integration. Credit: Courtesy of Airbus and ArianeGroup

    Over the coming months, five companies will be working almost simultaneously on the STSS in order to ensure that JUICE can proceed to the assembly and integration phase that will take place in Airbus facilities in Friedrichshafen, Germany, so that it will be completed and ready for launch in 2022.

    One of the main tasks at Lampoldshausen will be to integrate the propulsion system. This includes two identical propellant tanks that have been newly developed for EuroStar Neo, ESA’s new generation of platforms for geostationary telecommunications satellites. JUICE will be the first space mission to actually utilise them.

    The first titanium tank, capable of holding 1600 litres of oxidant (mixed oxides of nitrogen, or MON), was carefully lowered inside the spacecraft’s central cylinder on 7 September. The second tank, which will contain monomethyl hydrazine (MMH) fuel, is scheduled for installation at the end of October.

    “JUICE will need to carry more than 3000 kg of propellant in these tanks,” said Daniel Escolar, ESA’s Mechanical, Thermal & Propulsion System Engineer for the mission.

    “Such a large load will be essential for JUICE to arrive in orbit around Jupiter and complete its scientific tour with multiple flybys of the Galilean moons, before eventually becoming the first spacecraft ever to enter orbit around Ganymede.”

    5
    JUICE propulsion system piping. Credit: Courtesy of ArianeGroup

    The integration of the spacecraft’s propulsion system will, however, involve much more than installing two propellant tanks. Eventually, three fairly small tanks, each filled with helium pressurant, will be affixed around the exterior of the central cylinder, together with all the necessary plumbing. Some 130 metres of titanium piping will also have to be installed and welded in the STSS.

    Other hardware to be added during installation of the propulsion system will include pressure regulators, valves, filters and thrusters. In addition to its single 400-newton main engine that will be used for the larger orbital manoeuvres, JUICE will carry eight 22-newton thrusters for smaller manoeuvres and as a backup system, along with twelve 10-newton thrusters for attitude control.

    Meanwhile, engineers are busy carrying out other essential tasks that can only be completed whilst the external panels are not fitted, enabling easy access to the spacecraft’s interior. These include placing single layer insulation around the central cylinder, adding thermocouples to measure temperatures, and attaching support fixtures for the harness that will eventually be required to carry around 10 km of electrical cable.

    According to the current schedule, the JUICE flight model will be moved to Friedrichshafen around March next year for integration and testing of its electrical systems.

    Meanwhile, development of the JUICE scientific payload is continuing, and the magnetometer boom for the flight model has recently been delivered to ESA’s Space Research and Technology Centre in Noordwijk, the Netherlands, for three weeks of vibration and deployment tests.

    About JUICE

    JUICE – JUpiter ICy moons Explorer – is the first large-class mission in ESA’s Cosmic Vision 2015-2025 programme. It will complete a unique tour of the Jupiter system that will include in-depth studies of three potentially ocean-bearing satellites, Ganymede, Europa and Callisto.

    The Jupiter tour includes several flybys of each planet-sized world, culminating with orbit insertion around Ganymede, the largest moon in the Solar System, followed by nine months of operations in its orbit.

    JUICE will carry the most powerful scientific payload ever flown to the outer Solar System. It consists of 10 state-of-the-art instruments plus one experiment that uses the spacecraft telecommunication system with ground-based instruments.

    JUICE’s instruments will enable scientists to compare each of these icy satellites and to investigate the potential for such bodies to harbour habitable environments such as subsurface oceans. They will also carry out observations of Jupiter, its atmosphere, magnetosphere, satellites and rings.

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings
    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The European Space Agency (ESA), established in 1975, is an intergovernmental organization dedicated to the exploration of space, currently with 19 member states. Headquartered in Paris, ESA has a staff of more than 2,000. ESA’s space flight program includes human spaceflight, mainly through the participation in the International Space Station program, the launch and operations of unmanned exploration missions to other planets and the Moon, Earth observation, science, telecommunication as well as maintaining a major spaceport, the Guiana Space Centre at Kourou, French Guiana, and designing launch vehicles. ESA science missions are based at ESTEC in Noordwijk, Netherlands, Earth Observation missions at ESRIN in Frascati, Italy, ESA Mission Control (ESOC) is in Darmstadt, Germany, the European Astronaut Centre (EAC) that trains astronauts for future missions is situated in Cologne, Germany, and the European Space Astronomy Centre is located in Villanueva de la Cañada, Spain.

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  • richardmitnick 4:35 pm on November 4, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Revealing interior temperature of Antarctic ice sheet", ESA,   

    From European Space Agency: “Revealing interior temperature of Antarctic ice sheet” 

    ESA Space For Europe Banner

    From European Space Agency

    1

    04/11/2019

    As ESA’s SMOS satellite celebrates 10 years in orbit, yet another result has been added to its list of successes. This remarkable satellite mission has shown that it can be used to measure how the temperature of the Antarctic ice sheet changes with depth – and it’s much warmer deep down.

    ESA/SMOS

    The Antarctic ice sheet is, on average, about 2 km thick, but in some places the bedrock is almost 5 km below the surface of this huge polar ice cap.

    Most of us would probably think that the temperature of ice, no matter how thick, remains pretty much the same throughout: basically very cold

    However, although the surface of the ice sheet is cold, the temperature increases with depth primarily because of the basal geothermal heating from beneath Earth’s crust. In places, it is warm enough to melt the ice, which accounts for the presence of lakes and a vast hydrological network at the bedrock.

    2
    Antarctic temperature profile

    Nevertheless, there is little accurate information on exactly how temperature varies with depth other than from ice core borehole locations.

    Since the massive white ice sheets that blanket Antarctica and Greenland reflect incident solar radiation back out into space, they are extremely important regulators in the climate system and, therefore, play a key role in the health of our planet.

    But, ice sheets are also victims of climate change. For example, this year scientists discovered that warming ocean waters have caused the ice to thin so rapidly that a quarter of the glacier ice in West Antarctica is now unstable.

    With melting ice sheets largely responsible for rising sea levels, which, in turn, threaten hundreds of millions of people around the world, it is vital that more is understood about how temperature influences ice-sheet dynamics.

    Satellite data are used, in particular, to measure changes in the height of ice sheets and consequently their ‘mass balance’, where the ice sheet ends and the floating ice shelves begin – their grounding lines, their surface temperature and how fast ice streams flow.

    However, temperature is one of the things that determines ice viscosity and how ice flows and slides over the bedrock beneath. In turn, ice flow affects the temperature profile through strain heating – so it’s a complicated process.

    2

    Temperature information is also fundamental for understanding the presence of aquifers inside or at the bottom part of ice sheets. This can be relevant for indicating the presence of sub-glacial lakes, for example, which, in turn, influence ice-sheet dynamics.

    How temperature varies according to the depth of the ice is not something that could be measured from space until now – but according to a paper published recently in Science Direct, SMOS is opening up new opportunities to do so.

    Giovanni Macelloni from the Institute of Applied Physics ‘Nello Carrara’ of the National Research Council (IFAC-CNR) in Italy, said, “We typically get ice-sheet temperature profiles from models, or from in situ measurements taken in boreholes – but these are obviously fairly sparse.”

    Information on temperature from space has, so far, been limited to the surface or just below the surface from thermal-infrared sensors and microwave sensors.

    The researchers from IFAC-CNR and the Institute of Environmental Geosciences in France, therefore used ESA’s SMOS satellite to see if there is a way of gaining this information rather than relying on models and boreholes.

    “We combined SMOS’ L-band passive microwave observations over Antarctica with glaciological and emission models to infer information on glaciological properties of the ice sheet at various depths, including temperature,” continued Dr Macelloni.

    “With temperature playing such an important role in ice-sheet dynamics, we are happy to say that our research, when compared with models, shows a better estimation of temperature increase with depth, with the largest differences close to the bedrock.

    “SMOS is clearly opening up more possibilities that we ever thought when it was launched 10 years ago.”

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings
    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The European Space Agency (ESA), established in 1975, is an intergovernmental organization dedicated to the exploration of space, currently with 19 member states. Headquartered in Paris, ESA has a staff of more than 2,000. ESA’s space flight program includes human spaceflight, mainly through the participation in the International Space Station program, the launch and operations of unmanned exploration missions to other planets and the Moon, Earth observation, science, telecommunication as well as maintaining a major spaceport, the Guiana Space Centre at Kourou, French Guiana, and designing launch vehicles. ESA science missions are based at ESTEC in Noordwijk, Netherlands, Earth Observation missions at ESRIN in Frascati, Italy, ESA Mission Control (ESOC) is in Darmstadt, Germany, the European Astronaut Centre (EAC) that trains astronauts for future missions is situated in Cologne, Germany, and the European Space Astronomy Centre is located in Villanueva de la Cañada, Spain.

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  • richardmitnick 10:03 am on November 2, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Craving for cold isolation – research doctor rotation in Antarctica", , , , Concordia, , ESA   

    From European Space Agency: “Craving for cold isolation – research doctor rotation in Antarctica” 

    ESA Space For Europe Banner

    From European Space Agency

    01/11/2019

    1

    Did you know the largest desert in the world is also the coldest place in the world? In the heart of Antarctica, where temperatures can drop to –80°C, life is so hard there is no life to be found as even bacteria cannot survive.

    Travel 1300 km from the coast and you will pass very little except white plains as far as the eye can see, until the remote outpost of the Italian-French research base Concordia.

    2
    Concordia

    Over 600 km from the nearest living beings (the Russian station Vostok), the French and Italian polar institutes house up to 15 people in Concordia to study glaciology, astronomy and the climate in this unique location far from civilisation.

    The location is so remote and alien that ESA sends a research medical doctor each year to study the crew, as what they experience is similar to a crew on a lunar base including lower oxygen levels, no sunlight for extended periods, no possibility of rescue, confinement and going outside requires preparation.

    3
    Concordia sunset

    ESA’s current medical doctor, Nadja Albertsen from Denmark, has survived her stay in the cold and welcomed the return of sunlight. The crew are preparing for the arrival of fresh supplies and the “Summer scientists” that flock to Antarctica in the warmer months.

    Meanwhile, Nadja’s replacement, Stijn Thoolen, from the Netherlands is preparing to embark on his year-long Antarctic adventure. He visited sites in France, Germany and Italy to learn about the experiments he will run, and is preparing psychologically for the time in extreme isolation.

    Ice-cold research

    4
    Concordia crew

    “Together with the French and Italian institutes we do our best to prepare the crew for the extremes they will encounter during the stay in Concordia,” explains Jennifer Ngo-Anh, ESA’s head of human research at Human and Robotic Exploration, “but in reality, what they will experience is so alien it is almost impossible to be fully prepared – although for us that is the point, we want to study how the crew adapts to the experience, both physically and mentally.”

    Stijn will continue the research Nadja has been running for scientists in Europe, much like how astronauts conduct experiments on the International Space Station. These include experiments that will look at how the immune system copes with bacteria when living in such confined spaces, seeing if the amount of red blood cells and plasma changes over time, whether mindfulness can help alleviate stress and even a study into sexual well-being.

    5
    Stijn Thoolen during ultra-marathon

    Although there is nothing quite like living in Concordia, Stijn comes well prepared having mountaineering experience and even completing an ultra-marathon in the world’s second-largest desert, showing endurance in the hottest place in the world.

    With nervous anticipation Stijn says “In an era where life leaves Earth for the first time in its history, and our perspective on the world and ourselves is challenged, it is an honour to be part of the effort to explore farther.”

    Follow Nadja and Stijn on the Chronicles from Concordia blog. ESA is looking for applicants for Researchers can keep an eye out on opportunities to propose experiments for Concordia or any other of ESA’s research facilities via this page.

    ESA is now looking for next year’s medical doctor to start training and take over the baton from Stijn for the winter 2021. If you are from an ESA Member State, have medical degree and are looking for an adventure you will never forget, apply for the position here.

    6
    Alone in Antarctica

    Science & Exploration
    Human and Robotic Exploration

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings
    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The European Space Agency (ESA), established in 1975, is an intergovernmental organization dedicated to the exploration of space, currently with 19 member states. Headquartered in Paris, ESA has a staff of more than 2,000. ESA’s space flight program includes human spaceflight, mainly through the participation in the International Space Station program, the launch and operations of unmanned exploration missions to other planets and the Moon, Earth observation, science, telecommunication as well as maintaining a major spaceport, the Guiana Space Centre at Kourou, French Guiana, and designing launch vehicles. ESA science missions are based at ESTEC in Noordwijk, Netherlands, Earth Observation missions at ESRIN in Frascati, Italy, ESA Mission Control (ESOC) is in Darmstadt, Germany, the European Astronaut Centre (EAC) that trains astronauts for future missions is situated in Cologne, Germany, and the European Space Astronomy Centre is located in Villanueva de la Cañada, Spain.

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  • richardmitnick 9:34 am on November 2, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Lonely hearts club", , , , , ESA   

    From European Space Agency: “Lonely hearts club” 

    ESA Space For Europe Banner

    From European Space Agency

    01/11/2019

    1
    ESA/Hubble & NASA, A. Bellini et al.; CC BY 4.0

    Galaxies may seem lonely, floating alone in the vast, inky blackness of the sparsely populated cosmos — but looks can be deceiving. The subject of this Picture of the Week, NGC 1706, is a good example of this. NGC 1706 is a spiral galaxy, about 230 million light-years away, in the constellation of Dorado (The Swordfish).

    NGC 1706 is known to belong to something known as a galaxy group, which is just as the name suggests — a group of up to 50 galaxies which are gravitationally bound and hence relatively close to each other. Around half of the galaxies we know of in the Universe belong to some kind of group, making them incredibly common cosmic structures. Our home galaxy, the Milky Way, belongs to the Local Group, which also contains the Andromeda Galaxy, the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds, and the Triangulum Galaxy.

    Groups are the smallest of galactic gatherings; others are clusters, which can comprise hundreds of thousands of galaxies bound loosely together by gravity, and subsequent superclusters, which bring together numerous clusters into a single entity.

    Space Science

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings
    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The European Space Agency (ESA), established in 1975, is an intergovernmental organization dedicated to the exploration of space, currently with 19 member states. Headquartered in Paris, ESA has a staff of more than 2,000. ESA’s space flight program includes human spaceflight, mainly through the participation in the International Space Station program, the launch and operations of unmanned exploration missions to other planets and the Moon, Earth observation, science, telecommunication as well as maintaining a major spaceport, the Guiana Space Centre at Kourou, French Guiana, and designing launch vehicles. ESA science missions are based at ESTEC in Noordwijk, Netherlands, Earth Observation missions at ESRIN in Frascati, Italy, ESA Mission Control (ESOC) is in Darmstadt, Germany, the European Astronaut Centre (EAC) that trains astronauts for future missions is situated in Cologne, Germany, and the European Space Astronomy Centre is located in Villanueva de la Cañada, Spain.

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