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  • richardmitnick 9:54 am on June 30, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Solar Orbiter ready for science despite COVID-19 setbacks", ESA,   

    From United Space in Europe: “Solar Orbiter ready for science despite COVID-19 setbacks” 

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    From European Space Agency – United space in Europe

    From United Space in Europe

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    ESA’s Solar Orbiter has successfully completed four months of painstaking technical verification, known as commissioning. Despite the challenges imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the spacecraft is now ready to begin performing science as it continues its cruise towards the Sun.

    When Solar Obiter blasted into space on an Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral, Florida, on 10 February, the teams behind the €1.5 billion mission did not anticipate that within weeks, the spread of COVID-19 would evict them from their high-tech control rooms, making the challenging process of commissioning the spacecraft’s instruments even harder.

    In normal circumstances, many of the project’s scientists and engineers would have gathered at the European Space Operations Centre (ESOC) in Darmstadt, Germany. Together, they would have worked in close cooperation with the spacecraft operators, to bring the spacecraft and its instruments to life.

    This happened more or less as usual during the most challenging early weeks of Solar Orbiter’s in-orbit existence, but when the instrument teams were invited to ESOC in March, the situation in Europe was rapidly changing.

    Each of the ten instrument teams needed many representatives on site. Two or three from each team were allowed in a dedicated Solar Orbiter control room. “The other representatives worked from a dedicated support area,” says Sylvain Lodiot, ESA’s Solar Orbiter Spacecraft Operations Manager. It was not unusual to have 15 or more people in the main control room working too. But within a week, it became clear that European countries were heading into lockdown and so the external teams were asked to return home.

    The Italian-German-Czech team behind the METIS coronograph, an instrument measuring the visible, ultraviolet and extreme ultraviolet emissions of the solar corona in unprecedented temporal and spatial resolution, was just getting ready to switch on the instrument for the first time when the decision was made that people from that time coronavirus hotspots in Italian regions Piemonte and Lombardy were no longer allowed to enter ESOC for safety reasons.

    “We had a hard time in trying to re-arrange the team skills on the fly with those who could enter,” says Marco Romoli, METIS principle investigator. “And thanks to ESOC people and to the steady nerves of those present, we were able to successfully complete the activity.”

    The situation became even more serious when several workers at ESOC tested positive for the virus, and the site effectively closed.

    The COVID lockdown

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    SWA principal investigator Chris Owen turn his two-year-old son’s playroom into an improvised control room.

    “We had to protect the people,” says Sylvain, whose last task before going home was to switch off all the instruments on Solar Orbiter. “It felt horrible because I didn’t know when those instruments were coming back online,” he says.

    In the event, it was only about a week later that a skeleton staff returned and with full social distancing measures in place began working remotely with the instrument teams to get the commissioning done.

    One of the instrument teams most affected was the Solar Wind Analyser (SWA) team. The solar wind, which is constantly released from the Sun, is composed of a mixture of electrically charged particles called ions, and electrons. The SWA instrument comprises three different sensors to measure the fluxes and composition of these various particle populations. Each sensor operates as a kind of ‘electrical periscope’ that uses high voltages, up to 30 kilovolts in one case, to divert the solar wind particles into the detector.

    To operate those high voltages safely, the team had planned not to turn on the instrument until at least a month after launch. This was intended so no traces of Earth’s atmosphere would remain within the SWA sensors. If there were, these high voltages could cause arcing and damage the sensors.

    The switch on process for each of the SWA detectors is long because each high-voltage subsystem must be powered up in steps of just 20 or 50 volts at a time. After each increase, the instrument is checked to make sure nothing untoward has happened.

    When SWA’s principal investigator Christopher Owen, of the Mullard Space Science Laboratory, University College London (MSSL/UCL), had left Germany, he and his team had begun to make plans to commission the instrument from their lab in the UK. But then the UK lockdown was announced, meaning a move to working from the home office for almost everybody.

    “When I left the lab, I grabbed a couple of laptops and four screens, and brought them home. I then evicted my two-year-old from his nursery and set everything up in there,” says Christopher. And from this temporary control centre, once ESOC had returned to work, he worked remotely with the rest of the SWA team and the skeleton staff in Darmstadt to get the instrument commissioned.

    “We had serious doubts about whether we could work like this,” says Sylvain about the process in general, “but we adapted and in the end, it worked very well because the team all knew each other.”

    Ready for science


    Solar Orbiter’s first close approach to the Sun. On 15 June 2020, Solar Orbiter made its first close approach to the Sun, getting as close as 77 million kilometres to the star’s surface.

    The other instrument teams also successfully finished their commissioning. “This is undoubtedly the first mission whose instruments were completely commissioned from people’s homes,” says David Berghmans, from the Royal Observatory of Belgium, Brussels, Belgium, and principal investigator of the Extreme Ultraviolet Imager (EUI).

    Not only did the job get done, but they made up for lost time and managed to complete their commissioning on the original timeline. “Even in a normal world I would be very happy with where we are now,” says Daniel Müller, Solar Orbiter Project Scientist at ESA, “I never expected that almost everything would work flawlessly out of the box.”

    That’s testimony to the expertise with which the spacecraft was made by the prime contractor Airbus DS (UK) and its instruments were made by the various instrument teams. On 25 June, the Solar Orbiter Review Board endorsed this achievement by declaring the Mission Commissioning Results Review successful.

    For César García Marirrodriga, ESA’s Solar Orbiter’s Project Manager, it was a big moment because with commissioning over, his job is done and he hands over the spacecraft to the mission operations manager. “I’m very happy to hand it over because I know it is going in the right direction,” says César.

    And for Daniel, it is a big moment too because now the mission is ready to perform science. “In these four months since launch, the 10 instruments onboard have been carefully checked and calibrated one by one, like tuning individual musical instruments. And now it is time for them to perform together,” he says.

    This month’s ‘remote-sensing checkout window’ from 17 to 22 June presented the first opportunity to have all the instruments play together. Receiving the recordings from the spacecraft, which is currently more than 160 million kilometres away, will be completed in the next few days.

    “We’re very excited about this first ‘concert’. For the first time, we will be able to put together the images from all our telescopes and see how they take complementary data of the various parts of the Sun including the surface; the outer atmosphere, or corona; and the wider heliosphere around it. This is what the mission was built for,” says Daniel. These first light images will be released to the public in mid-July.

    100 days worth of data

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    The team behind Solar Orbiter’s magnetometer in a Zoom meeting while running experiments on the instrument amid the COVID-19 lockdown.

    Other instruments are already collecting data too. In the case of the Magnetometer (MAG), this was first switched on just a day after launch. “We got just under 100 days’ worth of data through the commissioning period, and it’s wonderful data,” says Helen O’Brien, from Imperial College and MAG’s chief engineer.

    MAG was switched on early so that it could take readings as it was carried away from the spacecraft as its boom arm was deployed. “The instrument behaved beautifully. It was wonderful to see the field decay as we moved away from the spacecraft,” says Helen.

    That data will allow the team to understand the magnetic field being generated by the spacecraft itself, so that they can now remove it from their science data to leave just the magnetic field being carried into space away from the Sun. And there is plenty of data already. The team already has more than two billion scientific measurements to analyse. “The data is outstanding, really, really good, so we’re very happy,” says Tim Horbury, Imperial College, UK, and principal investigator for the instrument.

    The mission now continues on course to the Sun. During this cruise phase, the spacecraft’s in-situ instruments will gather scientific data about the environment around the spacecraft, while the remote-sensing instruments will be fine-tuned by the teams in preparation for science operations in closer vicinity of the Sun. The cruise phase lasts until November 2021, after which Solar Orbiter will begin the science phase of its mission.

    [NOTES FOR EDITORS]
    Solar Orbiter is an ESA-led mission with strong NASA participation. Twelve ESA member states including UK, Belgium, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Czech Republic, Switzerland, Poland, Sweden, Austria and Norway participate in the mission. The prime contractor is Airbus Defence and Space in Stevenage, UK. Solar Orbiter is the first ‘medium’-class mission implemented in the Cosmic Vision 2015-25 programme, the current planning cycle for ESA’s space science missions. The total mission cost estimate of about €1.5 billion includes spacecraft and payload manufacturing and development, launcher services provided by NASA, as well as flight operations over the nominal and extended life span of 10 years.

    Solar Orbiter’s suite of ten science instruments that will study the Sun. There are two types: in situ and remote sensing. The in situ instruments measure the conditions around the spacecraft itself. The remote-sensing instruments measure what is happening at large distances away. Together, both sets of data can be used to piece together a more complete picture of what is happening in the Sun’s corona and the solar wind.

    The in situ instruments:

    EPD: Energetic Particle Detector
    EPD will measure the energetic particles that flow past the spacecraft. It will look at their composition and variation in time. The data will help scientists investigate the sources, acceleration mechanisms, and transport processes of these particles. Principal Investigator: Javier Rodríguez-Pacheco, University of Alcalá, Spain

    MAG: Magnetometer
    MAG will measure the magnetic field around the spacecraft with high precision. It will help determine how the Sun’s magnetic field links to the rest of the Solar System and changes with time. This will help us understand how the corona is heated and how energy is transported in the solar wind. Principal Investigator: Tim Horbury, Imperial College London, United Kingdom

    RPW: Radio and Plasma Waves
    RPW will measure the variation in magnetic and electric fields using a number of sensors and antennas. This will help to determine the characteristics of electromagnetic waves and fields in the solar wind. RPW is the only instrument on Solar Orbiter that makes both in situ and remote sensing measurements. Principal Investigator: Milan Maksimovic, LESIA, Observatoire de Paris, France

    SWA: Solar Wind Plasma Analyser
    SWA consists of a suite of sensors that will measure the solar wind’s bulk properties, such as density, velocity and temperature. It will also measure the composition of the solar wind. Principal Investigator: Christopher Owen, Mullard Space Science Laboratory, United Kingdom

    The remote-sensing instruments:

    EUI: Extreme Ultraviolet Imager
    EUI will take images of the solar chromosphere, transition region and corona. This will allow scientists to investigate the mysterious heating processes that take effect in this region and will allow connecting in situ measurements of the solar wind back to their source regions on the Sun. Principal Investigator: David Berghmans, Royal Observatory, Belgium

    Metis: Coronagraph
    Metis will take simultaneous images of the corona in visible and ultraviolet wavelengths. This will show the structure and dynamics of the solar atmosphere in unprecedented detail, stretching out from 1.7 to 4.1 solar radii. This will allow scientists to look for the link between the behaviour of these regions and space weather in the inner Solar System.
    Principal Investigator: Marco Romoli, INAF – University of Florence, Italy

    PHI: Polarimetric and Helioseismic Imager
    PHI will provide high-resolution measurements of the magnetic field across the photosphere, and maps of its brightness at visible wavelengths. It will also produce velocity maps of the movement of the photosphere that will allow helioseismic investigations of the solar interior, in particular the convective zone. Principal Investigator: Sami Solanki, Max-Planck-Institut für Sonnensystemforschung, Germany

    SoloHI: Heliospheric Imager
    SoloHI will take images of the solar wind by capturing the light scattered by electrons particles in the wind. This will allow the identification of transient disturbances in the solar wind, such as the type that can trigger a coronal mass ejection, in which a billion tons of coronal gas can be ejected outwards into space.
    Principal Investigator: Russell A. Howard, US Naval Research Laboratory, Washington, D.C., USA

    SPICE: Spectral Imaging of the Coronal Environment
    SPICE will reveal the properties of the solar transition region and corona by measuring the extreme ultraviolet wavelengths given off by the plasma. This data will be matched to the solar wind properties that are subsequently detected by the spacecraft’s in situ instruments. European-led facility instrument; Principal Investigator for Operations Phase: Frédéric Auchère, IAS, Orsay, France

    STIX: X-ray Spectrometer/Telescope
    STIX will detect X-ray emission coming from the Sun. This could be from hot plasma, often related to explosive magnetic activity such as solar flares. STIX will provide the timing, location, intensity, and energy data for these events so that their effects on the solar wind can be better understood. Principal Investigator: Säm Krucker, FHNW, Windisch, Switzerland

    Solar Orbiter is a space mission of international collaboration between ESA and NASA. Its mission is to perform unprecedented close-up observations of the Sun and from high-latitudes, providing the first images of the uncharted polar regions of the Sun, and investigating the Sun-Earth connection. Data from the spacecraft’s suite of ten instruments will provide unprecedented insight into how our parent star works in terms of the 11-year solar cycle, and how we can better predict periods of stormy space weather.

    ESA-S.Poletti

    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.

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  • richardmitnick 8:24 am on April 29, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Space radio lab celebrates 10 years of trouble-shooting", , , , , , ESA   

    From European Space Agency – United Space in Europe: “Space radio lab celebrates 10 years of trouble-shooting” 

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    From European Space Agency – United Space in Europe

    28/04/2020

    Powerful radio systems allow satellites to communicate across the immensity of space, relay signals and services, or probe Earth or other planets using radar. But operating these high-power devices in the emptiness of vacuum leaves them open to potentially destructive hazards – including the space equivalent of lightning. ESA’s laboratory tasked with investigating these effects is marking its first decade in its current location.

    The ESA-VSC European High Power Radio Frequency (RF) Laboratory in Valencia, Spain, is a laboratory in ESA’s RF Payload and Technologies Division, one of a network of ESA labs across Europe, each specialised in different aspects of the space environment.

    “As time goes on satellites are requiring more and more radio frequency power for communications or science,” says David Raboso, managing the lab for ESA. “Our lab ensures that the most powerful RF systems, operating in the kilowatt power range, can run safely in space, avoiding the destructive side-effects prone to occur in vacuum.”

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    RF lab entrance

    The lab was originally set up at ESA’s ESTEC technical centre in the Netherlands, serving the needs of the first generation of European radar satellites. But for the last 10 years it has been based in Spain, jointly owned and operated with the Valencia Space Consortium (VSC) – a non-profit organisation set up by Valencia’s two universities, its regional government and municipality.

    “Following the move, we have worked with hundreds of ESA and commercial missions, while also increasing our associated R&D activities,” adds David.

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    David Raboso in lab

    “That includes research projects with our partner institutions, as well as recruiting trainees from universities across Europe. Our success has been such that ESA and the VSC have gone on to found an additional facility, the High-Power Space Materials Laboratory, looking into the associated challenges for materials thrown up by high-power RF operations.”

    “Every day sees humanity more victorious in the struggle with space and time,” radio pioneer Guglielmo Marconi once remarked – and radio has certainly proved an essential element of space exploration.

    At the same time, operating powerful RF systems in the emptiness of vacuum can be fraught with problems.

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    Diagnostic services

    Strong RF energy can generate avalanches of secondary electron emission, resulting in RF breakdown, through what is known as the ‘multipactor’ effect. Similarly, small amounts of surrounding gases can be ionised into glowing ‘corona’, possibly causing localised heating or lightning-like electrical discharges. Powerful emissions may also cause ‘passive intermodulation’ interference with other, adjacent antennas.

    These destructive, potentially mission-ending effects grow more and more likely as RF power increases. So the Lab has played a vital part in perfecting the satellites of the Galileo constellation for instance, designed to bath the entire planet continuously in precision navigation signals.

    For BepiColombo it ensured the spacecraft’s RF antenna would continue to operate in the 400°C temperatures prevailing in Mercury orbit and qualified the operation of the giant antenna aboard the Alphasat telecommunication satellite.

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    Galileo satellite

    In the case of the Copernicus Sentinels, the Lab tackled corona discharges occurring in transmit receive modules. For the MetOp polar weather satellite, it enabled its scatterometer – sending down radio pulses to measure the sea surface and surface winds – while for the geostationary Meteosat family of weather satellites it qualified key components.

    Other work has proceeded on missions yet to fly, including qualifying the myriad P-band radar sensors that the Biomass mission will use to pierce forest canopies and count all the trees on Earth. For 2022’s ExoMars rover the Lab worked to test that its communications system would work safely in the scanty Martian atmosphere.

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    ATV approaching ISS

    “Some of the most challenging work we do comes in the form of anomaly investigation,” adds David, “where we turn detective to try and understand unexpected effects encountered in space.

    “For instance, when ESA’s Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV) space truck closed in on the International Space Station its systems encountered RF interference. At first we simply didn’t understand where it was coming from. Finally its source was traced to RF signals from the iPads and routers that crewmen were using, passing through the modules towards the ATV when docking. Then once we understood it, we could mitigate it by simply requesting NASA a frequency shift in the router.

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    ExoMars Rosalind Franklin rover

    “We have the capacity to react to respond to mission emergencies all over Europe, by investigating and mitigating the source of malfunctions aboard satellites in flight. Our users know this well – they call us the RF fire brigade.”

    Both the High Power Laboratory and High-Power Space Materials Laboratory are open to all types of aerospace companies as well as governments and research organisations. They operate on a non-profit basis, with revenues used to cover operating costs and invested into improved facilities.

    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 8:04 am on April 29, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "European Microgravity Science Glovebox", , , ESA,   

    From European Space Agency – United Space in Europe: “European Microgravity Science Glovebox” 

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    From European Space Agency – United Space in Europe

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    28/04/2020

    ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet (left) and NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson using the European Microgravity Science Glovebox in the International Space Station during Thomas’ six-month Proxima mission 13 February 2017.

    The device allows astronauts to run experiments in a sealed and controlled environment, isolated from the rest of the International Space Station.

    The gloves are the access points through which astronauts manipulate experiments, in the field of material science, biotechnology, fluid science, combustion science and crystal growth research.

    Scientific gloveboxes are common on Earth. To build a glovebox that will last at least ten years in weightlessness, however, was a much tougher proposition. The Microgravity Science Glovebox had to fit in a standard International Space Station equipment rack and be versatile enough to accommodate a huge range of experiments and materials – including a few that no one had thought of during the design stage.

    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 11:06 am on March 28, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "#SpaceConnectsUs replay", ESA   

    From European Space Agency: “#SpaceConnectsUs replay” 

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    From European Space Agency

    SKYPE video

    http://www.esa.int/ESA_Multimedia/Videos/2020/03/SpaceConnectsUs_replay

    Asteroid Day and the European Space Agency connected Europe and the world with astronauts, scientists and performers bringing a message of hope and support for those facing the global Coronavirus crisis.

    This online programme was broadcast sequentially in Dutch, German, Italian, French and English to inspire armchair explorers everywhere.

    This English broadcast featured Timothy Peake, Rusty Schweickart, Nicole Stott, Tom Jones, Dumitru-Dorin Prunariu and Anousheh Ansari

    Special guests
    Gianluca Masi, Jan Wörner, Mayim Bialik, Murad Osmann, Alison Pill, Paulina Chávez, Angélique Kidjo, Grig Richters

    Moderator
    Brian Cox

    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 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” 

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    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 .

    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    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.

    2
    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.

    11
    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.

    12
    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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    “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.

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    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 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 .


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    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 .


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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

     
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