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  • richardmitnick 7:05 am on May 22, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , ESA, , Novespace Zero-G aircraft, Parabolic flight campaign   

    From European Space Agency: “Zero-G Spiderman” 

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    From European Space Agency

    21/05/2019

    1

    Gravity: we can live with it, and it turns out we can live without it, for a little while anyway.

    Under the elemental force of nature keeping all our parts and planet together, humans thrive. But in weightlessness and funny things begin to happen. Our muscles start to wear away, our bones decay, our balance shifts and our spatial perception falters.

    Astronauts living and working in space are helping researchers determine the acceptable limits of these changes. So too are subjects taking part in experiments here on Earth.

    In this image, a volunteer tries to get to the tennis ball as part of an experiment testing the influence of weightlessness on the perception of distance. He must first determine the distance of the ball from his person under normal gravity conditions by walking blindfolded to it.

    For the microgravity portion of the experiment, researchers set up a sled along which subjects can pull themselves to the ball. In this scenario, the body is reclined and the arms are helping, giving the brain some more signals to work with to estimate the distance.

    The experiment, developed by the Lyon Neuroscience Research Center in France, is taking place on this week’s parabolic flight campaign aboard a Novespace Zero-G aircraft. The special aircraft simulates different levels of gravity, from 2g to 0g, by flying in parabolas.

    Researchers will compare the results in normal gravity conditions (1g), nearly twice the force on the upward incline of the plane (1.8 g), and at freefall during the plane’s descent (0g).

    Astronauts have long reported spatial disorientation in orbit. Without a grip on where you are in space, it is hard to measure distance. This can affect astronauts’ performance when using the robotic arm or during a spacewalk. To solve the problem, researchers must first assess the full scope of it.

    Previous runs of this experiment had the subjects blind-pulling themselves up or down while sitting up and lying down. In the latest iteration, researchers will test lateral distance perception by having subjects blind-pull themselves to the left and right to the ball.

    The ultimate goals of the experiment are to better understand to what degree gravity or the lack of it affects the sensorimotor (what we see) and neurocognitive (what we think) systems.

    Deeper insights into these systems will help researchers fine tune the countermeasures that help keep astronauts living in space healthy during and after spaceflight.

    On Earth, we deal with gravity every day. We feel it, we fight it, and – more importantly – we investigate it. Space agencies such as ESA routinely launch spacecraft against our planet’s gravity, and sometimes these spacecraft borrow the gravity of Earth or other planets to reach interesting places in the Solar System. We study the gravity field of Earth from orbit, and fly experiments on parabolic flights, sounding rockets and the International Space Station to examine a variety of systems under different gravitational conditions. On the grandest scales, our space science missions explore how gravity affects planets, stars and galaxies across the cosmos and probe how matter behaves in the strong gravitational field created by some of the Universe’s most extreme objects like black holes. Join the conversation online this week following the hashtag #GravityRules

    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 8:09 am on May 21, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , ESA, SEOSAT- Spanish Earth observation satellite   

    From European Space Agency: “Vega to take Spain’s SEOSAT–Ingenio into orbit” 

    ESA Space For Europe Banner

    From European Space Agency

    20 May 2019

    1

    ESA and Arianespace have signed a contract that secure the SEOSAT–Ingenio Earth observation satellite’s ride into orbit next year on a Vega rocket from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana.

    SEOSAT, short for Spanish Earth observation satellite, will provide high-resolution multispectral images of Earth for applications such as cartography, monitoring land use, urban management, water management, risk management and security.

    Information from SEOSAT–Ingenio will be used by different Spanish civil, institutional and government users, but also potentially by other European users in the framework of the European Union’s Copernicus programme and the Group on Earth Observations’ Global Earth Observation System of Systems.

    While SEOSAT–Ingenio is a Spanish national mission, it is the result of an international collaborative effort. The mission is funded by Spain’s Centre for the Development of Industrial Technology (CDTI) but developed and managed by ESA in the context of the European Earth Observation Architecture.

    This means that CDTI entrusted ESA with the technical and contractual management of the industrial activities; namely the procurement of the space and ground segments.

    With the satellite now built, ESA and Arianespace have signed the contract to launch it into orbit. The signature took place on 17 May in Madrid, Spain.

    Paving the way for this signature, ESA and CDTI had also signed an agreement at the event, allowing ESA to proceed with the procurement of the launch service.

    ESA’s Director of Earth Observation Programmes, Josef Aschbacher, said, “I am very happy to sign the agreements today.

    “This reflects strong cooperation with Spain in the field of Earth observation. We look forward to launch early next year and to SEOSAT–Ingenio complementing Europe’s Earth Observation Architecture, and also adding another mission to our Third Party Mission portfolio.”
    SEOSAT–Ingenio will liftoff on a Vega rocket, which will also carry the CNES French space agency’s Taranis satellite. Arianespace manage the launch from the spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana.

    Chief Executive Officer of Arianespace, Stéphane Israël, said, “We are delighted Arianespace has been chosen by ESA to launch SEOSAT–Ingenio.

    “Taking this satellite into orbit for the benefit of Spanish and European citizens aboard a Vega launcher together with another mission for France reasserts Arianespace’s first mission – to ensure European independent access to space.

    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 9:41 am on May 19, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Mission control 'saves science'", , , , , ESA, ESA’s Earth Explorer Swarm satellites   

    From European Space Agency: “Mission control ‘saves science'” 

    ESA Space For Europe Banner

    From European Space Agency

    1
    Earth observation missions

    17 May 2019

    Every minute, ESA’s Earth observation satellites gather dozens of gigabytes of data about our planet – enough information to fill the pages on a 100-metre long bookshelf. Flying in low-Earth orbits, these spacecraft are continuously taking the pulse of our planet, but it’s teams on the ground at ESA’s Operations Centre in Darmstadt, Germany, that keep our explorers afloat.

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    ESOC Main Control Room in Darmstadt, Germany

    From flying groups of spacecraft in complex formations to dodging space debris and navigating the ever-changing conditions in space known as space weather, ESA’s spacecraft operators ensure we continue to receive beautiful images and vital data on our changing planet.

    Get in formation

    Many Earth observation satellites travel in formation. For example, the Copernicus Sentinel-5P satellite follows behind the Suomi-NPP satellite (from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration). Flying in a loose trailing formation, they observe parts of our planet in quick succession and monitor rapidly evolving situations. Together they can also cross-validate instruments on board as well as the data acquired.

    ESA Copernicus Sentinel-5P

    NOAA Suomi-NPP satellite via NASA Goddard

    ESA’s Earth Explorer Swarm satellites are another example of complex formation flying.

    ESA/Swarm

    On a mission to provide the best ever survey of Earth’s geomagnetic field, they are made up of three identical satellites flying in what is called a constellation formation.

    Swarm’s individual satellites operate together under shared control in a synchronised manner, accomplishing the same objective of one giant – and more expensive – satellite.

    “Formation flying has all the challenges of flying many single spacecraft, except with the added complexity that we need to maintain a regular distance between all of these high-speed and high-tech eyes on Earth,” explains Jose Morales Santiago, ESA’s Head of the Earth Observation Mission Operations Division.

    “Every decision we make, every command we send, has to be the right one for each spacecraft – particularly when it comes to manoeuvres. These must be planned properly so that they do not endanger companion satellites, while keeping a consistent configuration across the formation.”

    Saving Science

    Last year, ESA’s Earth observation missions performed a total of 28 ‘collision avoidance manoeuvres’. These manoeuvres saw operators send the orders to a spacecraft to get out of the way of an oncoming piece of space debris.

    An impact with a fast-moving piece of space junk has the potential to destroy an entire satellite and in the process create even more debris. As a spacecraft ‘swerves’ to avoid collision, science instruments may need to be turned off to ensure their safety and avoid being contaminated by the thrusting engine.

    Teams at mission control consider how to keep Europe’s fleet of Earth observers safe while maximising the vital work they are able to do. Recently, they came up with an ingenious concept to ‘save science’ during such manoeuvres of the Sentinel-5P satellite.

    The Sentinel team quickly realised that during a collision avoidance manoeuvre they would have to suspend science collection for almost a day, because of the emergency firing of the thrusters.

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    Sentinel control room at ESA’s operation centre in Darmstadt, Germany.

    “That’s a lot of data to miss out on. As the amount of space debris is currently increasing, this would be something we would need to do more and more often,” explains Pierre Choukroun, Sentinel-5P Spacecraft Operations Engineer, who came up with the fix.

    “So we designed and validated a new on-board function to enhance the spacecraft’s autonomy, such that the science data loss is reduced to a bare minimum. We are very much looking forward to securing more data for the science community in the near future!”

    With this new strategy, the science instruments on Sentinel-5P would be shut off for around on hour compared with an entire day!

    Sun protection

    As if dodging bits of space debris weren’t enough for Europe’s Earth explorers, they also have to navigate the turbulent weather conditions in space.

    Space weather refers to the environmental conditions around Earth due to the dynamic nature of our Sun. The constant mood swings of our star influence the functioning and reliability of our satellites in space, as well as infrastructure on the ground.

    When the Sun is particularly active, it adds extra energy to Earth’s atmosphere, changing the density of the air at low-Earth orbits. Increased energy in the atmosphere means that satellites in this region experience more ‘drag’ – a force that acts in the opposite direction to the motion of the spacecraft, causing it to decrease in altitude.

    Operators need this information to know when to perform manoeuvres to “boost” the satellite’s speed in order to counter drag and keep it in its proper orbit.

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    Space Weather Phenomena

    This drag effect also changes the speed and position of space debris around Earth, meaning our understanding of the debris environment needs to be constantly updated in light of changing space weather.

    “While Earth observation satellites monitor the weather on Earth, we have to stay aware of the changing weather in space,” says Thomas Ormston, Spacecraft Operations Engineer at ESA.

    “This is vital because understanding atmospheric drag is fundamental to predicting when we will be threatened by space debris and determining when and how big our spacecraft manoeuvres need to be to keep delivering great science to our users.”

    Space weather also impacts communication between ground stations and satellites due to changes in the upper atmosphere, the ionosphere, during solar events. Because of this, satellite operators avoid critical satellite operations like manoeuvres or updates of the on board software during periods of high solar activity.

    Find out more about Earth observation at ESA here, and catch up on all the latest information from this year’s Living Planet Symposium at http://www.esa.int/livingplanet.

    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 10:26 am on May 15, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Downstream Gateway-Bringing Space Down to Earth", ESA   

    From European Space Agency: “Downstream Gateway-Bringing Space Down to Earth” 

    ESA Space For Europe Banner

    From European Space Agency

    15 May 2019

    1

    ESA is launching its Downstream Gateway, a ‘one-stop shop’ service for all downstream opportunities, creating links between new and emerging business sectors and the capabilities being developed in ESA programmes.

    ‘Downstream’ means all those activities based on space technology, or using a space-derived system in a space or non-space environment, that may result in an application, product or service to the benefit of the European economy or society.

    For example, ESA downstream activities have enabled data from satellites to transform businesses on Earth, from international transport to rural education. Innovative services worth over €200 million have been launched in over 500 businesses.

    While ESA has various programmes focused on downstream activities that have been operating successfully over the years in line with its space domains, such as Earth observation, navigation, telecommunications or human spaceflight, the Downstream Gateway provides a single interface to ESA, enabling new downstream communities to interact more easily with ESA as a whole.

    2
    Infrastructure and smart cities

    This new interface implements new ESA-wide functions to provide easy access to ESA expertise in applications and technical domains.

    The team behind the Downstream Gateway includes a core group of ESA business, marketing and technical experts, benefiting industry by also linking prospective new customers and investors to European companies offering readily available solutions that match new customer needs.

    Marking its launch, the Downstream Gateway has issued a Call for Ideas on ‘Space for Urban Innovation: Smart cities’ to reinforce its already established role in this sector. Becoming a ‘smart city’ is not a goal, but rather a necessity. The current world population of 7.6 billion is expected to reach 8.6 billion in 2030, 9.8 billion in 2050, most of whom will live in cities.

    Smart cities use different types of ‘sensors’ to collect data to manage assets and resources efficiently. The associated technologies are aimed at making cities data-driven to meet citizens’ needs; allowing systems and services to be responsive and act on data in real time. Smart cities are, in fact, complete ecosystems devoted to creating sustainable and resilient urban areas for the benefit of society and the local and global economies.

    With this Call for Ideas, the Downstream Gateway wants not only to gather valuable input and identify promising ideas within Europe for smart city products, application and services relying on space capabilities, but also to help ESA establish the support such ideas need in order to become fully operational and commercially successful systems.

    ESA intends to collect as many ideas as possible, evaluate them and, for those ideas considered relevant and falling within the objectives of the ESA programmes, provide the opportunity of being (co-)funded and supported by ESA experts through the different phases of their projects using the available ESA contractual schemes.

    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 9:57 am on May 14, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Spotlight on the pulse of our planet", , , Climate activist Jakob Blasel: “In my view world leaders do not take the climate crisis seriously.”, , , , ESA, ESA’s Living Planet Symposium, Information from space, The Living Planet Symposium is hosting over 2000 children with their own dedicated programmes.   

    From European Space Agency: “Spotlight on the pulse of our planet” 

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    From European Space Agency

    13 May 2019


    ESA’s Earth Explorers surpassing expectations

    1
    Milan in focus


    2:36:47

    Satellites deliver crucial information to help solve what is our biggest global problem: climate change. As well as taking the pulse of our planet, satellite data are used in a myriad of daily applications, and are also used increasingly in business. It’s no surprise then that over 4 000 people have flocked to Milan to hear the latest scientific findings on Earth’s natural processes and global change, and to learn about the wealth of new opportunities that Earth observation has to offer.

    ESA’s holds its Living Planet Symposium – the largest Earth observation conference in the world – every three years, each time drawing more participants than the last. The current edition, which has been organised with support from the Italian Space Agency, got off to a flying start this morning in the heart of Milan, Italy.

    Traditionally, the focus of this series of symposiums has been on Earth science – and while this still takes centre stage, the importance of international cooperation in developing satellite observing systems that bring the most benefits to society is also very much at the forefront of discussions.

    In addition, the landscape of Earth observation is changing. Against the backdrop of commercial Earth observation and the digital revolution, participants will be talking about how satellite data and new technologies such as artificial intelligence and blockchain can benefit business, industry and science, and also ESA.

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    Living Planet Symposium opens

    With all these topics, and more, to be presented and discussed in the days ahead, the symposium was opened by Milan’s Councillor for Urban Planning, Parks and Agriculture, Pierfrancesco Maran, who wished everyone a warm welcome from the city.

    He noted, “Cites around the world are facing the issues of climate change and pollution, but while cities are part of the problem, they can also be part of the solution through better education and innovation.”

    Participants were also welcomed by ESA’s Director General Jan Wörner. Stressing the importance of information from space to address the global challenges of climate change, energy and resources shortages, he said, “Earth observation is expanding the frontiers of knowledge – through this we understand climate change and much more.

    “From space you don’t see borders and this is the same for us – the countries of Europe are working together for a coherent approach that includes common goals and a full integration of space to bring the biggest benefits to society.”

    Deputy Director-General of the EC DG GROW, Pierre Delsaux, noted, “Climate Change is not just a European issue, it is a world-wide issue. We work to involve, sometimes convince our partners around the word that new missions can give us clear scientific assessments of the changes happening to our planet.”

    Recent demonstrations by students around the world make it clear that the young have serious concerns about the health of the planet and are pushing for action.

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    Climate activist Jakob Blasel

    Young climate activist, Jakob Blasel from Fridays for Future talked passionately about his worries, “Our generation is the most conscious about climate change as we will have to live with the consequences in the next decades. I’m one of the people who fears the future.

    “In my view, world leaders do not take the climate crisis seriously.”

    The young are also in the spotlight this week. For the first time, the Living Planet Symposium is hosting over 2000 children with their own dedicated programmes. There are the Open Days available for 8–12 year olds and School Labs for 13–18 year olds. Students, for example, will be taking air pollution measurements, and much more.

    With the environment very much in the news, many governments, institutes, businesses and individuals are making different choices to reduce the impact we are having on our fragile planet.

    The EC’s Deputy Director General for Research and Innovation, Patrick Child, highlighted, “The transition towards a carbon-neutral economy and a sustainable Europe by 2030 requires advancing our knowledge of the Earth system, its dynamics and its interactions with human activities.

    “There is an urgent need to develop instruments to better predict and mitigate the consequences of climate change.

    “The global challenges our society faces requires knowledge-based policy-making, building on reliable observation systems, products and services.”

    Mr Child’s words are at the heart of the symposium – as science and understanding is critical to addressing environmental issues.

    ESA’s Director of Earth Observation Programmes, Josef Aschbacher, said, “I am thrilled to see so many people here – a true testament to the growing interest and importance of what Earth observation brings.

    “We are looking forward to hearing the latest scientific results. And, with ESA’s next ministerial council, Space19+, in November, we will also be talking about how we will take Earth observation into the future, particularly through innovation and partnerships.

    “But crucially we need the engagement of young people, the scientists of tomorrow.”

    With eyes now on Milan, the week not only promises to be a week of discovery about our changing planet, but also showcases how society at large benefits from Earth observation.

    We are changing our natural world faster than at any other time in history. Understanding the intricacies of how Earth works as a system and the impact that human activity is having on natural processes are huge environmental challenges. Satellites are vital for taking the pulse of our planet, delivering the information we need to understand and monitor our precious world, and for making decisions to safeguard our future. Earth observation data is also key to a myriad of practical applications to improve everyday life and to boost economies.

    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 12:11 pm on May 7, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Storm in the Teacup quasar", , , , , ESA, , ,   

    From European Space Agency: “Storm in the Teacup quasar” 

    ESA Space For Europe Banner

    From European Space Agency

    06/05/2019

    1
    This image shows a quasar nicknamed the Teacup due to its shape. A quasar is an active galaxy that is powered by material falling into its central supermassive black hole. They are extremely luminous objects located at great distances from Earth. The Teacup is 1.1 billion light years away and was thought to be a dying quasar until recent X-ray observations shed new light on it.

    X-ray: NASA/CXC/University of Cambridge/G. Lansbury et al; optical: NASA/STScI/W. Keel et al

    ESA/XMM Newton

    NASA/Chandra X-ray Telescope

    NASA/ESA Hubble Telescope

    The Teacup was discovered in 2007 as part of the Galaxy Zoo project, a citizen science project that classified galaxies using data from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. A powerful eruption of energy and particles from the central black hole created a bubble of material that became the Teacup’s handle, which lies around 30 000 light years from the centre.

    Observations revealed ionised atoms in the handle of the Teacup, possibly caused by strong radiation coming from the quasar in the past. This past level of radiation dwarfed the current measurements of the luminosity from the quasar. The radiation seemed to have diminished by 50 to 600 times over the last 40 000 to 100 000 years, leading to the theory that the quasar was rapidly fading.

    But new data from ESA’s XMM-Newton telescope and NASA’s Chandra X-ray observatory reveal that X-rays are coming from a heavily obscured central source, which suggests that the quasar is still burning bright beneath its shroud. While the quasar has certainly dimmed over time, it is nowhere near as significant as originally thought, perhaps only fading by a factor of 25 or less over the past 100 000 years.

    The Chandra data also showed evidence for hotter gas within the central bubble, and close to the ‘cup’ which surrounds the central black hole. This suggests that a wind of material is blowing away from the black hole, creating the teacup shape.

    In the image shown here the X-ray data is coloured in blue and optical observations from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope are shown in red and green. Another image including radio data also shows a second ‘handle’ on the other side of the ‘cup’.

    The research is described in The Astrophysical Journal Letters.

    Explore the XMM-Newton data from this study in ESA’s archives.

    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 7:49 am on May 2, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Swarm helps explain Earth’s magnetic jerks", , , , , ESA, Magnetic field in Earth’s core, , Researchers know of two types of movement that cause different variations in the magnetic field, The magnetic field protects us from solar storms, Those resulting from rapid hydromagnetic waves which can be detected over a few years, Those resulting from slow convection movement which can be measured on the scale of a century, Trio of Swarm satellites   

    From European Space Agency: “Swarm helps explain Earth’s magnetic jerks” 

    ESA Space For Europe Banner

    From European Space Agency

    1 May 2019

    1
    Simulation of the magnetic field in Earth’s core. Julien Aubert, IPGP/CNRS/CNRS Photothèque
    01/05/2019

    Earth’s core as modelled in the numerical geodynamo simulation as part of research into geomagnetic jerks and rapid hydromagnetic waves published as the cover story in Nature Geosciences, May 2018.

    2

    The magnetic field lines (orange) are stretched, twisted and folded by the turbulent convection producing shear of electrically conducting fluid (red and blue). Hydromagnetic waves are triggered when the shear is misaligned with field lines, and propagate along these lines to the surface of the core where they can focus and cause geomagnetic jerks.

    Our protective magnetic field is always restless, but every now and then something weird happens – it jerks. Although scientists have known about these rapid shifts for some 40 years, the reason why they occur has remained a frustrating mystery, until now.

    Since geomagnetic jerks were discovered in 1978 scientists have been trying to work out why the magnetic field suddenly and unexpectedly accelerates.

    Looking back at measurement records from the worldwide network of ground-based magnetic observatories, they found that that these jerks, which appear as sharp V-shaped features in graphs of magnetic-field changes, date back as far as 1901, and that the phenomenon occurs about every three to 12 years. Also, they are not consistent across the globe. In 1949, for example, a jerk was measured in North America, but was not detected in Europe.

    Since they occur relatively randomly and the mechanism that drives them has been poorly understood, these jerks have frustrated attempts to forecast changes in the magnetic field, even for a few years ahead.

    Forecasts are important because the magnetic field protects us from solar storms, which have the potential to disrupt power supplies, communication links and navigation systems, for example.

    Bearing in mind that ground-based magnetic observatories are built on land, information about these jerks has been incomplete as the ocean, of course, covers 70% of Earth’s surface. But thanks to ESA’s trio of Swarm satellites, which measure variations in Earth’s magnetic field from space, scientists can now study the global structure of geomagnetic jerks.

    ESA/Swarm

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    Tracking geomagnetic jerks

    In a paper published recently in Nature Geoscience scientists from the Paris Institute of Earth Physics and the Technical University of Denmark describe how they created a computer model for geomagnetic jerks and they have offered an explanation as to why they happen.

    Our magnetic field is generated mainly by the churning of fluid within Earth’s core. Researchers know of two types of movement that cause different variations in the magnetic field: those resulting from slow convection movement, which can be measured on the scale of a century, and those resulting from rapid hydromagnetic waves, which can be detected over a few years.

    They suspected that the latter type play a role in the jerks, but the interaction of these fast waves with slow convection, along with their mechanism of propagation and amplification, had yet to be revealed.

    Now, the researchers have been able to document the series of events that lead to jerks which, in the simulation, arise from hydromagnetic waves emitted within the core.

    4
    Earth’s Interior – 2019. Live Science.

    As molten matter rises up to reach the outer surface of the Earth’s core, it produces powerful waves along the magnetic field lines near the core. The team explained that this results in sharp changes in the flow of liquid beneath the magnetic field.

    The jerks originate in rising blobs of metal that form in the planet’s core 25 years before the corresponding jerk takes place. These current findings are part of a longer-term project in which scientists hope to predict the evolution of the geomagnetic field over the coming decades.

    5
    The force that protects our planet.

    The magnetic field and electric currents in and around Earth generate complex forces that have immeasurable impact on every day life. The field can be thought of as a huge bubble, protecting us from cosmic radiation and charged particles that bombard Earth in solar winds.

    Magnetosphere of Earth, original bitmap from NASA. SVG rendering by Aaron Kaase

    Chris Finlay, from DTU Space, said, “Swarm has made a real contribution to our research, allowing us to make detailed comparisons, in both space and time, with physical theories on the origin of these magnetic jerks.

    “While our findings make fascinating science, there are some real-world benefits of understanding how our magnetic field changes.

    “Many modern electronic devices such as smart phones, rely on our knowledge of the magnetic field for orientation information. Being able to better forecast field changes will help with such systems.”

    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 8:45 am on May 1, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , ESA   

    From European Space Agency: “Asteroid detected” 

    ESA Space For Europe Banner

    From European Space Agency

    27/04/2019

    1

    Some day in the future, an asteroid might be detected heading toward our home planet. What on Earth happens next?

    This infographic shows the flow of actions that would take place between global agencies and organisations, should a risky asteroid be detected.

    Observations from around the globe, including from ESA’s Optical Ground Station, European observatories and observers – both professional and ‘back-yard’ – and, soon, from ESA’s Flyeye telescope and Test-Bed Telescopes, are fed into the US-based Minor Planet Center – the international ‘asteroid sorting hat’.

    ESA Optical Ground Station, on the premises of the Instituto Astro- física de Canarias (IAC) at the Observatorio del Teide, Tenerife

    ESA Flyeye telescope

    2
    ESA Test-Bed Telescope

    Using the data aggregated by the Minor Planet Center, ESA’s Near-Earth Object Coordination Centre and NASA’s Centre for Near-Earth Object Studies determine the orbits of hazardous asteroids, and assess the risk they pose.

    Finally, if an asteroid is deemed to be potentially dangerous, national civil authorities, the UN and other bodies are informed, and given support and guidance from ESA, NASA and other agencies.

    Watch ‘Asteroid Impact 2028: Protecting our planet’, a dramatisation of how ESA might react if a threatening asteroid is ever discovered.

    Space safety at ESA

    Solar activity, asteroids and artificial space debris all pose threats to our planet and our use of space.

    ESA’s Space Safety activities aim to safeguard society and the critical satellites on which we depend, identifying and mitigating threats from space through projects such as the Flyeye telescopes, the Lagrange space weather mission and the Hera asteroid mission.

    As asteroid experts meet for the international Planetary Defense Conference, ESA is focusing on the threat we face from space rocks. How likely is an asteroid impact? What is ESA doing to mitigate impact risks? Follow the hashtag #PlanetaryDefense to find out more.

    Space Safety & Security at ESA: http://www.esa.int/spacesafety

    Planetary Defence: http://www.esa.int/planetarydefence

    Download the posters: http://www.esa.int/paleblue

    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 12:20 pm on April 27, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , ESA, ESA Clean Space project, ESA’s ESTEC technical centre in the Netherlands, GRALS Testbed   

    From European Space Agency: “Testing satellite marker designs” 

    ESA Space For Europe Banner

    From European Space Agency

    24/04/2019

    1

    Akin to landing lights for aircraft, ESA is developing infrared and phosphorescent markers for satellites, to help future space servicing vehicles rendezvous and dock with their targets.

    Developed by Hungarian company Admatis as part of an ESA Clean Space project, these markers would offer robotic space servicing vehicles a steady target to home in on, providing critical information on the line of sight, distance and pointing direction of their target satellite.

    Initial testing of these ‘Passive Emitting Material at end-of-life’ or PEMSUN markers took place at the end of March 2019 inside ESA’s GNC Rendezvous, Approach and Landing Simulator, part of the Agency’s Orbital Robotics and Guidance, Navigation and Control Laboratory, at its ESTEC technical centre in Noordwijk, the Netherlands.

    2
    GRALS Testbed. 16/05/2018

    This robotic arm, attached to a 33 m track is ESA’s GNC Rendezvous, Approach and Landing Simulator. Part of the Agency’s Orbital Robotics and Guidance, Navigation and Control Laboratory, GRALS is used to simulate close approach and capture of uncooperative orbital targets, such as drifting satellites or to rendezvous with asteroids. It can also be used to test ideas for descending to surfaces, such as a lunar or martian landing.

    The moveable arm can be equipped with cameras to test vision-based software on a practical basis to close on a scale model of its target. Image-processing algorithms recognise various features on the surface of the model satellite seen here, and uses those features to calculate the satellite’s tumble, allowing the chaser to safely come closer. Alternatively, the robotic arm can be fitted with a gripper, to test out actually securing a target, or with altimeters or other range sensors.

    The Orbital Robotics and GNC Lab is located at ESA’s ESTEC technical centre in the Netherlands.

    ESA Estec

    “The idea itself is not new, but this is the first time we’ve manufactured and tested sample patches, cut into spacecraft multi-layer insulation covering,” comments ESA Clean Space trainee Sébastien Perrault. “For the design we’ve looked into one larger pattern incorporating smaller versions for when the space servicing vehicle comes close enough that its camera’s field of view is filled.

    4

    “These markers would be very useful during eclipse states for instance, when Earth obscures the Sun in low Earth orbit, to allow the chaser vehicle to stay fixed on its target, potentially in combination with radio tags.”

    ESA is studying space servicing vehicles to carry out a wide range of roles in orbit, from refurbishment and refuelling to mission disposal at their end of life.

    “The idea itself is not new, but this is the first time we’ve manufactured and tested sample patches, cut into spacecraft multi-layer insulation covering,” comments ESA Clean Space trainee Sébastien Perrault. “For the design we’ve looked into one larger pattern incorporating smaller versions for when the space servicing vehicle comes close enough that its camera’s field of view is filled.

    “These markers would be very useful during eclipse states for instance, when Earth obscures the Sun in low Earth orbit, to allow the chaser vehicle to stay fixed on its target, potentially in combination with radio tags.”

    ESA is studying space servicing vehicles to carry out a wide range of roles in orbit, from refurbishment and refuelling to mission disposal at their end of life.

    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 23, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , ESA, ESA's proposed Hera spaceraft, , NASA's Deep Impact spacecraft 2004, US Double Asteroid Redirect Test or DART spacecraft   

    From European Space Agency: “Earth vs. asteroids: humans strike back” 

    ESA Space For Europe Banner

    From European Space Agency

    22 April 2019

    Incoming asteroids have been scarring our home planet for billions of years. This month humankind left our own mark on an asteroid for the first time: Japan’s Hayabusa2 spacecraft dropped a copper projectile at very high speed in an attempt to form a crater on asteroid Ryugu. A much bigger asteroid impact is planned for the coming decade, involving an international double-spacecraft mission.

    JAXA/Hayabusa 2 Credit: JAXA/Akihiro Ikeshita

    On 5 April, Hayabusa2 released an experiment called the ‘Small Carry-on Impactor’ or SCI for short, carrying a plastic explosive charge that shot a 2.5-kg copper projectile at the surface of the 900-m diameter Ryugu asteroid at a velocity of around 2 km per second. The objective is to uncover subsurface material to be brought back to Earth for detailed analysis.

    “We are expecting it to form a distinctive crater,” comments Patrick Michel, CNRS Director of Research of France’s Côte d’Azur Observatory, serving as co-investigator and interdisciplinary scientist on the Japanese mission. “But we don’t know for sure yet, because Hayabusa2 was moved around to the other side of Ryugu, for maximum safety.

    “The asteroid’s low gravity means it has an escape velocity of a few tens of centimetres per second, so most of the material ejected by the impact would have gone straight out to space. But at the same time it is possible that lower-velocity ejecta might have gone into orbit around Ryugu and might pose a danger to the Hayabusa2 spacecraft.

    “So the plan is to wait until this Thursday, 25 April, to go back and image the crater. We expect that very small fragments will meanwhile have their orbits disrupted by solar radiation pressure – the slow but persistent push of sunlight itself. In the meantime we’ve also been downloading images from a camera called DCAM3 that accompanied the SCI payload to see if it caught a glimpse of the crater and the early ejecta evolution.”

    According to simulations, the crater is predicted to have a roughly 2 m diameter, although the modelling of impacts in such a low-gravity environment is extremely challenging. It should appear darker than the surrounding surface, based on a February touch-and-go sampling operation when Hayabusa2’s thrusters dislodged surface dust to expose blacker material underneath.

    “For us this is an exciting first data point to compare with simulations,” adds Patrick, “but we have a much larger impact to look forward to in future, as part of the forthcoming double-spacecraft Asteroid Impact & Deflection Assessment (AIDA) mission.

    “In late 2022 the US Double Asteroid Redirect Test or DART spacecraft will crash into the smaller of the two Didymos asteroids.

    NASA DART Double Impact Redirection Test vehicle depiction schematic

    As with Hayabusa2’s SCI test it should form a very distinct crater and expose subsurface material in an even lower gravity environment, but its main purpose is to actually divert the orbit of the 160 m diameter ‘Didymoon’ asteroid in a measurable way.”

    The DART spacecraft will have a mass of 550 kg, and will strike Didymoon at 6 km/s. Striking an asteroid five times smaller with a spacecraft more than 200 times larger and moving three times faster should deliver sufficient impact energy to achieve the first ever asteroid deflection experiment for planetary defence.

    3
    DART mission profile. APL – Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory

    A proposed ESA mission called Hera would then visit Didymos to survey the diverted asteroid, measure its mass and perform high-resolution mapping of the crater left by the DART impact.

    DLR Asteroid Framing Camera used on NASA Dawn and ESA HERA missions

    ESA’s proposed Hera spaceraft

    “The actual relation between projectile size, speed and crater size in low gravity environments is still poorly understood,” adds Patrick, also serving as Hera’s lead scientist. “Having both SCI and Hera data on crater sizes in two different impact speed regimes will offer crucial insights.

    “These scaling laws are also crucial on a practical basis, because they underpin how our calculations estimating the efficiency of asteroid deflection are made, taking account the properties of the asteroid material as well as the impact velocity involved.

    “This is why Hera is so important; not only will we have DART’s full-scale test of asteroid deflection in space, but also Hera’s detailed follow-up survey to discover Didymoon’s composition and structure. Hera will also record the precise shape of the DART crater, right down to centimetre scale.

    “So, building on this Hayabusa2 impact experiment, DART and Hera between them will go on to close the gap in asteroid deflection techniques, bringing us to a point where such a method might be used for real.”

    Didymoon will also be by far the smallest asteroid ever explored, so will offer insights into the cohesion of material in an environment whose gravity is more than a million times weaker than our own – an alien situation extremely challenging to simulate.

    In 2004, NASA’s Deep Impact spacecraft launched an impactor into comet Tempel 1. The body was subsequently revisited, but the artificial crater was hard to pinpoint – largely because the comet had flown close to the Sun in the meantime, and its heating would have modified the surface.

    6
    NASA’s Deep Impact hitting a comet

    NASA Deep Impact spacecraft 2004

    Hera will visit Didymoon around four years after DART’s impact, but because it is an inactive asteroid in deep space, no such modification will occur. “The crater will still be ‘fresh’ for Hera,” Patrick concludes.

    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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