Tagged: Mars Exploration Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • richardmitnick 1:31 pm on August 11, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Dragonfly mission to Titan announces big science goals", , Dragonfly will spend a full Titan day (equivalent to 16 Earth days) in one location conducting science experiments and observations and then fly to a new location., Dragonfly’s search for chemical biosignatures will also be wide-ranging., Many of the prebiotic chemical compounds that formed on early Earth are also formed in Titan’s atmosphere., Mars Exploration, No one really knows the local-scale weather patterns on Titan – yet., , The science team will need to make decisions about what the spacecraft will do next based on lessons from the previous location., Titan’s low gravity and thick atmosphere make it an ideal place for an aerial vehicle.   

    From Cornell Chronicle (US) : “Dragonfly mission to Titan announces big science goals” 

    From Cornell Chronicle (US)

    1
    Illustration of Dragonfly mission concept of entry, descent, landing, surface operations,and flight at Titan.
    Credit: Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (US).

    August 10, 2021
    Linda B. Glaser
    cunews@cornell.edu

    Among our solar system’s many moons, Saturn’s Titan stands out – it’s the only moon with a substantial atmosphere and liquid on the surface. It even has a weather system like Earth’s, though it rains methane instead of water. Might it also host some kind of life?

    NASA’s Dragonfly mission, which will send a rotorcraft relocatable lander to Titan’s surface in the mid-2030s, will be the first mission to explore the surface of Titan, and it has big goals.

    On July 19, the Dragonfly science team published “Science Goals and Objectives for the Dragonfly Titan Rotorcraft Relocatable Lander” in The Planetary Science Journal. The paper’s lead author is Jason Barnes, Dragonfly deputy principal investigator and a professor of physics at the University of Idaho (US).

    The goals for Dragonfly include searching for chemical biosignatures; investigating the moon’s active methane cycle; and exploring the prebiotic chemistry currently taking place in Titan’s atmosphere and on its surface.

    2
    NASA’s Dragonfly mission, which will send a rotorcraft relocatable lander to Titan’s surface in the mid-2030s, will be the first mission to explore the surface of Titan.
    Credit: Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (US).

    “Titan represents an explorer’s utopia,” said co-author Alex Hayes, associate professor of astronomy in the College of Arts and Sciences and a Dragonfly co-investigator. “The science questions we have for Titan are very broad because we don’t know much about what is actually going on at the surface yet. For every question we answered during the Cassini mission’s exploration of Titan from Saturn orbit, we gained 10 new ones.”

    Though Cassini has been orbiting Saturn for 13 years, the thick methane atmosphere on Titan made it impossible to reliably identify the materials on its surface. While Cassini’s radar enabled scientists to penetrate the atmosphere and identify Earth-like morphologic structures, including dunes, lakes and mountains, the data could not reveal their composition.

    “In fact, at the time Cassini was launched we didn’t even know if the surface of Titan was a global liquid ocean of methane and ethane, or a solid surface of water ice and solid organics,” said Hayes, also director of the Cornell Center for Astrophysics and Planetary Science and the Spacecraft Planetary Image Facility in A&S.

    The Huygens probe, which landed on Titan in 2005, was designed to either float in a methane/ethane sea or land on a hard surface.

    Its science experiments were predominantly atmospheric, because they weren’t sure it would survive the landing. Dragonfly will be the first mission to explore the surface of Titan and identify the detailed composition of its organic-rich surface.

    “What’s so exciting to me is that we’ve made predictions about what’s going on at the local scale on the surface and how Titan works as a system,” Hayes said, “and Dragonfly’s images and measurements are going to tell us how right or wrong they are.”

    Hayes has been working on Titan for almost the entirety of his career. He’s particularly eager to answer some of the questions raised by Cassini in the area of his specialty: planetary surface processes and surface-atmosphere interactions.

    “My primary science interests are in understanding Titan as a complex Earth-like world and trying to understand the processes that are driving its evolution,” he said. “That involves everything from the methane cycle’s interactions with the surface and the atmosphere, to the routing of material throughout the surface and potential exchange with the interior.”

    Hayes will be contributing significant expertise in another area as well: operational experience from Mars rover missions.

    “The Dragonfly mission benefits from and represents the intersection of Cornell’s substantial history with rover operations and Cassini science,” Hayes said. “It brings those two things together by exploring Titan with a relocatable moving craft.”

    Cornell astronomers are currently involved in the the NASA Mars Science Laboratory (US) and Mars 2020 missions, and led the NASA Mars Exploration Rovers (US) mission. The lessons learned from these rovers on Mars are being relocated to Titan, Hayes said.

    Perseverence
    Mars 2020 Perseverance Rover – NASA Mars annotated.

    Dragonfly will spend a full Titan day (equivalent to 16 Earth days) in one location conducting science experiments and observations and then fly to a new location. The science team will need to make decisions about what the spacecraft will do next based on lessons from the previous location – “which is exactly what the Mars rovers have been doing for decades,” Hayes said.

    Titan’s low gravity (around one-seventh of Earth’s) and thick atmosphere (four times denser than Earth’s) make it an ideal place for an aerial vehicle. Its relatively quiet atmosphere, with lighter winds than Earth, make it even better. And while the science team doesn’t expect rain during Dragonfly’s flights, Hayes noted that no one really knows the local-scale weather patterns on Titan – yet.

    Many of the science questions outlined in the group’s paper address prebiotic chemistry, an area that keenly interests Hayes. Many of the prebiotic chemical compounds that formed on early Earth are also formed in Titan’s atmosphere, and Hayes is eager to see how far down the road of prebiotic chemistry Titan has really gone. Titan’s atmosphere might be a good analogue for what happened on early Earth.

    Dragonfly’s search for chemical biosignatures will also be wide-ranging. In addition to examining Titan’s habitability in general, they’ll be investigating potential chemical biosignatures, past or present, from both water-based life to that which might use liquid hydrocarbons as a solvent, such as within its lakes, seas or aquifers.

    See the full article here .


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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.


    Stem Education Coalition

    Once called “the first American university” by educational historian Frederick Rudolph, Cornell University represents a distinctive mix of eminent scholarship and democratic ideals. Adding practical subjects to the classics and admitting qualified students regardless of nationality, race, social circumstance, gender, or religion was quite a departure when Cornell was founded in 1865.

    Today’s Cornell reflects this heritage of egalitarian excellence. It is home to the nation’s first colleges devoted to hotel administration, industrial and labor relations, and veterinary medicine. Both a private university and the land-grant institution of New York State, Cornell University is the most educationally diverse member of the Ivy League.

    On the Ithaca campus alone nearly 20,000 students representing every state and 120 countries choose from among 4,000 courses in 11 undergraduate, graduate, and professional schools. Many undergraduates participate in a wide range of interdisciplinary programs, play meaningful roles in original research, and study in Cornell programs in Washington, New York City, and the world over.

    Cornell University (US) is a private, statutory, Ivy League and land-grant research university in Ithaca, New York. Founded in 1865 by Ezra Cornell and Andrew Dickson White, the university was intended to teach and make contributions in all fields of knowledge—from the classics to the sciences, and from the theoretical to the applied. These ideals, unconventional for the time, are captured in Cornell’s founding principle, a popular 1868 quotation from founder Ezra Cornell: “I would found an institution where any person can find instruction in any study.”

    The university is broadly organized into seven undergraduate colleges and seven graduate divisions at its main Ithaca campus, with each college and division defining its specific admission standards and academic programs in near autonomy. The university also administers two satellite medical campuses, one in New York City and one in Education City, Qatar, and Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute(US) in New York City, a graduate program that incorporates technology, business, and creative thinking. The program moved from Google’s Chelsea Building in New York City to its permanent campus on Roosevelt Island in September 2017.

    Cornell is one of the few private land grant universities in the United States. Of its seven undergraduate colleges, three are state-supported statutory or contract colleges through the SUNY – The State University of New York (US) system, including its Agricultural and Human Ecology colleges as well as its Industrial Labor Relations school. Of Cornell’s graduate schools, only the veterinary college is state-supported. As a land grant college, Cornell operates a cooperative extension outreach program in every county of New York and receives annual funding from the State of New York for certain educational missions. The Cornell University Ithaca Campus comprises 745 acres, but is much larger when the Cornell Botanic Gardens (more than 4,300 acres) and the numerous university-owned lands in New York City are considered.

    Alumni and affiliates of Cornell have reached many notable and influential positions in politics, media, and science. As of January 2021, 61 Nobel laureates, four Turing Award winners and one Fields Medalist have been affiliated with Cornell. Cornell counts more than 250,000 living alumni, and its former and present faculty and alumni include 34 Marshall Scholars, 33 Rhodes Scholars, 29 Truman Scholars, 7 Gates Scholars, 55 Olympic Medalists, 10 current Fortune 500 CEOs, and 35 billionaire alumni. Since its founding, Cornell has been a co-educational, non-sectarian institution where admission has not been restricted by religion or race. The student body consists of more than 15,000 undergraduate and 9,000 graduate students from all 50 American states and 119 countries.

    History

    Cornell University was founded on April 27, 1865; the New York State (NYS) Senate authorized the university as the state’s land grant institution. Senator Ezra Cornell offered his farm in Ithaca, New York, as a site and $500,000 of his personal fortune as an initial endowment. Fellow senator and educator Andrew Dickson White agreed to be the first president. During the next three years, White oversaw the construction of the first two buildings and traveled to attract students and faculty. The university was inaugurated on October 7, 1868, and 412 men were enrolled the next day.

    Cornell developed as a technologically innovative institution, applying its research to its own campus and to outreach efforts. For example, in 1883 it was one of the first university campuses to use electricity from a water-powered dynamo to light the grounds. Since 1894, Cornell has included colleges that are state funded and fulfill statutory requirements; it has also administered research and extension activities that have been jointly funded by state and federal matching programs.

    Cornell has had active alumni since its earliest classes. It was one of the first universities to include alumni-elected representatives on its Board of Trustees. Cornell was also among the Ivies that had heightened student activism during the 1960s related to cultural issues; civil rights; and opposition to the Vietnam War, with protests and occupations resulting in the resignation of Cornell’s president and the restructuring of university governance. Today the university has more than 4,000 courses. Cornell is also known for the Residential Club Fire of 1967, a fire in the Residential Club building that killed eight students and one professor.

    Since 2000, Cornell has been expanding its international programs. In 2004, the university opened the Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar. It has partnerships with institutions in India, Singapore, and the People’s Republic of China. Former president Jeffrey S. Lehman described the university, with its high international profile, a “transnational university”. On March 9, 2004, Cornell and Stanford University(US) laid the cornerstone for a new ‘Bridging the Rift Center’ to be built and jointly operated for education on the Israel–Jordan border.

    Research

    Cornell, a research university, is ranked fourth in the world in producing the largest number of graduates who go on to pursue PhDs in engineering or the natural sciences at American institutions, and fifth in the world in producing graduates who pursue PhDs at American institutions in any field. Research is a central element of the university’s mission; in 2009 Cornell spent $671 million on science and engineering research and development, the 16th highest in the United States. Cornell is classified among “R1: Doctoral Universities – Very high research activity”.

    For the 2016–17 fiscal year, the university spent $984.5 million on research. Federal sources constitute the largest source of research funding, with total federal investment of $438.2 million. The agencies contributing the largest share of that investment are the Department of Health and Human Services and the National Science Foundation(US), accounting for 49.6% and 24.4% of all federal investment, respectively. Cornell was on the top-ten list of U.S. universities receiving the most patents in 2003, and was one of the nation’s top five institutions in forming start-up companies. In 2004–05, Cornell received 200 invention disclosures; filed 203 U.S. patent applications; completed 77 commercial license agreements; and distributed royalties of more than $4.1 million to Cornell units and inventors.

    Since 1962, Cornell has been involved in unmanned missions to Mars. In the 21st century, Cornell had a hand in the Mars Exploration Rover Mission. Cornell’s Steve Squyres, Principal Investigator for the Athena Science Payload, led the selection of the landing zones and requested data collection features for the Spirit and Opportunity rovers. NASA-JPL/Caltech(US) engineers took those requests and designed the rovers to meet them. The rovers, both of which have operated long past their original life expectancies, are responsible for the discoveries that were awarded 2004 Breakthrough of the Year honors by Science. Control of the Mars rovers has shifted between National Aeronautics and Space Administration(US)’s JPL-Caltech (US) and Cornell’s Space Sciences Building.

    Further, Cornell researchers discovered the rings around the planet Uranus, and Cornell built and operated the telescope at Arecibo Observatory located in Arecibo, Puerto Rico(US) until 2011, when they transferred the operations to SRI International, the Universities Space Research Association (US) and the Metropolitan University of Puerto Rico [Universidad Metropolitana de Puerto Rico](US).

    The Automotive Crash Injury Research Project was begun in 1952. It pioneered the use of crash testing, originally using corpses rather than dummies. The project discovered that improved door locks; energy-absorbing steering wheels; padded dashboards; and seat belts could prevent an extraordinary percentage of injuries.

    In the early 1980s, Cornell deployed the first IBM 3090-400VF and coupled two IBM 3090-600E systems to investigate coarse-grained parallel computing. In 1984, the National Science Foundation began work on establishing five new supercomputer centers, including the Cornell Center for Advanced Computing, to provide high-speed computing resources for research within the United States. As an National Science Foundation (US) center, Cornell deployed the first IBM Scalable Parallel supercomputer.

    In the 1990s, Cornell developed scheduling software and deployed the first supercomputer built by Dell. Most recently, Cornell deployed Red Cloud, one of the first cloud computing services designed specifically for research. Today, the center is a partner on the National Science Foundation XSEDE-Extreme Science Engineering Discovery Environment supercomputing program, providing coordination for XSEDE architecture and design, systems reliability testing, and online training using the Cornell Virtual Workshop learning platform.

    Cornell scientists have researched the fundamental particles of nature for more than 70 years. Cornell physicists, such as Hans Bethe, contributed not only to the foundations of nuclear physics but also participated in the Manhattan Project. In the 1930s, Cornell built the second cyclotron in the United States. In the 1950s, Cornell physicists became the first to study synchrotron radiation.

    During the 1990s, the Cornell Electron Storage Ring, located beneath Alumni Field, was the world’s highest-luminosity electron-positron collider. After building the synchrotron at Cornell, Robert R. Wilson took a leave of absence to become the founding director of DOE’s Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory(US), which involved designing and building the largest accelerator in the United States.

    Cornell’s accelerator and high-energy physics groups are involved in the design of the proposed ILC-International Linear Collider(JP) and plan to participate in its construction and operation. The International Linear Collider(JP), to be completed in the late 2010s, will complement the CERN Large Hadron Collider(CH) and shed light on questions such as the identity of dark matter and the existence of extra dimensions.

    As part of its research work, Cornell has established several research collaborations with universities around the globe. For example, a partnership with the University of Sussex(UK) (including the Institute of Development Studies at Sussex) allows research and teaching collaboration between the two institutions.

     
  • richardmitnick 10:26 am on August 7, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Crater trio", , Mars Exploration,   

    From European Space Agency [Agence spatiale européenne] [Europäische Weltraumorganisation](EU) : “Crater trio” 

    ESA Space For Europe Banner

    European Space Agency – United Space in Europe (EU)

    From European Space Agency [Agence spatiale européenne] [Europäische Weltraumorganisation](EU)

    06/08/2021

    1

    This image was taken on 22 March 2021 in the Lunae Planum region [16.74°N, 300.9°E] of Mars by the CaSSIS camera on the ESA-Roscosmos ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO).

    This region is known to be covered by large lava deposits probably from the nearby Tharsis Montes volcanoes. In this image three medium-sized impact craters take centre stage, with many smaller impacts pockmarking the scene. Zooming into the larger craters it is possible to see layers in the inner rim that could represent the successive accumulation of lava flows in this area.

    TGO’s full science mission began in 2018. The spacecraft is not only returning spectacular images, but also providing the best ever inventory of the planet’s atmospheric gases, and mapping the planet’s surface for water-rich locations. It will also provide data relay services for the second ExoMars mission comprising the Rosalind Franklin rover and Kazachok platform, when it arrives on Mars in 2023.

    ©ESA/Roscosmos/CaSSIS, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO

    See the full article here .


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


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    European Space Agency [Agence spatiale européenne][Europäische Weltraumorganisation](EU), 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 (NL) 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.

    ESA’s space flight programme includes human spaceflight (mainly through participation in the International Space Station program); the launch and operation of uncrewed exploration missions to other planets and the Moon; Earth observation, science and telecommunication; designing launch vehicles; and maintaining a major spaceport, the The Guiana Space Centre [Centre Spatial Guyanais; CSG also called Europe’s Spaceport) at Kourou, French Guiana. The main European launch vehicle Ariane 5 is operated through Arianespace with ESA sharing in the costs of launching and further developing this launch vehicle. The agency is also working with NASA to manufacture the Orion Spacecraft service module that will fly on the Space Launch System.

    The agency’s facilities are distributed among the following centres:

    ESA European Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC) (NL)in Noordwijk, Netherlands;
    ESA Centre for Earth Observation [ESRIN] (IT) in Frascati, Italy;
    ESA Mission Control ESA European Space Operations Center [ESOC](DE) is in Darmstadt, Germany;
    ESA -European Astronaut Centre [EAC] trains astronauts for future missions is situated in Cologne, Germany;
    European Centre for Space Applications and Telecommunications (ECSAT) (UK), a research institute created in 2009, is located in Harwell, England;
    ESA – European Space Astronomy Centre [ESAC] (ES) is located in Villanueva de la Cañada, Madrid, Spain.
    European Space Agency Science Programme is a long-term programme of space science and space exploration missions.

    Foundation

    After World War II, many European scientists left Western Europe in order to work with the United States. Although the 1950s boom made it possible for Western European countries to invest in research and specifically in space-related activities, Western European scientists realized solely national projects would not be able to compete with the two main superpowers. In 1958, only months after the Sputnik shock, Edoardo Amaldi (Italy) and Pierre Auger (France), two prominent members of the Western European scientific community, met to discuss the foundation of a common Western European space agency. The meeting was attended by scientific representatives from eight countries, including Harrie Massey (United Kingdom).

    The Western European nations decided to have two agencies: one concerned with developing a launch system, ELDO (European Launch Development Organization), and the other the precursor of the European Space Agency, ESRO (European Space Research Organisation). The latter was established on 20 March 1964 by an agreement signed on 14 June 1962. From 1968 to 1972, ESRO launched seven research satellites.

    ESA in its current form was founded with the ESA Convention in 1975, when ESRO was merged with ELDO. ESA had ten founding member states: Belgium, Denmark, France, West Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. These signed the ESA Convention in 1975 and deposited the instruments of ratification by 1980, when the convention came into force. During this interval the agency functioned in a de facto fashion. ESA launched its first major scientific mission in 1975, Cos-B, a space probe monitoring gamma-ray emissions in the universe, which was first worked on by ESRO.

    ESA50 Logo large

    Later activities

    ESA collaborated with National Aeronautics Space Agency on the International Ultraviolet Explorer (IUE), the world’s first high-orbit telescope, which was launched in 1978 and operated successfully for 18 years.

    A number of successful Earth-orbit projects followed, and in 1986 ESA began Giotto, its first deep-space mission, to study the comets Halley and Grigg–Skjellerup. Hipparcos, a star-mapping mission, was launched in 1989 and in the 1990s SOHO, Ulysses and the Hubble Space Telescope were all jointly carried out with NASA. Later scientific missions in cooperation with NASA include the Cassini–Huygens space probe, to which ESA contributed by building the Titan landing module Huygens.

    As the successor of ELDO, ESA has also constructed rockets for scientific and commercial payloads. Ariane 1, launched in 1979, carried mostly commercial payloads into orbit from 1984 onward. The next two versions of the Ariane rocket were intermediate stages in the development of a more advanced launch system, the Ariane 4, which operated between 1988 and 2003 and established ESA as the world leader in commercial space launches in the 1990s. Although the succeeding Ariane 5 experienced a failure on its first flight, it has since firmly established itself within the heavily competitive commercial space launch market with 82 successful launches until 2018. The successor launch vehicle of Ariane 5, the Ariane 6, is under development and is envisioned to enter service in the 2020s.

    The beginning of the new millennium saw ESA become, along with agencies like National Aeronautics Space Agency(US), Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, Indian Space Research Organisation, the Canadian Space Agency(CA) and Roscosmos(RU), one of the major participants in scientific space research. Although ESA had relied on co-operation with NASA in previous decades, especially the 1990s, changed circumstances (such as tough legal restrictions on information sharing by the United States military) led to decisions to rely more on itself and on co-operation with Russia. A 2011 press issue thus stated:

    “Russia is ESA’s first partner in its efforts to ensure long-term access to space. There is a framework agreement between ESA and the government of the Russian Federation on cooperation and partnership in the exploration and use of outer space for peaceful purposes, and cooperation is already underway in two different areas of launcher activity that will bring benefits to both partners.”

    Notable ESA programmes include SMART-1, a probe testing cutting-edge space propulsion technology, the Mars Express and Venus Express missions, as well as the development of the Ariane 5 rocket and its role in the ISS partnership. ESA maintains its scientific and research projects mainly for astronomy-space missions such as Corot, launched on 27 December 2006, a milestone in the search for exoplanets.

    On 21 January 2019, ArianeGroup and Arianespace announced a one-year contract with ESA to study and prepare for a mission to mine the Moon for lunar regolith.

    Mission

    The treaty establishing the European Space Agency reads:

    The purpose of the Agency shall be to provide for and to promote, for exclusively peaceful purposes, cooperation among European States in space research and technology and their space applications, with a view to their being used for scientific purposes and for operational space applications systems…

    ESA is responsible for setting a unified space and related industrial policy, recommending space objectives to the member states, and integrating national programs like satellite development, into the European program as much as possible.

    Jean-Jacques Dordain – ESA’s Director General (2003–2015) – outlined the European Space Agency’s mission in a 2003 interview:

    “Today space activities have pursued the benefit of citizens, and citizens are asking for a better quality of life on Earth. They want greater security and economic wealth, but they also want to pursue their dreams, to increase their knowledge, and they want younger people to be attracted to the pursuit of science and technology. I think that space can do all of this: it can produce a higher quality of life, better security, more economic wealth, and also fulfill our citizens’ dreams and thirst for knowledge, and attract the young generation. This is the reason space exploration is an integral part of overall space activities. It has always been so, and it will be even more important in the future.”

    Activities

    According to the ESA website, the activities are:

    Observing the Earth
    Human Spaceflight
    Launchers
    Navigation
    Space Science
    Space Engineering & Technology
    Operations
    Telecommunications & Integrated Applications
    Preparing for the Future
    Space for Climate

    Programmes

    Copernicus Programme
    Cosmic Vision
    ExoMars
    FAST20XX
    Galileo
    Horizon 2000
    Living Planet Programme

    Mandatory

    Every member country must contribute to these programmes:

    Technology Development Element Programme
    Science Core Technology Programme
    General Study Programme
    European Component Initiative

    Optional

    Depending on their individual choices the countries can contribute to the following programmes, listed according to:

    Launchers
    Earth Observation
    Human Spaceflight and Exploration
    Telecommunications
    Navigation
    Space Situational Awareness
    Technology

    ESA_LAB@

    ESA has formed partnerships with universities. ESA_LAB@ refers to research laboratories at universities. Currently there are ESA_LAB@

    Technische Universität Darmstadt
    École des hautes études commerciales de Paris (HEC Paris)
    Université de recherche Paris Sciences et Lettres
    University of Central Lancashire

    Membership and contribution to ESA

    By 2015, ESA was an intergovernmental organisation of 22 member states. Member states participate to varying degrees in the mandatory (25% of total expenditures in 2008) and optional space programmes (75% of total expenditures in 2008). The 2008 budget amounted to €3.0 billion whilst the 2009 budget amounted to €3.6 billion. The total budget amounted to about €3.7 billion in 2010, €3.99 billion in 2011, €4.02 billion in 2012, €4.28 billion in 2013, €4.10 billion in 2014 and €4.33 billion in 2015. English is the main language within ESA. Additionally, official documents are also provided in German and documents regarding the Spacelab are also provided in Italian. If found appropriate, the agency may conduct its correspondence in any language of a member state.

    Non-full member states
    Slovenia
    Since 2016, Slovenia has been an associated member of the ESA.

    Latvia
    Latvia became the second current associated member on 30 June 2020, when the Association Agreement was signed by ESA Director Jan Wörner and the Minister of Education and Science of Latvia, Ilga Šuplinska in Riga. The Saeima ratified it on July 27. Previously associated members were Austria, Norway and Finland, all of which later joined ESA as full members.

    Canada
    Since 1 January 1979, Canada has had the special status of a Cooperating State within ESA. By virtue of this accord, the Canadian Space Agency takes part in ESA’s deliberative bodies and decision-making and also in ESA’s programmes and activities. Canadian firms can bid for and receive contracts to work on programmes. The accord has a provision ensuring a fair industrial return to Canada. The most recent Cooperation Agreement was signed on 15 December 2010 with a term extending to 2020. For 2014, Canada’s annual assessed contribution to the ESA general budget was €6,059,449 (CAD$8,559,050). For 2017, Canada has increased its annual contribution to €21,600,000 (CAD$30,000,000).

    Enlargement

    After the decision of the ESA Council of 21/22 March 2001, the procedure for accession of the European states was detailed as described the document titled The Plan for European Co-operating States (PECS). Nations that want to become a full member of ESA do so in 3 stages. First a Cooperation Agreement is signed between the country and ESA. In this stage, the country has very limited financial responsibilities. If a country wants to co-operate more fully with ESA, it signs a European Cooperating State (ECS) Agreement. The ECS Agreement makes companies based in the country eligible for participation in ESA procurements. The country can also participate in all ESA programmes, except for the Basic Technology Research Programme. While the financial contribution of the country concerned increases, it is still much lower than that of a full member state. The agreement is normally followed by a Plan For European Cooperating State (or PECS Charter). This is a 5-year programme of basic research and development activities aimed at improving the nation’s space industry capacity. At the end of the 5-year period, the country can either begin negotiations to become a full member state or an associated state or sign a new PECS Charter.

    During the Ministerial Meeting in December 2014, ESA ministers approved a resolution calling for discussions to begin with Israel, Australia and South Africa on future association agreements. The ministers noted that “concrete cooperation is at an advanced stage” with these nations and that “prospects for mutual benefits are existing”.

    A separate space exploration strategy resolution calls for further co-operation with the United States, Russia and China on “LEO exploration, including a continuation of ISS cooperation and the development of a robust plan for the coordinated use of space transportation vehicles and systems for exploration purposes, participation in robotic missions for the exploration of the Moon, the robotic exploration of Mars, leading to a broad Mars Sample Return mission in which Europe should be involved as a full partner, and human missions beyond LEO in the longer term.”

    Relationship with the European Union

    The political perspective of the European Union (EU) was to make ESA an agency of the EU by 2014, although this date was not met. The EU member states provide most of ESA’s funding, and they are all either full ESA members or observers.

    History

    At the time ESA was formed, its main goals did not encompass human space flight; rather it considered itself to be primarily a scientific research organisation for uncrewed space exploration in contrast to its American and Soviet counterparts. It is therefore not surprising that the first non-Soviet European in space was not an ESA astronaut on a European space craft; it was Czechoslovak Vladimír Remek who in 1978 became the first non-Soviet or American in space (the first man in space being Yuri Gagarin of the Soviet Union) – on a Soviet Soyuz spacecraft, followed by the Pole Mirosław Hermaszewski and East German Sigmund Jähn in the same year. This Soviet co-operation programme, known as Intercosmos, primarily involved the participation of Eastern bloc countries. In 1982, however, Jean-Loup Chrétien became the first non-Communist Bloc astronaut on a flight to the Soviet Salyut 7 space station.

    Because Chrétien did not officially fly into space as an ESA astronaut, but rather as a member of the French CNES astronaut corps, the German Ulf Merbold is considered the first ESA astronaut to fly into space. He participated in the STS-9 Space Shuttle mission that included the first use of the European-built Spacelab in 1983. STS-9 marked the beginning of an extensive ESA/NASA joint partnership that included dozens of space flights of ESA astronauts in the following years. Some of these missions with Spacelab were fully funded and organizationally and scientifically controlled by ESA (such as two missions by Germany and one by Japan) with European astronauts as full crew members rather than guests on board. Beside paying for Spacelab flights and seats on the shuttles, ESA continued its human space flight co-operation with the Soviet Union and later Russia, including numerous visits to Mir.

    During the latter half of the 1980s, European human space flights changed from being the exception to routine and therefore, in 1990, the European Astronaut Centre in Cologne, Germany was established. It selects and trains prospective astronauts and is responsible for the co-ordination with international partners, especially with regard to the International Space Station. As of 2006, the ESA astronaut corps officially included twelve members, including nationals from most large European countries except the United Kingdom.

    In the summer of 2008, ESA started to recruit new astronauts so that final selection would be due in spring 2009. Almost 10,000 people registered as astronaut candidates before registration ended in June 2008. 8,413 fulfilled the initial application criteria. Of the applicants, 918 were chosen to take part in the first stage of psychological testing, which narrowed down the field to 192. After two-stage psychological tests and medical evaluation in early 2009, as well as formal interviews, six new members of the European Astronaut Corps were selected – five men and one woman.

    Cooperation with other countries and organisations

    ESA has signed co-operation agreements with the following states that currently neither plan to integrate as tightly with ESA institutions as Canada, nor envision future membership of ESA: Argentina, Brazil, China, India (for the Chandrayan mission), Russia and Turkey.

    Additionally, ESA has joint projects with the European Union, NASA of the United States and is participating in the International Space Station together with the United States (NASA), Russia and Japan (JAXA).

    European Union
    ESA and EU member states
    ESA-only members
    EU-only members

    ESA is not an agency or body of the European Union (EU), and has non-EU countries (Norway, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom) as members. There are however ties between the two, with various agreements in place and being worked on, to define the legal status of ESA with regard to the EU.

    There are common goals between ESA and the EU. ESA has an EU liaison office in Brussels. On certain projects, the EU and ESA co-operate, such as the upcoming Galileo satellite navigation system. Space policy has since December 2009 been an area for voting in the European Council. Under the European Space Policy of 2007, the EU, ESA and its Member States committed themselves to increasing co-ordination of their activities and programmes and to organising their respective roles relating to space.

    The Lisbon Treaty of 2009 reinforces the case for space in Europe and strengthens the role of ESA as an R&D space agency. Article 189 of the Treaty gives the EU a mandate to elaborate a European space policy and take related measures, and provides that the EU should establish appropriate relations with ESA.

    Former Italian astronaut Umberto Guidoni, during his tenure as a Member of the European Parliament from 2004 to 2009, stressed the importance of the European Union as a driving force for space exploration, “…since other players are coming up such as India and China it is becoming ever more important that Europeans can have an independent access to space. We have to invest more into space research and technology in order to have an industry capable of competing with other international players.”

    The first EU-ESA International Conference on Human Space Exploration took place in Prague on 22 and 23 October 2009. A road map which would lead to a common vision and strategic planning in the area of space exploration was discussed. Ministers from all 29 EU and ESA members as well as members of parliament were in attendance.

    National space organisations of member states:

    The Centre National d’Études Spatiales(FR) (CNES) (National Centre for Space Study) is the French government space agency (administratively, a “public establishment of industrial and commercial character”). Its headquarters are in central Paris. CNES is the main participant on the Ariane project. Indeed, CNES designed and tested all Ariane family rockets (mainly from its centre in Évry near Paris)
    The UK Space Agency is a partnership of the UK government departments which are active in space. Through the UK Space Agency, the partners provide delegates to represent the UK on the various ESA governing bodies. Each partner funds its own programme.
    The Italian Space Agency A.S.I. – Agenzia Spaziale Italiana was founded in 1988 to promote, co-ordinate and conduct space activities in Italy. Operating under the Ministry of the Universities and of Scientific and Technological Research, the agency cooperates with numerous entities active in space technology and with the president of the Council of Ministers. Internationally, the ASI provides Italy’s delegation to the Council of the European Space Agency and to its subordinate bodies.
    The German Aerospace Center (DLR)[Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt e. V.] is the national research centre for aviation and space flight of the Federal Republic of Germany and of other member states in the Helmholtz Association. Its extensive research and development projects are included in national and international cooperative programmes. In addition to its research projects, the centre is the assigned space agency of Germany bestowing headquarters of German space flight activities and its associates.
    The Instituto Nacional de Técnica Aeroespacial (INTA)(ES) (National Institute for Aerospace Technique) is a Public Research Organization specialised in aerospace research and technology development in Spain. Among other functions, it serves as a platform for space research and acts as a significant testing facility for the aeronautic and space sector in the country.

    National Aeronautics Space Agency(US)

    ESA has a long history of collaboration with NASA. Since ESA’s astronaut corps was formed, the Space Shuttle has been the primary launch vehicle used by ESA’s astronauts to get into space through partnership programmes with NASA. In the 1980s and 1990s, the Spacelab programme was an ESA-NASA joint research programme that had ESA develop and manufacture orbital labs for the Space Shuttle for several flights on which ESA participate with astronauts in experiments.

    In robotic science mission and exploration missions, NASA has been ESA’s main partner. Cassini–Huygens was a joint NASA-ESA mission, along with the Infrared Space Observatory, INTEGRAL, SOHO, and others.

    Also, the Hubble Space Telescope is a joint project of NASA and ESA.

    Future ESA-NASA joint projects include the James Webb Space Telescope and the proposed Laser Interferometer Space Antenna.

    NASA has committed to provide support to ESA’s proposed MarcoPolo-R mission to return an asteroid sample to Earth for further analysis. NASA and ESA will also likely join together for a Mars Sample Return Mission. In October 2020 the ESA entered into a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with NASA to work together on the Artemis program, which will provide an orbiting lunar gateway and also accomplish the first manned lunar landing in 50 years, whose team will include the first woman on the Moon.


    Cooperation with other space agencies

    Since China has started to invest more money into space activities, the Chinese Space Agency(CN) has sought international partnerships. ESA is, beside the Russian Space Agency, one of its most important partners. Two space agencies cooperated in the development of the Double Star Mission. In 2017, ESA sent two astronauts to China for two weeks sea survival training with Chinese astronauts in Yantai, Shandong.

    ESA entered into a major joint venture with Russia in the form of the CSTS, the preparation of French Guiana spaceport for launches of Soyuz-2 rockets and other projects. With India, ESA agreed to send instruments into space aboard the ISRO’s Chandrayaan-1 in 2008. ESA is also co-operating with Japan, the most notable current project in collaboration with JAXA is the BepiColombo mission to Mercury.

    Speaking to reporters at an air show near Moscow in August 2011, ESA head Jean-Jacques Dordain said ESA and Russia’s Roskosmos space agency would “carry out the first flight to Mars together.”

     
  • richardmitnick 9:44 am on August 3, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Science in motion for ExoMars twin rover", , , Mars Exploration,   

    From European Space Agency [Agence spatiale européenne] [Europäische Weltraumorganisation](EU) : “Science in motion for ExoMars twin rover” 

    ESA Space For Europe Banner

    European Space Agency – United Space in Europe (EU)

    From European Space Agency [Agence spatiale européenne] [Europäische Weltraumorganisation](EU)

    02/08/2021

    European Space Agency [Agence spatiale européenne][Europäische Weltraumorganisation](EU)/Roscosmos State Corporation for Space Activities,A.K.A. Roscosmos [Роскосмос] (RU) ExoMars Rosalind Franklin, scheduled for launch in September 2022.

    1
    Rover eyes.
    02/08/2021
    Two stereo cameras at the top and at the bottom of the rover’s mast – NavCam and LocCam – allow the GTM to ‘see’ in three dimensions and identify the rocks and slopes ahead. The cameras guide the rover through safe paths and help avoid hazards.
    Once the rover is on the move, two more sets of cameras – PanCam and CLUPI – come into play to get a whole picture of the site with high resolution imaging. These rover ‘eyes’ send panoramic and close-up images of the terrain to the operators at the Rover Operations Control Centre (ROCC).
    The images are essential to map the geological context and to help the scientists decide where the rover should stop and survey the surface in more detail.
    ©Thales Alenia Space.

    The first science tests for the ExoMars rover replica kicked off after several weeks of driving tests around the Mars Terrain Simulator at the ALTEC premises in Turin, Italy.

    With the locomotion system up and running, it is time now for the rover’s cameras and instruments to scan a Mars-like terrain – both on and under the surface – in search for the best samples.

    The twin of ESA’s Rosalind Franklin rover, also known as The Ground Test Model (GTM), has been busy surveying 64 square metres of terrain in one of Europe’s largest Mars yards, carefully staged with sandy areas and rocks of various sizes, as well as gravity and light simulations to recreate the environment on Mars.

    See, snap, survey

    Imaging comes first. Two stereo cameras at the top and at the bottom of the rover’s mast – NavCam and LocCam – allow the GTM to ‘see’ in three dimensions and identify the rocks and slopes ahead. The cameras guide the rover through safe paths and help avoid hazards.

    Once the rover is on the move, two more sets of cameras – PanCam and CLUPI – come into play to get a whole picture of the site with high resolution imaging. These rover ‘eyes’ send panoramic and close-up images of the terrain to the operators at the Rover Operations Control Centre (ROCC). Teams from Thales Alenia Space and ALTEC worked in synergy with ESA engineers.

    The images are essential to map the geological context and to help the scientists decide where the rover should stop and survey the surface in more detail.

    Choosing the target

    Finding suitable samples involves a lot more than just spotting an outcrop and digging. The rover is equipped with a ground penetrating radar – WISDOM – and a neutron detector – ADRON– to understand what lies beneath the surface.

    The search for evidence of life on Mars is a main objective of the ExoMars 2022 mission.

    If anywhere on Mars, traces of past or present life are most likely to be found underground, where ancient biological signatures may still be preserved from the harsh radiation on the Red Planet.

    Much as archaeologists on Earth excavate sites, WISDOM can work by analysing the area in a grid fashion – by breaking the ground into small squares. The neutron spectrometer in ADRON will work in tandem with the radar to detect water and hydrated minerals below the surface.

    Test cases for Mars

    3
    Monitoring the rover’s moves.
    02/08/2021
    The twin of ESA’s Rosalind Franklin rover, also known as The Ground Test Model (GTM), has been busy surveying 64 square metres of terrain in one of Europe’s largest Mars yards, carefully staged with sandy areas and rocks of various sizes, as well as gravity and light simulations to recreate the environment on Mars, at the Rover Operations Control Centre (ROCC).
    Teams from Thales Alenias Space and ALTEC worked in synergy with ESA engineers. This image of a monitor screen shows the rover from different angles during simulations in July 2021.
    ©Thales Alenia Space.

    Operators are rehearsing all possible mission scenarios to prepare for Rosalind Franklin’s arrival in Oxia Planum on Mars in June 2023.

    The first tests with science in action started with the rover doing a traverse to characterise a sandy and flat area. After roving for a while, the cameras fed the operators with stereo and high-resolution images.

    Once a location deemed intriguing enough to drill for samples is found, it was time to get more information from beneath the surface.

    The ground penetrating radar WISDOM ran its science analysis every 10 cm for 30 seconds. Once the wheeled lab covered five metres, it performed two turns of 90 degrees and started all over again on a new five-metre track. At the end of the test, WISDOM scanned a grid of 25 square metres.

    A second test repeated this sequence, this time around with a much longer drive of eight metres for a more far-reaching science acquisition. And instead of stopping every half a metre, the GTM used WISDOM every metre.

    In both cases, the sequence was completed by the neutron detector, Adron, which took measurements looking for traces of water. Next up was the execution of a complete WISDOM grid of 25 square metres.

    Where to drill?

    These dry runs simulate the sequences the rover will follow on Mars, where the scientists will need to decide which area is worth drilling. Rosalind Franklin is fitted with a drill to extract samples down to a maximum of two metres, deeper than any other rover and a first in Mars exploration.

    As a bonus during this first science dry run, the rover attempted some drilling at various depths and through a layer of sample material selected by the ExoMars team.

    On Mars, the sample collected by the drill will be crushed into a fine powder and delivered to the analytical laboratory at the heart of the rover to analyse its mineralogy and chemistry.

    4
    ExoMars twin rover explores a Mars-like terrain.

    With no summer break for the rover, upcoming tests at the Mars Terrain Simulator will involve the analysis of samples inside the rover’s analytical lab. A suite of instruments – MicrOmega, Raman and MOMA – will study the mineralogical and molecular composition of the soil.

    During the real mission to the Red Planet, the results of this analysis could answer questions about the potential origin, evolution and distribution of life on Mars

    See the full article here .


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


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    European Space Agency [Agence spatiale européenne][Europäische Weltraumorganisation](EU), 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 (NL) 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.

    ESA’s space flight programme includes human spaceflight (mainly through participation in the International Space Station program); the launch and operation of uncrewed exploration missions to other planets and the Moon; Earth observation, science and telecommunication; designing launch vehicles; and maintaining a major spaceport, the The Guiana Space Centre [Centre Spatial Guyanais; CSG also called Europe’s Spaceport) at Kourou, French Guiana. The main European launch vehicle Ariane 5 is operated through Arianespace with ESA sharing in the costs of launching and further developing this launch vehicle. The agency is also working with NASA to manufacture the Orion Spacecraft service module that will fly on the Space Launch System.

    The agency’s facilities are distributed among the following centres:

    ESA European Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC) (NL)in Noordwijk, Netherlands;
    ESA Centre for Earth Observation [ESRIN] (IT) in Frascati, Italy;
    ESA Mission Control ESA European Space Operations Center [ESOC](DE) is in Darmstadt, Germany;
    ESA -European Astronaut Centre [EAC] trains astronauts for future missions is situated in Cologne, Germany;
    European Centre for Space Applications and Telecommunications (ECSAT) (UK), a research institute created in 2009, is located in Harwell, England;
    ESA – European Space Astronomy Centre [ESAC] (ES) is located in Villanueva de la Cañada, Madrid, Spain.
    European Space Agency Science Programme is a long-term programme of space science and space exploration missions.

    Foundation

    After World War II, many European scientists left Western Europe in order to work with the United States. Although the 1950s boom made it possible for Western European countries to invest in research and specifically in space-related activities, Western European scientists realized solely national projects would not be able to compete with the two main superpowers. In 1958, only months after the Sputnik shock, Edoardo Amaldi (Italy) and Pierre Auger (France), two prominent members of the Western European scientific community, met to discuss the foundation of a common Western European space agency. The meeting was attended by scientific representatives from eight countries, including Harrie Massey (United Kingdom).

    The Western European nations decided to have two agencies: one concerned with developing a launch system, ELDO (European Launch Development Organization), and the other the precursor of the European Space Agency, ESRO (European Space Research Organisation). The latter was established on 20 March 1964 by an agreement signed on 14 June 1962. From 1968 to 1972, ESRO launched seven research satellites.

    ESA in its current form was founded with the ESA Convention in 1975, when ESRO was merged with ELDO. ESA had ten founding member states: Belgium, Denmark, France, West Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. These signed the ESA Convention in 1975 and deposited the instruments of ratification by 1980, when the convention came into force. During this interval the agency functioned in a de facto fashion. ESA launched its first major scientific mission in 1975, Cos-B, a space probe monitoring gamma-ray emissions in the universe, which was first worked on by ESRO.

    ESA50 Logo large

    Later activities

    ESA collaborated with National Aeronautics Space Agency on the International Ultraviolet Explorer (IUE), the world’s first high-orbit telescope, which was launched in 1978 and operated successfully for 18 years.

    [caption id="attachment_155846" align="alignnone" width="632"] ESA Infrared Space Observatory.

    A number of successful Earth-orbit projects followed, and in 1986 ESA began Giotto, its first deep-space mission, to study the comets Halley and Grigg–Skjellerup. Hipparcos, a star-mapping mission, was launched in 1989 and in the 1990s SOHO, Ulysses and the Hubble Space Telescope were all jointly carried out with NASA. Later scientific missions in cooperation with NASA include the Cassini–Huygens space probe, to which ESA contributed by building the Titan landing module Huygens.

    As the successor of ELDO, ESA has also constructed rockets for scientific and commercial payloads. Ariane 1, launched in 1979, carried mostly commercial payloads into orbit from 1984 onward. The next two versions of the Ariane rocket were intermediate stages in the development of a more advanced launch system, the Ariane 4, which operated between 1988 and 2003 and established ESA as the world leader in commercial space launches in the 1990s. Although the succeeding Ariane 5 experienced a failure on its first flight, it has since firmly established itself within the heavily competitive commercial space launch market with 82 successful launches until 2018. The successor launch vehicle of Ariane 5, the Ariane 6, is under development and is envisioned to enter service in the 2020s.

    The beginning of the new millennium saw ESA become, along with agencies like National Aeronautics Space Agency(US), Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, Indian Space Research Organisation, the Canadian Space Agency(CA) and Roscosmos(RU), one of the major participants in scientific space research. Although ESA had relied on co-operation with NASA in previous decades, especially the 1990s, changed circumstances (such as tough legal restrictions on information sharing by the United States military) led to decisions to rely more on itself and on co-operation with Russia. A 2011 press issue thus stated:

    “Russia is ESA’s first partner in its efforts to ensure long-term access to space. There is a framework agreement between ESA and the government of the Russian Federation on cooperation and partnership in the exploration and use of outer space for peaceful purposes, and cooperation is already underway in two different areas of launcher activity that will bring benefits to both partners.”

    Notable ESA programmes include SMART-1, a probe testing cutting-edge space propulsion technology, the Mars Express and Venus Express missions, as well as the development of the Ariane 5 rocket and its role in the ISS partnership. ESA maintains its scientific and research projects mainly for astronomy-space missions such as Corot, launched on 27 December 2006, a milestone in the search for exoplanets.

    On 21 January 2019, ArianeGroup and Arianespace announced a one-year contract with ESA to study and prepare for a mission to mine the Moon for lunar regolith.

    Mission

    The treaty establishing the European Space Agency reads:

    The purpose of the Agency shall be to provide for and to promote, for exclusively peaceful purposes, cooperation among European States in space research and technology and their space applications, with a view to their being used for scientific purposes and for operational space applications systems…

    ESA is responsible for setting a unified space and related industrial policy, recommending space objectives to the member states, and integrating national programs like satellite development, into the European program as much as possible.

    Jean-Jacques Dordain – ESA’s Director General (2003–2015) – outlined the European Space Agency’s mission in a 2003 interview:

    “Today space activities have pursued the benefit of citizens, and citizens are asking for a better quality of life on Earth. They want greater security and economic wealth, but they also want to pursue their dreams, to increase their knowledge, and they want younger people to be attracted to the pursuit of science and technology. I think that space can do all of this: it can produce a higher quality of life, better security, more economic wealth, and also fulfill our citizens’ dreams and thirst for knowledge, and attract the young generation. This is the reason space exploration is an integral part of overall space activities. It has always been so, and it will be even more important in the future.”

    Activities

    According to the ESA website, the activities are:

    Observing the Earth
    Human Spaceflight
    Launchers
    Navigation
    Space Science
    Space Engineering & Technology
    Operations
    Telecommunications & Integrated Applications
    Preparing for the Future
    Space for Climate

    Programmes

    Copernicus Programme
    Cosmic Vision
    ExoMars
    FAST20XX
    Galileo
    Horizon 2000
    Living Planet Programme

    Mandatory

    Every member country must contribute to these programmes:

    Technology Development Element Programme
    Science Core Technology Programme
    General Study Programme
    European Component Initiative

    Optional

    Depending on their individual choices the countries can contribute to the following programmes, listed according to:

    Launchers
    Earth Observation
    Human Spaceflight and Exploration
    Telecommunications
    Navigation
    Space Situational Awareness
    Technology

    ESA_LAB@

    ESA has formed partnerships with universities. ESA_LAB@ refers to research laboratories at universities. Currently there are ESA_LAB@

    Technische Universität Darmstadt
    École des hautes études commerciales de Paris (HEC Paris)
    Université de recherche Paris Sciences et Lettres
    University of Central Lancashire

    Membership and contribution to ESA

    By 2015, ESA was an intergovernmental organisation of 22 member states. Member states participate to varying degrees in the mandatory (25% of total expenditures in 2008) and optional space programmes (75% of total expenditures in 2008). The 2008 budget amounted to €3.0 billion whilst the 2009 budget amounted to €3.6 billion. The total budget amounted to about €3.7 billion in 2010, €3.99 billion in 2011, €4.02 billion in 2012, €4.28 billion in 2013, €4.10 billion in 2014 and €4.33 billion in 2015. English is the main language within ESA. Additionally, official documents are also provided in German and documents regarding the Spacelab are also provided in Italian. If found appropriate, the agency may conduct its correspondence in any language of a member state.

    Non-full member states
    Slovenia
    Since 2016, Slovenia has been an associated member of the ESA.

    Latvia
    Latvia became the second current associated member on 30 June 2020, when the Association Agreement was signed by ESA Director Jan Wörner and the Minister of Education and Science of Latvia, Ilga Šuplinska in Riga. The Saeima ratified it on July 27. Previously associated members were Austria, Norway and Finland, all of which later joined ESA as full members.

    Canada
    Since 1 January 1979, Canada has had the special status of a Cooperating State within ESA. By virtue of this accord, the Canadian Space Agency takes part in ESA’s deliberative bodies and decision-making and also in ESA’s programmes and activities. Canadian firms can bid for and receive contracts to work on programmes. The accord has a provision ensuring a fair industrial return to Canada. The most recent Cooperation Agreement was signed on 15 December 2010 with a term extending to 2020. For 2014, Canada’s annual assessed contribution to the ESA general budget was €6,059,449 (CAD$8,559,050). For 2017, Canada has increased its annual contribution to €21,600,000 (CAD$30,000,000).

    Enlargement

    After the decision of the ESA Council of 21/22 March 2001, the procedure for accession of the European states was detailed as described the document titled The Plan for European Co-operating States (PECS). Nations that want to become a full member of ESA do so in 3 stages. First a Cooperation Agreement is signed between the country and ESA. In this stage, the country has very limited financial responsibilities. If a country wants to co-operate more fully with ESA, it signs a European Cooperating State (ECS) Agreement. The ECS Agreement makes companies based in the country eligible for participation in ESA procurements. The country can also participate in all ESA programmes, except for the Basic Technology Research Programme. While the financial contribution of the country concerned increases, it is still much lower than that of a full member state. The agreement is normally followed by a Plan For European Cooperating State (or PECS Charter). This is a 5-year programme of basic research and development activities aimed at improving the nation’s space industry capacity. At the end of the 5-year period, the country can either begin negotiations to become a full member state or an associated state or sign a new PECS Charter.

    During the Ministerial Meeting in December 2014, ESA ministers approved a resolution calling for discussions to begin with Israel, Australia and South Africa on future association agreements. The ministers noted that “concrete cooperation is at an advanced stage” with these nations and that “prospects for mutual benefits are existing”.

    A separate space exploration strategy resolution calls for further co-operation with the United States, Russia and China on “LEO exploration, including a continuation of ISS cooperation and the development of a robust plan for the coordinated use of space transportation vehicles and systems for exploration purposes, participation in robotic missions for the exploration of the Moon, the robotic exploration of Mars, leading to a broad Mars Sample Return mission in which Europe should be involved as a full partner, and human missions beyond LEO in the longer term.”

    Relationship with the European Union

    The political perspective of the European Union (EU) was to make ESA an agency of the EU by 2014, although this date was not met. The EU member states provide most of ESA’s funding, and they are all either full ESA members or observers.

    History

    At the time ESA was formed, its main goals did not encompass human space flight; rather it considered itself to be primarily a scientific research organisation for uncrewed space exploration in contrast to its American and Soviet counterparts. It is therefore not surprising that the first non-Soviet European in space was not an ESA astronaut on a European space craft; it was Czechoslovak Vladimír Remek who in 1978 became the first non-Soviet or American in space (the first man in space being Yuri Gagarin of the Soviet Union) – on a Soviet Soyuz spacecraft, followed by the Pole Mirosław Hermaszewski and East German Sigmund Jähn in the same year. This Soviet co-operation programme, known as Intercosmos, primarily involved the participation of Eastern bloc countries. In 1982, however, Jean-Loup Chrétien became the first non-Communist Bloc astronaut on a flight to the Soviet Salyut 7 space station.

    Because Chrétien did not officially fly into space as an ESA astronaut, but rather as a member of the French CNES astronaut corps, the German Ulf Merbold is considered the first ESA astronaut to fly into space. He participated in the STS-9 Space Shuttle mission that included the first use of the European-built Spacelab in 1983. STS-9 marked the beginning of an extensive ESA/NASA joint partnership that included dozens of space flights of ESA astronauts in the following years. Some of these missions with Spacelab were fully funded and organizationally and scientifically controlled by ESA (such as two missions by Germany and one by Japan) with European astronauts as full crew members rather than guests on board. Beside paying for Spacelab flights and seats on the shuttles, ESA continued its human space flight co-operation with the Soviet Union and later Russia, including numerous visits to Mir.

    During the latter half of the 1980s, European human space flights changed from being the exception to routine and therefore, in 1990, the European Astronaut Centre in Cologne, Germany was established. It selects and trains prospective astronauts and is responsible for the co-ordination with international partners, especially with regard to the International Space Station. As of 2006, the ESA astronaut corps officially included twelve members, including nationals from most large European countries except the United Kingdom.

    In the summer of 2008, ESA started to recruit new astronauts so that final selection would be due in spring 2009. Almost 10,000 people registered as astronaut candidates before registration ended in June 2008. 8,413 fulfilled the initial application criteria. Of the applicants, 918 were chosen to take part in the first stage of psychological testing, which narrowed down the field to 192. After two-stage psychological tests and medical evaluation in early 2009, as well as formal interviews, six new members of the European Astronaut Corps were selected – five men and one woman.

    Cooperation with other countries and organisations

    ESA has signed co-operation agreements with the following states that currently neither plan to integrate as tightly with ESA institutions as Canada, nor envision future membership of ESA: Argentina, Brazil, China, India (for the Chandrayan mission), Russia and Turkey.

    Additionally, ESA has joint projects with the European Union, NASA of the United States and is participating in the International Space Station together with the United States (NASA), Russia and Japan (JAXA).

    European Union
    ESA and EU member states
    ESA-only members
    EU-only members

    ESA is not an agency or body of the European Union (EU), and has non-EU countries (Norway, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom) as members. There are however ties between the two, with various agreements in place and being worked on, to define the legal status of ESA with regard to the EU.

    There are common goals between ESA and the EU. ESA has an EU liaison office in Brussels. On certain projects, the EU and ESA co-operate, such as the upcoming Galileo satellite navigation system. Space policy has since December 2009 been an area for voting in the European Council. Under the European Space Policy of 2007, the EU, ESA and its Member States committed themselves to increasing co-ordination of their activities and programmes and to organising their respective roles relating to space.

    The Lisbon Treaty of 2009 reinforces the case for space in Europe and strengthens the role of ESA as an R&D space agency. Article 189 of the Treaty gives the EU a mandate to elaborate a European space policy and take related measures, and provides that the EU should establish appropriate relations with ESA.

    Former Italian astronaut Umberto Guidoni, during his tenure as a Member of the European Parliament from 2004 to 2009, stressed the importance of the European Union as a driving force for space exploration, “…since other players are coming up such as India and China it is becoming ever more important that Europeans can have an independent access to space. We have to invest more into space research and technology in order to have an industry capable of competing with other international players.”

    The first EU-ESA International Conference on Human Space Exploration took place in Prague on 22 and 23 October 2009. A road map which would lead to a common vision and strategic planning in the area of space exploration was discussed. Ministers from all 29 EU and ESA members as well as members of parliament were in attendance.

    National space organisations of member states:

    The Centre National d’Études Spatiales(FR) (CNES) (National Centre for Space Study) is the French government space agency (administratively, a “public establishment of industrial and commercial character”). Its headquarters are in central Paris. CNES is the main participant on the Ariane project. Indeed, CNES designed and tested all Ariane family rockets (mainly from its centre in Évry near Paris)
    The UK Space Agency is a partnership of the UK government departments which are active in space. Through the UK Space Agency, the partners provide delegates to represent the UK on the various ESA governing bodies. Each partner funds its own programme.
    The Italian Space Agency A.S.I. – Agenzia Spaziale Italiana was founded in 1988 to promote, co-ordinate and conduct space activities in Italy. Operating under the Ministry of the Universities and of Scientific and Technological Research, the agency cooperates with numerous entities active in space technology and with the president of the Council of Ministers. Internationally, the ASI provides Italy’s delegation to the Council of the European Space Agency and to its subordinate bodies.
    The German Aerospace Center (DLR)[Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt e. V.] is the national research centre for aviation and space flight of the Federal Republic of Germany and of other member states in the Helmholtz Association. Its extensive research and development projects are included in national and international cooperative programmes. In addition to its research projects, the centre is the assigned space agency of Germany bestowing headquarters of German space flight activities and its associates.
    The Instituto Nacional de Técnica Aeroespacial (INTA)(ES) (National Institute for Aerospace Technique) is a Public Research Organization specialised in aerospace research and technology development in Spain. Among other functions, it serves as a platform for space research and acts as a significant testing facility for the aeronautic and space sector in the country.

    National Aeronautics Space Agency(US)

    ESA has a long history of collaboration with NASA. Since ESA’s astronaut corps was formed, the Space Shuttle has been the primary launch vehicle used by ESA’s astronauts to get into space through partnership programmes with NASA. In the 1980s and 1990s, the Spacelab programme was an ESA-NASA joint research programme that had ESA develop and manufacture orbital labs for the Space Shuttle for several flights on which ESA participate with astronauts in experiments.

    In robotic science mission and exploration missions, NASA has been ESA’s main partner. Cassini–Huygens was a joint NASA-ESA mission, along with the Infrared Space Observatory, INTEGRAL, SOHO, and others.

    Also, the Hubble Space Telescope is a joint project of NASA and ESA.

    Future ESA-NASA joint projects include the James Webb Space Telescope and the proposed Laser Interferometer Space Antenna.

    NASA has committed to provide support to ESA’s proposed MarcoPolo-R mission to return an asteroid sample to Earth for further analysis. NASA and ESA will also likely join together for a Mars Sample Return Mission. In October 2020 the ESA entered into a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with NASA to work together on the Artemis program, which will provide an orbiting lunar gateway and also accomplish the first manned lunar landing in 50 years, whose team will include the first woman on the Moon.


    Cooperation with other space agencies

    Since China has started to invest more money into space activities, the Chinese Space Agency(CN) has sought international partnerships. ESA is, beside the Russian Space Agency, one of its most important partners. Two space agencies cooperated in the development of the Double Star Mission. In 2017, ESA sent two astronauts to China for two weeks sea survival training with Chinese astronauts in Yantai, Shandong.

    ESA entered into a major joint venture with Russia in the form of the CSTS, the preparation of French Guiana spaceport for launches of Soyuz-2 rockets and other projects. With India, ESA agreed to send instruments into space aboard the ISRO’s Chandrayaan-1 in 2008. ESA is also co-operating with Japan, the most notable current project in collaboration with JAXA is the BepiColombo mission to Mercury.

    Speaking to reporters at an air show near Moscow in August 2011, ESA head Jean-Jacques Dordain said ESA and Russia’s Roskosmos space agency would “carry out the first flight to Mars together.”

     
  • richardmitnick 9:18 am on July 26, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Perseverance Mars rover poised to collect first rock samples", , Mars Exploration,   

    From Astronomy Now (UK): “Perseverance Mars rover poised to collect first rock samples” 

    Astronomy Now bloc

    From Astronomy Now (UK)

    1
    Due south of its landing site, the Perseverance rover is now in a region described as “cratered floor fractured rough.” The rover is gearing up to collect its first core sample from light-coloured “paver stones” like those visible at lower left and throughout the area. Image: National Aeronautics Space Agency (US)/JPL-Caltech (US)/Arizona State University (US)/Malin Space Science Systems(US).

    After five months of tests and checkout, NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover is poised to collect its first core sample from the floor of Jezero Crater where remnants of microbial life may have been preserved in ancient lakebed deposits.

    “When Neil Armstrong took the first sample from the Sea of Tranquility 52 years ago, he began a process that would rewrite what humanity knew about the Moon,” Thomas Zurbuchen, director of science at NASA Headquarters, said in a statement.

    “I have every expectation that Perseverance’s first sample from Jezero Crater, and those that come after, will do the same for Mars. We are on the threshold of a new era of planetary science and discovery.”

    Perseverance landed on the floor of Jezero Crater on 18 February, just beyond a delta formation left behind by rushing water that flowed in through the rim a few billion years ago, feeding a 45-kilometre-wide (28-mile-wide) lake. Since landing, the rover has traveled due south, skirting potentially dangerous sand dunes on the way to a promising rock unit known as “cratered floor fractured rough.”

    “Perhaps like a lot of you folks, we’ve actually been on a road trip,” Jennifer Trosper, Perseverance project manager at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, told reporters during a 22 July news briefing. “This road trip is associated with our very first science campaign and during it, we will take our very first sample from the surface of Mars.”

    2
    The Perseverance rover’s current location can be seen due south of the Octavia E. Butler landing site in an area known as cratered floor fractured rough. Other possible sample collection sites are marked by white dots. The rover eventually will turn around, head north past its landing site and then west toward the mouth of an ancient channel that once filled a lake inside Jezero Crater. Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona (US).

    Scientists have not yet determined whether the rocks in the immediate vicinity are sedimentary, which one might expect at the bottom of an ancient lake, or possibly volcanic in origin.

    But there is little doubt Jezero was once filled with water that flowed in through canyon-like fissures in the rim and then fanned out, depositing sediments that built up a clearly defined delta.

    “Probably the most surprising thing that we have seen so far is when we look at images of the delta … we see clear evidence that there was indeed a lake, there was a period when the water level was quite high,” said project scientist Ken Farley.

    “But we also see higher up, and this you can only see from the ground, you can’t see it from orbit, is that higher up and therefore younger, there was a period of lower Lake levels and flooding, what might have been flash flooding, moving large boulders across the top of the delta.”

    He said that suggest “multiple phases in which this lake was active. So that’s an especially interesting aspect to this environment, that it might record multiple events” suggesting “multiple time periods when we might be able to look for evidence of ancient life that might have existed on the planet.”

    Perseverance is equipped with a complex sample collection and caching system that is designed to extract small core samples using an impact drill on the end of an articulating robot arm. Samples can then be loaded into an internal mechanism where they will be subjected to initial analysis, sealed in small tubes and then stored. They eventually will be deposited on the surface in one or more caches.

    NASA and the European Space Agency plan to send another rover to Jezero later this decade to retrieve the samples, load them into a small rocket and launch them into orbit where yet another spacecraft will be waiting to bring them back to Earth for laboratory analysis.

    Perseverance is equipped with 43 sample tubes, including five so-called “witness” tubes used to preserve any earthly contamination that might have been brought to Mars aboard the spacecraft so it can be accounted for when the samples are returned. One of those witness tubes was recently processed inside the rover to test to mechanism.

    “The great news is, that all worked perfectly,” Trosper said. “And so we are ready to sample. I am very excited about getting our first sample on Mars. … We’re ready to go, and we expect to get that first sample within the first few weeks of August.”

    See the full article here .

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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

     
  • richardmitnick 1:57 pm on December 10, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "The Niels Bohr Institute develops calibration target now on its way to Mars", Mars Exploration, ,   

    From Niels Bohr Institutet (DK): “The Niels Bohr Institute develops calibration target now on its way to Mars” 

    Københavns Universitet [UCPH] (DK)

    Niels Bohr Institute bloc

    From Niels Bohr Institutet (DK)

    10 December 2020

    Morten Bo Madsen, Associate professor
    Email: bmadsen@nbi.ku.dk
    Phone: +45 35 32 05 15

    Kjartan Münster Kinch, Associate professor
    Email: kinch@nbi.ku.dk
    Phone: +45 28 96 32 86

    1
    The calibration target with color references and pictograms. The total height of the primary target is 45.5 mm (The vertical center, casting a shadow) while the base of the target fits inside a square with a side of 98 mm. Credit: NASA.

    Perseverence

    NASA Perseverance Mars Rover.

    Mars 2020 Perseverance: Researchers at the Niels Bohr Institute, University of Copenhagen, have developed a color reference for one of the cameras on NASA’s newest Mars mission, the robotic vehicle Perseverance. The vehicle, aka rover, has several cameras installed, but the atmospheric conditions on Mars change the colors recorded, depending on the amount of dust in the atmosphere and the time of acquisition of the photos. For these reasons the cameras need a reference in order to compare or calibrate its images accordingly. This reference has been developed and manufactured in a collaboration between the researchers, the workshop at the Niels Bohr Institute and local businesses, and supported by the Carlsberg Foundation.

    The colors change on Mars and so does the possibility to compare recordings.

    “The calibration target consist of a small base, containing different, well-known ceramic color references”, Kjartan Kinch, Associate professor at the Niels Bohr Institute explains. “Obviously, we take a lot of pictures on Mars, and the camera on the rover can do a little more than your ordinary camera. It has different, so-called narrow-band color filters and can do more color analysis than yellow-red-green-blue. It can “see” UV light and move out into the infrared area as well. When you take a picture, it is the color of the photographed object times the color of the light which determines how we can “read” the photo. What happens is, quite simply, that the camera on the rover records a photo of e.g. rock formations and then, within half an hour or so, the camera turns to record a picture of the calibration target. When we have divided out the color of the light at the recording time, the picture is far more suited for comparison with earlier recordings or recordings from other areas. That is, in short, what our calibration target does”.

    What is the purpose of the pictures of rocks and landscapes on Mars?

    The rover has a robotic arm with a series of different instruments to investigate elements of the Martian surface. When a rock formation has been investigated for which elements and minerals it contains or other details, the pictures recorded of it can be used for comparison. So if this information is available – like the presence of a certain mineral in a single stone – and it is compared with pictures taken in a much wider perspective out into the landscape on Mars, it is possible to identify other rocks with similar properties of color – but obviously only if the pictures are read and interpreted correctly. Alternatively the camera can be used for identifying stones and rocks with dissimilar properties from former investigations. “If we have the detailed information from a single rock or a single area, we can check its color properties and assume that if the same color properties are present in the landscape, we shall find the same mineralogy here – we can expand detailed knowledge out into the landscape,” says Kjartan Kinch. “Moreover, our photographic information connects to observations from satellites and other instruments, precisely because we take pictures out into the landscape”.

    The instrument is a further development of former calibration targets from the Niels Bohr Institute.

    The researchers and students from the Mars group have taken part in former missions and have improved on the instrument. Along the way a magnetic system, removing the ever present Martian dust from the color references has been developed, keeping the references as clean as possible. The dust on Mars is magnetic, so what started as an experiment on former missions has now become a built in element. “The aluminum base was designed and cut at the workshop of the Niels Bohr Institute, the magnets and ceramics ordered from international companies, the base was silvered and gold plated in Farum, engraved in Ishøj and the whole thing assembled in the Niels Bohr Institute clean room”, Kjartan Kinch explains.

    Pictograms on the calibration target.

    The motto and pictograms seen on the Niels Bohr Institute target are made in collaboration with the team in the USA. There is a tiny stick protruding from the center casting a shadow, just like a solar watch. Solar watches traditionally have a motto, so the instrument was given one as well: “Two worlds, one beginning”. The pictograms show the development of life on Earth from bacterial life over plants and dinosaurs to people launching rockets into space. “It will be one of the most photographed objects on Mars, so we believed a decoration was justified”, Kjartan Kinch says.

    The Mars mission Perseverance is part of a bigger mission to send samples back to Earth.

    This mission is in many ways similar to the very successful mission the rover Curiosity is still undertaking.

    NASA Mars Curiosity Rover

    It landed on Mars in 2012. The new rover is basically built using the same template. What’s new about Perseverance is that it will be covering another area than Curiosity and pick up samples from stones and rocks, later to be picked up by a collaborate ESA-NASA mission and sent back to Earth. So a set of samples from Mars are collected, hopefully telling us a lot about Mars later on. “But first we have to understand the landscape”, says Kjartan Kinch. We have to understand which locations are best suited for collecting samples, to gain maximum benefit from the mission. It is in this context we, at the Niels Bohr Institute, have contributed with a small, but important piece in a larger, scientific puzzle”.

    See the full article here .


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


    Stem Education Coalition

    Niels Bohr Institute Campus

    Niels Bohr Institutet (DK) is a research institute of the Københavns Universitet [UCPH] (DK). The research of the institute spans astronomy, geophysics, nanotechnology, particle physics, quantum mechanics and biophysics.

    The Institute was founded in 1921, as the Institute for Theoretical Physics of the Københavns Universitet [UCPH] (DK), by the Danish theoretical physicist Niels Bohr, who had been on the staff of the University of Copenhagen since 1914, and who had been lobbying for its creation since his appointment as professor in 1916. On the 80th anniversary of Niels Bohr’s birth – October 7, 1965 – the Institute officially became The Niels Bohr Institutet (DK). Much of its original funding came from the charitable foundation of the Carlsberg brewery, and later from the Rockefeller Foundation.

    During the 1920s, and 1930s, the Institute was the center of the developing disciplines of atomic physics and quantum physics. Physicists from across Europe (and sometimes further abroad) often visited the Institute to confer with Bohr on new theories and discoveries. The Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics is named after work done at the Institute during this time.

    On January 1, 1993 the institute was fused with the Astronomic Observatory, the Ørsted Laboratory and the Geophysical Institute. The new resulting institute retained the name Niels Bohr Institutet (DK)).

    Københavns Universitet (UCPH) (DK) is the oldest university and research institution in Denmark. Founded in 1479 as a studium generale, it is the second oldest institution for higher education in Scandinavia after Uppsala University (1477). The university has 23,473 undergraduate students, 17,398 postgraduate students, 2,968 doctoral students and over 9,000 employees. The university has four campuses located in and around Copenhagen, with the headquarters located in central Copenhagen. Most courses are taught in Danish; however, many courses are also offered in English and a few in German. The university has several thousands of foreign students, about half of whom come from Nordic countries.

    The university is a member of the International Alliance of Research Universities (IARU), along with University of Cambridge (UK), Yale University, The Australian National University (AU), and UC Berkeley, amongst others. The 2016 Academic Ranking of World Universities ranks the University of Copenhagen as the best university in Scandinavia and 30th in the world, the 2016-2017 Times Higher Education World University Rankings as 120th in the world, and the 2016-2017 QS World University Rankings as 68th in the world. The university has had 9 alumni become Nobel laureates and has produced one Turing Award recipient.

     
  • richardmitnick 12:47 pm on December 2, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Dust storms starve Mars of water", , Mars Exploration,   

    From Physics Today and U Arizona: “Dust storms starve Mars of water” 

    Physics Today bloc

    From Physics Today

    and

    University of Arizona

    2 Dec 2020
    Alex Lopatka

    New observations demonstrate that water is transported directly to the Martian upper atmosphere, where it escapes to space after dissociating into atomic hydrogen.

    1
    This true-color image of Mars was captured by the Rosetta spacecraft in 2007. Credit: ESA & MPS for OSIRIS Team, MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/RSSD/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO.

    ESA/Rosetta spacecraft, European Space Agency’s legendary comet explorer Rosetta annotated.

    The geologic record of Mars suggests that the planet once experienced wet weather that may have helped sustain extraterrestrial life. But much of its water presently exists as ice, either at the poles or beneath the surface. Relative to the past, today’s thinner, cooler, drier Martian atmosphere cannot support liquid water.

    Isotopic evidence shows a high ratio of deuterium to hydrogen in the planet’s atmosphere, which has led scientists to conclude that water vapor undergoes photodissociation reactions in the lower atmosphere below the water vapor minimum, called the hygropause. Most of the molecular hydrogen product—containing either hydrogen or deuterium—then diffuses across that barrier to the upper atmosphere and eventually escapes to space; the hydrogen leaves more readily than the heavier deuterium.

    Now Shane Stone and Roger Yelle of the University of Arizona in Tucson and their colleagues have compiled observations and conducted simulations that suggest water may have left Mars’s atmosphere more quickly than previously thought. Recent data from NASA’s MAVEN spacecraft show seasonal variations in the abundance of water in the upper atmosphere that are punctuated by surges of water during dust storms.

    NASA/Mars MAVEN.

    The figure below shows an increase in the abundance of water in the upper atmosphere during one global dust storm in 2018; the amount of molecular hydrogen, however, remains constant (not shown). The high abundance of water vapor in the upper atmosphere indicates a weakening of the hygropause.

    2
    Credit: Shane Stone and Dan Gallagher.

    To better understand how the water vapor moves through the atmosphere and eventually escapes, Yelle and his graduate student Daniel Lo used the MAVEN data as inputs in a one-dimensional photochemical model they constructed. Previous simulations reported that neutral photolysis reactions dissociate water in the lower atmosphere to yield molecular hydrogen. The H2 diffuses to the upper atmosphere, where ions break it up into atomic hydrogen that then escapes to space. But with the help of the MAVEN data, the new model shows that water is transported directly to the upper atmosphere, where it rapidly reacts with ionized chemical species to form atomic hydrogen.

    The calculations of the various reaction rates indicate that before water is destroyed, it has a lifetime of only four hours or so in the upper atmosphere, which is about an order of magnitude shorter than the photolysis of water in the middle atmosphere. The finding means that water vapor may escape the atmosphere in the form of atomic hydrogen faster than previously thought. By Stone and his colleagues’ estimates, a single dust storm could have instigated more hydrogen loss than would happen in an entire average Martian year. [Science]

    See the full article here .

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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The University of Arizona (UA) is a place without limits-where teaching, research, service and innovation merge to improve lives in Arizona and beyond. We aren’t afraid to ask big questions, and find even better answers.

    In 1885, establishing Arizona’s first university in the middle of the Sonoran Desert was a bold move. But our founders were fearless, and we have never lost that spirit. To this day, we’re revolutionizing the fields of space sciences, optics, biosciences, medicine, arts and humanities, business, technology transfer and many others. Since it was founded, the UA has grown to cover more than 380 acres in central Tucson, a rich breeding ground for discovery.

    U Arizona mirror lab-Where else in the world can you find an astronomical observatory mirror lab under a football stadium?

    University of Arizona’s Biosphere 2, located in the Sonoran desert. An entire ecosystem under a glass dome? Visit our campus, just once, and you’ll quickly understand why the UA is a university unlike any other.

    “Our mission

    The mission of Physics Today is to be a unifying influence for the diverse areas of physics and the physics-related sciences.

    It does that in three ways:

    • by providing authoritative, engaging coverage of physical science research and its applications without regard to disciplinary boundaries;
    • by providing authoritative, engaging coverage of the often complex interactions of the physical sciences with each other and with other spheres of human endeavor; and
    • by providing a forum for the exchange of ideas within the scientific community.”

     
  • richardmitnick 9:33 am on May 15, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Mars Exploration, Mars explorers and orbiters   

    From European Space Agency – United Space in Europe: “Sculpted by nature on Mars” 

    ESA Space For Europe Banner

    From European Space Agency – United Space in Europe

    5.14.20

    1
    Topographic view of Tempe Fossae on Mars.© ESA/DLR/FU Berlin, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO

    This colour-coded topographic image shows part of Mars’ surface located northeast of the Tharsis volcanic province, based on data gathered by the Mars Express High Resolution Stereo Camera on 30 September 2019 during orbit 19913. This is a portion of Tempe Fossae – a series of tectonic faults that cuts across Tempe Terra in Mars’ northern highlands.

    This view is based on a digital terrain model (DTM) of the region, from which the topography of the landscape can be derived; lower parts of the surface are shown in blues and purples, while higher altitude regions show up in whites, yellows and reds, as indicated on the scale to the top right. North is to the right.

    Nature is a powerful sculptor – as shown in this image from ESA’s Mars Express, which portrays a heavily scarred, fractured martian landscape. This terrain was formed by intense and prolonged forces that acted upon Mars’ surface for hundreds of millions of years.

    Features on Mars often trick the eye. It can be difficult to tell if the ground has risen up towards you, or dropped away. This is a common phenomenon with impact craters especially, and is aptly named the ‘crater/dome illusion’; in some images, craters appear to be large domes arching up towards the viewer – but look again, and they instead become a depression in the surrounding terrain, as expected.

    Such a phenomenon is at play in this image from Mars Express, which shows part of Tempe Fossae, a series of faults that cuts across the region of Tempe Terra in Mars’ northern highlands.

    2
    Faults and scars near Tharsis province on Mars. © ESA/DLR/FU Berlin, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO

    Despite any initial visual confusion, this landscape is a mix of faults, elevated ground, deep valleys, and largely parallel ridges, extending both down into the surface and up above the martian crust. The crater/dome illusion is actually just a trick of the light caused by our eyes incorrectly interpreting shadows. Comparing this image to the aforementioned image of Ascuris Planum, a similar terrain, highlights this nicely, demonstrating the importance of lighting conditions in photography.

    Our Earth-bound eyes are accustomed to seeing images lit from above, but this is not the default orientation for spacecraft, which can gather data at all angles of sunlight.

    Exploring the geology of Mars is a key objective of Mars Express.

    ESA Mars Express Orbiter

    Launched in 2003, the spacecraft has been orbiting the Red Planet for over a decade and a half; it has since been joined by the ESA-Roscosmos ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO), which arrived in 2016, while the ExoMars Rosalind Franklin rover and its accompanying surface science platform are scheduled for launch in 2022.

    ESA/ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter

    ESA/Roscosmos Rosalind Franklin ExoMars rover depiction

    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.

    ESA50 Logo large

     
  • richardmitnick 8:48 am on May 11, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "An Ancient Meteorite Is The First Chemical Evidence of Volcanic Convection on Mars", Mars Exploration,   

    From Science Alert: “An Ancient Meteorite Is The First Chemical Evidence of Volcanic Convection on Mars” 

    ScienceAlert

    From Science Alert

    11 MAY 2020
    MICHELLE STARR

    1
    A composite Viking orbiter image of Olympus Mons on Mars, the tallest known volcano and mountain in the Solar System. NASA.

    For many years, we thought Mars was dead. A dusty, dry, barren planet, where nothing moves but the howling wind. Recently, however, pieces of evidence have started to emerge, hinting that Mars is both volcanically and geologically active.

    Well, the idea of a volcanically active Mars just got a little more real. A meteorite that formed deep within the belly of Mars has just provided the first solid chemical proof of magma convection within the Martian mantle, scientists say.

    Crystals of olivine in the Tissint meteorite that fell to Earth in 2011 could only have formed in changing temperatures as it was rapidly swirled about in magma convection currents – showing that the planet was volcanically active when the crystals formed around 574 to 582 million years ago – and it could still be intermittently so today.

    “There was no previous evidence of convection on Mars, but the question ‘Is Mars a still volcanically active planet?’ was previously investigated using different methods,” explained planetary geologist Nicola Mari of the University of Glasgow to ScienceAlert.

    “However, this is the first study that proves activity in the Mars interior from a purely chemical point of view, on real Martian samples.”

    Olivine, a magnesium iron silicate, isn’t rare. It crystallises from cooling magma, and it’s very common in Earth’s mantle; in fact, the olivine group dominates Earth’s mantle, usually as part of a rock mass. On Earth’s surface, it’s found in igneous rock.

    It’s fairly common in meteorites. And olivine is also fairly common on Mars. In fact, the presence of olivine on the surface of Mars has previously been taken as evidence of the planet’s dryness, since the mineral weathers rapidly in the presence of water.

    But when Mari and his team started studying the olivine crystals in the Tissint meteorite to try to understand the magma chamber where it formed, they noticed something strange. The crystals had irregularly spaced phosphorus-rich bands.

    We know of this phenomenon on Earth – it’s a process called solute trapping. But it was a surprise to find it on Mars.

    2
    (Mari et al., Meteoritics & Planetary Science, 2020)

    “This occurs when the rate of crystal growth exceeds the rate at which phosphorus can diffuse through the melt, thus the phosphorus is obliged to enter the crystal structure instead of ‘swimming’ in the liquid magma,” Mari said.

    “In the magma chamber that generated the lava that I studied, the convection was so vigorous that the olivines were moved from the bottom of the chamber (hotter) to the top (cooler) very rapidly – to be precise, this likely generated cooling rates of 15-30 degrees Celsius per hour for the olivines.”

    The larger of the olivine crystals were also revealing. Traces of nickel and cobalt are in agreement with previous findings that they originated from deep under the Martian crust, a depth of 40 to 80 kilometres (25 to 50 miles).

    This supplied the pressure at which they formed; along with the equilibration temperature of olivine, the team could now perform thermodynamic calculations to discover the temperature in the mantle at which the crystals formed.

    They found that the Martian mantle probably had a temperature of around 1,560 degrees Celsius in the Martian Late Amazonian period when the olivine formed. This is very close to the ambient mantle temperature of Earth of 1,650 degrees Celsius during the Archean Eon, 4 to 2.5 billion years ago.

    That doesn’t mean Mars is just like an early Earth. But it does mean that Mars could have retained quite a bit of heat under its mantle; it’s thought that, because it lacks the plate tectonics that help to dissipate heat on Earth, Mars may cool more slowly.

    “I really think that Mars could be a still volcanically active world today, and these new results point toward this,” Mari told ScienceAlert.

    “We may not see a volcanic eruption on Mars for the next 5 million years, but this doesn’t mean that the planet is inactive. It could just mean that the timing between eruptions between Mars and Earth is different, and instead of seeing one or more eruptions per day (as on Earth) we could see a Martian eruption every n-millions of years.”

    We’ll need more research to confidently say this hypothesis checks out. But these results also mean that previous interpretations of the planet’s dryness based on surface olivine may need to be revisited. (Although let us be clear, Mars is still extremely dry.)

    The ongoing NASA InSight mission that recently found evidence of Marsquakes, measures – among other things – the heat flux from the Martian crust. If Mars is still volcanically active, we may know more about it really soon.

    NASA/Mars InSight Lander

    The research has been published in Meteoritics & Planetary Science.

    See the full article here .


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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

     
  • richardmitnick 12:47 pm on March 9, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Magnetic Fields Around NASA's Mars Lander Are 10 Times Stronger Than Scientists Expected", , , , , , Mars Exploration, NASA Incite, ,   

    From Universe Today via Science Alert: “Magnetic Fields Around NASA’s Mars Lander Are 10 Times Stronger Than Scientists Expected” 

    universe-today

    From Universe Today

    via

    ScienceAlert

    Science Alert

    9 MARCH 2020
    MATT WILLIAMS, UNIVERSE TODAY

    1
    NASA Insight (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

    When NASA’s Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport (Insight) lander set down on Mars in November of 2018, it began its two-year primary mission of studying Mars’ seismology and interior environment.

    And now, just over a year and a half later, the results of the lander’s first twelve months on the Martian surface have been released in a series of studies.

    One of these studies, which was recently published in the journal Nature Geosciences, shared some rather interesting finds about magnetic fields on Mars.

    According to the research team behind it, the magnetic field within the crater where InSight’s landed is ten times stronger than expected. These findings could help scientists resolve key mysteries about Mars’ formation and subsequent evolution.

    These readings were obtained by InSight’s magnetic sensor, which studied the magnetic fields within the mission’s landing zone. This shallow crater, known as “Homestead hollow”, is located in the region called Elysium Planitia – a flat-smooth plain just north of the equator.

    This region was selected because it has the right combination of flat topology, low elevation, and low debris to allow InSight to probe deep into the interior of Mars.

    2
    Sources of magnetism detected by magnetic sensor aboard the Mars InSight Lander. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

    Prior to this mission, the best estimates of Martian magnetic fields came from satellites in orbit and were averaged over distances of more than 150 kilometres (93 miles).

    Catherine Johnson, a professor of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences at the University of British Columbia and a senior scientist at the Planetary Science Institute (PSI), was the lead author on the study. As she said in a recent UBC News story:

    “One of the big unknowns from previous satellite missions was what the magnetization looked like over small areas. By placing the first magnetic sensor at the surface, we have gained valuable new clues about the interior structure and upper atmosphere of Mars that will help us understand how it – and other planets like it – formed.”

    “The ground-level data give us a much more sensitive picture of magnetization over smaller areas, and where it’s coming from. In addition to showing that the magnetic field at the landing site was ten times stronger than the satellites anticipated, the data implied it was coming from nearby sources.”

    Measuring magnetic fields on Mars is key to understanding the nature and strength of the global magnetic field (aka magnetosphere) that Mars had billions of years ago.

    The presence of this magnetosphere has been inferred from the presence of magnetized rocks on the planet’s surface, leading to localized and relatively weak magnetic fields.

    According to data gathered by MAVEN and other missions, scientists predict that roughly 4.2 billion years ago, this magnetic field suddenly ‘switched off’. This resulted in solar wind slowly stripping the Martian atmosphere away over the next few hundred million years, which is what led to the surface becoming the dry and desiccated place it is today.

    Because most rocks on the surface of Mars are too young to have been magnetized by this ancient field, the team thinks it must be coming from deeper underground.

    As Johnson explained:

    “We think it’s coming from much older rocks that are buried anywhere from a couple hundred feet to ten kilometers below ground. We wouldn’t have been able to deduce this without the magnetic data and the geology and seismic information InSight has provided.”

    By combining InSight data with magnetic readings obtained by Martian orbiters in the past, Johnson and her colleagues hope to be able to identify exactly which rocks are magnetized and how old they are.

    These efforts will be bolstered by future missions to study Martian rocks, such as NASA’s Mars 2020 rover, the ESA’s Rosalind Franklin rover, and China’s Huoxing-1 (HX-1) mission – all of which are scheduled to launch this summer.

    Depiction of NASA Mars 2020 Rover officially named “Perseverence”

    ESA/Roscosmos Rosalind Franklin ExoMars rover depiction

    3
    Huoxing-1 (HX-1) depiction. China

    4
    Artist’s impression of the interaction between solar wind and the planets Mars (left) and Earth (right).(NASA)

    InSight’s magnetometer also managed to gather data on phenomena that exist high in Mars’ upper atmosphere as well as the space environment surrounding the planet.

    Like Earth, Mars is exposed to solar wind, the stream of charged particles that emanate from the Sun and carry its magnetic field into interplanetary space – hence the name interplanetary magnetic field (IMF).

    But since Mars lacks a magnetosphere, it is less protected from solar wind and weather events. This allows the lander to study the effects of both on the surface of the planet, which scientists have been unable to do until now.

    Said Johnson:

    “Because all of our previous observations of Mars have been from the top of its atmosphere or even higher altitudes, we didn’t know whether disturbances in solar wind would propagate to the surface. That’s an important thing to understand for future astronaut missions to Mars.”

    Another interesting find was the way the local magnetic field fluctuated between day and night, not to mention the short pulsations that occurred around midnight and lasted for just a few minutes. Johnson and her colleagues theorize that these are caused by interactions between solar radiation, the IMF, and particles in the upper atmosphere to produce electrical currents (and hence, magnetic fields).

    These readings confirm that events taking place in and above Mars’ upper atmosphere can be detected at the surface. They also provide an indirect picture of the planet’s atmospheric properties, like how charged it becomes and what currents exist in the upper atmosphere.

    As for the mysterious pulses, Johnson and her team are not sure what causes them but think that they are also related to how solar wind interacts with Mars.

    In the future, the InSight team hopes that their efforts to gather data on the surface magnetic field will coincide with the MAVEN orbiter passing overhead, which will allow them to compare data.

    As InSight’s principal investigator, Bruce Banerdt of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, summarized:

    The main function of the magnetic sensor was to weed out magnetic ‘noise,’ both from the environment and the lander itself, for our seismic experiments, so this is all bonus information that directly supports the overarching goals of the mission. The time-varying fields, for example, will be very useful for future studies of the deep conductivity structure of Mars, which is related to its internal temperature.”

    This study is one of six that resulted from InSight’s first year of mission data, which can be accessed here. However, this is just the beginning for the InSight mission, which will wrap up its two-year primary mission towards the end of 2020.

    Of particular interest are the X-band radio measurements that will show how much Mars’ “wobbles” as it spins on its axis, which in turn will help reveal the true nature of the planet’s core (solid or liquid?).

    Exciting times lie ahead for the many missions we have (or will be sending) to Mars! Be sure to check out this video of the InSight mission too, courtesy of NASA JPL:

    See the full article here .


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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

     
  • richardmitnick 11:14 am on November 14, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "ESA’s Mars orbiters did not see latest Curiosity methane burst", , , , , , In June NASA’s Curiosity rover reported the highest burst of methane recorded yet., Mars Exploration, Methane is of such fascination because on Earth a large proportion is generated by living things.   

    From European Space Agency – United space in Europe: “ESA’s Mars orbiters did not see latest Curiosity methane burst” 

    ESA Space For Europe Banner

    From European Space Agency – United space in Europe

    United space in Europe

    13/11/2019

    Marco Giuranna
    PFS principal investigator (Mars Express)
    Istituto Nazionale di Astrofisica – Istituto di Astrofisica e Planetologia Spaziali (INAF–IAPS)
    Roma, Italy
    Email: marco.giuranna@iaps.inaf.it

    Dmitri Titov
    ESA Mars Express project scientist
    Email: Dmitri.Titov@esa.int

    Oleg Korablev
    ACS principal investigator (TGO)
    Space Research Institute, Russian Academy of Sciences
    Moscow, Russia
    Email:korab@iki.rssi.ru

    Ann-Carine Vandaele
    NOMAD principal investigator (TGO)
    Royal Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy, Belgium
    Email: a-c.vandaele@aeronomie.be

    Håkan Svedhem
    ESA TGO project scientist
    Email: Hakan.Svedhem@esa.int

    In June, NASA’s Curiosity rover reported the highest burst of methane recorded yet, but neither ESA’s Mars Express nor the ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter recorded any signs of the elusive gas, despite flying over the same location at a similar time.

    NASA Mars Curiosity Rover

    ESA/Mars Express Orbiter

    ESA/ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter

    Methane is of such fascination because on Earth a large proportion is generated by living things. It is known that methane has a lifetime of several hundred years before it is broken down by the Sun’s radiation, so the fact that it is detected on Mars suggests it has been released into the atmosphere recently – even if the gas itself was generated billions of years ago.

    3
    Key methane measurements at Mars. This graphic summarises significant measurement attempts of methane at Mars. Reports of methane have been made by Earth-based telescopes, ESA’s Mars Express from orbit around Mars, and NASA’s Curiosity located on the surface at Gale Crater; they have also reported measurement attempts with no or very little methane detected. More recently, the ESA-Roscosmos ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter reported an absence of methane, and provided a very low upper limit.
    In order to reconcile the range of results, which show variations in both time and location, scientists have to understand better the different processes acting to create and destroy methane.

    The methane mystery on Mars has had many twists and turns in recent years with unexpected detections and non-detections alike. Earlier this year it was reported that ESA’s Mars Express had detected a signature that matched one of Curiosity’s detections from within Gale Crater.

    A recent spike by Curiosity, measured on 19 June 2019, and the highest yet at 21 ppbv, adds to the mystery because preliminary analysis suggest that Mars Express did not detect any on this occasion. (For comparison, the concentration of methane in Earth’s atmosphere is around 1800 ppbv, meaning that for every billion molecules in a given volume, 1800 are methane.)

    The Mars Express measurements were taken in the martian daytime about five hours after Curiosity’s nighttime measurements; data collected by Mars Express over one day before also did not reveal any signatures. Meanwhile Curiosity’s readings had returned to background levels when further measurements were taken in the following days.

    The Mars Express measurement technique allowing data to be inferred right down to the martian surface with its limit of detection around 2 ppbv.

    3
    How to create and destroy methane at Mars.

    The ESA-Roscosmos Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO), the most sensitive detector for trace gases at Mars, also did not detect any methane while flying nearby within a few days before and after Curiosity’s detection.

    In general, TGO is capable of measuring at parts per trillion levels and accessing down to about 3 km altitude, but this can depend on how dusty the atmosphere is. When measurements were taken at low latitudes on 21 June 2019, the atmosphere was dusty and cloudy, resulting in measurements accessing 20-15 km above the surface with an upper limit of 0.07 ppbv.

    The global lack of methane recorded by TGO is adding to the overall mystery, and corroborating the results of the different instruments is keeping all teams busy.

    4
    Ten things you did not know about Mars: 7. Methane.The story of methane on Mars is a subject of intense debate. On Earth, methane is mainly created by living organisms, but also through natural geological processes. It has a relatively short lifetime of around 400 years – because it is broken down by ultraviolet light – so detecting it on another planet raises exciting questions as to how it is produced. Previous observations of Mars, by both Earth-based telescopes and ESA’s Mars Express, hint at seasonal variations in methane abundance, with concentrations varying with location and time. NASA’s Curiosity rover has also reported methane ‘spikes’, with one corresponding to a detection by Mars Express. Curiously, the ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter, the most sensitive atmosphere analyser at Mars, has not yet detected any. In order to reconcile the range of results, which show variations in both time and location, scientists have to understand better the different processes acting to create and destroy methane.

    It is also important to note that not all life creates methane, so even if there is no methane-generating biology, it does not mean there is no life on Mars. The ESA-Roscosmos ExoMars rover, arriving at Mars in 2021, will be able to drill down below the surface, away from the harsh radiation that would destroy any life there today, to search for evidence underground.

    ESA has demonstrated expertise in studying Mars from orbit, now we are looking to secure a safe landing, to rove across the surface and to drill underground to search for evidence of life. Our orbiters are already in place to provide data relay services for surface missions. The next logical step is to bring samples back to Earth, to provide access to Mars for scientists globally, and to better prepare for future human exploration of the Red Planet.

    This set of infographics highlight’s ESA’s contribution to Mars exploration as we ramp up to the launch of our second ExoMars mission, and look beyond to completing a Mars Sample Return mission.

    “Taking the results together suggests that the latest spike measured by Curiosity was very short lived – less than one martian day – and likely local,” says Marco Giuranna, principal investigator for the Planetary Fourier Spectrometer onboard Mars Express that is used to detect methane.

    “Curiosity measured the methane at night, and if it was released at that time, we would expect it to have been trapped near the surface until sunrise before getting rapidly mixed and transported away. As a result, there would be no chance for it to be detected by Mars Express or TGO.

    “By comparison, the spike we co-measured in 2013 must have been of a longer duration or more intense at its source – which we believe was outside Gale Crater – such that it could be detected by our instrument on Mars Express as well.”

    The teams are continuing to look into the influence of atmospheric circulation between day and night, and if the location of Curiosity inside an impact crater plays a role. They are also studying the way that methane is destroyed, in case the gas is being absorbed by surface rocks again before it is circulated more widely into the atmosphere.

    “Combining observations from the surface and from orbit with future coordinated observations will help us understand the behaviour of methane in the atmosphere, with non-detections like that from TGO providing upper limits, constraints and important context,” adds Håkan Svedhem, ESA’s TGO project scientist.

    The Curiosity measurements were made by the Sample Analysis at Mars tunable laser spectrometer, the Mars Express measurements were taken by the Planetary Fourier Spectrometer (PFS) and the TGO measurements were taken by the Atmospheric Chemistry Suite (ACS) and the Nadir and Occultation for Mars Discovery (NOMAD) instrument. The TGO results were presented at the International Conference on Mars in Pasadena, California in July and at the EPSC-DPS conference in Geneva in September. The full analysis of the Mars Express data is ongoing and will be reported formally at a later date.

    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.

    ESA50 Logo large

     
c
Compose new post
j
Next post/Next comment
k
Previous post/Previous comment
r
Reply
e
Edit
o
Show/Hide comments
t
Go to top
l
Go to login
h
Show/Hide help
shift + esc
Cancel
%d bloggers like this: