European Space Agency News

CryoSat Satellite Shows Increased Volume of Arctic Sea Ice

July 21, 2015

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ESA Shows Volume of Arctic Sea Ice Has Increased

New measurements from ESA’s CryoSat Satellite show that the volume of Arctic sea ice increased following the unusually cool summer of 2013, suggesting that ice in the northern hemisphere is more sensitive to changes in summer melting than it is to winter cooling. Scientists at University College London (UCL) and the University of Leeds in […]

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ESA Selects Contractor for JUICE Mission to Jupiter and Its Icy Moons

July 17, 2015

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ESA Prepares for the JUICE Mission

Airbus Defence & Space in France has been selected as the prime industrial contractor for ESA’s JUICE mission to Jupiter and its icy moons. The spacecraft should be launched in 2022 and arrive in the Jovian system in 2030. The agency’s Industrial Policy Committee approved the award of the €350.8 million contract yesterday. Pending the […]

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“Black-Hole-Scope” Provides Insight into Space Directly Surrounding a Supermassive Black Hole

July 6, 2015

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Astronomers Use Cosmic Gravity to Create "Black Hole Telescope"

Astronomers used the magnifying effect of the stars to ‘zoom in’ on galaxy PKS 1830-211, revealing very small structures in the distant galaxy. The Integral, Fermi and Swift space observatories have used the magnifying power of a cosmic lens to explore the inner regions of a supermassive black hole. Gamma rays are highly energetic radiation […]

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New ESA Image of the Milky Way and of Its Neighboring Magellanic Clouds

July 3, 2015

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An Outline of the Milky Way and of Its Neighboring Magellanic Clouds

This newly released image from the European Space Agency shows the outline of our Galaxy and of its neighboring Magellanic Clouds. This image, based on housekeeping data from ESA’s Gaia satellite, is no ordinary depiction of the heavens. While the image portrays the outline of our Galaxy, the Milky Way, and of its neighboring Magellanic […]

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Rosetta Monitors Active Pits on Comet 67P

July 1, 2015

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Active Pits on Comet 67P

A newly published study reveals that 18 quasi-circular pits in the northern hemisphere of comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko’s are responsible for its halo of dust and gas. A number of the dust jets emerging from Rosetta’s comet can be traced back to active pits that were likely formed by a sudden collapse of the surface. These ‘sinkholes’ […]

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Dissolution is a Major Cause of Landscape Evolution on Titan, Possible Origin of Its Lakes

June 17, 2015

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Close-up Image of Ligeia Mare

New research reveals that Titan’s surface dissolves in a similar process that creates sinkholes on Earth, finding that the dissolution process occurs on Titan some 30 times slower than on Earth due to the longer length of Titan’s year and the fact it only rains during Titan summer. Saturn’s moon Titan is home to seas […]

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Rosetta and Philae Reveal That Comet 67P is Not Magnetized

April 14, 2015

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Investigating Magnetic Properties of Comet 67P

New data from Rosetta and Philae reveal that the nucleus of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko is not magnetized. Studying the properties of a comet can provide clues to the role that magnetic fields played in the formation of Solar System bodies almost 4.6 billion years ago. The infant Solar System was once nothing more than a swirling […]

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A Closer Look at the Colors of the Small Magellanic Cloud

February 23, 2015

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New Image of the Small Magellanic Cloud

This composite image used data from Herschel’s Spectral and Photometric Imaging Receiver (SPIRE), Photodetector Array Camera and Spectrometer (PACS), and Spitzer’s Multiband Imaging Photometer (MIPS) to get a better view of the Small Magellanic Cloud. Astronomical images often look like works of art. This picture of one of our nearest neighboring galaxies, the Small Magellanic […]

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Satellite-Based Assessment of Ocean Acidification

February 17, 2015

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Ocean Acidification

Using satellite measurements, researchers a team of international collaborators are developing new methods to quantify ocean acidity around the globe. With fundamental changes happening to the chemistry of the world’s oceans, salinity information from ESA’s SMOS mission is being used with other Earth observation data to obtain information on ‘the other carbon dioxide problem’ – […]

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ESA Euronews Video: The Dark Side

February 10, 2015

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Euronews: The Dark Side

The latest ESA Euronews video details how science is unraveling the dark mysteries of the cosmos. ESA Euronews: The Dark Side All we can see around us, from planet Earth to distant galaxies, represents just five per cent of the Universe – the rest is dark energy or dark matter. So what do we know […]

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The Interaction Between Interstellar Dust and Our Galaxy’s Magnetic Field

December 16, 2014

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Image of the Magnetic Field Along the Galactic Plane

Using data from the Planck collaboration, this newly released image portrays the interaction between interstellar dust in the Milky Way and the structure of our Galaxy’s magnetic field. While the pastel tones and fine texture of this image may bring to mind brush strokes on an artist’s canvas, they are in fact a visualization of […]

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Philae Lander Makes Historic First Landing on Comet 67P

November 13, 2014

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Philae Makes Historic First Landing

After more than a decade in space, ESA’s Philae lander has made the first-ever soft landing of a spacecraft on a comet. Mission controllers at ESA’s mission operations center in Darmstadt, Germany, received a signal confirming that the Philae lander had touched down on comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko on Wednesday, November 12, just after 8 a.m. PST/11 […]

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Philae Lander Makes Soft Landing on Comet 67P

November 12, 2014

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Philae Makes Soft Landing on Comet 67P

The European Space Agency has confirmed that the Philae lander has successfully reached the surface of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. This is the first time in history that a spacecraft has made a soft landing on a comet. The Onboard Scientific Imaging System (OSIRIS) on the European Space Agency’s Rosetta spacecraft captured this parting shot of the […]

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Rosetta Spacecraft Picks Up a Mysterious “Song” from Comet 67P

November 12, 2014

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Rosetta Hears Mysterious Noise from Comet 67P

As ESA’s Rosetta spacecraft prepares to dispatch its Philae lander to the surface of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, a set of instruments on Rosetta has picked up a mysterious “song” from the comet. The sounds are thought to be oscillations in the magnetic field around the comet. They were picked up by the Rosetta Plasma Consortium — […]

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How to Land on a Comet Moving 40 Times Faster Than a Speeding Bullet

November 4, 2014

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How to Land on Comet 67P

A new four minute ScienceCast video previews the first-ever landing on a comet. Showing how difficult it will be for the Philae lander since comet 67P will be moving 40 times faster than a speeding bullet, spinning, and shooting out gas and dust. ScienceCasts: How to Land on a Comet The European Space Agency’s Rosetta […]

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Rosetta Spacecraft Reveals Hidden Crater on Asteroid Lutetia

October 8, 2014

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Asteroid Lutetia

Images by ESA’s Rosetta spacecraft reveal the existence of a large impact crater on the unseen side of the Lutetia asteroid. Rosetta flew past Lutetia at a distance of 3168 km in July 2010, en route to its 2014 rendezvous with its target comet. The spacecraft took images of the 100 km-wide asteroid for about […]

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Satellites Reveal Dip in Gravity from West Antarctica Ice Loss

October 1, 2014

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West Antarctica Ice Loss Dips Gravity

The animation, based on measurements from ESA’s GOCE satellite and the NASA–German Grace mission, shows that ice lost from West Antarctica has caused a dip in Earth’s gravity. GOCE was not designed to show changes in gravity over time. However, high-resolution gravity gradients that GOCE measured over Antarctica between November 2009 and June 2012 were […]

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Rosetta Orbiter Delivers First Batch of Science Data

September 8, 2014

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Rosetta Orbiter Delivers of Science Data from Comet 67P

European Space Agency’s Rosetta orbiter has delivered its first batch of science data from comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, revealing hydrogen and oxygen in the comet’s atmosphere and showing that the color of the comet is darker than charcoal. The instrument, named Alice, began mapping the comet’s surface last month, recording the first far-ultraviolet light spectra of the […]

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