Geologic Evidence for Extensive Ground Water System on Mars

Artist’s impression of Mars Express. The background image is based on an actual image of Mars taken by the spacecraft’s high resolution stereo camera. Image credit: Spacecraft: ESA/ATG medialab; Mars: ESA/DLR/FU Berlin)

UTRECHT, The Netherlands (Utrecht University PR) — Utrecht University geologist Francesco Salese studied 24 low-lying areas distributed around the northern hemisphere of Mars. Satellite images have provided evidence of large volumes of simultaneous ground water activity connecting the areas. Salese has also found remains of deltas and coastlines on the planet’s surface. “These are strong indications that water was once present in these dried-up basins. There is no evidence that they had been filled from the surface, so upwelling ground water is the only remaining explanation. The deltas are all located at approximately the same elevation, so we are probably dealing with a ground water reservoir that spans the entire planet.”

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Space Weather Kicks Up a Social Storm

Space weather effects. (Credit: ESA/Science Office)

PARIS, 1 March 2019 (ESA PR) — One of the most visible — and fabulously beautiful — effects of this ‘space weather’ on our planet are the aurora borealis, the famous ‘northern lights’ that dance across the high (and low) latitudes.

Throughout human history, spectacular auroral eruptions have given rise to fearful beliefs of mythological creatures, have driven folklore and have influenced culture, religion and art.

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Astrobotic Team Selected by ESA to Study Delivery of Lunar Resources Mission

Peregrine lander on the moon. (Credit: Astrobotic)

A team including Astrobotic and Airbus competitively selected in partnership to study the delivery of a European Space Agency mission to the Moon onboard the Peregrine lunar lander

Astrobotic now the only lunar delivery service to be selected by NASA and ESA

Pittsburgh, PA (Astrobotic PR) – Astrobotic announced today that a team led by Airbus has been competitively selected by the European Space Agency (ESA) to study the delivery of a payload package onboard the Peregrine lunar lander around 2025. The study will analyze Europe’s first mission to demonstrate in-situ resource utilization on the Moon.

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UK Space Agency Provides $23.5 Million to OneWeb for Global Communications Constellation

LONDON (UKSA PR) — Affordable worldwide internet coverage is one step closer today, after £18 million [$23.5 million] of UK Space Agency funding was awarded to OneWeb through the European Space Agency, to aid the development of its next generation satellite constellation.

A global communications network in space, the system will be comprised of approximately 650 satellites initially and scale to more than 900 satellites over time.

Science Minister Chris Skidmore is visiting the European Space Agency in the Netherlands today. He will say:

Fast internet access is something many people take for granted but in many areas of the world connectivity is still hit and miss.

This new £18m investment will go towards meeting the significant technical challenges of the project, putting the UK at the forefront of cutting-edge research and development.

The commercial potential for a cost effective worldwide telecoms satellite system is huge, and the UK space sector is playing a leading role in delivering it. It is made possible by our ongoing commitment to the European Space Agency and our world-leading capabilities in space and telecommunications, which we are supporting through our modern Industrial Strategy.

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Rosetta’s Comet Sculpted by Stress

Single frame enhanced NavCam image taken on 27 March 2016, when Rosetta was 329 km from the nucleus of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. The scale is 28 m/pixel and the image measures 28.7 km across. (Credit:  ESA/Rosetta/NavCam)

18 February 2019

MARSEILLE, France (ESA PR) — Feeling stressed? You’re not alone. ESA’s Rosetta mission has revealed that geological stress arising from the shape of Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko has been a key process in sculpting the comet’s surface and interior following its formation.

Small, icy comets with two distinct lobes seem to be commonplace in the Solar System, with one possible mode of formation a slow collision of two primordial objects in the early stages of formation some 4.5 billion years ago. A new study using data collected by Rosetta during its two years at Comet 67P/C-G has illuminated the mechanisms that contributed to shaping the comet over the following billions of years.

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Nanosat to Serve the Internet of Things Tested for Space

Evaluation of a test Hiber nanosatellite took place in ESA’s metal-walled Hybrid European Radio Frequency and Antenna Test Zone (Hertz) at the Agency’s technical centre in the Netherlands, shut off from all external influences for radio testing.  (Credit: ESA–G. Porter)

NOORDWIJK, the Netherlands (ESA PR) — The Netherlands’ latest space firm brought its newest design for testing in ESA’s largest antenna test facility. The Hiber company has already launched its first two nanosatellites into orbit, and is busily preparing its next generation.

Dutch space company Hiber is building an orbital constellation of CubeSats – small modular satellites based around 10 cm units – to provide global low-cost connectivity for the ‘Internet of Things’, tracking and harnessing data from modem-linked objects such as haulage vehicles, power cables, pipelines or sensors for precision agriculture.

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ExoMars Rover Named After Co-Discoverer of DNA Structure

Rosalind Franklin (Credit: Jewish Chronicle Archive/Heritage-Images)

STEVENAGE, UK, February 7, 2019 (UKSA PR) — The UK made ExoMars rover, due to roam the surface of the red planet in 2021, has been named after UK scientist and co-discoverer of the structure of DNA – Rosalind Franklin.

The name was revealed this morning by Science Minister Chris Skidmore and British European Space Agency (ESA) Astronaut Tim Peake in the ‘Mars Yard’ at Airbus Defence and Space UK in Stevenage, where the rover is being built.

Chris Skidmore, UK Science Minister said:

“It is a tremendously fitting tribute that the rover has been named after Rosalind Franklin as she helped us understand life on Earth and now her namesake will do the same on Mars.

“Just as Rosalind Franklin overcame many obstacles during her career, I hope ‘Rosalind the rover’ will successfully persevere in this exciting adventure, inspiring generations of female scientists and engineers to come.

“This is a big moment for British science and through our modern Industrial Strategy we are embracing this moment as part of our ambition to be the world’s most innovative economy, creating opportunities for business through science.”

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Spotlight on European Space Station Science

Columbus module International Space Station (Credit: ESA)

PARIS, 4 February 2019 (ESA PR) — Though all ESA astronauts are back on Earth, European science on the International Space Station is ongoing. Explore a few experiments underway right now in celebration of science at ESA.

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ESA Plans Mission to Smallest Asteroid Ever Visited

Hera at Didymos (Credit: ESA–ScienceOffice.org)

PARIS, 4 February 2019 (ESA PR) — ESA’s planet-defending Hera mission will set a new record in space. The asteroid investigator will not only be the first spacecraft to explore a binary asteroid system – the Didymos pair – but the smaller of these two worldlets, comparable in size to Egypt’s Great Pyramid of Giza, will become the smallest asteroid ever visited.

From afar, one asteroid looks much like another, until comparing them directly. Checking the well-known scale chart prepared by the Planetary Society of all asteroid and comets so far surveyed by spacecraft and the larger Didymos asteroid would form a modest dot, with its smaller moonlet struggling to make a single pixel.

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Austrian Research Promotion Agency Signs Joint Statement on Institutional Use of Ariane 6, Vega C

Artist’s view of the configuration of Ariane 6 using four boosters (A64) (Credit: ESA – D. Ducros)

PARIS, 30 January 2019 (ESA PR) — This morning, the Austrian Research Promotion Agency added its signature to the joint statement signed by other European institutions (ASI, ESA, CDTI, CNES & DLR) and the Swiss Confederation in October last year in support to the European launcher industry and to Ariane 6 and Vega-C.

Through this Statement, signatories recognise the benefit of aggregating their institutional demand for launch services to ensure an independent, cost-effective, affordable, and reliable access to space for Europe.

Klaus Pseiner, Managing Director at the Austrian Research Promotion Agency (Österreichische Forschungsförderungsgesellschaft, FFG) signed the joint statement in the presence of Jan Wörner, ESA’s Director General, and Daniel Neuenschwander, ESA Director of Space Transportation, at ESA Headquarters in Paris.

Space capacities are strategically important to civil, commercial, security and defence-related policy objectives. Space is an enabler for responding to societal challenges and for stimulating job and growth creation. Europe needs to maintain a leading position in this sector. Europe’s autonomy of action in space is conditional on autonomy in accessing space.

OHB, IAI Team in Offering Commercial Lunar Surface Missions to ESA

  • Collaboration to be managed by OHB System AG, a leading German satellite manufacturer
  • IAI to deliver a lunar lander based on the engineering knowhow accumulated in the development of SpaceIL lunar lander

TEL AVIV (IAI PR) — OHB System AG, a leading German manufacturer of satellites and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), signed a teaming agreement today (Tuesday, 29.1.2019) at the Ilan Ramon Space Conference. Under the agreement, the companies will offer a commercial Lunar Surface Access Service (LSAS) for payloads up to 150 kg to the European Space Agency (ESA).

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Vega-C’s First Stage P120C Motor Tested in French Guiana

Hot firing of P120C solid rocket motor for Vega-C. (Credit: ESA/CNES)

KOUROU, French Guiana, 29 January 2019 (ESA PR) — The first qualification model of the P120C solid-fuel motor, configured for Vega-C, was static fired yesterday on the test stand at Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana.

Fully loaded with 142 tonnes of fuel, the 13.5 m long and 3.4 m diameter motor was ignited for a final simulation of liftoff and the first phase of flight.

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Preparing for a Walk on the Moon

ESA astronaut Matthias Maurer and ESA spacewalk instructor Hervé Stevenin collecting rock samples with new tool prototypes. (Credit: ESA–A. Romeo)

LANZAROTE, Spain (ESA PR) — Developing the most efficient and safest way to return to the Moon starts on Earth. European astronauts and spacewalk experts are getting ready for the future of Moon exploration with electronic aids, upgraded geological tools from the Apollo era and improved scientific protocols.

In November, ESA conducted a moonwalk simulation in Lanzarote, Spain as part of Pangaea-X, a test campaign that brought together space exploration, high-tech survey equipment and geology.

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Winning Ideas for 3D Printing on the Moon

A vision of a future Moon base that could be produced and maintained using 3D printing. (Credit: RegoLight, visualisation: Liquifer Systems Group, 2018)

PARIS (ESA PR) — While studying lunar base concepts ESA ran a competition, asking: what would you 3D print on the Moon, to make it feel like home? Responses came from all across the globe, and now two winners have been selected, both with ideas linked to nature.
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European Union Provides $109 Million in Additional Funding for ESA’s Copernicus Program

BRUSSELS, 22 January 2019 (ESA PR) — An amendment to the current Copernicus Agreement has been signed by the EU and ESA, adding €96 million [$109.1 million] to ESA’s space component budget for the world’s largest environmental monitoring programme: Copernicus.

The 3rd Amendment of the EU–ESA Copernicus Agreement was signed at the 11th European Policy Conference in Brussels, Belgium.

This additional contribution of €96 million is related to ESA being entrusted with additional tasks such as the development of the Copernicus Sentinel-6 mission and the new European Copernicus Data Access and Information Services.

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