NASA’s Hubble Finds Water Vapor on Habitable-Zone Exoplanet for 1st Time

This artist’s impression shows the planet K2-18b, its host star and an accompanying planet in this system. K2-18b is now the only super-Earth exoplanet known to host both water and temperatures that could support life. UCL researchers used archive data from 2016 and 2017 captured by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope and developed open-source algorithms to analyze the starlight filtered through K2-18b’s atmosphere. The results revealed the molecular signature of water vapor, also indicating the presence of hydrogen and helium in the planet’s atmosphere. (Credits: ESA/Hubble, M. Kornmesser)

GREENBELT, Md. (NASA PR) — Its size and surface gravity are much larger than Earth’s, and its radiation environment may be hostile, but a distant planet called K2-18b has captured the interest of scientists all over the world. For the first time, researchers have detected water vapor signatures in the atmosphere of a planet beyond our solar system that resides in the “habitable zone,” the region around a star in which liquid water could potentially pool on the surface of a rocky planet.

(more…)

Arianespace Backlog Stands at 52 Launches as Company Prepares for Ariane 6, Vega C

Ariane 5 lifts off with the Intelsat 5 and EDRS-C communications satellites aboard. (Credit: Arianespace)

PARIS (Arianespace PR) — With Arianespace once again participating in the World Satellite Business Week (WSBW) event in Paris from September 9 to 13, the company continues to confirm the attractiveness of its launcher family, with nine new contracts signed since the beginning of the year – including Ariane 6’s maiden flight and the concluding payload contract for the SSMS demonstration flight on Vega (which is now fully booked). Arianespace’s backlog currently stands at 52 launches to be carried out by the Ariane 5/Ariane 6, Vega/Vega C and Soyuz vehicles.

(more…)

Europe, U.S. Teaming Up for Asteroid Deflection

ESA’s Asteroid Impact Mission is joined by two triple-unit CubeSats to observe the impact of the NASA-led Demonstration of Autonomous Rendezvous Technology (DART) probe with the secondary Didymos asteroid, planned for late 2022. (Credit: ESA – ScienceOffice.org)

ROME (ESA PR) — Asteroid researchers and spacecraft engineers from the US, Europe and around the world will gather in Rome next week to discuss the latest progress in their common goal: an ambitious double-spacecraft mission to deflect an asteroid in space, to prove the technique as a viable method of planetary defence.

This combined mission is known as the Asteroid Impact Deflection Assessment, or AIDA for short. Its purpose is to deflect the orbit of the smaller body of the double Didymos asteroids between Earth and Mars through an impact by one spacecraft. Then a second spacecraft will survey the crash site and gather the maximum possible data on the effect of this collision.

(more…)

ISS Multilateral Coordination Board Endorses Lunar Gateway

Gateway with Orion over the Moon (Credit: ESA/NASA/ATG Medialab)

ISS Multilateral Coordination Board Joint Statement

The International Space Station (ISS) Multilateral Coordination Board (MCB) met on August 6, 2019. Its members[1] acknowledged the recent 50th anniversary of the first human steps on the lunar surface during the Apollo 11 mission, praised the ongoing important work of the ISS, and discussed opportunities for the future of human exploration on and around the Moon and forward to Mars.  

(more…)

ESA, Australian Space Agency Sign Cooperation Agreement

CANBERRA (Australia Ministry for Industry, Science and Technology PR) — Australia could work with Europe on future space missions, thanks to a joint statement of intent signed between the Australian Space Agency and the European Space Agency.

The statement outlines an intention to explore deeper cooperation and identify projects in a range of areas including deep space, communications, navigation, remote asset management, data analytics and mission support.

(more…)

Lacuna Space Achieves Major Milestone for LoRa® in Space

OXFORDSHIRE, UK (Lacuna Space PR) — Lacuna Space is pleased to announce the successful conclusion of the first phase of testing in its mission to provide complete global coverage for LoRa® devices and wireless radio frequency technology (LoRa Technology) to anywhere in the world, no matter how remote.

Lacuna Space is at the forefront of satellite IoT connectivity, with low-cost and high-scalability as its fundamental tenets in its system design. Over the course of the last two years, Lacuna has been collaborating with Semtech Corporation to extend LoRa Technology connectivity to the whole world.

(more…)

European Space Data Relay System Shows its Speed

The European Data Relay System monitors the Earth in almost real time. (Credit: ESA)

BRUSSELS (ESA PR) — A satellite network that can zoom in on ships at sea and check for oil spills in almost real time has demonstrated its capabilities at a high-level international event in Brussels.

The demonstration of the capabilities of the European Data Relay System (EDRS) was made to delegates at the headquarters of the European External Action Service on 10 July.

(more…)

UK Scientists to Lead ESA’s New Comet Interceptor Mission

Comet Interceptor concept (Credit: ESA)

SWINDON, UK (UK Space Agency PR) — A new mission called Comet Interceptor, which was proposed by the UK, has been targeted for launch by the European Space Agency in 2028.

Comet Interceptor would be the first mission to travel to a comet which has never previously encountered the inner Solar System.

(more…)