Posts tagged ESA

Watch live streaming video from eurospaceagency at livestream.com

Watch the live stream as Rosetta (hopefully) wakes up.

The billion dollar satellite is set to intercept a comet and land a unit on it later in 2014 - but it all hinges on it reawakening from an energy-saving shut down performed in 2011, which is happening today.

Check out more about Rosetta here.

Billion dollar satellite to ‘re-awaken’ tomorrow.

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The Rosetta cometary probe was launched in 2004, and has since travelled over seven billion kilometers around the solar system to gain the speed necessary for its mission - to intercept

This robot snake could one day explore Mars.

The European Space Agency has contracted research agency SINTEF to conduct a feasibility study for ways to get samples from difficult places on Mars, using robotic rovers. While previous NASA rovers like Curiosity have been able to take and analyse many samples already, some places are out of reach of these types of robot due to the risk of getting stuck in the sand - which is how the Spirit rovers mission ended.

One possibility is this snake-like robot, which could be tethered to a rover which would act as both the power source and a winch for the snake-bot, if it got stuck.

The ESA has two Mars missions planed for 2016 and 2018.

'Apophis' asteroid could take out satellites in 2029.
The European Space Agency had updated it’s predictions for the trajectory of asteroid 99942 ‘Apophis’, based on new data gathered as it passed about 14.5 million from Earth last weekend.
The new data shows the asteroid is bigger than previously thought. “The 20% increase in diameter, from 270 to 325m, translates into a 75% increase in our estimates of the asteroid’s volume or mass,” says Thomas Müller of the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics in Garching, Germany, who is leading the analysis of the new data. The team also gathered new data on the albedo (a measure of reflectivity) of Apophis, which is important for trajectory modelling, given that heating from the Sun can influence it’s path.
The updated model shows Apophis will pass within 36,000km of Earth’s surface - well within the orbit of some satellites. That distance just happens to be the lower limit of geostationary satellite orbits, which are most often used for communication and broadcast, as well as weather and classified military satellites. Although there’s currently around 400 currently outside this geosynchronous orbit, there are even more at the most used altitude of around 20,200km. If future updates on the trajectory show it coming that close there’s a chance it could take out navigation and communication satellites in Medium Earth Orbit, such as GPS and Glonass.
Apophis will pass Earth yet again in 2036, but that orbit is unlikely to be fully understood until after the 2029 pass with Earth, which will change the trajectory of the asteroid.

'Apophis' asteroid could take out satellites in 2029.

The European Space Agency had updated it’s predictions for the trajectory of asteroid 99942 ‘Apophis’, based on new data gathered as it passed about 14.5 million from Earth last weekend.

The new data shows the asteroid is bigger than previously thought. “The 20% increase in diameter, from 270 to 325m, translates into a 75% increase in our estimates of the asteroid’s volume or mass,” says Thomas Müller of the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics in Garching, Germany, who is leading the analysis of the new data. The team also gathered new data on the albedo (a measure of reflectivity) of Apophis, which is important for trajectory modelling, given that heating from the Sun can influence it’s path.

The updated model shows Apophis will pass within 36,000km of Earth’s surface - well within the orbit of some satellites. That distance just happens to be the lower limit of geostationary satellite orbits, which are most often used for communication and broadcast, as well as weather and classified military satellites. Although there’s currently around 400 currently outside this geosynchronous orbit, there are even more at the most used altitude of around 20,200km. If future updates on the trajectory show it coming that close there’s a chance it could take out navigation and communication satellites in Medium Earth Orbit, such as GPS and Glonass.

Apophis will pass Earth yet again in 2036, but that orbit is unlikely to be fully understood until after the 2029 pass with Earth, which will change the trajectory of the asteroid.

Average US gamer is 30 years old.
Also interesting to see that there’s more gamers aged 36 or over than there are under 18 years old.
The statistics come from the Entertainment Software Association, which conducts one of the most comprehensive surveys of the US video game market. Also released figures include:
Consumers spent $24.75 billion on video games, hardware and accessories in 2011.
The average game player is 30 years old and has been playing games for 12 years. 
Forty-seven percent of all game players are women.
Thirty-three percent of gamers play games on their smartphones
25 percent play games on their handheld device.

Average US gamer is 30 years old.

Also interesting to see that there’s more gamers aged 36 or over than there are under 18 years old.

The statistics come from the Entertainment Software Association, which conducts one of the most comprehensive surveys of the US video game market. Also released figures include:

  • Consumers spent $24.75 billion on video games, hardware and accessories in 2011.
  • The average game player is 30 years old and has been playing games for 12 years.
  • Forty-seven percent of all game players are women.
  • Thirty-three percent of gamers play games on their smartphones
  • 25 percent play games on their handheld device.
Russia may replace USA in next Mars mission.
The European Space Agency (ESA) and NASA had been planning a joint mission to Mars - to launch a ‘Trace Gas Orbiter’ craft to the planet in 2016, and a larger ExoMars rover in 2018.
Now budget cuts expected to be announced by the Obama Administration may lead to NASA pulling out of the project altogether, and the ESA says it has been in talks with Russia, to replace NASA’s role in the mission.

Last year, NASA officials made it clear they could not fulfill all of their commitments to ExoMars as a result of government cost cutting and budget overruns by the James Webb Space Telescope. In response, ESA approached Roscosmos in the autumn to see if the Russians could come aboard, too. In particular, ESA wanted to be able to replace American Atlas V rockets, which were the planned launch vehicles, with Russian Proton rockets. Roscosmos officials were initially skeptical, according to the Web site russianspaceweb.com, but scientists ultimately embraced the opportunity to fly instruments developed for other failed Russian Mars missions, including Mars96 and Fobos-Grunt. A mid-November meeting of the Russian Academy of Science’s Space Council endorsed participation and even suggested replacing the static lander in the 2016 mission with a clutch of small landers developed for Mars96.

Russia may replace USA in next Mars mission.

The European Space Agency (ESA) and NASA had been planning a joint mission to Mars - to launch a ‘Trace Gas Orbiter’ craft to the planet in 2016, and a larger ExoMars rover in 2018.

Now budget cuts expected to be announced by the Obama Administration may lead to NASA pulling out of the project altogether, and the ESA says it has been in talks with Russia, to replace NASA’s role in the mission.

Last year, NASA officials made it clear they could not fulfill all of their commitments to ExoMars as a result of government cost cutting and budget overruns by the James Webb Space Telescope. In response, ESA approached Roscosmos in the autumn to see if the Russians could come aboard, too. In particular, ESA wanted to be able to replace American Atlas V rockets, which were the planned launch vehicles, with Russian Proton rockets. Roscosmos officials were initially skeptical, according to the Web site russianspaceweb.com, but scientists ultimately embraced the opportunity to fly instruments developed for other failed Russian Mars missions, including Mars96 and Fobos-Grunt. A mid-November meeting of the Russian Academy of Science’s Space Council endorsed participation and even suggested replacing the static lander in the 2016 mission with a clutch of small landers developed for Mars96.

Lost Russian space probe makes contact.
As covered here earlier, the Phobos-Grunt probe had made a successful launch but failed to set heading to Mars, leaving it marooned in orbit around Earth. With help from the European Space Agency and worldwide tracking stations, an Australian ground station has heard new signals from the probe - the first in around two weeks.
While it looks unlikely the team will be able to help the craft set a course as planned for the Martian moon Phobos, it is perhaps the one last hope to try before it comes crashing back into Earths atmosphere. Phobos-Grunt was also carrying China’s first ever Mars satellite.

Lost Russian space probe makes contact.

As covered here earlier, the Phobos-Grunt probe had made a successful launch but failed to set heading to Mars, leaving it marooned in orbit around Earth. With help from the European Space Agency and worldwide tracking stations, an Australian ground station has heard new signals from the probe - the first in around two weeks.

While it looks unlikely the team will be able to help the craft set a course as planned for the Martian moon Phobos, it is perhaps the one last hope to try before it comes crashing back into Earths atmosphere. Phobos-Grunt was also carrying China’s first ever Mars satellite.

Russian Mars mission looks set to fail.
The Russian Phobos-Grunt probe had been launched successfully on Wednesday, but failed to set the correct course for Mars and is now stuck orbiting Earth. As it left Earths’ atmosphere, the craft was meant to find it’s position from the stars and fire more engines, but this failed to happen.
The European space agency has begun helping Russia to try and re-establish contact with the craft, with the hope that with a successful software fix the craft could still complete its mission. But with the battery failing on the craft and it slowly falling back to Earth, time is running out.
The mission was meant to land on the Martian Moon Phobos, before returning soil samples to Earth. It was also carrying China’s first Mars satellite, Yinghuo-1.

Russian Mars mission looks set to fail.

The Russian Phobos-Grunt probe had been launched successfully on Wednesday, but failed to set the correct course for Mars and is now stuck orbiting Earth. As it left Earths’ atmosphere, the craft was meant to find it’s position from the stars and fire more engines, but this failed to happen.

The European space agency has begun helping Russia to try and re-establish contact with the craft, with the hope that with a successful software fix the craft could still complete its mission. But with the battery failing on the craft and it slowly falling back to Earth, time is running out.

The mission was meant to land on the Martian Moon Phobos, before returning soil samples to Earth. It was also carrying China’s first Mars satellite, Yinghuo-1.

BBC

Mars mission ‘returning’ to Earth today.

The European Space Agency has been running a mock mission to Mars for the last year and a half, using a crew of six male volunteers. Now, the crew is set to ‘return’ to Earth.

China also decides to mess with near Earth asteroid Aphophis.
As covered here last month, the European Space Agency is planning to try and move 99942 Aphophis; a near Earth asteroid which has a 1 in 250,000 chance of hitting Earth in 2036.
Now China has announced it also plans to have a go, with a plan to send a roughly 20 pound spacecraft crashing into the same asteroid to study the effects. While the Chinese craft is significantly smaller than the 1,100 pound craft the ESA is planning to use, it’s speed will be much faster at impact - around 200,000 miler per hour.
It’s worth noting that neither mission is actively trying to stop the asteroid hitting Earth, but the size of the asteroid and the relatively close pass it will be making to Earth have made it an easy target for research. Both groups are aiming to put together useable reaction plans should an asteroid be discovered on a path to hit Earth in the future.

China also decides to mess with near Earth asteroid Aphophis.

As covered here last month, the European Space Agency is planning to try and move 99942 Aphophis; a near Earth asteroid which has a 1 in 250,000 chance of hitting Earth in 2036.

Now China has announced it also plans to have a go, with a plan to send a roughly 20 pound spacecraft crashing into the same asteroid to study the effects. While the Chinese craft is significantly smaller than the 1,100 pound craft the ESA is planning to use, it’s speed will be much faster at impact - around 200,000 miler per hour.

It’s worth noting that neither mission is actively trying to stop the asteroid hitting Earth, but the size of the asteroid and the relatively close pass it will be making to Earth have made it an easy target for research. Both groups are aiming to put together useable reaction plans should an asteroid be discovered on a path to hit Earth in the future.