Inside the cleanroom with BepiColombo

ESA Web TV talks to BepiColombo project manager Ulrich Reininghaus inside the cleanroom at Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, where the mission is undergoing final preparations for its launch to Mercury.

BepiColombo is a joint mission between ESA and JAXA. It consists of two science orbiters – ESA’s Mercury Planetary Orbiter and JAXA’s Mercury Magnetospheric Orbiter – and the Mercury Transfer Module, which will use solar electric propulsion to carry the two orbiters to Mercury, along with gravity assist flybys at Earth, Venus and Mercury itself. It is Europe’s first mission to Mercury, the smallest and least explored terrestrial planet in the inner Solar System.

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More information: http://bit.ly/ESAsBepiColombo

When can I see Rosetta’s comet again?

In August 2015 Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko reached its closest point to the Sun along its orbit. ESA’s Rosetta spacecraft was there to monitor the comet’s activity as it reached a maximum, its frozen ices warmed by increasing solar radiation, escaping into space as streams of gas and dust. Rosetta’s work may now be complete, but the comet continues along its 6.4 year orbit around the Sun, which takes it beyond the orbit of Jupiter at its furthest. In three years time it will return to our skies again, and this time may even be visible through binoculars.

Colin Snodgrass of the Open University and ground-based observation campaign coordinator for the comet tells ESA Web TV how scientists are trying to match up what is seen in the wide views of the comet from Earth with the unique close-up images provided by Rosetta, and what astronomers are planning for future observations when it returns to our skies. With the comet making a closer pass to Earth than the last time, and at the same time being closest to the Sun, it will be brighter in our skies than during the Rosetta mission. Get your binoculars ready for late 2021!

This is an ESA Web TV interview filmed in Rhodes, Greece during the 49th Rosetta Science Working Team Meeting in May 2018. The video contains imagery from a range of telescopes (indicated within) along with images from Rosetta’s OSIRIS camera (credit: ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA – CC BY-SA 4.0).

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Horizons mission time-lapse – from Alaska to the Andes

Ever wondered what it feels like to fly from Alaska to the Andes in 260 seconds? ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst captured this timelapse footage of Alaska, the USA and South America while orbiting Earth on board the International Space Station.

This timelapse is made up of 6,375 images shown 12.5 times faster than actual speed. Music is Our Oasis by Miriam Speyer, sourced from Audio Network Limited.

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Follow Alexander and the Horizons mission on social media via http://bit.ly/AlexanderGerstESA and on http://bit.ly/HorizonsBlogESA.

Horizons mission time-lapse – Australia and New Zealand

Māori, as native New Zealanders, refer to their islands as “Aotearoa” or “the land of the long white cloud”. This timelapse from ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst shows Australia and New Zealand shrouded in cloud from the unique viewpoint of the International Space Station.

Comprised of 5,175 photos, this timelapse is 12.5 times faster than actual speed and is set to the soundtrack “Try or Die” sourced from Audio Network Limited.

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Follow Alexander and the Horizons mission on social media via http://bit.ly/AlexanderGerstESA and on http://bit.ly/HorizonsBlogESA.

Preserving Rosetta’s data

Laurence O’Rourke, ESA Rosetta Downlink Science Operations Manager, talks to ESA Web TV about the ongoing work on Rosetta’s archive even years after the last data have been collected at Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. He describes the work that goes into processing the data – whether images, spectra or plasma data for example – and presenting it in an easy-to-access format. A new function of the Planetary Science Archive, the online interface for scientists who use observations from ESA’s planetary missions for their research, has recently been added, designed to facilitate the search process of data collected by ESA’s missions past, present and future.

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What is… an eclipse?

What is a lunar eclipse? What is a solar eclipse? This short video explains the difference between these regularly occurring events that can be observed from Earth.

The video uses a mix of ground- and space-based imagery of eclipses, including footage from the International Space Station, ESA’s Proba-2 satellite and the Japanese-led Hinode satellite.

Remember: never look directly at the Sun, even when partially eclipsed, without proper eye protection such as special solar eclipse glasses, or you risk permanent eye damage.

Credits: ESA, ESA/CESAR (graphics, ground-based observations), NASA’s Scientific Visualization Studio (partial lunar eclipse sequence) ESA/NASA (ISS footage), ESA/Royal Observatory of Belgium (Proba-2 footage), NASA/Hinode/XRT (Hinode image).

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Learn more: http://bit.ly/WhatIsAnEclipse

Horizons mission time-lapse – an orbital sunrise

Orbiting Earth once every 90 minutes, the International Space Station soars into 16 sunrises and sunsets every single day. Many of these sunrises occur while the crew is working or sleeping, but ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst captured this stunning timelapse of a sunrise to share with us here on Earth.

These photos were taken by Alexander at an interval of two per second and the video has been edited at 25 frames per second.

Music: First Survivors 4 by Los Angeles-based British composer, Luke Richards. Sourced from Audio Network Limited.

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Follow Alexander and the Horizons mission on social media via http://bit.ly/AlexanderGerstESA and on http://bit.ly/HorizonsBlogESA.

What is… an eclipse?

What is a lunar eclipse? What is a solar eclipse? This short video explains the difference between these regularly occurring events that can be observed from Earth.

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Learn more: http://bit.ly/WhatIsAnEclipse

Space Bites: Resources beyond Earth | Angel Abbud Madrid

Humans will have to breath, drink and eat while living on the Moon. They will need energy to perform tasks using their robotic companions and materials to build structures. For a sustainable approach to space exploration these resources cannot be carried from Earth but have to be found on the Moon itself.

Angel Abbud Madrid is the Director of the Center for Space Resources at the Colorado School of Mines (CSM), where he leads a multidisciplinary research programme on the human and robotic exploration of space and the utilisation of its resources. He is also the Director of the CSM Space Resources Program, the first academic programme in the world focused on educating scientists, engineers, economists, entrepreneurs and policymakers in the developing field of space resources. 

Space Bites hosts the best talks on space exploration from the most inspiring and knowledgeable speakers from the field. Held at the technical heart of the European Space Agency in the Netherlands, the lectures are now also available on YouTube. If you want to know about the present and future challenges of ESA, stay tuned for more.

To know more about the exploration of the Moon visit http://lunarexploration.esa.int

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BepiColombo launch to Mercury

Enjoy this animation visualising BepiColombo’s launch and cruise to Mercury. Some aspects have been simplified for the purpose of this animation.

The joint ESA-JAXA mission comprises the European Mercury Planetary Orbiter and Japan’s Mercury Magnetospheric Orbiter, which will be transported to the innermost planet by the Mercury Transfer Module. The animation highlights several key milestones, including the solar array and antenna deployments once in space, through to the arrival at Mercury seven years later. When approaching Mercury, the transfer module will separate and the two science orbiters, still together, will be captured into orbit around the planet. Their altitude will be adjusted until the Magnetospheric Orbiter’s desired orbit is reached. Then the Planetary Orbiter will separate and descend to its lower orbit, and the two craft will begin their scientific exploration of Mercury and its environment.

More information: http://bit.ly/ESAsBepiColombo

Credits: ESA/ATG medialab

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