Horizons mission – all systems go

ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst is about to return to to the International Space Station. His last trip occurred four years ago in May 2014 making him the first of ESA’s 2009 class of astronauts to be sent into space for a second time. Since then he has been busy preparing for his next mission called Horizons. Continuous training helps astronauts to be mentally prepared to handle emergencies.

Alexander will be launched into space alongside NASA astronaut Serena Auñón-Chancellor and Roscosmos commander Sergei Prokopyev in the Soyuz MS-09 spacecraft. The trio will blast off from Baikonur cosmodrome, Kazakhstan and will arrive at the International Space Station two days later, marking the start of Alexander’s Horizons mission.

The mission is called Horizons as a symbol for the unknown and what lies beyond. As part of all Space Station missions, scientific experiments make up a large part of the astronauts’ time to broaden our horizons as humankind.

During the second part of his mission Alexander will take over as commander of the International Space Station, only the second time an ESA astronaut will take on this role so far.

The Space Station allows for long-term studies with humans in microgravity. ESA’s Columbus research module has been doing so since 2008 and is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year.

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

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ExoMars is ready for science!

ExoMars is ready for Martian science!

ESA’s Trace Gas Orbiter mission arrived at Mars in October 2016. After a year spent carefully adjusting its position, the spacecraft is now beginning its science operations.

The Trace Gas Orbiter’s instruments will be able to look through the atmosphere to identify trace gases – in particular methane – which could indicate signs of past or even present life. The orbiter will also act as a relay for rovers on the Martian surface.

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

Mars sample return

Spacecraft in orbit and on Mars’s surface have made many exciting discoveries, transforming our understanding of the planet and unveiling clues to the formation of our Solar System, as well as helping us understand our home planet. The next step is to bring samples to Earth for detailed analysis in sophisticated laboratories where results can be verified independently and samples can be reanalysed as laboratory techniques continue to improve.

Bringing Mars to Earth is no simple undertaking—it would require at least three missions from Earth and one never-been-done-before rocket launch from Mars.

A first mission, NASA’s 2020 Mars Rover, is set to collect surface samples in pen-sized canisters as it explores the Red Planet. Up to 31 canisters will be filled and readied for a later pickup – geocaching gone interplanetary.

In the same period, ESA’s ExoMars rover, which is also set to land on Mars in 2021, will be drilling up to two meters below the surface to search for evidence of life.

A second mission with a small fetch rover would land nearby and retrieve the samples in a Martian search-and-rescue operation. This rover would bring the samples back to its lander and place them in a Mars Ascent Vehicle – a small rocket to launch the football-sized container into Mars orbit.

A third launch from Earth would provide a spacecraft sent to orbit Mars and rendezvous with the sample containers. Once the samples are safely collected and loaded into an Earth entry vehicle, the spacecraft would return to Earth, release the vehicle to land in the United States, where the samples will be retrieved and placed in quarantine for detailed analysis by a team of international scientists.

Credits: NASA

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

Phobos and Saturn

These observations of Phobos and Saturn were taken by the Super Resolution Channel of the High Resolution Stereo Camera on Mars Express. The video comprises 30 separate images acquired during Mars Express orbit 16 346 on 26 November 2016. The slight up and down movement of Saturn and Phobos in these images is caused by the oscillation of the spacecraft’s orientation after completing the turn towards the moon. Phobos can be seen in the foreground, partially illuminated, with Saturn visible as a small ringed dot in the distance.
For more information go to http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Space_Science/Mars_Express/Mars_Express_views_moons_set_against_Saturn_s_rings

ESA Euronews: “Marte sulla Terra” è in Spagna

Se la vita può sopravvivere e prosperare nel Rio Tinto, potrebbe esserci vita anche su Marte o sulle lune di Giove e Saturno? Cerchiamo di scoprirlo seguendo le ricerche degli scienziati del Centro di Astrobiologia di Madrid.

ESA Euronews: Van-e élet a Marson?

A dél-spanyolországi Rio Tinto nevű hely gyakorlatilag a Mars a Földön. Ha itt van élet, vajon lehet a vörös bolygón is?

ESA Euronews: Από την Ισπανία στον Άρη

H περιοχή Ρίο Τίντο στη Νότια Ισπανία έχει κεντρίσει εδώ και πολλά χρόνια το ενδιαφέρον των επιστημόνων και των αστροβιολόγων, καθώς οι συνθήκες εδώ προσομοιάζουν με αυτές που επικρατούν στον Κόκκινο Πλανήτη. Το Euronews βρέθηκε στην περιοχή για να μιλήσει με τους επιστήμονες που μελετούν διάφορες μορφές ζωής που συναντάμε εδώ.

ESA Euronews: Mars sur la Terre

Au Sud de l’Espagne, le Rio Tinto est une zone précieuse de recherches pour les scientifiques de l’ESA et de la NASA, grâce à ces caractéristiques similaires à celles de la planète rouge.

Bienvenue sur Mars, ou plutôt dans la région du Rio Tinto au sud de l’Espagne !

ESA Euronews: Marte en la Tierra

La comarca de Río Tinto en el sur de españa presenta un entorno ácido y duro como el de Marte. Los científicos la estudian porque si hay vida aquí, quizás también exista en el planeta rojo o en otros cuerpos celestes de nuestro sistema solar.

Los científicos del Centro de Astrobiología de Madrid buscan señales de vida en otras lunas y planetas de nuestro sistema solar. Y lo hacen tomando muestras en lugares extraordinarios.

ESA Euronews: Mars auf der Erde

Willkommen auf dem Mars – auch bekannt als Rio Tinto in Südspanien. Forscher vermuten, dass die Mikroorganismen in dem Fluss auch auf dem Roten Planeten existieren könnten.