ESA Euronews: Space debris
Space debris has become a pressing issue, with objects in orbit flying out of control, posing a risk to satellites and to astronauts. We attended a meeting of space debris experts at ESA's ESTEC technology base in the Netherlands to find out more about what can be done to deal with the problem.This video is also available in the following languages:
ESA Euronews: Weather and climate mysteries
Earth's atmosphere still holds many secrets for science, but with the latest satellite launches and long-running observations from the ground, we are now gathering far more and better quality data about the weather and climate than ever before.We begin our story with the team at the Hohenpeißenberg weather station in Bavaria, a historic spot where weather balloons have been launched every week for the past 50 years. The information these balloons gather is vital to feed weather and climate models, and measure Earth's high altitude ozone layer.This video is also available in the following languages:French https://youtu.be/1vNZCWnlX5c
ESA Euronews: 60 years since Sputnik
Sixty years ago, Sputnik became the first satellite in space and changed the world forever.Launched by the Soviet Union on 4 October 1957, this shiny orb kick-started the space race, and opened up the heavens for mankind to explore.To mark the occasion ESA Euronews arranged access to the private museum of RSC Energia, the Russian state company that actually built the world’s first satellite, officially called Sputnik-1. Hanging in this Moscow treasure trove of pioneering space probes is one of the original Sputnik flight spares, built in 1957. Compact, at just over 80 kilogrammes, its polished surfaces and distinctive antennae are now unmistakable - look at this satellite, and the first word in your mind is 'Sputnik'.This video is also available in the following languages:
ESA Euronews: The space veteran
It's an age when many of us would be considering winding down, and cutting back on physical exertion. Not so for Paolo Nespoli, who is about to embark on his third space mission at the age of 60, which makes him Europe's oldest astronaut. At the end of July he will voyage to the International Space Station (ISS), where he will remain for some months.This video is also available in the following languages:
ESA Euronews: Le Bourget 2017
Newly-returned ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet made his first big public appearance at the Paris International Air Show alongside French President Emmanuel Macron.The event is a major rendez-vous for the space sector, with the heads of ESA and NASA in attendance, together with many leaders of the European space industry.This video is also available in the following languages:
ESA Euronews: Journey around Saturn
Right now the Cassini spacecraft is flying between the rings of Saturn and the planet itself, a daring trajectory chosen to conclude a unique exploration mission.To find out what that orbit means, and to look back at some of Cassini-Huygens finest moments, we met up with key members of the science team in the UK for this edition of Space.This video is also available in the following languages:
ESA Euronews: Earth as a planet
Earth is the largest rocky planet in our Solar System, and the only body we know of capable of supporting life. With so much news about exoplanets dominating the headlines, in this episode of Space we take a step back to take a look at Earth as a planet.Four and a half billion years old and 149.6 million kilometres from the Sun, it's not like anything else in the Solar System: "Planet Earth is quite a particular planet," says Josef Aschbacher, Director of Earth Observation at ESA. "We have 70% of water, we have land masses which are actually moving over time. We have an atmosphere which is rich in oxygen, nitrogen, in water vapour. All of these are necessities in order to have life on a planet like this."Rome is a perfect spot to look at the defining characteristics of planet Earth, in particular the presence of liquid water. Our home planet has the right temperature and correct atmospheric pressure for water to flow on its surface, making it so hospitable to life.This video is also available in the following languages:
ESA Euronews: Atmospheric pollution
This special edition of Space explores how atmospheric pollution is measured – and forecast – by satellites.You have probably used an app on your mobile phone to get the weather forecast. Now, thanks to a satellite network and ground-based stations, it is possible to get through an app on your phone information about pollution in your cities.Earth's atmosphere is a complicated system, influenced by a large number of factors. Observation satellites orbiting around our planet constantly monitor the state of the air we breathe and how natural and man-made pollution are affecting the quality of the atmosphere.Researchers at the University of Bremen have pioneered the measurement of atmospheric pollution.This video is also available in the following languages:
ESA Euronews: Uncovering the icy mysteries of Pluto
Pluto turns out to be far more weird than anyone ever expected, with all kinds of unexplained phenomena on the surface.We sought out some of Europe’s finest ice planet experts to find out more:Pluto has been a mystery since it was discovered in 1930.First called a planet, then re-classified as a dwarf planet in 2006, the more we learn, the more it captures the imagination of scientists like ESA’s Elliot Sefton-Nash.This video is also available in the following languages:Portuguese: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rzLxNiAoZv4&index=1&list=PL8ACC64B7263F23D6
ESA Euronews: Hunting Earth-like exoplanets
In this edition of Space, Euronews correspondent Jeremy Wilks reports from the Observatory of Geneva - home to experts in exoplanets, the name given to planets outside our solar system.So far they have managed to find more than 3500, but they believe there could be literally billions of them across the Milky Way.The first exoplanet to be discovered was what's known as a hot Jupiter, a giant gas planet orbiting close to its star. That discovery, made by University of Geneva professor Michel Mayor in 1995, kick-started a revolution in astronomy, one which at the time of our interview put the number of exoplanets at 3559 and counting.This video is also available in the following languages:
ESA Euronews: Ministerial 2016, Europe's future in space
Lucerne offered a scenic backdrop to ESA's space summit - the crucial ministerial meeting held every two years when the agency's 22 member states spend 48 hours debating one subject - Europe's future in space.After posing for the family photo, the leaders of the European space sector closed the doors to begin debating the big questions - ExoMars and the International Space Station.This video is available in the following languages:
ESA Euronews: Can we deflect asteroids?
In the edition of Space, Euronews correspondent Jeremy Wilks reports from the Observatory of the Côte d'Azur in the south of France on a unique mission to deflect an asteroid.Asteroids have the potential to cause a catastrophe - a small asteroid could wipe out an entire city, while a large one could mean the end for us all.It's a threat we're aware of, and which scientists and engineers are working to overcome.This video is also available in the following languages:
ESA Euronews: ExoMars at Mars
Scientists and engineers on the ExoMars project had their hearts in their mouths as the ExoMars mission reached the red planet, with the Schiaparelli probe going missing in action at the end of its descent just as the TGO mothership swept into a perfectly timed orbit.The rollercoaster ride of arrival at Mars is the first installment in this ambitious Russian and European project that aims for the first time to directly search for signs of life on Mars.The plight of Schiaparelli remains unclear. It is certainly on the Martian surface, but may well have hit the red dust much harder then engineers had planned, and nothing has been heard from it since.Data relayed during the lander's descent shows the initial high-speed entry to the Martian atmosphere went well, with the heatshield slowing the craft and the parachute deploying. However once the back heat shield and parachute were ejected the flow of events did not go to plan.This video is available in the following languages:
ESA Euronews: Rosetta heads for glorious crash-landing
In just a few days' time ESA's Rosetta mission is going to come to a close in a most extraordinary fashion, because the spacecraft is going to slowly, and deliberately crash-land into the comet that it has been orbiting for the past two years.Euronews is with the team as they prepare for this dramatic finale.This video is available in the following languages:
ESA Euronews: Canada's robot masters
Robots are an essential companion to mankind in space, and many of the modern-day masters of these robots are to be found in Montreal, home to the Canadian Space Agency.Euronews Space has unique access to the team, among them operations engineer Mathieu Caron, who can steer the Canadarm 2 directly from his control room, or instruct astronauts piloting it in space.This video is available in the following languages:
ESA Euronews: Sport and Internet via satellite
Dozens of Euro 2016 matches are being beamed via satellite to television sets and phones all over the world this summer. But did you know that there is a technology, based on internet and satellite, that allows even a small football club to live stream their games and target a new audience?Claudio Rosmino and the Space team travelled to Italy to see this innovation in action – and also to France to explore the science behind the technology.This video is available in the following languages:
ESA Euronews: Growing food in space
Is is possible to produce food to eat and air to breathe while in space? The short answer: it's not easy, but it can be done.Right now, if you're an astronaut, you're given pre-prepared food that was cooked on Earth and sent into space on a rocket. But if humankind wants to realise its ambition of travelling much further into the solar system it needs to find ways to create food and air while surrounded by the nothingness of space.This video is also available in the following languages:
ESA Euronews: EGNOS - navigation and security
At the Danish Air Ambulance base in Billund, satellite navigation is a true lifesaver in the sky.The air ambulance service, operated by the Norwegian Air Ambulance in Denmark, is among the first to use a new European satellite system, EGNOS, that makes it safer to fly in low visibility.More about EGNOS:
http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Navigation/The_present_-_EGNOS/What_is_EGNOSThis video is also available in the following languages:
ESA Euronews: Is there life on the Red Planet?
The ExoMars spacecraft has blasted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan to search for signs of life on the Red Planet.It's a mission that presents incredible scientific and engineering challenges - as it looks to unravel some of the mysteries of our Solar System.This video is also available in the following languages:
ESA Euronews: Building a Moon base
Jan Woerner, Director General of the European Space Agency, has a bold new vision for space exploration. "My intention is to build up a permanent base station on the Moon," he tells Euronews from the agency's main control room in Darmstadt. "Meaning that it’s an open station, for different member states, for different states around the globe."
Mankind has never had a permanent lunar presence, and so this new vision, that Woerner likes to call the 'Moon village', would represent a giant leap in space exploration.This video is also available in the following languages:
ESA Euronews: CubeSat, a satellite in a shoe box
Tiny satellites the size of a small cube, jam-packed with the most advanced nanotechnologies: is this the future of Space missions?To find out, ESA Euronews went to Tallin, Estonia, where students at the Mektory Space Centre are preparing the launch of their first nanosatellite.Nanosatellites - tiny cubes of 10cm x 10cm x 10cm, full of nanotechnologies -- are going to be more and more important in the future of space exploration, from Mars missions, to the surveillance of asteroids, which could potentially be dangerous for our planet.Also known as ‘CubeSats’ these tiny satellites open up a whole world of possibilities for those who want to explore space.This video is also available in the following languages:
ESA Euronews: The future of planet Earth
This special edition of Space comes from the COP21 climate summit in Paris. We're here to try answer a very important question: what's the future of planet Earth? What's going to happen in the next one hundred, five hundred, or even a thousand years?The last few decades saw an explosion in the number of Earth observation satellites blasted into orbit. They could offer science a unique view - with detailed, broad, precise and regular measurements. What those satellites saw, and continue to see, is how our planet works - its atmosphere, its plants and forests, its ice and water.Today we can monitor our weather, and learn about our climate with a global view that would be literally impossible without space technology. Here in Europe that expertise in Earth observation is now being brought together in the Sentinel fleet of satellites. They consolidate the work of previous missions into a steady and reliable flow of data under the umbrella of Europe's Copernicus programme.We talk to Jean-Nöel Thépaut, a meterologist at the European Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasts, and Andrew Shepherd, a professor of Earth observation at the university of Leeds in the UK, about what's going to happen to Earth in the future.This video is available in the following languages:
ESA Euronews: Space for Earth
We have all heard of climate change, but what's really happening to our planet now, in November 2015? As the COP21 summit in Paris looms in December, we set out to establish some of the scientific fundamentals, and hear how space technology is being used to get a truly global view of Earth's vital signs.Near Les Deux Alps in the French Alps, some 3,200 metres above sea level, we look at how satellite data and glacier measurements can help us to understand the effects of global warming with remote sensing scientist Jean-Pierre Dedieu.This video is also available in the following languages:
ESA Euronews: Unlocking the secrets of the Jupiter's Icy Moons
In this edition of Space we set a course for Jupiter, destination of the next European Space Agency mission.The aim of JUICE (JUpiter ICy moon Explorer) is to provide the most comprehensive exploration of the giant planet and, in particular, of its moons; supposedly hiding habitable zones under their icy crusts.Jupiter is more than eleven times larger than Earth but is mainly made of gas. During its three and a half year mission, which blasts off in 2022, JUICE will travel around the giant planet, studying its atmosphere and three of its planet-sized satellites: Ganymede, Europa, and Callisto.This video is also available in the following languages:
ESA Euronews: Maritime security
The ongoing migrant crisis in the Mediterranean shows how indispensable satellite technology has become to those involved in saving lives at sea. But it's not just about search and rescue; space hardware plays a crucial role in all aspects of maritime security, including anti-terrorism, anti-piracy and anti-drugs operation, as well as environmental and fisheries protection and a host of miscellaneous missions.In this edition of Space Jeremy Wilks goes behind the scenes with the Italian coastguard to see how they use satellite technology everyday. He also visits the European Maritime Safety Agency in Lisbon to find out how the job of processing so much data from so many sources is done.This video is also available in the following languages:
ESA Euronews: Rosetta's quest for the origin of life
The Rosetta Mission has been writing a new chapter in what we know about the formation of life. The ESA teams involved are now preparing for the last part of this amazing journey.Comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko has recently reached the perihelion - that's the closest point to the Sun in its six and a half year orbit. It's an important scientific step - as increasing solar energy warms the comet's frozen ices, turning them to gas and dust. To stay safe, Rosetta has been forced to move further from the comet.The Rosetta mission has been extended by nine months - until September next year. It's hoped this will further boost the enormous amount of data that's already been collected.This video is also available in the following languages:
ESA Euronews: The quest to capture gravitational waves
The LISA Pathfinder spacecraft is due to set off in Autumn 2015 in a bid to prove that it is possible to observe gravitational waves in space. This is the latest step in an incredible journey to spot these ripples in spacetime that were first predicted by Albert Einstein 100 years ago.If we can manage to capture these waves, then we should be able to observe some of the most violent events in the cosmos, such as black holes colliding and galaxies merging. For the moment, however, we're still searching.This video is also available in the following languages:
ESA Euronews: It's rocket science!
Years in the building, seconds in the launching; rocket engines are truly awesome in their sheer power, but are also amazing feats of engineering and design.The scientific principle remains quite simple: accelerated gas creating thrust through a nozzle. However, extrapolating that concept to the point where the rocket has sufficient power to lift people and satellites beyond Earth's gravity and into orbit is far more complex. Don't let anybody tell you otherwise, the manufacturing and testing process IS rocket science.In Europe one of the key centres of work on rocket engines is done at the Snecma factory complex in a remote location in forests near the town of Vernon in Normandy. Many of the components are built elsewhere in Europe, but the assembly and testing are carried at the site in northern France.The pieces are carefully milled from titanium or lightweight alloys over a period of weeks. When construction is finally completed then comes the critical test phase, where the rockets are fired into life inside a vast tower.Space reporter Jeremy Wilks visited the Snecma site to find out more about this unique and constantly evolving industrial sector.This video is also available in the following languages:
ESA Euronews: Mars mystery - ExoMars mission
The ExoMars 2016 mission will try to answer one of the toughest and most intriguing questions in our Solar System: is there, or has there ever been, life on Mars?Getting to Mars, landing there safely, and then beginning the search for life is a huge scientific and technical challenge for the large team behind ExoMars, a joint ESA and Roscosmos project to search for life on Mars. It is the world's biggest ever mission to the red planet.The ExoMars mission could reveal if there is, or has ever been, life on Mars by the end of the decade.More about ExoMars: http://exploration.esa.int/mars/This video is also available in the following languages:
ESA Euronews: A satellite revolution in oceanography
Plymouth is one of England’s historic port cities, a place from which sailors, soldiers and scientists have set off to sea for centuries. Today there’s a new twist to the tale though, as oceanographers now have a huge fleet of satellites in space to add to their list of high quality data sources in order to study and understand our seas.The field of satellite ocean observation is due to get a boost later this year as ESA’s Sentinel-3 will join the fleet of Earth observers already in orbit. It’s part of Europe’s Copernicus programme, and heralds a new era in ocean observation by offering an uninterrupted flow of data from its speedy polar orbit, now and well into the future.This video is also available in the following languages:
ESA Euronews: Rosetta continues to surprise
The comet-chasing mission of ESA spacecraft Rosetta and its robotic lander Philae has grabbed attention from around the world with its suspenseful adventures. The science behind the mission is just as fascinating, and could help unlock secrets on how our solar system formed billions of years ago.In 2004, Rosetta the spacecraft and Philae the robot set out on a mission to catch a distant comet called 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.What they are now doing over a decade later is re-writing, in surprising new ways, our understanding of how the solar system formed.This video is also available in the following languages:
ESA Euronews: Taking space tech down to Earth
This month's Space focuses on startups in Europe that are finding everyday Earthly applications for space innovations.There's a long tradition of transferring technology from one sector to another to improve life on our planet, and in the case of space that can lead to some unlikely links between science success stories such as the Philae lander, and the hunt for bedbugs in hotel rooms, or between the Smart-1 moon mission and the efficiency of geothermal energy. We visit two of the 11 ESA business incubation centres around Europe, one in Barcelona, the other near Oxford.ESA Euronews is also available in the following languages:
ESA Euronews: The dark side
All we can see around us, from planet Earth to distant galaxies, represents just five per cent of the Universe - the rest is dark energy or dark matter. So what do we know and what do we not know about these elusive components of the cosmos?The simple answer is that we don't know much about dark matter and even less about dark energy.However, that could change quite soon thanks to groundbreaking research being done by scientists at ESA and CERN, home to the world's foremost particle accelerator, the Large Hadron Collider. The LHC's discovery three years ago of the Higgs Boson set researchers on a voyage of discovery to the dark side of the Universe. They are about to fire up the colossal accelerator again this year, and for the first time at full power. That extra energy is what's giving optimism for new revelations about dark energy and dark matter. One scientists tells Space: "we might have a discovery even in the first days, if not in the first weeks."At the same time ESA is building a new space telescope called Euclid which will watch how the gravity of dark matter acts on galaxies, and how dark energy is pushing the expansion of our Universe.Find out how science is unraveling the dark mysteries of the cosmos.This video is also available in the following languages:
ESA Euronews: Rockets, Mars and Europe’s future in space
In the afterglow of the Rosetta mission's success in landing on a comet, the member states of ESA met in Luxembourg in early December to look forward to future challenges. Among the priorities is the development and construction of the new rocket, Ariane 6, which is seen as essential to maintaining Europe's lead in the launcher market. Then there's the ExoMars mission to further explore the 'Red Planet' and look for signs of life. But it's not just about probes - ESA's manned spaceflight programme also has momentum, with new astronauts currently in training and due to fly in 2015 and 2016. So, as the agency marks a half century of Europe's space sector, it's onwards and upwards for the next 50 years.This video is also available in the following languages:
ESA Euronews: Philae's adventure
The Philae lander may be in hibernation mode on the surface of a comet, but it's still very much alive in the hearts of the Comet Hunters, the team who helped Rosetta become the most famous space mission since the Moon landings. In this special edition of Euronews Space we have an extended episode of our Comet Hunters series, filmed during and after the comet landing at ESA's base in Darmstadt and at the DLR's Philae control room in Köln.This video is also available in the following languages:
ESA Euronews: The challenge of reentry
Re-entry is the make or break moment for spacecraft. It's the time when satellites burn up and astronauts hold on for the ride of their lives. A new ESA spacecraft, called IXV Intermediate eXperimental Vehicle, will be launched into space in November 2014 in a bid to feed precious new data to engineers as they try to master the difficult transition between space and planet Earth. In this episode of Space, IXV programme manager Giorgio Tumino shows us around the spacecraft, while rarely-seen archive footage brings the heat, drama and danger of re-entry to life.This video is also available in the following languages:
Greek: http://youtu.be/EIaW4xeMhlU:More about IXV on the ESA website:
http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Launchers/IXVConnect with the IXV project on Twitter:
ESA Euronews: Close encounters with Venus
Venus is our mysterious neighbour, a strange world where the Sun rises in the west and sets in the east, and a day lasts longer than a year. ESA's Venus Express mission has spent the last eight years gathering data to offer science a fresh insight into the atmosphere and climate of the planet, including a daring aerobraking manœuvre this summer that revealed previously unknown waves in the upper atmosphere.This video is also available in the following languages:
ESA Euronews: Comet Hunters: Rosetta's race to map 67P
The Rosetta mission is now on a race against time to prepare maps and collect data before the Philae lander is due to be sent down to the surface of comet 67P in November. In this edition of Euronews Space, the 'Comet Hunters' show us how to orbit a comet, how Rosetta 'sees' its target, and what the mission means to the world of science, and to this team in particular.This video is available in the following languages:
ESA Euronews: E-ELT: Europe's extreme new telescope
Work is underway to build the E-ELT, a telescope that could one day find signs of life on distant planets. With a 39-metre mirror, it will be the world's biggest optical and infrared telescope.Other languages available:
Hungarian: http://youtu.be/nGyRcuk4ydkCredits: ESA/Euronews
ESA Euronews: World Cup United
The World Cup is underway and all around the planet we will be using space technology to watch the action live from Brazil. Thousands of fans may enjoy the football in person, but it's estimated that over 3.2 billion of us will catch some of the live TV coverage - that's almost half the population of planet Earth. The World Cup is broadcast under what satellite operators call 'occasional use' transmission. That's the name for bandwidth allocated alongside regular broadcasting in order to cover special live events. This month is a busy time. "No matter what the technology that is used at the homes to receive the television, satellites are being used," underlines Xavier Lobao, Head of Future Telecommunications Projects at ESA.Other languages available:
Hungarian: http://youtu.be/bDFnNHqZUxECredits: ESA/Euronews(This is a new upload of a previously published video)
ESA Euronews: Echoes from the Big Bang
Scientists are getting closer than ever to understanding the origins of the Universe. For the first time, they have glimpsed behind the veil that covers the 'Big Bang' with the announcement that the Background Imaging of Cosmic Extragalactic Polarisation -- BICEP2 -- experiment at the South Pole had spotted the footprints of something called primordial gravitational waves. These waves may be a sign that a theory known as cosmic inflation can be confirmed. For those studying the Big Bang -- the beginning of the Universe -- this is big news.Other languages available:
ESA Euronews: Europe's 50 year space odyssey
In this edition of Space we look back at the past 50 years of space in Europe; five decades of discovery, drama and innovation that have had a profound impact on how we see ourselves and our planet. Historian John Krige gives his insight on how Europe's space sector has evolved, while veteran space scientists recount their experiences in major missions and launches.
ESA Euronews: Copernicus offers a flood of disaster data
The recent floods in the UK saw a lot of the management of that disaster made possible by using information from satellites. But how? In this edition of Space we find out.Flooding affects thousands of people every year across Europe, and this year one of them just happened to be a flood scientist - Spanish Research Fellow at Reading University in England, Javier García-Pintado.His back garden looks onto the Thames, he explains: "This is the bank of the Thames, and this areas was severely affected by the recent flooding. Specifically in this little bit of land we are a tiny bit higher, and we didn't have any problems, but our neighbours around here certainly did."García-Pintado knew his young family was safe at home, because he could count on his expert knowledge; his day job is using satellite data to improve flood models."As hydrologists we were pretty confident that this property wouldn't have a problem, and we told our neighbours," he told euronews.Not everyone has a neighbour as knowledgeable as Javier, nor were they as lucky.The whole area west of London was affected as England and Wales lived through their wettest winter in almost 250 years.
ESA Euronews: Accidents and Asteroids
How real is the threat of an asteroid hitting Earth, and is there anything we can do to prevent it from happening? Asteroid impacts are nothing new. Only last year, one exploded over the city of Chelyabinsk in Russia injuring 1500 people and damaging some 7,000 buildings.
"It was a pretty nasty event, luckily nobody was killed, but it just shows the sort of force that these things have," says Alan Harris, Senior Scientist, DLR Institute of Planetary Research Berlin.
While there was surprise nobody saw it coming, the asteroid itself wasn't that big, measuring no more than 20 metres across. It was tricky to spot, arriving into Earth's atmosphere backlit by the Sun.
In fact, much bigger threats lurk out in space. Just a few days ago another asteroid 270 metres wide passed near Earth. That kind of object could cause much more damage.
"Something with the size of a hundred metres for instance, which still isn't very big, you're talking about something that would fit into a football field, and that could actually completely destroy an urban area in the worst case. So those are the things that we're really looking out for, and that we're trying to find ways to tackle," says Harris.
Action to address the asteroid threat is already underway. Earlier in February, space scientists and policy experts from all the major space-faring nations held talks to create a framework for action.
ESA Euronews - Rosetta: The Comet Hunter Awakes
The exploits of comet-hunting spacecraft Rosetta are generating intense interest as it speeds towards a dramatic climax this autumn.The craft will catch up with comet 67p/Churyumov--Gerasimenko, fly alongside, and put a lander on its surface. Throughout this fantastic voyage, Euronews will have special access to the engineers and scientists who are making it happen.On 20th January Rosetta woke up from two and a half years of hibernation. It was a moment of extreme tension for everyone at ESA's European Space Operations Centre in Darmstadt, Germany. Strained, nervous faces searched for a signal from a probe in deep space.After some 45 minutes of anxiety the all-important first signal came through. The scientists burst into energetic applause.
ESA Euronews: Blazing a trail in search of the secrets of comets
For centuries astronomers have chased comets across the skies, looking for clues as to the origins of our solar system. Tugged from deep-space by the gravity of the sun, they shed dust and gas as they warm, revealing some of their secrets within.Beguiling and bewildering in equal measure these celestial visitors continue to hold the fascination of today's stargazers.In this edition of Space we talk to some top European scientists striving to unravel the mysteries of comets.As a starting point Hermann Böhnhardt, Senior Research Scientist, at the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research put comets into perspective: "A comet is a piece of rock and ice, mixed together, roughly to imagine, something like Mont Blanc, or one of the larger mountains in the Alps - that is the size of a comet."Frozen within this rocky mass are secrets about our own origins, according to Gerhard Schwehm, Cometary Scientist at the European Space Agency:"Comets are interesting for a lot of reasons and one reason we are looking- and it's the most fascinating reason- is 'have comets played a role to bring life onto Earth'?"
ESA Euronews: The real-life space cadets: Abbie, Marc and Maria
Meet the space cadets, three young engineers with enviable jobs that are quite literally out of this world. This edition of Space focuses on three professionals who've turned their dreams of working in space into real down-to- Earth careers.In the UK, 26-year-old Abbie Hutty, a spacecraft structures engineer at Astrium, is a proud member of the ExoMars team. She is developing the structure of the mission's rover, ensuring that the actual body of the vehicle and other components are all structurally strong enough to withstand the launch from Earth, and landing on Mars.Twenty-seven-year-old Marc Costa Sitjà, Science Operations Engineer at the European Space Agency, uses the huge antenna at Cebreros, west of Madrid, to 'drive' ESA's Venus Express spacecraft around the planet. Every day he sends commands and receives data to and from the spacecraft from the agency's ESAC facility near the Spanish capital.Maria Komu, a 27-year-old researcher at the Finnish Meteorological Institute, works on Finnish mini satellite Aalto-1, and has a hands-on role developing a weather instrument for ESA's ExoMars EDM mission.Space is a childhood dream turned reality for all three. For Abbie the realisation that space wasn't just science fiction came when she was still at school and she heard of the Beagle 2 mission to Mars, a lander that was developed in the UK by British engineers. Maria tells the story of a book about a school visit around the solar system that enchanted her as a young girl. Meanwhile Marc cites a vivid blue image of Venus as an inspiration to his career.Abbie, Marc and Maria are all educated to masters level, while Maria continues studying towards a doctorate. They're on the first steps of the career ladder, and that means plenty of learning 'on-the-job'. Maria had to master soldering, programming, and testing, Marc developed his skills by creating software that helped a mission to better fulfill its purpose, while Abbie had to understand better the behaviour of particular materials in the cold vacuum of space.The excitement of working in space is summed up by Abbie: "I think the space industry is quite a privileged industry to work in, because whilst you are still managing projects and meeting schedules and deadlines, and creating a product, at the end of the day that requires a certain amount of processes down on it, you can also come down to the clean rooms and look through the window and see your part of a spaceship, and think 'that's going to Mars, and I did that bit', and you don't get that anywhere else."
ESA Euronews: Mapping the Milky Way
It has spawned a host of songs from crooners to alternative rock bands. One of the best loved chocolate bars in the United Kingdom is named after it. Yet how much to we really know about the Milky Way and just how important is it?
We could be close to many answers about the galaxy thanks to a new satellite named Gaia, being launched by the European Space Agency.
"One fundamental step to understand our universe is to understand our closer universe, which is the galaxy," explained Guiseppe Sarri who is the project manager of ESA's Gaia project.
Gaia will scan the sky with powerful new eyes, mapping the Milky Way in unprecedented detail. It will help produce a detailed 3D image of the galaxy, something which has never been done before.
ESA Euronews: Planck, Higgs and the Big Bang
When it comes to the origins of the Universe, there's one idea that really captures our imagination: everything, even time itself, started with the Big Bang.The concept of the Big Bang is difficult to describe and problematic to measure, however that's exactly what two major projects have set out to do: one on Earth, the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, the other in space, ESA's Planck mission.In this edition of Space, Euronews gets to the heart of the matter and attempts to discover how matter and everything in the Universe came into being.We speak with experts from the CERN, Institut d'Astrophysique de Paris, Sorbonne University and ESA, all studying how the Universe works.
ESA Euronews: Splashdown - the re-entry test
Europe's newest spacecraft, the IXV, or Intermediate eXperimental Vehicle, has moved a step closer to its planned launch in 2014.
The craft completed a pre-launch test off the coast of Sardinia, which involved it being dropped into the Mediterranean from a height of 3,000 metres.
For the most part the vehicle performed perfectly during the test, with parachutes deploying as expected. However, just after splashdown a problem arose, as the inflatable devices which should add support to the buoyant IXV once it is in the water had failed to inflate.
It was a dramatic and initially confusing result, but after some head-scratching the engineers involved in the test began to understand what had happened. They believed that the balloons had not inflated because the setting for the sensors that detect the impact with the water was too high. So, splashdown was quite simply a little too gentle.
IXV Programme Manager for ESA, Giorgio Tumino explained: "There has been a lot of discussion around this, because we have to differentiate the shock induced by the impact with the water from the shock that could be induced by wind gusts to the parachute, because these are very similar levels in terms of shock and we have to differentiate those levels. We had set these thresholds quite high, and while my impression, my visual impression of what happened was that the landing was very soft because the parachute is really working fine, so probably the impact loads were much lower than what we expected."
Roberto Angelini from Thales Alenia Space was happy with the test overall: "We demonstrated what we wanted to demonstrate; free fall condition initially, you see the parachute compartment where we had the extraction of the parachute system. The slings of the parachute that are covered by a thermal protection system to sustain the heat of the re-entry, we wanted to test how this thing was going to be broken. And you see here the flotation devices that are activated right after the splashdown itself. Now, if there is something we will have to fix coming out from the post review board etc we will implement it in the flight hardware."
A post-flight review confirmed Tumino's theory. The impact loads during splashdown were lower than expected - the computers recorded an impact deceleration of 29.1 m/s2, and the threshold for the flotation of the balloons was set at 30 m/s2
A lot is riding on the IXV prototype, as it represents a new chapter in space flight technology for the European Space Agency.
The idea is to have an affordable, small spacecraft that can enter near-Earth orbit and then land in a targeted zone. This test was just one step in that development. In 2014 the IXV will be launched into space on board a Vega rocket and then re-enter the atmosphere, splashing down in the Pacific Ocean.