ESA is getting ready to launch the Intermediate eXperimental Vehicle or IXV. This will test technologies and critical systems for Europe’s autonomous reentry for return missions from low Earth orbit. The IXV is said to be about the size of a car being 5 m long, 1.5 m high, 2.2 m wide and weighs almost 2 tons.
The IXV is to be launched atop a Vega rocket from the Europe’s Spaceport (French Guiana) in November. The flight will collect an immense amount of data during the 1 hour and 40 minute flight to the Pacific Ocean.
The flight will be short in duration and will have HUGE implications for ESA’s ambition of autonomous reentry and the possibilities that will present not to mention a U.K. Spaceport.
ESA’s IXV web page.
Rosetta uses the OSIRIS imaging system to get a look at its destination. Credits: ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA
Rosetta is getting close and Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko looks to be a very good choice. The since the previous image release on 4 July, Rosetta as reduced its distance to the comet by 25,000 km (to 12,000 km from 35,000 km).
BE SURE to check out the link in the description below – Great site!
Description from ESA:
Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko was imaged on 14 July 2014 by OSIRIS, Rosetta’s scientific imaging system, from a distance of approximately 12 000 km. This image has been processed using ‘sub-sampling by interpolation’, a technique that removes the pixelisation and makes a smoother image. It does not, however, reveal hidden detail and it is therefore important to note that the comet’s surface is not very likely to be as smooth as the processing implies. The image suggests that the comet may consist of two parts: one segment seems to be rather elongated, while the other appears more bulbous.
Read more via the blog: The dual personality of comet 67P/C-G
NGC 1433 from Hubble. Click for larger. Copyright ESA/Hubble & NASA
If you venture over to the ESA site you can see a Hi-res version of this beauty.
This view, captured by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, shows a nearby spiral galaxy known as NGC 1433. At about 32 million light-years from Earth, it is a type of very active galaxy known as a Seyfert galaxy — a classification that accounts for 10% of all galaxies. They have very bright, luminous centres comparable to that of our galaxy, the Milky Way.
Here is a bit more data on NGC 1433 including a “more normal” image to compare this incredible Hubble image too.
The Sentinel-1A radar satellite was launched last April and is still in the commissioning phase. This look at part of the Philippine island of Luzon with Mount Pinatubo is pretty nice, looks like the satellite is working quite well.
Earth from Space is presented by Kelsea Brennan-Wessels from the ESA Web-TV virtual studios.
Comet 67P/C-G on 4 June. Credits: ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA
Here’s the latest image of 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko from ESA’s Rosetta spacecraft. Mission managers have been busy with a series of maneuvers designed to bring the spacecraft in line with the comet for the August rendezvous.
The journey for Rosetta has been underway for 10-years, beginning in February 2004 when it was launched from Kourou in French Guiana. It will soon reach its destination 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko and even now Rosetta is taking data about the comet.
The comet appeared to show some activity in the last image from Rosetta but not so much in this one. As Emily at the Rosetta blog posts: Expect the Unexpected
This sequence of images was taken by the Ultraviolet/Visible/Near-Infrared spectrometer (VIRTIS) on board ESA’s Venus Express – see link below. Credits: ESA/VIRTIS/INAF-IASF/Obs. de Paris-LESIA
The ESA Venus Express has been orbiting our neighboring planet for eight-years and is about to come to an end with one final contribution.
The Venus Express will begin an aerobraking maneuver and enter the atmosphere of the planet. The aerobraking phase was planned for 18 June to 11 July, during which time the spacecraft will be able to sample from altitudes not accessible in orbit.
We should hear something soon.
In the mean time.
I had to, it’s like the biggest sporting event going and I’m not about to miss out! YAY football!
The Netherlands and Germany look pretty tough!
The World Cup
ESA’s Planck satellite gets the Milky Way’s magnetic fingerprint. Image: ESA
The ESA Planck satellite took this image of polarized light emission from interstellar dust. The darker regions (as you can read below) are the more strongly polarized. I am a little surprised by the amount of polarization away from the galactic equator, I thought it would have been more uniform. The full report will be coming out later this year.
Polarized light has been coming up quite frequently in different stories as of late.
Here’s the full explanation from ESA.
The ESA short version:
The magnetic field of our Milky Way Galaxy as seen by ESA’s Planck satellite. This image was compiled from the first all-sky observations of polarised light emitted by interstellar dust in the Milky Way. The magnetic field is displayed using a visualisation technique called line integral convolution (LIC).
Darker regions correspond to stronger polarised emission, and the striations indicate the direction of the magnetic field projected on the plane of the sky. The dark band running horizontally across the centre corresponds to the Galactic Plane. Here, the polarisation reveals a regular pattern on large angular scales, which is due to the magnetic field lines being predominantly parallel to the plane of the Milky Way. The data also reveal variations of the polarisation direction within nearby clouds of gas and dust. This can be seen in the tangled features above and below the plane, where the local magnetic field is particularly disorganised.
The image is a Mollweide projection of the full celestial sphere, with the plane of the Galaxy aligned with the horizontal axis of the oval. Certain areas in the image, mostly at high Galactic latitude, have been masked out. The overall intensity in these regions is low, complicating the separation of foreground and CMB components. Further data analysis will improve this by the time of the full data release in late 2014.
The Tadpole and the Wriggler. Click for larger. Copyright NASA, ESA, the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA), and IPHAS
I want to see the Goldfish. Ok I spent five minutes looking for it until I re-read the press release and the bit about it being just out of view. Larger and full-res versions availble at the link below.
BTW, I LOVE the title from ESA for selfish reasons. LOL.
From ESA Spaceinimages (The Tadpole and the Wriggler):
A bright blue tadpole appears to swim through the inky blackness of space. Known as IRAS 20324+4057 but dubbed “the Tadpole”, this clump of gas and dust has given birth to a bright protostar, one of the earliest steps in building a star.
There are actually multiple protostars within this tadpole’s ‘head’, but the glowing yellow one in this image is the most luminous and massive. When this protostar has gathered together enough mass from its surroundings, it will eventually emerge as a fully-fledged young star.