ESA

3 things Rosetta and Philae taught us about comets

As we bid farewell to the comet lander Philae for the last time, we look back and remember three important things we learned from the ESA's monumental mission. Several firsts were achieved by this lander sent to a comet by the European Space Agency's Rosetta mission. One: this was the first time that a craft such as this was successfully landed on a comet - not only that, but the first time such a lander was able to send back data on a comet from its surface, too!

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Hubble reveals “hot 10” Jupiter-like planets

Bot the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope and the NASA Spitzer Space Telescope have been used to study a collection of 10 planets. Each of these planets is Jupiter-like. They look similar, but come in a wide array of different colors. Gasses are present, and heat - lots and lots of heat. Each orbits very close to its host star, making their study far more difficult than the average non-gas planet. The image you're seeing here is an artist's rendering of the hot 10 - in reality we're only able to see them in very, very tiny dots.

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ESA astronaut Tim Peake will run London Marathon on ISS

For many people, being on the International Space Station would be a good excuse to put off running that marathon you’ve been planning for a few years. Not so for ESA astronaut Tim Peake who plans to run the London Marathon next April…from space. He’ll do so on a treadmill located in the International Space Station’s Tranquility Node while a medical team keeps tabs on his health to make sure nothing goes awry.

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ESA displays three modules to be used in its first Mercury mission

The European Space Agency (ESA) will be conducting its first mission to the planet Mercury in 2017, dubbed BepiColombo. As part of an open house for the public earlier this month, the ESA put the three spacecraft that will be used in the mission on display. The two orbiters and one electric propulsion module are still in testing, so they remained enclosed in glass in cleanroom conditions during the public viewing.

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The Universe is dying – across all wavelengths

While it's been widely accepted that the Universe is slowly fading since the late 1990s, a study published today shows the great extent to which its death is occurring. "The Universe has basically sat down on the soft, pulled up a blanket, and is about to nod off for an eternal doze," suggested Simon Driver of ICRAR, lead author on the study. Measurements of energy output of each of 200,000 galaxies has been done at 21 wavelengths, from far infrared back down to ultraviolet. As broad a wavelength range as possible was studied by researchers who've now concluded that, yes, the Universe is indeed fading out.

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Keys to “ingredients for life” found on Rosetta’s comet

The comet followed by the ESA's Rosetta mission and landed upon by Philae has turned up "the ingredients for life" in its most recent data package. This data may well also be the last that Philae sends via Rosetta, as the craft have just one more chance to be in alignment before they're cut off from Earth contact forever. To detect the data we're exploring today, Philae employed its Ptolemy and COSAC tools, turning up water vapor, carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide.

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Philae’s last gasp: final Rosetta mission data published

The European Space Agency's Philae lander has sent what's likely its last batch of data home to Earth. Having gone regretfully silent only days after it hit the surface of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko back in November of 2014, the Rosetta mission's Philae lander re-established connection in June of 2015. Now the team's final connection was set for July 9th, and it's entirely possible the ESA won't end up being able to make contact again. We'll have to wait until August, right as the comet makes its closest approach to our Sun.

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Understanding Facebook’s data lasers

This week Mark Zuckerberg showed off several photographs of lasers he suggested would be sending internet signals all around the world. These lasers will be used with Facebook's Internet.org project, beaming information "from a plane flying overhead or a satellite flying way overhead," according to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. "They'll communicate down to earth using very accurate lasers to transfer data." This isn't the first experiment in the world to use lasers to send data. In fact several organizations - like the ESA and NASA - have already begun real-world testing for data transfer between craft in space and labs on our planet's surface. Data transfer with lasers is super reliable and fast, too!

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