ESA

Black hole has woken up after 26 years of dormancy

Black hole has woken up after 26 years of dormancy

According to data from NASA's Swift satellite, a huge black hole located about 7,800 light-years from Earth has re-awakened after 26 years of being dormant. The European Space Agency (ESA) describes the black hole as part of V404 Cygni, a binary system made of up the hole and a star. The last time activity was detected from V404 was in 1989, but as of June 15th, the Swift satellite is detecting new bursts of gamma rays.

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ESA decides between Thor, Ariel, and Xipe for next medium mission

ESA decides between Thor, Ariel, and Xipe for next medium mission

It's a battle of the space-gods as the ESA's Concurrent Design Facility (CDF) study at ESTEC decides between Xipe, Ariel, and Thor. Each of these names corresponds with a craft, and each craft corresponds with a proposed area of study. Up for grabs are exoplanets, plasma physics and the X-ray Universe, one each to possibly be studied by the the Atmospheric Remote-Sensing Infrared Exoplanet Large-survey (Ariel), the Turbulence Heating ObserveR (Thor) and the X-ray Imaging Polarimetry Explorer (Xipe). These are the final three missions that'll eventually be cut down to one this upcoming analytical session.

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Rosetta mission extended as Philae wakes from long sleep

Rosetta mission extended as Philae wakes from long sleep

"This is fantastic news for science," said Matt Taylor, ESA's Rosetta Project Scientist, as he speaks on extending the life of their thought-dead research. Rosetta was originally launched in 2004, bringing its lander Philae to the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. It arrived in August of 2014, did some studies of the environment from up high, and deployed its lander Philae on the 12th of November. From there, things went dark. Just about 57 hours after landing and beginning operations, Philae went dark, and things looked dim.

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NASA theorizes how lake depressions on Titan were formed

NASA theorizes how lake depressions on Titan were formed

Titan is one of Saturn's moons and one of the most interesting things about the moon is that it has lots of seas and lakes that are filled with liquid hydrocarbons. One thing that puzzles NASA scientists about the lakes of hydrocarbons on the surface of the moon is what process exactly creates the depression that the hydrocarbon lakes fill. Some of the depressions aren't filled with liquids.

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Philae speaks again: Comet probe “doing very well”

Philae speaks again: Comet probe “doing very well”

The Philae lander has resumed communications with Earth for the second time since the surprise message last Sunday that proved the spacecraft was still functional. Two signals were successfully received today, the European Space Agency (ESA) said, each lasting two minutes and containing 185 packets of data. Although there's no scientific research in among those bytes, Philae has sent back vital information about just how well the distant probe is doing on its unusual comet ride.

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Your Sunday Space Surprise: Philae is alive!

Your Sunday Space Surprise: Philae is alive!

Scientists at the European Space Agency have had a Sunday surprise, with the plucky Philae lander unexpectedly waking up after over half a year of hibernation. The probe landed on the surface of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko in November 2014, but celebrations quickly soured when the ESA team realized its positioning would leave it short on sunlight for its solar panels. After around 60 hours of operation, Philae shut down and left the scientists uncertain whether it would be heard from again.

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ESA Mars Explorer images shows effects of wind on Mars

ESA Mars Explorer images shows effects of wind on Mars

We all see the effect of the wind here on Earth every day. Winds can be mild breezes that shake the leaves up to gales that can topple trees and destroy homes. On Mars, the winds can be much the same as they are here on Earth and the ESA has released a new image that shows a bit of what the wind on Mars does to the surface of the red planet.

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ESA offers video tour of ISS toilet

ESA offers video tour of ISS toilet

Living in space aboard the ISS certainly poses a myriad of challenges to the astronauts that live there for months at a time. Those challenges include the fact that all the air you breathe, water you drink, and food you eat has to be brought up from Earth aboard rockets. Unfortunately, over the last few years several of these rockets have failed to make it to the ISS as intended.

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Black hole’s bad breath could hamper the heavens

Black hole’s bad breath could hamper the heavens

One supermassive black hole's blasting winds could have major effects on the growth of stars in its host galaxy. NASA and the ESA have both observed winds being blown out of a black hole called PDS 456. Using NASA's Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR) and the ESA’s XMM-Newton telescope, scientists like Fiona Harrison of the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) have been able to begin calculations of the power of this and other black holes in the near future. With great power comes the supreme ability to slow down the speed at which stars age.

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Rosetta comet photos: up close and personal with 67P

Rosetta comet photos: up close and personal with 67P

Less than 9 kilometers from the surface of a comet, Rosetta is taking photos for us humans to see. While we've yet to hear from Philae since shortly after it landed, Rosetta's still in full operation. Taking photos from just about as close to the surface as the craft is going to get, our first glimpses from above the surface of this comet are coming in now. These aren't the first views we've gotten of the rock - we got some photos from Philae, after all - but they are the largest and most impressive.

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Watch the ESA’s car-sized shuttle take off

Watch the ESA’s car-sized shuttle take off

This week the European Space Agency's Intermediate eXperimental Vehicle (IXV) took off on a Vega rocket. This takeoff sequence was done at the European Spaceport in French Guiana on Wednesday (February 11th) at 8:40 a.m. EST (1340 GMT). This craft was a prototype for a reusable orbiter, prepared to move passengers into space in the future. Below you'll be able to watch this spacecraft take off successfully, heading 340 km into space not long after its initial launch earlier this morning. This system precedes a program called PRIDE: Program for Reusable In-orbit Demonstrator for Europe.

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Philae isn’t lost just yet

Philae isn’t lost just yet

While the European Space Agency (ESA) lost contact with their comet lander Philae in November, "there is good confidence" they'll be able to make contact once more. So says Stephan Ulamec, lander manager at the German Space Agency (DLR). Ulamec also warned that should the ESA get in contact with Philae via Rosetta, "it may be that they only get very limited periods of operation in the [dark] pocket, and they will have to plan for more modest science sequences." If Philae is able to reach out to Rosetta, that is.

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