ESA

ESA ExoMars TGO orbiter snaps first images using onboard instruments

ESA ExoMars TGO orbiter snaps first images using onboard instruments

The ESA Mars orbiter called ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO) is on station in orbit around the Red Planet and has sent back the first images of Mars taken with its on-board instruments. The TGO is orbiting Mars in an elliptical orbit right now that brings the orbiter between 230 and 310 km above the surface of Mars to a farthest distance of around 98,000 km every 4.2 days. During its last two orbits it has been testing out its instruments and making calibrations as needed.

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Schiaparelli lander’s mysterious crash partially solved

Schiaparelli lander’s mysterious crash partially solved

On 19th October, the European Space Agency rejoiced as its first ExoMars mission successfully completed one of two initial goals. The Trace Gas Orbiter was finally in orbit around its red planet target. However, rejoicing gave way to scratched heads and furrowed brows as the second part of that phase remained in question. The Schiaparelli lander had mysteriously vanished after it detached from the orbiter to land on the surface. Its remains were found three days later and now the ESA has released its initial findings on what may have caused its premature demise.

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ExoMars TGO enters orbit around Mars, lander status currently unknown

ExoMars TGO enters orbit around Mars, lander status currently unknown

It would appear that the European Space Agency's ExoMars mission is - at least in part - successful. The Agency announced today that its ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter has entered orbit around the red planet, after the 139-minute long burn needed to be captured by Mars' gravity. That means one important part of the mission has been finished and passed with flying colors, but the other part of the mission remains.

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Rosetta makes controlled comet impact to end mission

Rosetta makes controlled comet impact to end mission

It has been more than two years since Rosetta set off to investigate a comet, and now the mission has reached its end. The European Space Agency reports that Rosetta made a planned impact onto the comet, with that last maneuver having taken place at 22:50 CEST. The spacecraft made its collision from an altitude of almost 12 miles. Though researchers on Earth can no longer communicate with Rosetta, the spacecraft did transmit some final data about the comet before impact, and the researchers are waiting to find out what it contains.

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Rosetta finds Philae crammed into a crack on comet surface

Rosetta finds Philae crammed into a crack on comet surface

More than a little drama has happened with the Rosetta mission to Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko. Rosetta is the orbiter that circled the comet taking images and recording data while the Philae was a lander that was going to head down to the surface of the comet and send back even more data. The problem was that things didn’t go as planned for Philae.

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ESA is planning a Mars vehicle landing for this October

ESA is planning a Mars vehicle landing for this October

This upcoming October, the Schiaparelli module launched back in March of this year on the ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO), will land on Mars. The European Space Agency is leading this mission, and will use it to demonstrate its own controlled (and hopefully successful) landing of a vehicle on the Mars’ surface. This mission will help refine future ESA missions to the Red Planet, and will also return a limited but still significant set of scientific data.

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Rosetta will end its mission by crashing into comet on September 30

Rosetta will end its mission by crashing into comet on September 30

The European Space Agency’s Rosetta mission, which involves a probe orbiting Comet 67P (also known as Churyumov-Gerasimenko), will finally be coming to an end after 12 years of study. The space agency has scheduled September 30th as the spacecraft's last, where it will make a controlled crash into the surface of its partnering space rock. Think of it like a viking funeral, but only for a space probe.

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3 ISS astronauts return to Earth after 186 days in space

3 ISS astronauts return to Earth after 186 days in space

Most people would agree there's nothing like sleeping in your own bed after a decent amount of time away from home, but for these three astronauts, they're probably just happy to be back on Earth, regardless of where they sleep. Early Saturday morning saw the return of NASA's Commander Tim Kopra, the European Space Agency's Tim Peake, and Yuri Malenchenko of Russia's Roscomos after spending 186 consecutive days in space.

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Comet 67P dust discovered to contain building blocks of life

Comet 67P dust discovered to contain building blocks of life

It turns out that comets have been responsible for spreading some of the key ingredients for life throughout the solar system. The European Space Agency has announced that its Rosetta probe has detected some of these building blocks of life within the dust and gas that surrounds Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Scientists suggest this is the process that could have led to such chemical building blocks being delivered to a newly-formed Earth long ago.

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Astronaut Tim Peake completes London marathon on ISS

Astronaut Tim Peake completes London marathon on ISS

In December, the ESA announced that astronaut Tim Peake planned to run the London Marathon while aboard the International Space Station, doing so using a treadmill while a medical team monitored his health. As promised, Peake did just that and successfully completed the run from space, running all 42 kilometers aboard the ISS while everyone else pounded the ground on Earth.

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ExoMars 2016 is Go as rocket blasts off for Martian mission

ExoMars 2016 is Go as rocket blasts off for Martian mission

The European Space Agency's mission to Mars has successfully begun, though it'll be seven months before the Proton rocket reaches the red planet. ExoMars 2016 aims to sift through the Martian atmosphere in search of methane and other trace gases which, the scientists suggest, might indicate that there are active biological or geological processes underway on the distant planet.

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Mars probe departs this week on joint European-Russian study

Mars probe departs this week on joint European-Russian study

As part of the ExoMars 2016 mission, a new unmanned spacecraft will be departing for Mars on Monday thanks to collaboration between the space agencies of Europe and Russia. The European Space Agency (ESA) notes that the probe is heading to the red planet to study its atmosphere and dust storms, and to get there it will be riding atop a Russian Proton rocket.

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