Shortly after China’s Chang’e-3 spacecraft departs Earth to land on the Moon, ESA’s network of tracking stations will swing into action, providing crucial support for the vessel’s five-day lunar cruise.
Scientists have used satellite observations to create a set of high-resolution 3D maps of the entire Great Barrier Reef – a critical step towards identifying, managing and protecting what lies beneath the waters.
The journey to the Concordia research base in Antarctica is never predictable. Delays due to weather can keep travellers at the stopover points for days. During the Antarctic winter all travel to Concordia is out of the question as temperatures plunge to –80°C during the four months of darkness.
ESA’s three-satellite Swarm constellation was lofted into a near-polar orbit by a Russian Rockot launcher this afternoon. For four years, it will monitor Earth’s magnetic field, from the depth of our planet’s core to the heights of its upper atmosphere.
No matter how painstakingly we choose the materials to build satellites, once a mission is over they are just so much junk. But what if one day they could be recycled in space for future missions – perhaps as construction material, fuel or even food?