Today, the six crew members of the Mars 500 mission have "returned." The six, comprised of three Russians (a surgeon, engineer, and physiologist), an Italian Colombian engineer, a Chinese astronaut instructor, and a French engineer, have lived in a sealed chamber in a Moscow parking lot. Over the course of the 520 day "mission," the crew simulated a trip to Mars, even conducting a mock landing on a artificial Mars landscape, and researchers were able to study the effects of isolation on the human body and mind (the crew broke the record for longest isolation on day 438 in August, besting Mir's Valeri Polyakov).
A pair of new comet studies from two space telescopes show how other planets might grow oceans. For the first time, astronomers have detected a ring of cold water vapor encircling a young star's dusty planetary disk. And a separate study in a different star system shows a hailstorm of icy bodies could be bombarding a young planet.
A Soyuz rocket will lift off Friday from the northern coast of French Guiana, carrying two satellites that will formally kick off the European Space Agency’s own version of GPS. It will be the first Soyuz ever to launch outside of the former Soviet Union, and its payload will free Europeans from relying on American navigation tech.
Earth’s oceans likely started out as space snowballs born far beyond the orbit of Pluto, a new study says. Water-rich comets collided with the young planet after hurtling through the nascent solar system, and probably delivered a significant amount of the water on this planet.
The European Space Agency announced its next two space science missions yesterday, and given recent events they may not come as a huge surprise. The first will orbit the sun, coming closer to the solar surface than any previous science spacecraft to measure the solar wind and its influence on the planets to an unprecedented degree.
Adventure-seekers can use all kinds of emergency beacon tech to help themselves get found in case they go missing — but in many cases, this requires sticking something in your pocket, from which it could conceivably fall out. A new antenna could instead be sewn right into your clothes, ensuring rescuers can find you so long as you’re wearing something.
If it’s a space race the Russians want, a space race they shall have. But et tu, Europe? Russian news outlet Ria Novosti is reporting that the European Space Agency (ESA), long the ally of Cold War champion NASA, is teaming with Russia on a joint manned mission to Mars, and that their crew will be the first to set foot on the Red Planet.
An increasingly pale six-member crew on a fake mission to Mars has just reached a new landmark: 438 days in isolation. The streak beats the record held by someone who actually spent that time in space, former Mir space station resident Valeri Polyakov.
Fourteen years ago, astronomers studying Saturn via ESA’s Infrared Space Observatory discovered a mysterious supply of gaseous water in Saturn’s upper atmosphere. Now, ESA’s Herschel observatory has figured out exactly where that water is coming from: Saturn’s moon Enceladus, which spews water onto its host planet via huge water jets emanating from its southern polar region.
The biggest, most sensitive digital camera ever constructed for a space mission has been built by the European Space Agency, and it makes your Leica look pretty lame by comparison. The Galaxy-mapping Gaia mission’s “billion-pixel array” has been cobbled together from 106 charge coupled devices (CCDs), and the result is some super high-resolution capability. When Gaia opens its eyes in 2013, it will be able to spot stars a million times fainter than the ones humans can see on the clearest night.