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Copernical Team

Copernical Team

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Where will you be for the April 8 total solar eclipse? There's still time to grab a spot
People gather near Redmond, Ore., to view the sun as it nears a total eclipse by the moon, Monday, Aug. 21, 2017. The April 8, 2024 total solar eclipse in North America first hits land at Mexico’s Pacific coast, cuts diagonally across the U.S. from Texas to Maine and exits in eastern Canada. Credit: AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File
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Tokyo (AFP) March 2, 2024
Japan's Moon lander has been put back to sleep after it surprisingly survived the freezing, two-week lunar night, the country's space agency said, with another operation attempt scheduled for later this month. The unmanned Smart Lander for Investigating Moon (SLIM) touched down in January at a wonky angle that left its solar panels facing the wrong way. As the sun's angle shifted, it cam
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Los Angeles CA (SPX) Mar 03, 2024
NASA has announced the termination of the On-orbit Servicing, Assembly, and Manufacturing 1 (OSAM-1) project. This decision, revealed on March 1, 2024, follows nearly a decade of development and an investment of around $2 billion, highlighting the challenges the project faced in terms of technical complexities, cost increases, and changing market dynamics. The OSAM-1 project, led by NASA's
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Night-shining cloud mission ends; yields high science results for NASA
NASA's Aeronomy of Ice in the Mesosphere (AIM) mission, seen in this visualization, contributed to NASA's understanding of the region that borders between Earth's atmosphere and space. Credit: NASA

After 16 years studying Earth's highest clouds for the benefit of humanity—polar mesospheric clouds—from its orbit some 350 miles above the ground, NASA's Aeronomy of Ice in the Mesosphere, or AIM, mission has come to an end.

Initially slated for a , AIM was extended numerous times due to its high science return. While AIM has faced hurdles over the years—from software hiccups to hardware issues—an incredibly dedicated team kept the running for much longer than anyone could have anticipated.

On March 13, 2023, the spacecraft's battery failed following several years of declining performance.

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Video: 00:23:34

Marco Sieber is one of ESA’s five astronaut candidates currently undergoing basic astronaut training at the European Astronaut Centre (EAC) in Cologne. Join us as we speak to Marco about his first months of training and living in Germany, his background as a medical doctor, his favourite training lessons, and what he is excited about for the future of space exploration.

This is the third episode of our ESA Explores podcast series introducing the ESA astronaut class of 2022. It was recorded in November 2023.

Music and audio editing by Denzel Lorge. Cover art by Gaël Nadaud.

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An augmented reality assessment designed to test astronaut adjustment to gravity changes
Hannah Weiss demonstrates the multidirectional tapping task administered with augmented reality (AR) glasses. Credit: Hannah Weiss

When shifting from the microgravity of a spacecraft to the gravity-rich environment of the moon or Mars, astronauts experience deficits in perceptual and motor functions. The vestibular system in the inner ear, which detects the position and movement of the head, must adjust to reinterpret new gravity cues.

A University of Michigan-led team, including researchers from the University of Colorado Boulder's Bioastronautics Lab and NASA's Neuroscience Lab at Johnson Space Center, developed a multidirectional tapping task administered in augmented reality (AR) to detect sensorimotor impairments similar to those observed in astronauts after spaceflight.

The results, published in Aerospace Medicine and Human Performance, could support mission operations decisions by establishing when astronauts are able to perform tasks that require full coordination, like piloting vehicles or operating other complex systems.

Field tests to assess sensorimotor impairment have previously been conducted upon the return of International Space Station crew members to Earth.

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When an object like 'Oumuamua comes around again, we could be ready with an interstellar object explorer (IOE)
Artist’s impression of the interstellar object, 'Oumuamua, experiencing outgassing as it leaves our solar system. Credit: ESA/Hubble, NASA, ESO, M. Kornmesser

On October 19th, 2017, astronomers with the Pann-STARRS survey observed an interstellar object passing through our system—1I/2017 U1 'Oumuamua. This was the first time an ISO was detected, confirming that such objects pass through the solar system regularly, as astronomers predicted decades prior. Just two years later, a second object was detected, the interstellar comet 2I/Borisov. Given 'Oumuamua's unusual nature (still a source of controversy) and the information ISOs could reveal about distant star systems, astronomers are keen to get a closer look at future visitors.

For instance, multiple proposals have been made for interceptor spacecraft that could catch up with future ISOs, study them, and even conduct a sample return (like the ESA's Comet Interceptor).

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Week in images: 26 February - 1 March 2024

Discover our week through the lens

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First US moon lander in half a century stops working a week after tipping over at touchdown
This image provided by Intuitive Machines shows a view from the Odysseus lunar lander made with a fisheye lens on Feb. 22, 2024. Before its power was depleted, Odysseus sent this photo in its farewell transmission, received on Thursday, Feb. 29. Credit: Intuitive Machines via AP

The first U.S. spacecraft to land on the moon since the Apollo astronauts fell silent Thursday, a week after breaking a leg at touchdown and tipping over near the lunar south pole.

Intuitive Machines' lander, Odysseus, lasted longer than the company anticipated after it ended up on its side with hobbled and communication.

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Malaga, Spain (SPX) Mar 01, 2024
The 5th edition of the Small Satellites and Services International Forum (SSSIF), held in Malaga, has marked a significant milestone in the 'New Space' industry, drawing an unprecedented number of over 400 experts from across the globe. This event, which has rapidly become Europe's premier forum for the small satellite sector, witnessed its largest attendance to date, with participants hailing f
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