Getz on the runESA Top News

Using a 25-year record of satellite observations over the Getz region in West Antarctica, scientists have discovered that the pace at which glaciers flow towards the ocean is accelerating. This new research, which includes data from the Copernicus Sentinel-1 mission and ESA’s CryoSat mission, will help determine if these glaciers could collapse in the next few decades and how this would affect future global sea-level rise.Read More

Space snapshotESA Top News

Does this image make you anxious or are you already tracking where all the wires go? If the latter, you might have what it takes to be an astronaut!It is an exciting time for space. With NASA’s latest rover safely on Mars and ESA’s call for the next class of astronauts, the space industry is teeming with possibilities. This image taken in ESA’s Columbus laboratory on the International Space Station is a snapshot of the many opportunities in space research and exploration.  In the centre is the Biolab facility, a fridge-sized unit that hosts biological experiments on micro-organisms, cells, tissue cultures, small plants and small invertebrates. Performing life science experiments in space identifies the role that weightlessness plays at all levels of an organism, from the effects on a single cell up to a complex organism – including humans.The facility has enabled researchers to make some remarkable discoveries, most notable that mammalian immune cells required a mere 42 seconds to adapt to weightlessness, prompting more questions but also an overall positive outlook for long-duration human spaceflight.  The pink glow in the image is from the greenhouse that has enabled many studies on plant growth in space. With plans to visit the Moon and Mars, future astronauts will need a regular, fresh source of food as they take on these missions farther away from home. In addition to providing much-needed vitamins and minerals, growing plants in space contributes to sustainability and adds a homey touch to exploration.Growing plants in the microgravity conditions of the International Space Station has allowed researchers to fine tune the approach. European research showed plants respond best to red and blue light, giving the Columbus module a disco feel.If you look closely, you can spot Astro Pi Ed to the left of Biolab. As part of ESA astronaut Tim Peake’s Principia mission (2015–2016) to the International Space Station, two space-hardened Raspberry Pi computers, called Astro Pis and nicknamed Ed and Izzy, equipped with environmental sensors, were sent to the Space Station. They are regularly used to run students’ and young people’s programmes as part of the Astro Pi Challenge. Of course, a whole host of researchers, ground control crew, and mission support specialists make space research and exploration possible. The excitement of space continues. If you think you have what it takes, apply to be part of the team.Read More

ESA moves forward with HarmonyESA Top News

Following the selection of three Earth Explorer candidate missions to enter a first feasibility study in September 2018, ESA has chosen one of the candidates, Harmony, to move to the next phase of development. Harmony is envisaged as a mission with two satellites that orbit in formation with one of the Copernicus Sentinel-1 satellites to address key scientific questions related to ocean, ice and land dynamics.Read More

Join the teamESA Top News

For the first time in over a decade, the European Space Agency is seeking new astronauts. The last selection took place in 2008-09, and resulted in these familiar faces being welcomed into the ESA Astronaut Corps: (from left) Luca Parmitano, Thomas Pesquet, Alexander Gerst, Andreas Mogesen, Tim Peake, Samantha Cristoforetti.This class was selected following a year-long Europe-wide recruitment process that attracted 8413 valid applications. Following thorough psychological, medical and professional screening ESA’s astronaut class of 2009 became the first new recruits to join the European Astronaut Corps since 1992.Not pictured here is ESA astronaut Matthias Maurer, who was one of 10 applicants who made it to the final round of ESA astronaut selection in 2008. After narrowly missing out on astronaut candidacy at that stage, Matthias went on to work for ESA in a variety of roles including crew support and Eurocom (European spacecraft communicator) before officially joining the ESA astronaut corps in 2015. He is currently training for his first mission to the International Space Station.ESA’s next astronaut selection campaign kicks off with a series of press briefings today outlining the selection criteria and desirable traits for astronauts. ESA’s astronauts and experts will also provide further detail around the Parastronaut Feasibility Project, as well as ESA’s vision for the next 10 years of human and robotic exploration that aims to bring the first European woman and man to the Moon.Tune in to ESA Web TV today from 13:00 CET (12:00 GMT) for briefings in English, French, German, Dutch, Italian and Spanish.A new website has launched and is the hub of information relating to ESA’s 2021–22 astronaut selection and will be constantly updated with information for applicants and media.The application period runs from 31 March to 28 May 2021. ESA will only consider applications submitted via the ESA Careers website within those eight weeks. After that, a six-stage selection process will start. This is expected to be completed in October 2022.Read More