News 2002



When more data can mean more fun
[From ESA Science]
Tomorrow's spacecraft will be capable of generating more data than they can transmit to Earth. In some cases, this could be more data than can even be comfortably handled by today's computational methods. What benefits are there for us in this flood o
f data? [Read the article]



ESA to look for the missing link in gravity
[From ESA Science]
Although you can never be certain of predicting future developments in science, there is a good chance of a fundamental breakthrough in physics soon. With a series of unique experiments and missions designed to test our understanding of gravity, the European Space Agency (ESA) hopes to get to the very bottom of it. Scientists will study space phenomena that do not seem to conform to our perceived understanding of gravity. In this way, they hope to develop a greater comprehension of the Universe
. [Read the article]



ESA paves the way for an avalanche of new extrasolar planet discoveries
[From ESA Science]
An interview with Didier Queloz, one of the world's most successful planet hunter
s. [Read the article]



Gaia Data Analysis Feasibility Study Completed
A major two-year study into the feasibility of the data processing for Gaia has been successfully completed, and the final presentation made today at ESTEC. A team, led by software industrial group GMV (Madrid),and supported by teams from the University of Barcelona and the Supercomputing Centre of Catalunya, has been responsible for the study. It provides a foundation for the further development of the Gaia data processing.



'Cosmic Vision 2020': the new ESA Science Programme
[ESA Press Release No.36-2002]
Following the outcome of Council of Ministers in Edinburgh in November 2001, the Director of Science undertook a complete reassessment of the ESA Science Programme. This was done in close collaboration with the science community, represented by the Space Science Advisory Committee, industry and Member States delegations. The results of this exercise were presented as a proposal to the 99th meeting of the Science Programme Committee of the European Space Agency held in Andenes (Norway) on 22-23 May. Whilst noting the withdrawal by the Executive, during the meeting itself, of the Venus Express mission, the Science Programme Committee strongly endorsed the plan proposed by the Executive and encouraged it to proceed vigorously with its implementation.
[Read the article]



Gaia Confirmed by ESA's Science Programme Committee
The detailed review of the ESA science programme (see 5 December 2001) has been completed, with confirmation of Gaia within ESA's long-term science programme 'Cosmic Vision 2020', and with a launch date not later than 2012. For planning and technology development purposes, a launch date of mid-2010 has been adopted by ESA



Completion of Re-Assessment Study
A revised design of Gaia has been finalised. ESA, industry (Astrium-F), and the Gaia science team, have successfully established a more compact design which can fit into a Soyuz launch vehicle, with corresponding cost savings, whilst fully preserving the scientific goals originally set out for the mission.



European Space Agency to probe asteroid blind spot
[From ESA Science]
In the past five weeks two asteroids have passed close by Earth, at distances of 1.2 and 3 times the distance to the Moon. Another asteroid has recently been shown to have a 1 in 300 chance of colliding with Earth in 2880. Monitoring known asteroids allows astronomers to predict which may collide with Earth. But that is only true for the asteroids we know of. What about those that lie in the asteroid blind spot between the Sun and Earth? The European Space Agency is studying ways in which its missions can assist in monitoring these unseen but potentially hazardous asteroids.
[Read the article]


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