samedi 12 juin 2021

ALICE finds that charm hadronisation differs at the LHC


CERN - ALICE Experiment logo.

June 12, 2021

New measurements by the ALICE collaboration show that the way charm quarks form hadrons in proton-proton collisions differs significantly from expectations based on electron collider measurements.

Image above: A view of the ALICE experiment during the installation of new components. (Image: CERN).

Quarks are among the elementary particles of the Standard Model of Particle Physics. Besides up and down quarks, which are the basic building blocks of ordinary matter in the Universe, four other quark flavours exist and are also abundantly produced in collisions at particle accelerators like the CERN Large Hadron Collider. Quarks are not observed in isolation due to a fundamental aspect of the strong interaction, known as colour charge confinement. Confinement requires particles that carry the charge of the strong interaction, called colour, to form states that are colour-neutral. This in turn forces quarks to undergo a process of hadronisation, i.e. to form hadrons, which are composite particles mostly made of a quark and an antiquark (mesons) or of three quarks (baryons). The only exception is the heaviest quark, the top, which decays before it has time to hadronise.

At particle accelerators, quarks with a large mass, such as the charm quark, are produced only in the initial interactions between the colliding particles. Depending on the type of beam used, these can be electron-positron, electron-proton or proton-proton collisions (as at the LHC). The subsequent hadronisation of charm quarks into mesons (D0, D+, Ds) or baryons (𝛬c, 𝛯c, …) occurs on a long space-time scale and was considered to be universal - that is, independent of the species of the colliding particles - until the recent findings by the ALICE collaboration.

Graphic above: Fraction of charm quarks that hadronise to form each species of mesons (quark-antiquark) or baryons (three quarks). The ALICE measurements in proton-proton collisions show a larger fraction of baryons than those at colliders using electron beams. (Image: CERN).

The large data samples collected during Run 2 of the LHC allowed ALICE to count the vast majority of charm quarks produced in the proton-proton collisions by reconstructing the decays of all charm meson species and of the most abundant charm baryons (𝛬c and 𝛯c). The charm quarks were found to form baryons almost 40% of the time, which is four times more often than what was expected based on measurements previously made at colliders with electron beams (e+e- and ep in the figure below).

These measurements show that the process of colour-charge confinement and hadron formation is still a poorly understood aspect of the strong interaction. Current theoretical explanations of baryon enhancement include the combination of multiple quarks produced in proton-proton collisions and new mechanisms in the neutralisation of the colour charge. Additional measurements during the next run of the LHC will allow these theories to be scrutinised and further our knowledge of the strong interaction.

Read more in the article by ALICE and on the ALICE website: and


CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, is one of the world’s largest and most respected centres for scientific research. Its business is fundamental physics, finding out what the Universe is made of and how it works. At CERN, the world’s largest and most complex scientific instruments are used to study the basic constituents of matter — the fundamental particles. By studying what happens when these particles collide, physicists learn about the laws of Nature.

The instruments used at CERN are particle accelerators and detectors. Accelerators boost beams of particles to high energies before they are made to collide with each other or with stationary targets. Detectors observe and record the results of these collisions.

Founded in 1954, the CERN Laboratory sits astride the Franco–Swiss border near Geneva. It was one of Europe’s first joint ventures and now has 23 Member States.

Related links:

ALICE experiment:

Large Hadron Collider (LHC):

For more information about European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), Visit:

Image (mentioned), Graphic (mentioned), Text, Credits: CERN/By Andrea Dainese.

Best regards,

vendredi 11 juin 2021

Dream Chaser is scheduled to start flying cargo missions to the ISS in 2022


SNC - Dream Chaser CRS-2 Mission patch.

June 11, 2021

Sierra Nevada has officially entered into a "use agreement" with Space Florida to land Dream Chaser at the LLF. The use agreement makes Sierra Nevada "the first commercial user of Space Florida’s FAA [Federal Aviation Administration] Re-entry Site Operator License and provides the runway and support facilities needed during testing and landing," company representatives said in a statement.

Dream Chaser Cargo System: A Transportation System to Deliver Cargo to the ISS for NASA

It also moves Sierra Nevada a step closer to applying for its own FAA re-entry license, which the company will need before launching its first Dream Chaser mission, the representatives added.

"This is a monumental step for both Dream Chaser and the future of space travel," Sierra Nevada CEO Fatih Ozmen said in the same statement. "To have a commercial vehicle return from the International Space Station to a runway landing for the first time since NASA’s space shuttle program ended a decade ago will be a historic achievement."

 Image Credit: Twitter

Sierra Nevada holds a NASA contract to fly at least six uncrewed cargo missions to and from the orbiting lab with Dream Chaser, which is 30 feet (9 meters) long. (For perspective: The space shuttle orbiters were about 122 feet, or 37 m, from tip to tail.)

Those flights will lift off aboard United Launch Alliance Vulcan Centaur rockets from Florida's Cape Canaveral Space Force Station and (we now know) touch down at the LLF, which is right next door. The first such resupply mission is targeted for 2022.

Two companies — SpaceX and Northrop Grumman — already fly robotic cargo missions to the orbiting lab for NASA. SpaceX uses a robotic version of its Dragon capsule for the job, and Northrop Grumman employs a spacecraft called Cygnus. Like Dream Chaser, Dragon is reusable. Cygnus is designed to burn up in Earth's atmosphere after leaving the station.

Image above: An artist's rendition of Tenacity, the first orbital Dream Chaser vehicle, in space. Image credit: Sierra Nevada Corporation.

Sierra Nevada originally began developing Dream Chaser as a crewed vehicle, with the goal of winning a NASA contract to take astronauts to and from the station. NASA ended up selecting SpaceX and Boeing for this task, but Sierra Nevada has not ruled out building a crewed version of the space plane, and it's working on other human spaceflight projects as well. (SpaceX has already launched two contracted crewed missions to the space station for NASA; Boeing is preparing for an uncrewed test flight of its Starliner capsule to the orbiting lab later this year, which would pave the way for crewed missions.)

For example, Sierra Nevada — which is now transitioning its space division into a separate company known as Sierra Space — is developing an expandable space habitat called the Large Integrated Flexible Environment (LIFE). Sierra Nevada has expressed interest in using Dream Chaser and LIFE habitats to build a commercial space station in low Earth orbit.

Related link:

Sierra Space:

Images (mentioned), Video, Text, Credits: Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC)/SNC spacesystems.


Space Botany and Biology Studies Under Way Benefitting Earth


ISS - Expedition 65 Mission patch.

June 11, 2021

Cotton plants and kidney cells were the dominant research topics aboard the International Space Station today. NASA TV will also broadcast a preview on Monday of two upcoming Expedition 65 spacewalks.

The orbiting lab is hosting a variety of life forms to help researchers understand how weightlessness affects biology. Observations provide insights often advancing health and improving conditions for humans on and off the Earth.

Image above: NASA astronaut Megan McArthur seemingly juggles fresh peppers and avocados that were just delivered to the station aboard the SpaceX Crew Dragon resupply ship. Image Credit: NASA.

During Friday morning, NASA Flight Engineer Shane Kimbrough harvested cotton plants growing for the TICTOC botany study. The investigation looks at gene expression and root growth in microgravity which may improve both space agriculture and cotton cultivation on Earth.

The Kidney Cells-02 investigation is under way this week following its delivery aboard the SpaceX Crew Dragon resupply ship on Saturday. NASA astronauts Mark Vande Hei and Megan McArthur collaborated on the biotechnology study today that is seeking treatments for conditions such as kidney disease and osteoporosis affecting both astronauts and Earthlings.

Commander Akihiko Hoshide and Flight Engineer Thomas Pesquet worked on a variety of science hardware on Friday ensuring orbital research continues at full pace. Hoshide, currently on his third spaceflight, serviced medical imaging gear the crew uses regularly for eye checks. Pesquet, who is working his second station mission, stowed a small incubator after the completion of a study exploring how drugs work in space. The European Space Agency astronaut then swapped samples inside the Fluid Science Laboratory for a foam study potentially impacting consumer products, fire safety and the petroleum industry.

Image above: The beauty of our home planet is shown in this long exposure photograph. Taken from the International Space Station as it orbited 267 miles above the Indian Ocean, it reveals Earth's atmospheric glow and star trails. Image Credit: NASA.

Kimbrough and Pesquet will go on two spacewalks set for June 16 and 20. The duo will spend six-and-half hours on both excursions installing a new pair of solar arrays robotically-extracted overnight from the Cargo Dragon’s trunk. NASA TV will go live on Monday at 2 p.m. EDT with station managers discussing the upcoming spacewalk activities to augment the station’s power system.

Over in the Russian segment of the space station, cosmonauts Oleg Novitskiy and Pyotr Dubrov worked on a variety of communications gear during the morning. After lunchtime, the duo split up to inventory cargo transferred to and from the ISS Progress 77 cargo craft and inspect the Zvezda service module.

Related links:


Expedition 65:


Kidney Cells-02:

Small incubator:

How drugs work in space:

Fluid Science Laboratory:

Fluid Science Laboratory:

Foam study:

Zvezda service module:

Space Station Research and Technology:

International Space Station (ISS):

Images (mentioned), Animation (mentioned), Text, Credits: NASA/Mark Garcia/Yvette Smith.

Best regards,

CASC - Long March-2D launches Beijing-3 and 3 other satellites


CASC - China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation logo.

June 11, 2021

Long March-2D launch

A Long March-2D launch vehicle launched the Beijing-3 satellite from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center, Shanxi Province, northern China, on 11 June 2021, at 03:03 UTC (11:03 local time).

Long March-2D launches Beijing-3 and 3 other satellites

Beijing-3 (北京三) is an Earth-observation satellite with a 0.5 m resolution, developed by Twenty First Century Aerospace Technology Pte. Ltd. As secondary payloads, three small satellites were launched: HaiSi-2 (海丝二号, “hello, ocean”), YangWang-1 (仰望一号, “look up”) and Space Test-1 Tianjian (太空试验1号天健卫星).

Beijing-3 (北京三) satellite

For more information about China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC):

Images, Video, Text, Credits: CASC/China Central Television (CCTV)/SciNews/Günter Space Page/ Aerospace/Roland Berga.


Hubble Sees a Spiral in Good Company


NASA & ESA - Hubble Space Telescope patch.

Jun 11, 2021

This image, taken with Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3, features the spiral galaxy NGC 4680. Two other galaxies, at the far right and bottom center of the image, flank NGC 4680. NGC 4680 enjoyed a wave of attention in 1997, as it played host to a supernova explosion known as SN 1997bp. Australian amateur astronomer Robert Evans identified the supernova and has identified an extraordinary 42 supernova explosions.

NGC 4680 is actually a rather tricky galaxy to classify. It is sometimes referred to as a spiral galaxy, but it is also sometimes classified as a lenticular galaxy. Lenticular galaxies fall somewhere in between spiral galaxies and elliptical galaxies. While NGC 4680 does have distinguishable spiral arms, they are not clearly defined, and the tip of one arm appears very diffuse. Galaxies are not static, and their morphologies (and therefore their classifications) vary throughout their lifetimes. Spiral galaxies are thought to evolve into elliptical galaxies, most likely by merging with one another, causing them to lose their distinctive spiral structures.

Hubble Space Telescope (HST)

For more information about Hubble, visit:

Text Credits: European Space Agency (ESA)/NASA/Lynn Jenner/Image, Animation Credits: ESA/Hubble & NASA, A. Riess et al.


Zhurong rover and Tianwen-1 lander on Mars


CNSA - Tianwen-1 (天問-1) Mission to Mars logo.

June 11, 2021

Mars panorama taken by the Zhurong rover

On 11 June 2021, the China National Space Administration (CNSA) released the first batch of scientific images taken by the Tianwen-1 mission on Mars. The panoramic image was taken by the Zhurong rover from the Tianwen-1 lander, using the Navigation and Terrain camera (NaTeCam).

Zhurong rover and Tianwen-1 lander on Mars

The first topography and geomorphology image was taken with NaTeCam, after Zhurong descended onto the surface of Mars. The Tianwen-1 lander is seen by the Zhurong rover from about 6 metres away. The Zhurong rover and Tianwen-1 lander captured from about 10 metres away in an image taken by a camera deployed on the ground by the rover.

Image above: The Zhurong rover and Tianwen-1 lander captured from about 10 metres away in an image taken by a camera deployed on the ground by the rover.

Related articles:

Tianwen-1 Lander and Zhurong Rover seen by NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter

Zhurong is roving on Mars!

Why the China Mars rover’s landing site has geologists excited & Zhurong’s first images from Mars

Tianwen-1 orbiter relays Zhurong rover’s data and images

Zhurong landed on Mars! The Tianwen-1 rover is on Utopia Planitia (Videos)

China succeeds in landing its rover on Mars

Related link:

For more information about China National Space Administration (CNSA), visit:

Images, Video, Text, Credits: China National Space Administration (CNSA)/SciNews/ Aerospace/Roland Berga.

Best regards,

Space Station Science Highlights: Week of June 7, 2021


ISS - Expedition 65 Mission patch.

Jun 11, 2021

The week of June 7, crew members conducted scientific investigations aboard the International Space Station that included studies of kidney stone formation, how gravity affects oral bacteria, and accelerated aging in space.

Image above: Soyuz MS spacecraft's docked outside the Space Station. Image Credit: NASA.

The space station has been continuously inhabited by humans for 20 years, supporting many scientific breakthroughs. The orbiting lab provides a platform for long-duration research in microgravity and for learning to live and work in space, experience that supports Artemis, NASA’s program to go forward to the Moon and on to Mars.

Here are details on some of the microgravity investigations currently taking place:

Stopping Kidney Stones

Image above: This image shows the 3D culture platform for Kidney Cells-02, which studies the effects of microgravity on formation of kidney stones. Twenty-four of these devices flew to the space station for the investigation. Image Credits: Alex Levine, University of Washington.

Some crew members exhibit increased susceptibility to kidney stones during flight, which could affect their health and the success of the mission. The Kidney Cells-02 investigation uses a 3D kidney cell tissue chip to study the effects of microgravity on formation of microcrystals that can lead to kidney stones. Results could lead to therapies to treat and prevent kidney stones in astronauts and people on Earth. Kidney Cells-02 is part of the Tissue Chips in Space initiative, a partnership between the ISS U.S. National Laboratory and the National Institutes of Health’s National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) to analyze the effects of microgravity on human health and translate that to improvements on Earth. The crew transferred investigation hardware from the SpaceX-22 Dragon to the Space Automated Bioproduct Laboratory (SABL) in preparation for operations.

On-orbit Oral Care

Image above: NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough organizes sample packs for Oral Biofilms in Space, a study of how oral bacteria is affected by microgravity and possible ways to counteract any potentially harmful changes. Results also could benefit oral health in space and on Earth. Image Credit: NASA.

Oral Biofilms in Space studies how gravity affects the structure, composition, and activity of oral bacteria in the presence of common oral care agents. During the week, crew members conducted sessions for the investigation, introducing either oral care bioactives or fixatives to the Session Packs. Due to bag connection issues, the sessions used only two of the original four packs. Findings could support development of novel treatments to fight oral diseases such as caries, gingivitis, and periodontitis. The investigation also could provide insights into how microgravity affects the microbiome of other mucosal surfaces in the body.

Analyzing Accelerated Aging

Aging-like symptoms such as bone loss and muscle atrophy occur more rapidly in space. MHU-6 and Phospho-aging, two investigations from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), examine the molecular mechanism behind these symptoms in mice and humans. A better understanding of bone and muscle loss could lead to improved countermeasures and treatments to protect crews on future missions. Results also could provide evidence that bone-loss conditions such as osteoporosis and osteopenia are not only results of aging but causes of it, leading to better therapies to prevent these conditions on Earth as well.

Space to Ground: A Plethora of New Science: 06/11/2021

Other investigations on which the crew performed work:

- TICTOC studies how cotton root system structure affects plant resilience, water-use, and carbon storing. Results could lead to development of more robust cotton varieties that require less water and pesticide use.

- MME-2, an investigation from ESA (European Space Agency), tests whether a series of drugs that improves cell energy efficiency and muscle efficiency can improve overall heath in space, using the C. elegans worms as a model organism. Investigation activities servess as pre-clinical trials for drugs with potential for improving astronaut health and could lead to new therapeutic targets to study on Earth.

Image above: ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet installs the MME-2 investigation, which tests a series of drugs to see whether they improve overall health in space and could lead to new therapeutic targets for examination on Earth. Image Credit: NASA.

- ACME includes six independent studies to improve fuel efficiency and reduce pollution from combustion on Earth and help prevent fires in spacecraft. The spacecraft fire prevention studies examine different materials, conditions needed for them to burn, how to extinguish them, and the effectiveness of methods to screen and select materials for spacecraft.

- Time Perception, an ESA investigation, quantifies the subjective changes in time perception in humans during and after long-duration exposure to microgravity. Time perception is fundamental to motion perception, sound localization, speech, and fine motor coordination, and altered perception could affect crew safety and performance.

- RTPCG-2 demonstrates new methods for producing high-quality protein crystals in microgravity for analysis on Earth to identify possible targets for drugs to treat disease.

- Vascular Aging, an investigation by the Canadian Space Agency (CSA), analyzes changes in the arteries of crew members. Results could point to mechanisms for reducing cardiovascular risk and help identify and detect blood biomarkers that predict early signs of cardiovascular aging.

- Antimicrobial Coatings tests a coating to control microbial growth on different materials that represent high-touch surfaces on the space station. Some microbes change characteristics in microgravity, potentially creating new risks to crew health and spacecraft.

- Standard Measures collects a set of core measurements from astronauts before, during, and after long-duration missions to create a data repository to monitor and interpret how humans adapt to living in space.

- Food Physiology examines the effects of an enhanced spaceflight diet on immune function, the gut microbiome, and nutritional status indicators, with the aim of documenting how dietary improvements may enhance adaptation to spaceflight.

- Food Acceptability looks at how the appeal of food changes during long-duration missions. Whether crew members like and actually eat foods directly affects caloric intake and associated nutritional benefits.

- ISS Ham Radio provides students, teachers, parents, and others the opportunity to communicate with astronauts using ham radio units. Before a scheduled call, students learn about the station, radio waves, and other topics, and prepare a list of questions on topics they have researched.

Related links:

Expedition 65:

Kidney Cells-02:

Tissue Chips in Space:

Space Automated Bioproduct Laboratory (SABL):



ISS National Lab:

Spot the Station:

Space Station Research and Technology:

International Space Station (ISS):

Images (mentioned), Video (NASA), Text, Credits: NASA/Ana Guzman/John Love, ISS Research Planning Integration Scientist Expedition 65.

Best regards,

Voyage 2050 sets sail: ESA chooses future science mission themes


ESA - European Space Agency logo.

June 11, 2021

ESA’s large-class science missions for the timeframe 2035-2050 will focus on moons of the giant Solar System planets, temperate exoplanets or the galactic ecosystem, and new physical probes of the early Universe.

Voyage 2050 themes

“The selection of the Voyage 2050 themes is a pivotal moment for ESA’s science programme, and for the future generation of space scientists and engineers,” says Günther Hasinger, ESA Director of Science.

“Now that Cosmic Vision has taken shape with a clear plan for our missions until the mid 2030s, we must start planning the science and the technology we’ll need for the missions we want to launch decades from now, and that is why we are defining the top-level science themes of the Voyage 2050 plan today.”

A call for ideas for Voyage 2050 was issued in March 2019, generating close to 100 diverse and ambitious ideas, which were subsequently distilled into a number of science themes. Topical teams, comprising many early career through early scientists from a broad range of space science expertise areas, carried out an initial assessment of the themes and reported their findings to a senior science committee. This committee was tasked by the Director to recommend not only science themes for the next three large-class missions following the Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer, Athena and LISA, but also to identify potential themes for future medium-class missions, and recommend areas for long-term technology development beyond the scope of Voyage 2050. The science themes were selected by ESA’s Science Programme Committee at a meeting on 10 June 2021. The specific missions themselves will be selected in due course when ESA issues individual calls for mission proposals.

“The Voyage 2050 plan is the result of a significant effort of the science community, of the topical teams, and of the senior committee who contributed to such a lively and productive debate to arrive at this outstanding proposal,” says Fabio Favata, Head of the Strategy, Planning and Coordination Office. “Voyage 2050 is setting sail, and will keep Europe at the forefront of space science for decades to come.”

Mission themes

The top three priorities for future large-class missions are identified as:

Moons of the giant planets

Investigating the habitability potential of worlds in our Solar System is essential for understanding the emergence of life, and is of particular relevance in the search for Earth-like planets beyond our Solar System. Building on the legacy of the international Cassini-Huygens mission to Saturn and ESA’s upcoming Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer, a future outer Solar System mission with advanced instrumentation would focus on the study of the connection of ocean-bearing moon interiors with their near-surface environments, also attempting to search for possible biosignatures. The mission profile might include an in-situ unit, such as a lander or a drone.

Moons of the giant planets

From temperate exoplanets to the Milky Way

Our Milky Way contains hundreds of millions of stars and planets along with dark matter and interstellar matter but our understanding of this ecosystem, a stepping-stone for understanding the workings of galaxies in general, is limited. A detailed understanding of our Galaxy’s formation history, including its “hidden regions”, is key to our understanding of galaxies in general. At the same time, the characterisation of temperate exoplanets in the mid-infrared, through a first spectrum of direct thermal emission from exoplanet atmospheres to better understand if they harbour truly habitable surface conditions, would be an outstanding breakthrough.

While the exoplanet topic is considered to have a high scientific priority, solidifying Europe’s leadership in the field of exoplanets beyond the lifetime of Cheops, Plato and Ariel, an informed choice between a study of the less accessible regions of our Galaxy and the study of temperate exoplanets needs to be made involving the interested scientific community to assess the likelihood of success and feasibility of missions within the large mission boundary conditions.

From temperate exoplanets to the Milky Way

New physical probes of the early Universe

How did the Universe begin? How did the first cosmic structures and black holes form and evolve? These are outstanding questions in fundamental physics and astrophysics that could be addressed by missions exploiting new physical probes, such as detecting gravitational waves with high precision or in a new spectral window, or by high-precision spectroscopy of the cosmic microwave background – the relic radiation left over from the Big Bang. This theme follows the breakthrough science from Planckand the expected scientific return from LISA, and would leverage advances made in instrumentation to open a huge discovery space. Additional study and interaction with the scientific community will be needed to converge on a mission addressing this theme.

New physical probes of the early Universe

A bright future for medium-class missions

Medium-class missions are a key component of ESA’s Science Programme and enable Europe to conduct stand-alone missions that answer important scientific questions with relatively modest cost envelopes. Venus Express, Mars Express and the upcoming Euclid, Plato, and Ariel missions are examples of ESA’s past, current and future medium-class missions.

The Voyage 2050 committee identified themes across all domains of space science, from solar system science to astrometry, astronomy, astrophysics and fundamental physics, showing that breakthrough science can continue to be achieved within the medium-class mission cost-cap.  Medium missions will continue to be selected through future open 'Calls for missions'.

Medium-class missions also provide a route for Europe’s participation in ambitious missions with international partners. This could include contributing to NASA’s next-generation astronomy observatories – much like the current James Webb Space Telescope partnership – or to future outer Solar System missions, for example.

Technology development for the next century

In discussing the possible large mission themes, the Voyage 2050 committee identified several areas where the science return would be outstanding but the technology would not reach maturity by the timeframe of Voyage 2050. The committee therefore recommended investment in a number of technologies so that these themes could become a reality in the second half of this century. This covers topics such as cold atom interferometry for atomic clock development, enabling X-ray interferometry for the future study of compact objects like black holes, and developments for future planetary missions: in particular better power sources to enable the exploration of the outer Solar System, and advances in collecting and storing cryogenic samples of cometary ices for a future sample return mission.

Why plan now?

Long-term planning is essential to ensure success in future space science endeavours. Cosmic Vision 2015-2025 is the current planning cycle for ESA’s space science missions. It was created in 2005, and is predated by the Horizon 2000 plan prepared in 1984, and Horizon 2000 Plus, which was drawn up in 1994–95. To put these plans in context, comet-chasing Rosetta and its lander Philae, and ‘time-machine’ Planck and astronomy observatory Herschel all began life in Horizon 2000. Gaia, Lisa Pathfinder and BepiColombo were all conceived in Horizon 2000 Plus. Cosmic Vision missions are just being realised today: the exoplanet mission Cheops launched in 2019, and Solar Orbiter in 2020. Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer, Athena and LISA are all large-class missions in the Cosmic Vision plan. Large missions in particular require significant technology development, which often takes a number of years. Therefore, it is important to start defining the necessary technology well in advance, to ensure that ESA’s Science Programme can secure a world-class, forward-looking series of missions for future generations.

Thus, it is time to look beyond Cosmic Vision, to the period 2035-2050 – and even beyond – with the Voyage 2050 plan.

Notes for Editors

The ESA Science Programme provides Europe with the tools to be a world leader in space science. For the scientific community, the programme fosters the conditions to sustain and enhance excellence, leading to discoveries and innovation. The Science Programme is populated by different types of missions, each of which fulfil a clearly defined role. Among these, the large-class missions are European-led flagship missions with a launch cadence of approximately one every decade. Previous examples include Rosetta, XMM-Newton, and Herschel. Medium-class missions may be ESA-led or carried out with international partners. These provide flexibility within the programme and have an expected launch cadence of two per decade. Integral and Planck are examples of ESA-led medium missions; the Huygens probe was a medium-class contribution to NASA’s Cassini mission. Large and medium missions are supplemented by smaller missions that focus on innovative implementations, follow a fast development path, and allow member states to play a leading role in missions.

Related links:

Cosmic Vision 2015-2025:

Space Science:

Science & Exploration:

European Space Agency (ESA):

Images, Text, Credits: ESA/Science Office.


jeudi 10 juin 2021

Tianwen-1 Lander and Zhurong Rover seen by NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter


NASA - Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) patch.

June 10, 2021

Tianwen-1 Lander and Zhurong Rover seen by NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter

Tianwen-1 Lander and Zhurong Rover seen by NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter

NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has captured with the HiRISE camera images of the Tianwen-1 Lander and the Zhurong Rover on Utopia Planitia, Mars.

Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO)

Related articles:

Zhurong is roving on Mars!

Why the China Mars rover’s landing site has geologists excited & Zhurong’s first images from Mars

Tianwen-1 orbiter relays Zhurong rover’s data and images

Zhurong landed on Mars! The Tianwen-1 rover is on Utopia Planitia (Videos)

China succeeds in landing its rover on Mars

Related links:

Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO):

For more information about China National Space Administration (CNSA), visit:

Images, Video, Text, Credits: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona/SciNews/ Aerospace/Roland Berga.

Best regards,

Solar eclipse seen by Russian satellites



June 10, 2021

Today, June 10, 2021, there was an annular eclipse of the Sun. For the first time in half a century, it was accessible for observation from Russia; it was best seen from Yakutia and Chukotka. Russian satellites for remote sensing of the Earth "Meteor-M" and "Arktika-M" were able to capture this astronomical phenomenon (shadow on the surface of the planet) from near-earth orbit.

Partial phases of the eclipse could be seen from Moscow, where the Moon covered the solar disk by 16%, as well as from a number of other Russian regions. The next time such an eclipse can be seen in nine years. In Moscow at 14:26 the Earth satellite covered 0.26 times the diameter of the Sun, or 16 percent. The Moon completely left the disk of the star at 15:16.

This eclipse opens a whole series of phenomena in the country, which will occur in the summer with an interval of nine years. The next annular eclipse will be visible on June 1, 2030. It can be observed in densely populated areas, including the south of the European part of Russia, and the annular phases of the eclipses on June 21, 2039 and June 11, 2048 - in the vicinity of Moscow.

Arktika-M (Arctic-M) satellite

The spacecraft "Arktika-M" No. 1 was launched on February 28, 2021 from the Baikonur cosmodrome, and at the beginning of March it entered a working orbit, in which the spacecraft's most remote point of flight is many times higher than the nearest one. Flight tests of the spacecraft are currently underway before putting it into operation. The space system of hydrometeorological monitoring "Arktika-M" is designed to monitor the climate and the environment in the Arctic region, to solve the problems of navigation of ships along the Northern Sea Route.

Meteor-3M (SAGE II) satellite

The space complex of hydrometeorological and oceanographic support "Meteor-3M" is designed to receive space information for remote sensing of the Earth in the interests of operational meteorology, hydrology, agrometeorology, climate and environmental monitoring, monitoring of natural and man-made emergencies, conducting scientific heliogeophysical research, studying the state of the atmosphere on a planetary scale. Also, one of the tasks of the orbital complex is the collection and transmission of hydrometeorological data from automatic measuring platforms of various types (ground, ice, drifting).

Related links:

ROSCOSMOS Press Release:

Arctic-M (Arktika-M):


Images, Animations, Text, Credits: ROSCOSMOS/ Aerospace/Roland Berga.


Robotics Prepping Station for Upcoming Solar Array Spacewalks


ISS - Expedition 65 Mission patch.

June 10, 2021

Mission controllers will command the Canadarm2 robotic arm to remove a new pair of solar arrays from the SpaceX Cargo Dragon resupply ship tonight. Four Expedition 65 astronauts are also training for robotics activities to support two spacewalks scheduled to begin next week.

Packed inside the unpressurized segment of the Cargo Dragon, also known as its trunk, is a pair of unique solar arrays that will soon be attached to the International Space Station’s Port-6 truss structure. Also called iROSA, or ISS Roll Out Solar Arrays, they will be extracted tonight from Dragon’s trunk by robotics controllers remotely commanding the Canadarm2. It will be staged on the truss structure where two spacewalkers will install it on the station starting next week.

Image above: At center, Expedition 65 Flight Engineers Megan McArthur and Mark Vande Hei pose with astronauts Shane Kimbrough (far left) and Thomas Pesquet (far right) who are in spacesuits. Image Credit: NASA.

In the meantime, Flight Engineers Shane Kimbrough and Thomas Pesquet are preparing for those two installation spacewalks planned for June 16 and 20. The duo joined fellow flight engineers Mark Vande Hei and Megan McArthur on Thursday afternoon for computerized training to prepare for the robotics activities necessary to support the solar array installation work.

Kimbrough and Pesquet this week have been inspecting their spacesuits, organizing their tools and readying the U.S. Quest airlock where they will stage both spacewalks. They will set their spacesuit batteries to battery power at 8 a.m. EDT on both days signifying the start of their spacewalk. NASA TV will begin its live coverage of both spacewalks at 6:30 a.m.

Science is still ongoing aboard the orbital lab as the astronauts and mission controllers get ready for the two spacewalks.

ISS spacewalk. Animation Credit: NASA

Commander Akihiko Hoshide and Pesquet took turns wearing a virtual reality headset and clicking a trackball for the Time Perception experiment. Kimbrough inventoried medical supplies and photographed cotton plants growing for the TICTOC space botany study. McArthur worked on a pharmaceutical freeze-drying study while Vande Hei loaded a CubeSat deployer for upcoming satellite deployments.

In the Russian segment of the orbital lab, Flight Engineer Oleg Novitskiy checked on Soyuz MS-18 crew ship and ISS Progress 77 resupply ship gear today. Flight Engineer Pyotr Dubrov assisted with the Soyuz work and worked throughout the day on Russian life support and computer maintenance.

Related links:

Expedition 65:

Canadarm2 robotic arm:

U.S. Quest airlock:


Time Perception:


Space Station Research and Technology:

International Space Station (ISS):

Image (mentioned), Animation (mentioned), Text, Credits: NASA/Mark Garcia.

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Citizen Scientists Discover Two Gaseous Planets around a Bright Sun-like Star


NASA - Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) patch.

June 10, 2021

At night, seven-year-old Miguel likes talking to his father Cesar Rubio about planets and stars. “I try to nurture that,” says Rubio, a machinist in Pomona, California, who makes parts for mining and power generation equipment.

Image above: In this artist’s rendering, two gaseous planets orbit the bright star HD 152843. These planets were discovered through the citizen science project Planet Hunters TESS, in collaboration with professional scientists. Image Credits: NASA/Scott Wiessinger.

Now, the boy’s father can claim he helped discover planets, too. He is one of thousands of volunteers participating in Planet Hunters TESS, a NASA-funded citizen science project that looks for evidence of planets beyond our solar system, or exoplanets. Citizen science is a way for members of the public to collaborate with scientists. More than 29,000 people worldwide have joined the Planet Hunters TESS effort to help scientists find exoplanets.

Planet Hunters TESS has now announced the discovery of two exoplanets in a study published online in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, listing Rubio and more than a dozen other citizen scientists as co-authors.

These exotic worlds orbit a star called HD 152843, located about 352 light-years away. This star is about the same mass as the Sun, but almost 1.5 times bigger and slightly brighter.

Planet b, about the size of Neptune, is about 3.4 times bigger than Earth, and completes an orbit around its star in about 12 days. Planet c, the outer planet, is about 5.8 times bigger than Earth, making it a “sub-Saturn,” and its orbital period is somewhere between 19 and 35 days. In our own solar system, both of these planets would be well within the orbit of Mercury, which is about 88 days.

Image above: Cesar Rubio and his son Miguel enjoy talking about space together. Image Credit: Cesar Rubio.

“Studying them together, both of them at the same time, is really interesting to constrain theories of how planets both form and evolve over time,” said Nora Eisner, a doctoral student in astrophysics at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom and lead author of the study.

TESS stands for Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, a NASA spacecraft that launched in April 2018. The TESS team has used data from the observatory to identify more than 100 exoplanets and over 2,600 candidates that await confirmation.  

Planet Hunters TESS, operated through the Zooniverse website, began in December 2018, shortly after the first TESS data became publicly available. Volunteers look at graphs showing the brightness of different stars over time. They note which of those plots show a brief dip in the star’s brightness and then an upward swing to the original level. This can happen when a planet crosses the face of its star, blocking out a tiny bit of light — an event called a “transit.”

The Planet Hunters project shares each brightness plot, called a “light curve,” with 15 volunteers. In the background of the website, an algorithm collects all of the volunteers’ submissions and picks out light curves that multiple volunteers have flagged. Eisner and colleagues then look at the highest-ranked light curves and determine which ones would be good for scientific follow-up.

Even in an era of sophisticated computing techniques like machine learning, having a large group of volunteers looking through telescope data is a big help to researchers. Since researchers can’t perfectly train computers to identify the signatures of potential planets, the human eye is still valuable. “That’s why a lot of exoplanet candidates are missed, and why citizen science is great,” Eisner said.

In the case of HD 152843, citizen scientists looked at a plot showing its brightness during one month of TESS observations. The light curve showed three distinct dips, meaning at least one planet could be orbiting the star. All 15 citizen scientists who looked at this light curve flagged at least two transits, and some flagged the light curve on the Planet Hunters TESS online discussion forum.

Image above: Alexander Hubert is studying to become a math and Latin teacher but enjoys astronomy citizen science projects. Image Credit: Alexander Hubert.

Then, scientists took a closer look. By comparing the data to their models, they estimated that two transits came from the inner planet and the other came from a second, outer planet.

To make sure the transit signals came from planets and not some other source, such as stars that eclipse each other, passing asteroids, or the movements of TESS itself, scientists needed to look at the star with a different method. They used an instrument called HARPS-N (the High Accuracy Radial velocity Planet Searcher for the Northern hemisphere) at the Telescopio Nazionale Galileo in La Palma, Spain, as well as EXPRES (the Extreme Precision Spectrometer), an instrument at Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona. Both HARPS and EXPRES look for the presence of planets by examining whether starlight is “wobbling” due to planets orbiting their star. This technique, called the radial velocity method, allows scientists to estimate the mass of a distant planet, too.

While scientists could not get a signal clear enough to pinpoint the planets’ masses, they got enough radial velocity data to make mass estimates — about 12 times the mass of Earth for planet b and about 28 times the mass of Earth for planet c. Their measurements validate that signals that indicate the presence of planets; more data are needed for confirmation of their masses. Scientists continue to observe the planetary system with HARPS-N and hope to have more information about the planets soon.

Researchers may soon have high-tech tools to see if these planets have atmospheres and what gases are present in them. NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope, launching later this year, will be able to look at what kinds of molecules make up the atmospheres of planets like those in this system, especially the larger outer planet. The HD 152843 planets are far too hot and gaseous to support life as we know it, but they are valuable to study as scientists learn about the range of possible planets in our galaxy.

Image above: Elisabeth Baeten has been part of more than a dozen published scientific studies through Zooniverse projects. Image Credit: Elisabeth Baeten.

“We're taking baby steps towards the direction of finding an Earth-like planet and studying its atmosphere, and continue to push the boundaries of what we can see,” Eisner said.

The citizen scientists who classified the HD 152843 light curve as a possible source of transiting planets, in addition to three Planet Hunters discussion forum moderators, were invited to have their names listed as co-authors on the study announcing the discovery of these planets.

One of these citizen scientists is Alexander Hubert, a college student concentrating in mathematics and Latin in Würzburg, Germany, with plans to become a secondary school teacher. So far, he has classified more than 10,000 light curves through Planet Hunters TESS.

“I regret sometimes that in our times, we have to constrain ourselves to one, maybe two subjects, like for me, Latin and mathematics,” Hubert said. “I’m really grateful that I have the opportunity on Zooniverse to participate in something different.”

Elisabeth Baeten of Leuven, Belgium, another co-author, works in the administration of reinsurance, and says classifying light curves on Planet Hunters TESS is “relaxing.” Interested in astronomy since childhood, she was one of the original volunteers of Galaxy Zoo, an astronomy citizen science project that started in 2007. Galaxy Zoo invited participants to classify the shapes of distant galaxies.

While Baeten has been part of more than a dozen published studies through Zooniverse projects, the new study is Rubio’s first scientific publication. Astronomy has been a life-long interest, and something he can now share with his son. The two sometimes look at the Planet Hunters TESS website together.  

“I feel that I’m contributing, even if it’s only like a small part,” Rubio said. “Especially scientific research, it’s satisfying for me.”

NASA has a wide variety of citizen science collaborations across topics ranging from Earth science to the Sun to the wider universe. Anyone in the world can participate. Check out the latest opportunities at:

Related link:

TESS (Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite):

Images (mentioned), Text, Credits: NASA/Tricia Talbert/By Elizabeth Landau.

Best regards,

Mysterious fast radio bursts come in two distinct flavours


Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment (CHIME) logo.

June 10, 2021

A trove of new detections suggests that the bursts could be the result of at least two separate astrophysical phenomena.

Image above: The CHIME radio telescope has detected 535 fast radio bursts in its first year of operation. Image Credits: Andre Renard/CHIME Collaboration.

A radio telescope in Canada has detected 535 fast radio bursts, quadrupling the known tally of these brief, highly energetic phenomena in one go. The long-awaited results show that these enigmatic events come in two distinct types — with most bursts being one-offs, and a minority repeating periodically and lasting at least ten times longer than average.

The findings1 strongly suggest that fast radio bursts could be the result of at least two distinct astrophysical phenomena. “I think this really just nails it that there is a difference,” says study co-author Kiyo Masui, an astrophysicist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge.

The overnight jump in the available data has put the radio astronomy community into a tizzy. “I woke up this morning and all my Slack channels were full of people talking about the papers,” says Laura Spitler, an astrophysicist at the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, who co-discovered the first repeating burst2 in 2016 using the now-collapsed Arecibo telescope in Puerto Rico.

The Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment (CHIME) collected the events in its first year of operation, between 2018 and 2019. The team announced their results during a virtual meeting of the American Astronomical Society on 9 June, and posted four preprints on the online repository arXiv.

Repeaters and one-offs

Located near Penticton in British Columbia, CHIME is a telescope with no moving parts. It comprises four half-pipe antennas, each 100 metres long. At any given time, it observes one narrow strip of the sky above. But as the Earth rotates, the telescope scans the sky, and digital processing chips collect its signals to form an image.

CHIME was initially conceived for mapping the distribution of matter in the Universe, but a complex kit of additional electronics was added in its design so that it could pick up fast radio bursts as well. Spitler recalls that many workers in the field had been skeptical about the telescope’s potential for detecting the bursts, but the latest announcement has vindicated it. “They’re actually meeting their prediction,” Spitler says. “It’s extremely impressive.”

While the jury is still out on what causes fast radio bursts, the CHIME results seem to cement the idea that there are at least two distinct types. Sixty-one of the 535 detected were ‘repeaters’ — coming from 18 sources that have been seen emitting bursts multiple times. The two groups differ by duration, with one-off events lasting a much shorter time. Repeaters also emit on a much narrower band of radio frequencies than do one-off bursts.

“It’s by far the most compelling evidence that there are two populations,” says Spitler.

Until recently, the evidence for this was not strong: some astronomers argued that non-repeating bursts could have just been repeaters that had not been observed long enough to see them burst again. “It doesn’t mean the phenomenon is wildly different, but it could be,” Masui adds.

Image above: Cataclysmic events such as the collision of two neutron stars could be a source of non-repeating fast radio bursts (illustration). Image Credits: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center/CI Lab.

Fast radio bursts tend to be detected over one second or more. But this duration is misleadingly long: as signals travel across millions of light-years of space, intergalactic matter tends to smear radio waves across the spectrum. As a result, lower-frequency waves can arrive at Earth with a delay of several seconds compared to higher-frequency ones. Researchers have calculated that at the source, the emission of a radio burst typically lasts only milliseconds. During that time, the source of a burst is can emit 500 million times more energy than the Sun over a comparable amount of time.

The extent of this ‘dispersion’ of wavelengths provides a rough indication of how far the waves had to travel. So far, all bursts have been shown to originate from other galaxies, with one exception of an event that occurred in the Milky Way.

The CHIME team reported that the bursts’ sources appeared to be evenly spread across the sky. Only a handful could be traced to a particular galaxy.

Origin theories

In recent years, researchers have monitored some the regions of the sky that produced bursts in the past, and in some cases have seen them re-occur with regular periodicity. The ‘repeater’ discovered by Spitler and her collaborators in 2016, for example, has cycles of activity lasting a day or so — emitting several bursts per hour — and repeating every 160 days.

This regular repetition offers some clues about what might be causing the bursts. One possible explanation, Spitler says, is that repeaters could occur when a highly magnetized neutron star circles around an ordinary star in an elongated orbit. As the neutron star periodically gets closer to its companion, bursts could result from its magnetic field scattering the highly energetic stellar wind.

Non-repeaters, on the other hand, could be the result of cataclysmic events such as the collisions of neutron stars or magnetic storms in young neutron stars called magnetars. The Milky Way event was linked to a known magnetar. But the magnetar theory has been put into question by the recent finding of a burst from a ‘globular cluster’ in the galaxy M813. Globular clusters are dense collections of very old stars, and are considered unlikely to host magnetars.

The first discovery of a fast radio burst in 2007 came as a shock to researchers, and for many years only a handful were known, Masui recalls. Theorists came up with a plethora of possible explanations, and the running joke was that the theories outnumbered the actual events. Now CHIME has reversed that trend, he says, “I don’t think theorists will catch up with us.” And this first catalogue is only the beginning: since it was collected, the team has continued to detect many more fast radio bursts, and will publish them for years to come.



1. Amiri, M. et al. Preprint at arXiv: (2021).

2. Spitler, L. G. et al. Nature 531, 202–205 (2016).

3. Kirsten, F., et al. Preprint at arXiv: (2021).

Related link:

Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment (CHIME):

Images (mentioned), Text, Credits: Nature/Davide Castelvecchi.


ESA selects revolutionary Venus mission EnVision


ESA - EnVision Mission patch.

June 10, 2021

EnVision will be ESA’s next Venus orbiter, providing a holistic view of the planet from its inner core to upper atmosphere to determine how and why Venus and Earth evolved so differently.

EnVision: ESA's next mission to Venus

The mission was selected by ESA’s Science Programme Committee on 10 June as the fifth Medium-class mission in the Agency’s Cosmic Vision plan, targeting a launch in the early 2030s.

“A new era in the exploration of our closest, yet wildly different, Solar System neighbour awaits us,” says Günther Hasinger, ESA Director of Science. “Together with the newly announced NASA-led Venus missions, we will have an extremely comprehensive science programme at this enigmatic planet well into the next decade.”

EnVision: Understanding why Earth's closest neighbour is so different

A key question in planetary science is why, despite being roughly the same size and composition, our next-door neighbour in the inner Solar System experienced such a dramatic climate change: instead of being a habitable world like Earth, it has a toxic atmosphere and is enshrouded with thick sulphuric acid-rich clouds. What history did Venus experience to arrive at this state and does this foretell Earth’s fate should it, too, undergo a catastrophic greenhouse effect? Is Venus still geologically active? Could it have once hosted an ocean and even sustained life? What lessons can be learned about the evolution of terrestrial planets in general, as we discover more Earth-like exoplanets?

EnVision’s innovative instrument package will tackle these big questions. It will be equipped with a suite of European instruments including a sounder to reveal underground layering, and spectrometers to study the atmosphere and surface. The spectrometers will monitor trace gases in the atmosphere and analyse surface composition, looking for any changes that might be linked to signs of active volcanism. A NASA-provided radar will image and map the surface. In addition, a radio science experiment will probe the planet’s internal structure and gravity field as well as investigate the structure and composition of the atmosphere. The instruments will work together to best characterise the interaction between the planet’s different boundaries – from the interior to surface to atmosphere – providing an all-encompassing global view of the planet and its processes.

Earth's 'evil twin', Venus

EnVision follows on from ESA’s highly successful Venus Express (2005-2014) that focused primarily on atmospheric research, but which also made dramatic discoveries that pointed to possible volcanic hotspots on the planet’s surface. JAXA’s Akatsuki spacecraft has also been studying the atmosphere since 2015. EnVision will significantly improve on the radar images of the surface obtained by NASA’s Magellan in the 1990s. Working together with NASA’s upcoming DAVINCI+ (Deep Atmosphere Venus Investigation of Noble gases, Chemistry, and Imaging) and VERITAS (Venus Emissivity, Radio Science, InSAR, Topography, and Spectroscopy) missions, the trio of new spacecraft will provide the most comprehensive study of Venus ever.

EnVision studying Venus

 “EnVision benefits from collaboration with NASA, combining excellence in European and American expertise in Venus science and technology, to create this ambitious mission,” says Günther.
“EnVision further strengthens Europe’s role in the scientific exploration of the Solar System. Our growing mission fleet will give us, and future generations, the best insights ever into how our planetary neighbourhood works, particularly relevant in an era where we are discovering more and more unique exoplanet systems.”

“We are thrilled to contribute to ESA’s exciting new mission to investigate Venus,” says Thomas Zurbuchen, NASA’s associate administrator for science. “EnVision leverages strengths in instrument development by both our agencies. Combined with NASA’s Discovery missions to Venus, the science community will have a powerful and synergistic set of new data to understand how Venus formed and how the surface and atmosphere changed over time.”

Following an initial call for the fifth Medium-class mission concept in 2016, the final competition came down to EnVision and Theseus, the Transient High-Energy Sky and Early Universe Surveyor. Theseus would monitor transient events across the whole sky and in particular focus on gamma-ray bursts from the Universe’s first billion years, to help shed light on the life cycle of the first stars. While EnVision was recommended by the Senior Science Committee, it was recognised that Theseus also has a highly compelling science case that could make extremely important contributions to the field.


The next step for EnVision is to move to the detailed ‘Definition Phase’, in which the design of the satellite and instruments is finalised. Following the design phase, a European industrial contractor will be selected to build and test EnVision before it is launched on an Ariane 6 rocket. The earliest launch opportunity for EnVision is 2031, with other possible options in 2032 and 2033. The spacecraft would take around 15 months to reach the planet, with a further 16 months to achieve orbit circularisation through aerobraking. Its 92-minute orbit will be quasi-polar with an altitude of between 220 km and 540 km.

Solar Orbiter, Euclid, Plato and Ariel have already been selected as Medium-class missions. Solar Orbiter was launched in February 2020; Euclid, Plato and Ariel will be launched throughout this decade.

Notes for Editors

EnVision is an ESA-led mission with important contributions from NASA, which will provide VenSAR (Synthetic Aperture Radar), as well as Deep Space Network support. The other payload instruments are contributed by ESA member states, with ASI, DLR, BelSPO, and CNES leading the procurement of SRS (Subsurface Sounding Radar), VenSpec-M, VenSpec-H and VenSpec-U spectrometers, respectively. The radio science experiment is led by institutes in France and Germany.

The mission Assessment Study reports (Yellow Books) for both EnVision and Theseus are available here:

The EnVision team host a website here:

Images, Videos, Text, Credits: ESA/NASA/JAXA/ISAS/DARTS/Damia Bouic/VR2Planets/ESA/MPS/DLR-PF/IDA.

Best regards,