vendredi 7 avril 2023

Heart Research, Space Physics, and Spacewalk Preps End Workweek


ISS - Expedition 69 Mission patch.

April 7, 2023

Heart research and space physics topped the microgravity research schedule aboard the International Space Station on Friday. The Expedition 69 crew also continues packing a U.S. cargo craft while gearing up for a series of upcoming spacewalks.

A variety of research into microgravity’s affect on the human heart has been ongoing aboard the orbital outpost for several years. The most recent investigation is observing how gravitational forces affect cardiac muscle cells and tissues. NASA Flight Engineer Woody Hoburg set up the Life Sciences Glovebox in the Kibo laboratory module on Friday and serviced tissue samples for the Engineered Heart Tissues-2 space biology study. The experiment is testing new, innovative therapies to counteract heart symptoms in space, as well as prevent cardiac disorders on Earth.

Image above: UAE (United Arab Emirates) astronaut Sultan Alneyadi seemingly juggles food canisters from the UAE in the microgravity environment of the space station. Image Credit: NASA.

NASA Flight Engineer Frank Rubio collected and stowed microbe samples in a science freezer for the BioFilms investigation. The samples will be analyzed back on Earth helping engineers develop antimicrobial surfaces to protect astronauts and space hardware. Rubio also continued a study Hoburg and NASA Flight Engineer Stephen Bowen worked on all week to understand how the human body adapts to weightlessness. He wrapped up his day loading the SpaceX Dragon cargo craft with finalized space experiments and used station hardware for return to Earth later this month.

Bowen joined UAE (United Arab Emirates) astronaut Sultan Alneyadi and retrieved physics research hardware from inside Kibo’s airlock. The space physics gear, containing a variety of materials, had been placed outside the station and exposed to the harsh vacuum of space. MISSE, or Materials International Space Station Experiment, enables government and private sectors to study how extreme temperatures, radiation, and micrometeoroids affect materials, coatings, and components. Results may improve the design of space hardware promoting long-term mission success.

International Space Station (ISS). Animation Credit: NASA

Two cosmonauts are preparing for a series of spacewalks set to begin at the end of April for logistics work on the Roscosmos side of the space station. Commander Sergey Prokopyev and Flight Engineer Dmitri Petelin reviewed on Friday the procedures for the upcoming spacewalks that will see them move a radiator and an experiment airlock from the Rassvet module to Nauka multipurpose laboratory module. The duo was joined by Flight Engineer Andrey Fedyaev who will assist the spacewalkers in and out of their Orlan spacesuits and monitor the spacewalking activities.

Related links:

Expedition 69:

Life Sciences Glovebox:

Kibo laboratory module:

Engineered Heart Tissues-2:


Materials International Space Station Experiment (MISSE):

Rassvet module:

Nauka multipurpose laboratory module:

Space Station Research and Technology:

International Space Station (ISS):

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

Best regards,

Hubble Spies a Multi-Generational Cluster


NASA / ESA - Hubble Space Telescope (HST) patch.

April 7, 2023

This image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope shows the globular star cluster NGC 2419. Globular clusters are both beautiful and fascinating. They are spherical groups of stars that orbit the center of a galaxy, and in the case of NGC 2419, that galaxy is our own Milky Way. NGC 2419 is around 300,000 light-years from the solar system, in the constellation Lynx.

The stars populating globular clusters are very similar because they formed at roughly the same time. Astronomers can determine a star’s relative age by its chemical makeup, a property called its metallicity. Because stars in a globular cluster all formed at around the same time, they tend to display similar properties. Astronomers believed this similarity included their stellar helium content. They thought that all stars in a globular cluster would contain similar amounts of helium.

However, Hubble’s observations of NGC 2419 revealed that this is not always the case. This globular cluster holds two separate populations of red giant stars, and one is unusually helium rich. NGC 2419’s stars hold other elements that vary too. In particular, their nitrogen content varies. To make things even more interesting, the helium-rich stars are predominantly in the center of the globular cluster and are rotating. Hubble’s observations raised questions about the formation of globular clusters; did these two drastically different groups of stars form together? Or did this globular cluster come into being by a different route entirely?

Hubble Space Telescope (HST)

For more information about Hubble, visit:

Text Credits: European Space Agency (ESA)/NASA/Andrea Gianopoulos/Image, Animation Credits: ESA/Hubble & NASA, S. Larsen et al.


Historic Nebula Seen Like Never Before With NASA's IXPE


NASA - Imaging X-ray Polarimetry Explorer (IXPE) patch.

April 7, 2023

On Feb. 22, 1971, a sounding rocket lifted off from Wallops Island, Virginia, with specialized sensors aimed at the Crab Nebula, a bright cosmic object 6,500 light-years away. In those days, before recovering physical tapes from the experiment, scientists first received scientific data on a strip chart recorder, a device that printed signals on paper. Astronomer Martin Weisskopf and his colleagues began their analysis on launch day by measuring the distance between signals using a ruler and pencil.

“What makes science so beautiful and exciting is that for those few moments, you're seeing something that no one has ever seen before,” said Weisskopf, now an emeritus astronomer at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.

Image above: This image of the Crab Nebula combines data from NASA’s Imaging X-ray Polarimetry Explorer (IXPE) in magenta and NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory in dark purple. Image Credits: X-ray (IXPE: NASA), (Chandra: NASA/CXC/SAO) Image processing: NASA/CXC/SAO/K. Arcand & L. Frattare.

Decades later, Weisskopf proposed the development of an Earth-orbiting satellite with powerful instruments that could gather much more detailed measurements of the same kind about the Crab Nebula and other mysterious cosmic objects. That satellite became NASA’s Imaging X-ray Polarimetry Explorer (IXPE), which launched on December 9, 2021.

Now, more than 50 years after the sounding rocket experiment, scientists have used IXPE to create a detailed, nuanced map of the Crab Nebula’s magnetic field, revealing more of its inner workings than ever before. The new results, published in the journal Nature Astronomy (preprint available), help resolve longstanding mysteries about the well-studied Crab Nebula and open new questions for future study.

IXPE data show that the Crab Nebula’s magnetic field resembles that of the Vela Pulsar Wind Nebula, which is also donut-shaped. But at the Crab, scientists were surprised that areas of magnetic field turbulence were more patchy and asymmetrical than expected.

Image above: The Crab Pulsar is a famous astronomical object, about 6,500 light-years from Earth, that originated with the explosion of a massive star. The nebula around the Crab contains a donut-shaped magnetic field, which NASA’s Imaging X-ray Polarimetry Explorer (IXPE) observed. The orange lines highlight the shape of the magnetic field determined by IXPE. It is superimposed on a composite image made with data from the Chandra X-Ray Observatory (blue and white), Hubble Space Telescope (purple), and Spitzer Space Telescope (pink). Original Image Image Credits: Magnetic field lines: NASA/Bucciantini et al; X-ray: NASA/CXC/SAO; Optical: NASA/STScI; Infrared: NASA-JPL-Caltech.

“This is a clear indication that even the more complex models developed in the past, with the use of advanced numerical techniques, do not fully capture the complexity of this object,” said Niccolò Bucciantini, lead author of the study and astronomer at the INAF Arcetri Observatory in Florence, Italy.

A favorite object of study among astronomers, the Crab Nebula resulted from a supernova documented in the year 1054. The explosion left behind a dense object called the Crab Pulsar, about the diameter of Huntsville, Alabama or the length of Manhattan, but with as much mass as about two Suns. The chaotic mess of gases, shock waves, magnetic fields and high-energy light and particles coming from the rotating pulsar is collectively called a “pulsar wind nebula.” These extreme conditions make for a bizarre environment that is not yet thoroughly understood.

Weisskopf and colleagues were hoping to understand this extreme environment in a new way by measuring the polarization of X-rays from the Crab Nebula, which shines brightly in X-rays. X-ray polarization gives scientists clues to the direction where the magnetic field points in different parts of a cosmic object, as well as how well ordered the magnetic field is. The magnetic field’s geometry and turbulence determines how particles get catapulted toward the speed of light.

Image above: NASA’s Martin Weisskopf and colleagues from Columbia University in 1971 pose with the Aerobee-350 sounding rocket they used to detect X-ray polarization from a celestial object – the Crab Nebula – for the first time. Left to right are Robert Novick, Gabriel Epstein, Weisskopf, Richard Wolff, and Richard Linke. Image Credit: NASA.

In the five minutes that the 1971 sounding rocket experiment spent above Earth’s atmosphere, it produced the world’s first X-ray polarization measurements.

Scientists followed up with a satellite called OSO-8 in 1975, which also measured the X-ray polarization of the Crab Nebula. The rocket and the satellite produced generally the same result: That the Crab Nebula has an average polarization of about 20%.

As project scientist of NASA’s Chandra X-Ray Observatory, which launched in 1999, Weisskopf continued his exploration of the Crab Nebula in new ways. With Chandra, “we took beautiful images of the nebula and pulsar, and we could see the jets and the various structures,” he said. Chandra’s X-ray imaging revealed wisp-like structures that move in the nebula, and helped scientists to further understand the relationship between the pulsar’s energy and X-ray emissions.

Nearly every recent large telescope has pointed to the Crab Nebula to better understand this mysterious supernova remnant. But only IXPE can study X-rays from Crab in terms of polarization, a measure of the organization of electromagnetic fields.

“The Crab is one of the most-studied high-energy astrophysical objects in the sky. So it is extremely exciting that we could learn something new about this system by looking through IXPE's ‘polarized lenses,’” said Michela Negro, a research scientist at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center affiliated with the University of Maryland, Baltimore, and a co-author of the study.

Across the entire nebula, IXPE found about the same average polarization as Weisskopf and colleagues did in the 1970s. But with more sophisticated instruments, IXPE was able to refine the angle of polarization and examine the differences in polarization across the entire object. Scientists see areas of much polarization in the outer regions of the nebula, light-years away from the pulsar, where polarization is lower.

This enabled scientists to investigate not just X-rays from the Crab Nebula but also those coming from the pulsar itself, or the sphere of magnetic fields around it. The findings suggest that those X-rays originate in the outer magnetic field region, called the “wind” region, although exactly where and how is still unknown. Within the magnetic field, shocks generated by the pulsar’s “wind” are propelling particles close to the speed of light.

“I'm very proud of everybody associated with IXPE,” said Weisskopf, who was the mission’s first principal investigator. “Everybody has worked so hard, and it works as advertised.” Reflecting on his work on the 1971 experiment that laid the groundwork for the new results, Weisskopf says, “It's like somebody said to me, ‘Martin, you did good."

About the IXPE mission:

Imaging X-ray Polarimetry Explorer (IXPE). Image Credit: NASA

Part of NASA’s Small Explorer mission series, IXPE launched on a Falcon 9 rocket from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida in December 2021. It now orbits 370 miles, or roughly 595 kilometers, above Earth’s equator. The mission is a partnership between NASA and the Italian Space Agency, with partners and science collaborators in 13 countries. Ball Aerospace, headquartered in Broomfield, Colorado, manages spacecraft operations.

Related links:

Journal Nature Astronomy:

IXPE (Imaging X-ray Polarimetry Explorer):

Images (mentioned), Text, Credits: NASA/Beth Ridgeway/Written by: Elizabeth Landau.


Space Station Science Highlights: Week of April 3, 2023


ISS - Expedition 69 Mission patch.

April 7, 2023

Crew members aboard the International Space Station conducted scientific investigations during the week of April 3 that included examining the properties of foams and emulsions, assessing human cardiac function in microgravity, and studying the formation of biofilms and antimicrobial surfaces in space.

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

Properties of Foams and Emulsions

Image above: NASA astronaut Stephen Bowen conducts operations for Foams and Emulsions, an experiment that observes the dispersion of bubbles and droplets in liquids. Image Credit: NASA.

Foams are dispersions of bubbles in a liquid and emulsions are dispersions of droplets in a liquid. These substances appear in many food, consumer, and personal care products and are used in a variety of industries. Foams and Emulsions, sponsored by the ISS National Lab, examines their properties and performance in microgravity, which eliminates the influence of gravity-related factors such as buoyancy of particles. Results could expand commercial use of the space station for related studies and provide insight into the most efficient structures for manufacturing foams and emulsions on Earth. During the week, crew members performed an experiment session using a protocol that forms an emulsion by mixing an aqueous solution with an oil.

Heart Cells in Space

A previous investigation with 3D heart cell cultures in space detected changes at the cellular and tissue level that could provide early indication of the development of cardiac disease. Engineered Heart Tissues-2, sponsored by the ISS National Lab, assesses human cardiac function in microgravity and tests new therapies to prevent these potentially harmful changes. Results could help protect humans on future extended missions in space. The 3D tissue model used for this study of cardiac function has potential use in diagnosing and treating cardiac dysfunction on Earth. Crew members sampled and exchanged cell culture media and introduced the drug into the tissue chambers during the week.

Image above: The Turkish coast and the island of Cyprus in the Mediterranean Sea are visible in this image taken from the International Space Station as it orbits 262 miles above. Image Credit: NASA.

Banishing Biofilms

Biofilms from ESA (European Space Agency) studies bacterial biofilm formation and antimicrobial properties of different metal surfaces under spaceflight conditions in altered gravity. Microbial biofilms, aggregations of microorganisms embedded in a self-produced slimy matrix of proteins, lipids, and other substances, can damage equipment and harbor microorganisms that might cause infections. Results could inform the selection of antimicrobial materials for future space missions. Antimicrobial surfaces have applications in health care, food, consumer goods, and marine industries.  During the week, crew members activated cultures for the investigation.

Other Investigations Involving the Crew:

Image above: NASA astronaut Woody Hoburg installs a tissue cassette for BFF-Meniscus-2, which evaluates using bio-inks and cells to 3D print knee cartilage tissue in space. Image Credit: NASA.

- BFF-Meniscus-2, sponsored by the ISS National Lab, compares a 3D printed meniscus-like construct, similar to knee cartilage tissue, to one bioprinted on Earth. Musculoskeletal injuries, including tears in the meniscus, are a leading health issue in the U.S. military, and the capability to bioprint tissue such as knee cartilage could benefit crew members who experience musculoskeletal injuries on future missions.

- Vascular Aging, an investigation from CSA, monitors changes to the arteries of astronauts during spaceflight. Results could help assess risk to astronaut health and point to mechanisms for reducing that risk and provide insight into prevention and treatment for the aging population on Earth.

- Rhodium DARPA Biomanufacturing 01, sponsored by the ISS National Lab, examines gravity’s effects on the production of drugs and nutrients from bacteria and yeast. Results could help improve biomanufacturing in space to supply future missions.

- Cardinal Heart 2.0, sponsored by the ISS National Lab, tests drugs to reduce changes in heart cell function in space. Results could support development of effective drug combinations to improve the health of astronauts and patients on Earth.

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

- Monoclonal Antibodies PCG, sponsored by the ISS National Lab, crystallizes and assesses various therapeutic monoclonal antibodies, lab-created immune system proteins designed to interact with specific targets such as cancer cells. Microgravity enables production of higher quality crystals, which could support less expensive development of drugs that are more stable and easier to administer to patients.

Space to Ground: Before the Moon: April 7, 2023

The space station, a robust microgravity laboratory with a multitude of specialized research facilities and tools, has supported many scientific breakthroughs from investigations spanning every major scientific discipline. The ISS Benefits for Humanity 2022 publication details the expanding universe of results realized from more than 20 years of experiments conducted on the station.

ISS Benefits for Humanity 2022:

Related links:

Expedition 69:

Foams and Emulsions:

Engineered Heart Tissues-2:


ISS National Lab:

Spot the Station:

Space Station Research and Technology:

International Space Station (ISS):

Images (mentioned), Video (NASA), Text, Credits: NASA/Carrie Gilder/John Love, ISS Research Planning Integration Scientist Expedition 69.

Best regards,

HEARTS innovates to foster European access to space


CERN - European Organization for Nuclear Research logo.

April 7, 2023

The EU-funded project HEARTS aims at providing access to high-energy heavy ion radiation testing facilities for space exploitation and space exploration

Image above: HEARTS will equip the CHARM heavy ion facility, located at CERN, to meet the needs of the space community for the radiation effects testing of electronics components and systems. (Image: CERN).

The HEARTS project will provide two new radiation-testing facilities for space applications, one at CERN and one at GSI in Germany. The project started in January and will allow the testing of high-end microelectronics technology for novel space applications and for shielding and radiobiology experiments that will foster human space exploration.

Artificial intelligence, quantum technologies, advanced computing, deep space missions... Projects for new advanced space applications are many and varied. To carry them out, it is essential to use highly advanced radiation-resistant electronic devices and to acquire decisive knowledge of shielding properties and radiobiology for astronauts going to the Moon and beyond. Capable of mimicking the effects of highly penetrating radiation in space, very high-energy (VHE) ion beams are now commonly used to qualify advanced electronics for use in space, shielding and radiobiology testing. However, no such facilities tailored specifically for space applications exist anywhere in Europe.

Funded under the Horizon Europe programme, HEARTS (High-Energy Accelerators for Radiation Testing and Shielding) aims to develop and establish a European infrastructure for research and industrial access to high-energy heavy ion facilities to study radiation effects in electronics, shielding and radiobiology. For this purpose, it will upgrade two VHE ion facilities at CERN and GSI and provide access to space industries and academia on a routine basis.

HEARTS will be instrumental to ensuring Europe’s autonomous access to space. With VHE ion facilities available in Europe, European companies will be less dependent on facilities elsewhere. By the end of the project in 2026, HEARTS will enable Europe to fulfil the current demand for VHE ions with ease and to meet the increasing demand foreseen by the end of the decade.

The project is coordinated by CERN, in partnership with GSI as the main high-energy ion accelerator infrastructures. The University of Padua is an academic partner, and Thales Alenia Space and Airbus Defence and Space are industrial partners. All have extensive experience in the field of radiation effects and a strong interest in VHE ion testing.

HEARTS is a project funded by the European Union under Grant Agreement No 101082402, through the Space Work Programme of the European Commission.


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:

High-Energy Accelerators for Radiation Testing and Shielding (HEARTS):

HEARTS project:

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

Image (mentioned), Text, Credits: CERN/By Antoine Le Gall.


iSpace Hyperbola-1 launch


iSpace logo.

April 7, 2023

Hyperbola-1 (双曲线一号) liftoff

iSpace’s Hyperbola-1 (双曲线一号, SQX-1 Y6) launch vehicle was launched from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center, Gansu Province, China, on 7 April 2023, at 04:00 UTC (12:00 local time). 

iSpace Hyperbola-1 launch, 7 April 2023

Hyperbola-1 (双曲线一号) is a four-stage small solid launch vehicle designed by iSpace (星际荣耀, Beijing Interstellar Glory Space Technology Corporation)  with a payload capacity of about 260 kilograms. 

Hyperbola-1 (双曲线一号, SQX-1 Y6) rocket

According to the company, the objective of the mission was to verify the measures implemented after the failed launch of SQX-1 Y4. Hyperbola-1 SQX-1 Y6 successfully entered the predetermined orbit.

Related link:


Images, Video, Text, Credits: iSpace/China Central Television (CCTV)/SciNews/ Aerospace/Roland Berga.

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Webb reveals new details in Cassiopeia A


NASA / ESA / CSA-ASC - James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) patch.

April 7, 2023

Cassiopeia A (MIRI Image)

The explosion of a star is a dramatic event, but the remains that the star leaves behind can be even more dramatic. A new mid-infrared image from NASA/ESA/CSA James Webb Space Telescope provides one stunning example. It shows the supernova remnant Cassiopeia A (Cas A), created by a stellar explosion 340 years ago. The image displays vivid colours and intricate structures begging to be examined more closely. Cas A is the youngest known remnant of an exploding, massive star in our galaxy, offering astronomers an opportunity to perform stellar forensics to understand the star’s death.

Cassiopeia A is a prototypical supernova remnant that has been widely studied by a number of ground-based and space-based observatories. The multi-wavelength observations can be combined to provide scientists with a more comprehensive understanding of the remnant.

Cassiopeia A (MIRI Image, Annotated)

The striking colours of the new Cas A image, in which infrared light is translated into visible-light wavelengths, hold a wealth of scientific information that researchers are just beginning to tease out. On the bubble’s exterior, particularly at the top and left, lie curtains of material appearing orange and red that are due to emission from warm dust. This marks where ejected material from the exploded star is ramming into surrounding circumstellar gas and dust.

Interior to this outer shell lie mottled filaments of bright pink studded with clumps and knots. This represents material from the star itself, which is shining by the light produced by a mix of heavy elements, such as oxygen, argon, and neon, as well as dust emission. The stellar material can also be seen as fainter wisps near the cavity’s interior.

Pan of Cassiopeia A

Among the science questions that Cas A may help answer is: where does cosmic dust come from? Observations have found that even very young galaxies in the early Universe are suffused with massive quantities of dust. It’s difficult to explain the origins of this dust without invoking supernovae, which spew large quantities of heavy elements (the building blocks of dust) across space.

However, existing observations of supernovae have been unable to conclusively explain the amount of dust we see in those early galaxies. By studying Cas A with Webb, astronomers hope to gain a better understanding of its dust content, which can help inform our understanding of where the building blocks of planets — and ourselves — are created.

Zoom Into Cassiopeia A

Supernovae like the one that formed Cas A are crucial for life as we know it. They spread elements like the calcium we find in our bones and the iron in our blood across interstellar space, seeding new generations of stars and planets.

The Cas A remnant spans about 10 light-years and is located 11 000 light-years away in the constellation Cassiopeia.

More information

James Webb Space Telescope (JWST)

Webb is the largest, most powerful telescope ever launched into space. Under an international collaboration agreement, ESA provided the telescope’s launch service, using the Ariane 5 launch vehicle. Working with partners, ESA was responsible for the development and qualification of Ariane 5 adaptations for the Webb mission and for the procurement of the launch service by Arianespace. ESA also provided the workhorse spectrograph NIRSpec and 50% of the mid-infrared instrument MIRI, which was designed and built by a consortium of nationally funded European Institutes (The MIRI European Consortium) in partnership with JPL and the University of Arizona.

Webb is an international partnership between NASA, ESA and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA).


Collection of Webb’s First Images:

ESA Webb Seeing Farther Interactive Brochure:

Release on STScI website:

Release on ESA website:

Release on NASA website:

ESA's Webbsite:

Images Credits: NASA, ESA, CSA, D. Milisavljevic (Purdue University), T. Temim (Princeton University), I. De Looze (UGent), J. DePasquale (STScI)/Animation Credits: NASA/ESA/Videos Credits: NASA, ESA, CSA, D. Milisavljevic (Purdue University), T. Temim (Princeton University), I. De Looze (UGent), J. DePasquale (STScI), N. Bartmann (ESA/Webb), M. Zimani (ESA/Webb)/Music: Stellardrone – Twilight/NASA, ESA, CSA, D. Milisavljevic (Purdue University), T. Temim (Princeton University), I. De Looze (UGent), J. DePasquale (STScI), ESA/Hubble, ESA/Webb, E. Slawik, N. Risinger, D. de Martin (ESA/Webb), N. Bartmann (ESA/Webb), M. Zimani (ESA/Webb)/Music: Tonelabs – The Red North ( Credits: ESA/Webb/Bethany Downer/Ninja Menning.


NASA’s High-Resolution Air Quality Control Instrument Launches


SpaceX - Falcon 9 / Intelsat 40E Mission patch.

April 7, 2023

A NASA instrument to provide unprecedented resolution of monitoring major air pollutants – down to four square miles – lifted off on its way to geostationary orbit at 12:30 a.m. EDT Friday. The Tropospheric Emissions: Monitoring of Pollution (TEMPO) instrument will improve life on Earth by revolutionizing the way scientists observe air quality from space.

Image above: NASA’s Tropospheric Emissions: Monitoring of Pollution (TEMPO) instrument launched 12:30 a.m. EDT Friday, April 7 as a payload on Intelsat 40E aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. Image Credit: NASA.

"The TEMPO mission is about more than just studying pollution – it's about improving life on Earth for all. By monitoring the effects of everything from rush-hour traffic to pollution from forest fires and volcanoes, NASA data will help improve air quality across North America and protect our planet,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson.

NASA’s TEMPO launched from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. The instrument is a payload on the satellite Intelsat 40E, which separated from the rocket approximately 32 minutes after launch. Signal acquisition occurred at 1:14 a.m. TEMPO commissioning activities will begin in late May or early June.

Falcon 9 launches IS-40e and Falcon 9 first stage landing

From a fixed geostationary orbit above the equator, TEMPO will be the first space-based instrument to measure air quality over North America hourly during the daytime and at spatial regions of several square miles – far better than existing limits of about 100 square miles in the U.S. TEMPO data will play an important role in the scientific analysis of pollution, including studies of rush hour pollution, the potential for improved air quality alerts, the effects of lightning on ozone, the movement of pollution from forest fires and volcanoes, and even the effects of fertilizer application.  

“NASA makes data from instruments like TEMPO easily accessible to everyone,” said Karen St. Germain, division director for NASA’s Earth Sciences Division. “Which means that everyone from community and industry leaders to asthma sufferers are going to be able to access air quality information at a higher level of detail – in both time and location - than they’ve ever been able to before. And that also provides the information needed to start addressing one of the most pressing human health challenges.”

Intelsat IS-40e deployment, with NASA’s TEMPO

TEMPO’s observations will dramatically improve the scientific data record on air pollution – including ozone, nitrogen oxide, sulfur dioxide and formaldehyde – not only over the continental United States, but also Canada, Mexico, Cuba, the Bahamas, and part of the island of Hispaniola.

"Our TEMPO slogan is 'It's about time,' which hints at TEMPO's ability to provide hourly air pollution data," said Xiong Liu, deputy principal investigator for TEMPO at the Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian in Cambridge, Massachusetts. "After working on the TEMPO for more than 10 years, it is about time to launch TEMPO to produce real TEMPO data and start the new era of air quality monitoring over North America."

Image above: Intelsat 40E, commercial satellite host to NASA’s TEMPO air quality instrument, is scheduled to launch no earlier than 12:30 a.m. EDT Friday, April 7. Image Credit: Maxar.

From its geostationary orbit – a high Earth orbit that allows satellites to match Earth's rotation – TEMPO also will form part of an air quality satellite virtual constellation that will track pollution around the Northern Hemisphere. South Korea's Geostationary Environment Monitoring Spectrometer, the first instrument in the constellation, launched into space in 2020 on the Korean Aerospace Research Institute GEO-KOMPSAT-2B satellite, and is measuring pollution over Asia. The ESA (European Space Agency) Sentinel-4 satellite, scheduled to launch in 2024, will make measurements over Europe and North Africa.

“This marks a new era in our ability to observe air pollution over North America, including the entire continental United States,” said Barry Lefer, TEMPO project scientist and tropospheric composition program manager for NASA. “It’s also opening the door for us to work more closely with our international partners to better understand global air quality and its transport.”

The instrument was built by Ball Aerospace and integrated onto Intelsat 40E by Maxar.

To learn more about NASA’s Earth sciences, visit:

Related link:

Air quality satellite virtual constellation:

Images (mentioned), Videos, Text, Credits: NASA/Abbey Donaldson/Karen Fox/Langley Research Center/Joe Atkinson/NASA TV/SciNews.


jeudi 6 avril 2023

Science Ops, Axiom Mission Announced After Soyuz Relocation


ISS - Expedition 69 Mission patch.

April 6, 2023

Three Expedition 69 crewmates are relaxing today after relocating their Soyuz crew ship to another port. Meanwhile, the other four International Space Station residents continued a variety of space research while maintaining orbital lab systems. Axiom Space also announced its second private mission to the orbital outpost.

NASA Flight Engineer Frank Rubio took a 37-minute ride inside the Soyuz MS-23 crew ship Thursday morning alongside Roscosmos cosmonauts Sergey Prokopyev and Dmitri Petelin. The trio undocked from the Poisk module at 4:45 a.m. EDT and docked to the Prichal docking module, on the opposite side of the station, at 5:22 a.m. The relocation maneuver opens up Poisk’s airlock for a series of upcoming spacewalks in Orlan spacesuits and frees its docking port for the ISS Progress 84 resupply mission.

Image above: The Soyuz MS-23 crew ship with three Expedition 69 crew members aboard is pictured shortly after relocating from the Poisk module and docking to the Prichal docking module. Image Credit: NASA TV.

After a couple of hours of pressure and leak checks, the Soyuz and Prichal hatches opened with assistance from Roscosmos Flight Engineer Andrey Fedyaev. Rubio, Prokopyev, and Petelin then reentered the station, completed some Soyuz closeout tasks, and went to sleep early. They will be back on duty Friday for ongoing microgravity research and upcoming mission preparations.

Two NASA astronauts spent Thursday continuing their research into how living long-term in weightlessness changes the human body. NASA Flight Engineers Stephen Bowen and Woody Hoburg have been teaming up for the biology study before its return to Earth aboard the SpaceX Dragon resupply ship later this month. Scientists on the ground will use the observations to learn how to counteract space-caused symptoms and keep astronauts healthy as NASA prepares for human missions to the Moon, Mars, and beyond.

International Space Station (ISS). Animation Credit: ESA

UAE (United Arab Emirates) Flight Engineer Sultan Alneyadi spent his day on a pair of different experiments studying both space physics and biotechnology. Alneyadi first swapped sample hardware inside the Materials Science Laboratory‘s low gradient furnace that supports research into new applications for existing materials or new and improved materials. Afterward, the UAE astronaut peered through a microscope at protein crystals for the Monoclonal Antibodies study that may improve the development of drugs on Earth.

Fedyaev, who earlier assisted his crewmates during their Soyuz relocation, worked on ventilation maintenance inside the Zvezda service module. He ended his day inside the Nauka multipurpose laboratory module inspecting and photographing cables.

Axiom Space announced its next private astronaut mission to the space station today. The Axiom-2 crew is, retired NASA astronaut and Mission Commander Peggy Whitson, Pilot John Shoffner, and Mission Specialists Ali Alqarni and Rayyanah Barnawi, all three first-time space flyers. Axiom-2 is targeting a launch to the station no earlier than 10:43 p.m. EDT on May 8 aboard a SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft.

Related article:

Crewmates Relocate Soyuz MS-23 Crew Ship to New Docking Port

Related links:

Expedition 69:

Poisk module:

Prichal docking module:

Materials Science Laboratory:

Monoclonal Antibodies:

Zvezda service module:

Nauka multipurpose laboratory module:

Space Station Research and Technology:

International Space Station (ISS):

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

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Hubble Sees Possible Runaway Black Hole Creating a Trail of Stars


NASA / ESA - Hubble Space Telescope (HST) patch.

April 6, 2023

There's an invisible monster on the loose, barreling through intergalactic space so fast that if it were in our solar system, it could travel from Earth to the Moon in 14 minutes. This supermassive black hole, weighing as much as 20 million Suns, has left behind a never-before-seen 200,000-light-year-long "contrail" of newborn stars, twice the diameter of our Milky Way galaxy. It's likely the result of a rare, bizarre game of galactic billiards among three massive black holes.

Rather than gobbling up stars ahead of it, like a cosmic Pac-Man, the speedy black hole is plowing into gas in front of it to trigger new star formation along a narrow corridor. The black hole is streaking too fast to take time for a snack. Nothing like it has ever been seen before, but it was captured accidentally by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope.
Illustration of a black field with white, yellow, and red galaxies. A black hole near bottom left corner plows through space, leaving a diagonal trail of newborn stars stretching back to the black hole's parent galaxy in the upper right corner.

Image above: This is an artist's impression of a runaway supermassive black hole that was ejected from its host galaxy as a result of a tussle between it and two other black holes. As the black hole plows through intergalactic space it compresses tenuous gas in front to it. This precipitates the birth of hot blue stars. This illustration is based on Hubble Space Telescope observations of a 200,000-light-year-long "contrail" of stars behind an escaping black hole. Image Credits: NASA, ESA, Leah Hustak (STScI).

"We think we're seeing a wake behind the black hole where the gas cools and is able to form stars. So, we're looking at star formation trailing the black hole," said Pieter van Dokkum of Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut. "What we're seeing is the aftermath. Like the wake behind a ship we're seeing the wake behind the black hole." The trail must have lots of new stars, given that it is almost half as bright as the host galaxy it is linked to.

The black hole lies at one end of the column, which stretches back to its parent galaxy. There is a remarkably bright knot of ionized oxygen at the outermost tip of the column. Researchers believe gas is probably being shocked and heated from the motion of the black hole hitting the gas, or it could be radiation from an accretion disk around the black hole. "Gas in front of it gets shocked because of this supersonic, very high-velocity impact of the black hole moving through the gas. How it works exactly is not really known," said van Dokkum.

"This is pure serendipity that we stumbled across it," van Dokkum added. He was looking for globular star clusters in a nearby dwarf galaxy. "I was just scanning through the Hubble image and then I noticed that we have a little streak. I immediately thought, 'oh, a cosmic ray hitting the camera detector and causing a linear imaging artifact.' When we eliminated cosmic rays we realized it was still there. It didn't look like anything we've seen before."

Image above: This Hubble Space Telescope archival photo captures a curious linear feature that is so unusual it was first dismissed as an imaging artifact from Hubble's cameras. But follow-up spectroscopic observations reveal it is a 200,000-light-year-long chain of young blue stars. A supermassive black hole lies at the tip of the bridge at lower left. The black hole was ejected from the galaxy at upper right. It compressed gas in its wake to leave a long trail of young blue stars. Nothing like this has ever been seen before in the universe. This unusual event happened when the universe was approximately half its current age. Image Credits: NASA, ESA, Pieter van Dokkum (Yale); Image Processing: Joseph DePasquale (STScI).

Because it was so weird, van Dokkum and his team did follow-up spectroscopy with the W. M. Keck Observatories in Hawaii. He describes the star trail as "quite astonishing, very, very bright and very unusual." This led to the conclusion that he was looking at the aftermath of a black hole flying through a halo of gas surrounding the host galaxy.

This intergalactic skyrocket is likely the result of multiple collisions of supermassive black holes. Astronomers suspect the first two galaxies merged perhaps 50 million years ago. That brought together two supermassive black holes at their centers. They whirled around each other as a binary black hole.

Then another galaxy came along with its own supermassive black hole. This follows the old idiom: "two's company and three's a crowd." The three black holes mixing it up led to a chaotic and unstable configuration. One of the black holes robbed momentum from the other two black holes and got thrown out of the host galaxy. The original binary may have remained intact, or the new interloper black hole may have replaced one of the two that were in the original binary, and kicked out the previous companion.

When the single black hole took off in one direction, the binary black holes shot off in the opposite direction. There is a feature seen on the opposite side of the host galaxy that might be the runaway binary black hole. Circumstantial evidence for this is that there is no sign of an active black hole remaining at the galaxy’s core. The next step is to do follow-up observations with NASA's James Webb Space Telescope and the Chandra X-ray Observatory to confirm the black hole explanation.

Hubble Catches Possible Runaway Black Hole

Video above: There’s an invisible monster on the loose! It’s barreling through intergalactic space fast enough to travel from Earth to the Moon in 14 minutes. But don’t worry, luckily this beast is very, very far away! This potential supermassive black hole, weighing as much as 20 million Suns, has left behind a never-before-seen 200,000 light-year-long trail of newborn stars. The streamer is twice the diameter of our Milky Way galaxy. It’s likely the result of a rare, bizarre game of galactic billiards among three massive black holes. Video Credits: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center; Lead Producer: Paul Morris.

NASA's upcoming Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope will have a wide-angle view of the universe with Hubble's exquisite resolution. As a survey telescope, the Roman observations might find more of these rare and improbable "star streaks" elsewhere in the universe. This may require machine learning using algorithms that are very good at finding specific weird shapes in a sea of other astronomical data, according to van Dokkum.

The research paper will be published on April 6 in The Astrophysical Journal Letters:

Hubble Space Telescope (HST). Animation Credit: NASA/ESA

The Hubble Space Telescope is a project of international cooperation between NASA and ESA. NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, manages the telescope. The Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) in Baltimore conducts Hubble science operations. STScI is operated for NASA by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, in Washington, D.C.

Related links:

W. M. Keck Observatories:

James Webb Space Telescope (JWST):

Chandra X-ray Observatory:

Hubble Space Telescope (HST):

Images (mentioned), Animation (mentioned), Video (mentioned), Text, Credits: NASA/Andrea Gianopoulos/GSFC/Claire Andreoli/Space Telescope Science Institute/Ray Villard/Yale University/Pieter van Dokkum and Imad Pasha.

NASA Study Helps Explain Limit-Breaking Ultra-Luminous X-Ray Sources


NASA - Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR) patch.

April 6, 2023

These objects are more than 100 times brighter than they should be. Observations by the agency’s NuSTAR X-ray telescope support a possible solution to this puzzle.

Exotic cosmic objects known as ultra-luminous X-ray sources produce about 10 million times more energy than the Sun. They’re so radiant, in fact, that they appear to surpass a physical boundary called the Eddington limit, which puts a cap on how bright an object can be based on its mass. Ultra-luminous X-ray sources (ULXs, for short) regularly exceed this limit by 100 to 500 times, leaving scientists puzzled.

Image above: In this illustration of an ultra-luminous X-ray source, two rivers of hot gas are pulled onto the surface of a neutron star. Strong magnetic fields, shown in green, may change the interaction of matter and light near neutron stars’ surface, increasing how bright they can become. Image Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech.

In a recent study published in The Astrophysical Journal, researchers report a first-of-its-kind measurement of a ULX taken with NASA’s Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR). The finding confirms that these light emitters are indeed as bright as they seem and that they break the Eddington limit. A hypothesis suggests this limit-breaking brightness is due to the ULX’s strong magnetic fields. But scientists can test this idea only through observations: Up to billions of times more powerful than the strongest magnets ever made on Earth, ULX magnetic fields can’t be reproduced in a lab.

Breaking the Limit

Particles of light, called photons, exert a small push on objects they encounter. If a cosmic object like a ULX emits enough light per square foot, the outward push of photons can overwhelm the inward pull of the object’s gravity. When this happens, an object has reached the Eddington limit, and the light from the object will theoretically push away any gas or other material falling toward it.

That switch – when light overwhelms gravity – is significant, because material falling onto a ULX is the source of its brightness. This is something scientists frequently observe in black holes: When their strong gravity pulls in stray gas and dust, those materials can heat up and radiate light. Scientists used to think ULXs must be black holes surrounded by bright coffers of gas. But in 2014, NuSTAR data revealed that a ULX by the name of M82 X-2 is actually a less-massive object called a neutron star. Like black holes, neutron stars form when a star dies and collapses, packing more than the mass of our Sun into an area not much bigger than a mid-size city.

This incredible density also creates a gravitational pull at the neutron star’s surface about 100 trillion times stronger than the gravitational pull on Earth’s surface. Gas and other material dragged in by that gravity accelerate to millions of miles per hour, releasing tremendous energy when they hit the neutron star’s surface. (A marshmallow dropped on the surface of a neutron star would hit it with the energy of a thousand hydrogen bombs.) This produces the high-energy X-ray light NuSTAR detects.

The recent study targeted the same ULX at the heart of the 2014 discovery and found that, like a cosmic parasite, M82 X-2 is stealing about 9 billion trillion tons of material per year from a neighboring star, or about 1 1/2 times the mass of Earth. Knowing the amount of material hitting the neutron star’s surface, scientists can estimate how bright the ULX should be, and their calculations match independent measurements of its brightness. The work confirmed M82 X-2 exceeds the Eddington limit.

No Illusions

If scientists can confirm of the brightness of more ULXs, they may put to bed a lingering hypothesis that would explain the apparent brightness of these objects without ULXs having to exceed the Eddington limit. That hypothesis, based on observations of other cosmic objects, posits that strong winds form a hollow cone around the light source, concentrating most of the emission in one direction. If pointed directly at Earth, the cone could create a sort of optical illusion, making it falsely appear as though the ULX were exceeding the brightness limit.

Even if that’s the case for some ULXs, an alternative hypothesis supported by the new study suggests that strong magnetic fields distort the roughly spherical atoms into elongated, stringy shapes. This would reduce the photons’ ability to push atoms away, ultimately increasing an object’s maximum possible brightness.

“These observations let us see the effects of these incredibly strong magnetic fields that we could never reproduce on Earth with current technology,” said Matteo Bachetti, an astrophysicist with the National Institute of Astrophysics’ Cagliari Observatory in Italy and lead author on the recent study. “This is the beauty of astronomy. Observing the sky, we expand our ability to investigate how the universe works. On the other hand, we cannot really set up experiments to get quick answers; we have to wait for the universe to show us its secrets.”

More About the Mission

Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR). Image Credit: NASA

A Small Explorer mission led by Caltech and managed by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California for the agency’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington, NuSTAR was developed in partnership with the Danish Technical University and the Italian Space Agency (ASI). The spacecraft was built by Orbital Sciences Corp. in Dulles, Virginia. NuSTAR’s mission operations center is at the University of California, Berkeley, and the official data archive is at NASA’s High Energy Astrophysics Science Archive Research Center at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. ASI provides the mission’s ground station and a mirror data archive. Caltech manages JPL for NASA.

For more information about the NuSTAR mission, visit:

Images (mentioned), Text, Credits: NASA/Tony Greicius/JPL/Calla Cofield.


Jupiter’s radiation belts – and how to survive them


ESA - Juice Mission patch.

April 6, 2023

ESA’s Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer, Juice, is headed to the largest structure in the Solar System – not the gas giant itself but the mammoth magnetic field that it generates. Its exact size varies with the solar wind, but Jupiter’s magnetosphere is on average 20 million kilometres across, which is about 150 times wider than its parent planet and almost 15 times the diameter of the Sun. But within that field lurks a clear and present danger to space missions – intense belts of radiation much more energetic and intense than Earth’s own Van Allen belts.

Jupiter’s magnetic environment

Jupiter’s magnetosphere traps charged particles – variously originating from the solar wind or emitted from volcanic Io and other Jovian moons – and then speeds them up, like a terrestrial particle accelerator. The highest fluxes of energetic particles are found in doughnut-shaped belts around Jupiter’s equator, which have been studied by radio astronomers since the 1960s – producing loud bursts of radio noise.

Jupiter's mammoth magnetosphere

The problem for Juice mission planners is that heading to Jupiter’s icy moons means passing through the radiation belts as well. Europa is the closest orbiting of the three Jupiter’s large ‘Galilean’ moons to be visited by Juice – any human astronaut that lands there would receive a lethal radiation dose on a timescale of hours . And spacecraft electronics are almost as susceptible to radiation as human biology.

Modelling the danger

“One of the first things we needed was a detailed radiation model for Jupiter space, which could then serve as the basis of mission analysis, and set rad-hardening requirements for Juice’s instruments and components,” explains Christian Erd, Juice spacecraft and system manager.

Size of Jupiter's magnetosphere as seen from Earth

The mission team turned to ESA’s Space Environment and Effects section, part of the Agency’s Directorate of Technology, Engineering and Quality, who together with other European experts developed the ‘JOvian Specification Environment’, JOSE, calculating fluxes for high-energy electrons and protons around Jupiter.

“To build the model we took data from all previous Jupiter missions – Pioneer, Voyager, the Cassini flyby and Galileo in particular, which spent the most time at Jupiter,” notes Petteri Nieminen, overseeing the section. “The Americans had a model, and we put together a European equivalent, largely built on the same data but with some differences in interpretation, ending up with differing values – we revisited instrument modelling analysis for instance.”

Artist's impression of Europa orbiting Jupiter

The JOSE model is run through ESA’s well-established Space Environment Information System software, SPENVIS, allowing mission planners to generate candidate spacecraft trajectories and assess their resulting radiation exposure. The model includes confidence levels to show how much the figures can be relied on, so appropriate margins can be applied as appropriate to minimise risk.

Juice flies by Europa

“The model helped shape the detailed mission design, such as the best trajectories to take to minimise radiation damage, including avoiding low latitude orbital paths around Jupiter,” adds modelling specialist Hugh Evans. “The same is true when it came to designing the spacecraft and instruments, including large-scale ‘Monte Carlo’ analysis to study the physics of what would happen when particles interacted with their structure and components.”

Exploration goals in reach

Guided by the JOSE model, Juice will fly past Callisto 21 times, but will only fly past Europa twice – in the process sustaining a third of all its lifetime radiation exposure – before settling into orbit around Ganymede, a moon with its own magnetic field, which works to shield some of Jupiter’s radiation.

Sealing one of Juice's lead-lined vaults

Christian adds: “One of the most important things the model achieved for us was showing that what seemed to be a dangerous place was not completely out of reach. Less than four years at Jupiter will involve the equivalent radiation exposure of a telecommunications satellite in geostationary Earth orbit for 20 years – which we have plenty of experience in managing.”

For added protection, Juice’s most sensitive electronics have been placed inside twin ‘vaults’ within the body of the spacecraft, whose carbon-fibre walls are reinforced with lead. Some components have also been given ‘spot’ shielding made from aluminium or heavier materials such as tantalum.

Time for testing

Even so, all candidate components for the spacecraft platform and its ten instruments had to be carefully selected for their long-term reliability and often laboriously tested for radiation susceptibility, a process overseen by experts from both ESA’s Components section and Radiation Hardness Assurance and Component Analysis section.

Juice mission

“We did the same for Juice that we do for all ESA missions, except that the time was tight and there were a lot of components - because Juice is a huge programme - and the radiation levels were much higher than usual,” comments components engineer Lionel Bonora. “We needed to assess the electronics making up the spacecraft platform, its instruments and the connections in between.”

When a charged particle impacts a component, the immediate effect is something called a ‘Single Event Upset’, a brief electrical discharge that might lead to random glitches, memory flips or possibly ‘latch-ups’ – localised short circuits. More significant is the ‘Total Ionising Dose’, which is a gradual degradation of functionality as radiation exposure builds up internal defects within a part.

Catastrophic 'latch-up' due to heavy ion

“Degradation does not always happen slowly, sometimes it can happen quite fast; effects are unpredictable for new technologies,” adds Lionel. “The same phenomenon affects satellites around Earth, but is much less seen on the ground except somewhere like nuclear power stations. The key point is that the components no longer work nominally. There are already components on the market that are made to be radiation tolerant, but that doesn’t include everything we need, so that many units needed testing.”

ESA’s ESTEC technical centre in the Netherlands has a gamma ray facility, useful for simulating Total Ionising Dose Effects. Additional radiation testing facilities were employed across Europe for component test campaigns.

From medical support to space testing

Lionel notes: “Most of these 'Single Event Upset' facilities are primarily medical centres, using radiation beams for cancer treatment, and we use their beams when they are free. Depending on the type of effect, we test parts both when they are running and when they are turned off, to take account of redundant parts. We have to do this testing, because space missions are using more and more commercial parts, and there’s no easy way to tell their radiation susceptibility in advance.”

Cobalt-60 isotope for gamma ray testing at ESTEC

If a part proves to be vulnerable then countermeasures are possible, such as physical shielding or remedies in the software – like error detection, or the so-called ‘triple mode redundancy’ involving one or several chips performing calculations in triplicate then voting for the most likely answer, to reduce radiation-driven disruption. Or in some cases components have to be given up on entirely, and alternatives found.

Radiation mapper flying aboard

Once Juice reaches Jupiter, ESA’s Space Radiation and Effects experts are looking forward to finding out how accurate their JOSE model is in practice.

Juice's RADiation-hard Electron Monitor (RADEM)

Image description: Juice's RADiation-hard Electron Monitor (RADEM) has been specially designed to record the high radiation fluxes of Jupiter space.

DDH = Directional Detector Head

EDH = Electron Detector Head

P&HIDH = Proton and Heavy Ion Detector Head

“We have a radiation monitor flying aboard the mission, known as the Radiation-hard Electron Monitor, RADEM, which has been specially designed to observe Jupiter’s high radiation fluxes, equipped with sensors to track how a particle enters and leaves the device,” explains Hugh.

“As soon as the sensor is activated, we plan to cross-check results with other radiation sensors we have placed in orbit, especially during a Solar Particle Event or one of the flybys that Juice makes of Earth en route to Jupiter. Then, when Juice makes it to Jupiter, we’ll get much better data, which will mean in turn that our next radiation model for Jupiter will be even more precise.”

Watch The Making of Juice video series:

Related article:

How Juice was made ready for Jupiter

Related links:

ESA’s Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer, Juice:

Directorate of Technology, Engineering and Quality:

JOvian Specification Environment (JOSE):

Images, Animations, Text, Credits: ESA/ATG medialab/NASA Goodard Space Flight Center/JPL-Caltech/ESA/J. Nichols (University of Leicester); Ganymede: NASA/JPL; Io: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona; Callisto and Europa: NASA/JPL/DLR.

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