ESA News 2015
17 December 2015: The next great space observatory took a step closer this week when ESA signed the contract with Arianespace that will see the James Webb Space Telescope launched on an Ariane 5 rocket from Europe's Spaceport in Kourou in October 2018.
17 December 2015: Euclid, ESA's dark Universe mission, has passed its preliminary design review, providing confidence that the spacecraft and its payload can be built. It's time to start 'cutting metal'.
11 December 2015: Rosetta's OSIRIS camera team has launched a new website to showcase their recent images of Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko.
3 December 2015: ESA's LISA Pathfinder lifted off earlier today on a Vega rocket from Europe's spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana, on its way to demonstrate technology for observing gravitational waves from space.
2 December 2015: ESA's XMM-Newton X-ray observatory has revealed three massive filaments of hot gas flowing towards a cluster of galaxies, uncovering a portion of the cosmic skeleton that pervades the entire Universe.
2 December 2015: Originally planned for a two-year mission, the ESA–NASA Solar and Heliospheric Observatory, SOHO, is today celebrating two decades of scientific discovery.
27 November 2015: Two European instruments and four European contributions on two Russian instruments have been selected for the Russian-led science platform that will land on Mars as part of the ESA–Roscosmos ExoMars 2018 mission.
25 November 2015: The two ExoMars spacecraft of the 2016 mission are being prepared for shipping to the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan ahead of their launch in March.
24 November 2015: LISA Pathfinder, ESA's technology demonstrator for detecting gravitational-waves, is set for launch on 2 December at 04:15 GMT (05:15 CET) on a Vega rocket from Europe's Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana. Media representatives can follow the launch online and attend the event in ESA's operations centre, ESOC, in Darmstadt, Germany.
19 November 2015: Vast volumes of water once flooded through this deep chasm on Mars that connects the 'Grand Canyon' of the Solar System – Valles Marineris – to the planet's northern lowlands.
12 November 2015: One year since Philae made its historic landing on a comet, mission teams remain hopeful for renewed contact with the lander, while also looking ahead to next year's grand finale: making a controlled impact of the Rosetta orbiter on the comet.
28 October 2015: ESA's Rosetta spacecraft has made the first in situ detection of oxygen molecules outgassing from a comet, a surprising observation that suggests they were incorporated into the comet during its formation.
21 October 2015: Oxia Planum has been recommended as the primary candidate for the landing site of the ExoMars 2018 mission.
15 October 2015: Catastrophic flooding triggered by ice melting from the heat of volcanic activity is thought to be responsible for the chaotic scenery depicted in this region of the Mangala Valles channel network.
28 September 2015: Two comets collided at low speed in the early Solar System to give rise to the distinctive 'rubber duck' shape of Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko, say Rosetta scientists.
23 September 2015: ESA's Rosetta spacecraft has provided evidence for a daily water-ice cycle on and near the surface of comets.
10 September 2015: An unusual observation by Mars Express shows a sweeping view over the planet's south polar ice cap and across its ancient, cratered highlands.
1 September 2015: LISA Pathfinder, ESA's demonstrator for spaceborne observations of gravitational waves, is ready to leave for Europe's Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana.
25 August 2015: Last Friday, 21 August, ESA's billion-star surveyor, Gaia, completed its first year of science observations in its main survey mode.
24 August 2015: On 20 August 2015 the Director General of ESO, Tim de Zeeuw, and the Director General of ESA, Johann-Dietrich Woerner, signed a cooperation agreement between the two organisations at ESO's offices in Santiago, Chile. The ESA Director General was accompanied by Álvaro Giménez, Director of Science and Robotic Exploration at ESA, and Fabio Favata, Head of the ESA Programme Coordination Office.
20 August 2015: This new image of powerful remnants of dead stars and their mighty action on the surrounding gas from ESA's XMM-Newton X-ray observatory reveals some of the most intense processes taking place at the centre of our galaxy, the Milky Way.
20 August 2015: Slated for launch by Vega in November, ESA's gravitational-wave detection technology demonstrator is ready to begin launch preparations in September at Europe's Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana.
13 August 2015: ESA's Rosetta today witnessed Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko making its closest approach to the Sun. The exact moment of perihelion occurred at 02:03 GMT this morning when the comet came within 186 million km of the Sun.
11 August 2015: In the approach to perihelion over the past few weeks, Rosetta has been witnessing growing activity from Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko, with one dramatic outburst event proving so powerful that it even pushed away the incoming solar wind.
6 August 2015: ESA's Rosetta mission today celebrates one year at Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko, with its closest approach to the Sun now just one week away.
30 July 2015: Complex molecules that could be key building blocks of life, the daily rise and fall of temperature, and an assessment of the surface properties and internal structure of the comet are just some of the highlights of the first scientific analysis of the data returned by Rosetta's lander Philae last November.
17 July 2015: Airbus Defence & Space in France has been selected as the prime industrial contractor for ESA's Juice mission to Jupiter and its icy moons.
13 July 2015: Rosetta's investigations of its comet are continuing as the mission teams count down the last month to perihelion – the closest point to the Sun along the comet's orbit – when the comet's activity is expected to be at its highest.
9 July 2015: This colourful image resembles an abstract watercolour, but it is in fact a colour-coded topographic map of one of the most geologically diverse regions on Mars.
3 July 2015: This image, based on housekeeping data from ESA's Gaia satellite, is no ordinary depiction of the heavens. While the image portrays the outline of our Galaxy, the Milky Way, and of its neighbouring Magellanic Clouds, it was obtained in a rather unusual way.
25 June 2015: Over the past week, ESA's Integral satellite has been observing an exceptional outburst of high-energy light produced by a black hole that is devouring material from its stellar companion.
24 June 2015: Using the high-resolution science camera on board ESA's Rosetta spacecraft, scientists have identified more than a hundred patches of water ice a few metres in size on the surface of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.
23 June 2015: The adventure continues: ESA today confirmed that its Rosetta mission will be extended until the end of September 2016, at which point the spacecraft will most likely be landed on the surface of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.
23 June 2015: Exoplanets, plasma physics and the X-ray Universe are the topics chosen by ESA to be considered for the fourth medium-class mission in its Cosmic Vision science programme, for launch in 2025 and like all the previously proposed Cosmic Vision missions,...
23 June 2015: The ESA-developed Sentinel satellite – Sentinel-2A – was launched today, adding a high-resolution optical imaging capability to the European Union Copernicus environmental monitoring system.
22 June 2015: After a year in orbit, the three Swarm satellites have provided a first glimpse inside Earth and started to shed new light on the dynamics of the upper atmosphere – all the way from the ionosphere about 100 km above, through to the outer reaches of our protective magnetic shield.
22 June 2015: Together with national space agencies and industry, ESA is working to develop next-generation software for spacecraft control and monitoring. The initiative is a strategic and technological jump, and will see most space organisations in Europe adopting a common infrastructure, which will improve efficiency, lower technical risk and deliver a major boost to European industrial competitiveness.
19 June 2015: On 23 June, a Vega launcher will loft the first of ESA's dual Sentinel-2 satellites into orbit from Europe's Spaceport in Kourou. For the mission control team, liftoff will mark the end of many months of careful preparations and the start of the mission's first critical phase.
18 June 2015: ESA's Venus Express has found the best evidence yet for active volcanism on Earth's neighbour planet.
17 June 2015: Saturn's moon Titan is home to seas and lakes filled with liquid hydrocarbons, but what makes the depressions they lie in? A new study suggests that the moon's surface dissolves in a similar process that creates sinkholes on Earth.