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Copernical Team

Copernical Team

Thursday, 14 January 2021 13:00

Metal Fuels. We research. You benefit.

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Video: 00:07:30

Did you know that in microgravity we are preparing one of the most promising fuels for the future?

Microgravity is helping to find answers and models to refine the processes needed to efficiently burn solid fuel like iron dust. Are we witnessing the raise of a new "Iron Age"? Could we use metal powders instead of petrol to fuel our cars?

Solid fuels are used for burning a match, lighting a sparkler on New Year's Eve as well as the fuel inside the boosters of Ariane and of other rockets. But metals such as iron can also burn, in

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Mars is still an active world—here’s a landslide in Nili Fossae
Landslides in a crater near Nili Fossae on Mars. Credit: NASA/UofA HiRiseteam/MRO

Since the 1960s and '70s, scientists have come to view Mars as something of a "dead planet." As the first close-up images from orbit and the surface came in, previous speculation about canals, water and a Martian civilization were dispelled. Subsequent studies also revealed that the geological activity that created features like the Tharsis Mons region (especially Olympus Mons) and Valles Marineris had ceased long ago.

However, in the past few decades, robotic missions have found ample evidence that Mars is still an active place. A recent indication was an image taken by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO), which showed relatively fresh landslides in a near Nili Fossae. This area is part of the Syrtis Major region and is located just north of the Jezero Crater (where the Perseverance rover will be landing in six weeks).

The landslide was captured as a part of a larger image acquired by the MRO's Context Camera (CTX) on September 21, 2018.

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Six-Wavelength Spectroscopy Can Offer New Details of Surface of Venus
This image of Venus is a composite of data from NASA's Magellan spacecraft and Pioneer Venus Orbiter. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

A trio of papers provide new insight into the composition and evolution of the surface of Venus, hidden beneath its caustic, high temperature atmosphere. Utilizing imaging from orbit using multiple wavelengths—six-band spectroscopy proposed as part of the VERITAS and EnVision missions—scientists can map the iron content of the Venusian surface and construct the first-ever geologic map.

"Previous missions have only imaged one wavelength, and used 30-year-old topographic data to correct the spectra. Moreover, they were based on theoretical ideas about what Venus spectra look like, at very high temperatures. So the prior data have all been fairly qualitative," said M. Darby Dyar, a Senior Scientist at the Planetary Science Institute and author on three recent papers on the topic.

These papers are based on new data from the Planetary Spectroscopy Laboratory at German Aerospace Center Institute of Planetary Research in Berlin, where Dyar works with a team including Jörn Helbert, first author of "Deriving iron contents from past and future Venus spectra with new high-temperature laboratory emissivity data" that appears today in Science Advances.

Thursday, 14 January 2021 14:20

Week in images: 11 - 15 January 2021

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The heavy snowfall that hit Spain a few days ago still lies heavy across much of the country as this Copernicus Sentinel-3 satellite image shows.

Week in images: 11 - 15 January 2021

Discover our week through the lens

Thursday, 14 January 2021 09:00

Earth from Space: Tanezrouft

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Video: 00:02:50

In this week's edition of the Earth from Space programme, the Copernicus Sentinel-2 mission takes us over the Tanezrouft Basin – one of the most desolate parts of the Sahara Desert.

See also Tanezrouft Basin to download the image.

Thursday, 14 January 2021 09:00

Tanezrouft Basin

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The Copernicus Sentinel-2 mission takes us over the Tanezrouft Basin – one of the most desolate parts of the Sahara Desert. Image: The Copernicus Sentinel-2 mission takes us over the Tanezrouft Basin – one of the most desolate parts of the Sahara Desert.
Thursday, 14 January 2021 12:35

ESA kids app now available

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ESA kids app now available

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Denver CO (SPX) Jan 15, 2021
NASA's Orion spacecraft is ready for its mission to the Moon. Lockheed Martin has completed assembly and testing of the Orion Artemis I spacecraft and has transferred possession to NASA's Exploration Ground Systems (EGS) team. Assembled at Kennedy Space Center, the EGS team will then perform final preparations on the spacecraft for its mission to the Moon later this year. Orion is NASA's n
Thursday, 14 January 2021 02:21

Mobility without particulates

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Stuttgart, Germany (SPX) Jan 15, 2021
The environment is polluted not only by exhaust gases from internal combustion engines, but also by particulate matter. In the transport sector, particulate matter is produced during the combustion process and in the abrasion of tyres and brakes. The German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum fur Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) is currently developing and testing an innovative vehicle concept as
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Kennedy Space Center FL (SPX) Jan 15, 2021
SpaceX's Dragon spacecraft splashed down safely off the coast of Florida last night, concluding a month-plus stay at the International Space Station (ISS) to bring back thousands of pounds of scientific research and cargo. With this successful splashdown, SpaceX completed its 21st Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) mission to the orbiting laboratory for NASA. This also marks the first mission of
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