The pits on comets are likely made by sinkholes ejecting material!! New #science from @ESA_Rosetta!!!


ESA’s Rosetta mission is again teaching us about what happens on comets! The latest science was published in Nature this week, and shows that pits on a comets surface are generated by sinkholes that eject jets of material! Super cool!!


@Philae2014 Lander wakes up on comet!! More to come from @ESA_Rosetta mission!!

The ESA Rosetta mission to land a spacecraft on a comet has moved into new territory, as the Philae Lander on the comet has woken up after months of having no power! Previous posts on the ESA Rosetta mission here!

GIF/Video of Comet circling the sun – From ESA/NASA’ SOHO

i2sr4SOHO Sees Its 2,875th Comet

A comet circles around the sun in this movie from ESA/NASA’s SOHO. The comet is somewhat unusual as it’s not form any known family of comets. This is the 2,875th comet discovered by SOHO. Credit: ESA/NASA/SOHO/Hill

Today’s favorite tweets! Picture of NYC from space and Onion article about sorting trash into oceans!

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Successful launch and 100 minute test flight of @ESA’s IXV spaceplane!!!

Be sure to check out the European Space Agency’s IXV mission progression via livestream with awesome animations here!

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UPDATE: below is the video from the launch in case you missed it!!

UPDATE 2: The IXV has spashed down!!!


Videos: Tomorrow’s @ESA launch and test of IXV spaceplane on Vega rocket!!

ESA – IXV ready for liftoff

This time-lapse video shows IXV’s preparation, fairing encapsulation, transfer to the Vega mobile gantry and upper composite integration on the Vega launcher, at Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana, in January 2015. IXV will be launched 340 km into space on top of a Vega rocket, flight VV04, climbing to 412 km before beginning a long glide back through the atmosphere. During the flight, IXV will test the latest technologies and critical systems to help guide the design of future spaceplanes.
Directed by Stephane Corvaja, ESA
Edited by Manuel Pedoussaut, Zetapress
Music: Hubrid-The Deep

Green light! Vega is approved for this week’s suborbital mission with the European IXV spaceplane

The fourth Vega launch from the Guiana Space Center (CSG) in French Guiana, will orbit the European Space Agency’s IXV atmospheric reentry demonstrator.

Don’t miss the launch and test of @ESA’s IXV spaceplane tomorrow!!!

The European Space Agency will be launching and testing their Intermediate Experimental Vehicle (IXV) spacecraft tomorrow!!! More info on the launch here (also below). More info on the IXV spaceship here and here!

ESA’s Intermediate eXperimental Vehicle is ready for its launch and reentry mission on 11 February. The launch is scheduled for 13:00 GMT (14:00 CET) atop a Vega rocket from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana. Streaming starts at 12:45 GMT (13:45 CET)

This IXV mission will test cutting-edge system and technology aspects to provide Europe with an independent reentry capability, and a building block for reusable space transportation systems. It will validate designs for lifting-bodies, incorporating both the simplicity of capsules and the performance of winged vehicles, with high controllability and manoeuvrability for precision landing.

Astronomy pic of the day – Jupiter close-up with 3 moons!!

Jupiter Triple-Moon Conjunction 
Image Credit: NASAESA, and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)

Courtesy of the Astronomy Picture of the Day. Hit the link for more info on the picture and also labels for the 3 moons and their shadows!!

Explanation: Our solar system’s ruling giant planet Jupiter and 3 of its 4 large Galilean moons are captured in this single Hubble snapshot from January 24. Crossing in front of Jupiter’s banded cloud tops Europa, Callisto, and Io are framed from lower left to upper right in a rare triple-moon conjunction. Distinguishable by colors alone icy Europa is almost white, Callisto’s ancient cratered surface looks dark brown, and volcanic Io appears yellowish. The transiting moons and moon shadows can be identified by sliding your cursor over the image, or following this link. Remarkably, two small, inner Jovian moons, Amalthea and Thebe, along with their shadows, can also be found in the sharp Hubble view. The Galilean moons have diameters of 3,000 to 5,000 kilometers or so, comparable in size to Earth’s moon. But odd-shaped Amalthea and Thebe are only about 260 and 100 kilometers across respectively.

@ScienceMagazine publishes the first #science reports from @ESA_Rosetta Mission about Comet 67P!!!


Science has a special issue this week with the first published data from the ESA Rosetta mission! Check out the introduction to the special issue with a great synopsis of the papers and the Rosetta mission science completed thus far. The rest of the reports and articles can be found here.

Rosetta is uniquely positioned to further the understanding of these primitive bodies, having revealed an unusual and fascinating object. After rendezvous, the Rosetta spacecraft moved from 100 km above the comet to a bound orbit only ~10 km away. This early period of the mission has revealed previously unseen details of a comet nucleus, as Rosetta’s instruments recorded measurements that were once impossible. This issue of Science contains the first published scientific results from Rosetta at comet 67P.

See all the previous CauseScience posts on ESA’s Rosetta Mission and Philae Lander here!

Those people paying close attention may recognize the first author on the introduction, Matt Taylor, who caused quite a stir during the Philae landing.