ESA Bulletin 132 (November 2007)

This issue of ESA’s flagship magazine, the Bulletin, carries a broad range of articles, including Node-2 on the ISS, Mars Express, Gaia and Soyuz launches from French Guiana.
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Node-2 is now safely attached to the International Space Station, opening the way for the expansion of the outpost’s research capabilities. This interconnecting node is crucial for the Station to host Europe’s Columbus and Japan’s Kibo modules. These laboratories will offer the long-awaited facilities for performing full-scale research and experiments aboard the ISS.

Mars Express is probing every facet of the 'Red Planet', from the interior to the ionosphere, in unprecedented detail. In addition to these global studies, the mission’s unifying theme is the search for water in its various forms everywhere on the planet.

In the course of the five-year astronomical survey by ESA’s Gaia mission, the equivalent of 20 000 DVDs of raw information on our Galaxy will be harvested and transmitted to Earth. Sophisticated processing is needed to distil this flood of complex data into the final catalogue of a thousand million celestial objects. More than 300 European scientists and software developers are rising to the challenge.

Twin articles look at the Agency’s ‘Globcolour’ and ‘Medspiration’ projects. Globcolour is providing valuable information on marine biological activity, essential for assessing the amount of carbon dioxide being absorbed from the atmosphere by the oceans, and for projecting the severity of future global warming. Medspiration is similarly providing accurate sea-surface temperatures and how they vary over time.

Other articles look at ESA’s Optical Ground Station on the Canary Islands, future activities of the Redu ground station in Belgium, and the launches of Soyuz rockets from the European Spaceport in French Guiana.

The Bulletin is published four times a year to inform the space-interested public of ESA's. In addition to a wide range of articles, every issue provides an overview of the status of ESA's major space projects.

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