ESA Bulletin 137 (February 2009)

23 February 2009

This issue of the Bulletin, ESA’s flagship magazine, is an 'SMOS' special, giving a closer look at different aspects of SMOS, ESA's 'water' mission due for launch later this year.
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The Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity (SMOS) mission is the first dedicated to measuring both the moisture in soil and salt in the surface waters of the oceans. By mapping soil moisture and ocean salinity, it will further our understanding of Earth's water cycle. These data are key to advancing research into global and regional climate change, as well as weather and extreme-event forecasting.

Also in this issue, we look at Gaia, ESA's science mission with the goal of making the largest, most precise three-dimensional map of our galaxy by surveying over a thousand million stars.

There is a report on the flyby of asteroid Steins, by ESA's comet chaser spacecraft Rosetta, from a navigational and operational viewpoint.

We have an update on the Node-3 and Cupola modules, marking the completion of the development of ESA’s permanent pressurised elements for the International Space Station.

There are also articles on ESA's future launcher technologies, and research into a novel communications system, using strange phenomena only explained by quantum physics.

The Bulletin is published four times a year to inform the space-interested public of ESA’s activities. 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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