ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst inside ATV Georges Lemaitre for the first time on orbit after hatch opening.
Alexander wears a facemask to protect against inhaling any fine particles of dust or debris that might have shaken lose at launch. One of first things the crew does is install fans and air cleaners to run for several hours inside ATV.
The fifth and last Automated Transfer Vehicle docked with the International Space Station a day earlier on 12 August 2014.
ATV-5 delivers 6.6 tonnes of supplies to the ISS including food, water, fuel, clothes and experiment hardware.
More about ATV-5 in the blog: blogs.esa.int/atv
ATV-5 approaches for docking
The centre in Toulouse, France, commands the craft throughout their missions. This image was taken as the fifth and final ATV, George Lemaîtres, approached the International Space Station for docking on 12 August 2014. Since launch, the facility has been staffed round the clock as it monitors the ATV’s systems and trains for all possible scenarios.
From the first launch in 2008, the ATV Control Centre has worked tirelessly to ensure the smooth operation of Europe’s versatile and complex space freighter, as well as commanding the spacecraft to move the International Space Station out of the way of space debris and boost its orbit.
On Saturday they will command the undocking of an ATV for the last time as Georges Lemaître bids farewell to the Station after six months of being part of the weightless research laboratory.
The centre is run by ESA and France’s CNES space agency and works in close cooperation with the Station control centres in Moscow, Russia, and Houston, USA.
This anaglyph image of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko can be viewed using stereoscopic glasses with red–green/blue filters.
The two images used to make the anaglyph were taken on 7 August 2014 from a distance of 104 kilometres with Rosetta's OSIRIS narrow-angle camera. They are separated by 17 minutes.
Credits: ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA
Two Galileo navigation satellites integrated on their payload dispenser system at Europe's Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana. The pair were then mated atop a Soyuz Fregat upper stage and encapsulated in the protective payload fairing. These satellites, Galileo SATs 5-6, were launched on 22 August 2014 from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana on top of a Soyuz ST-B launcher.
Saturn has a great many more moons than our planet – a whopping 62. A single moon, Titan, accounts for an overwhelming 96% of all the material orbit the planet, with a group of six other smaller moons dominating the rest. The other 55 small satellites whizzing around Saturn make up the tiny remainder along with the gas giant’s famous rings.
One of the subjects of this Cassini image, Rhea, belongs to that group of six. Set against a backdrop showing Saturn and its intricate system of icy rings, Rhea dominates the scene and dwarfs its tiny companion, one of the 55 small satellites known as Epimetheus.
Although they appear to be close to one another, this is a trick of perspective – this view was obtained when Cassini was some 1.2 million km from Rhea, and 1.6 million km from Epimetheus, meaning the moons themselves had a hefty separation of 400 000 km.
However, even if they were nearer to each other, Rhea would still loom large over Epimetheus: at 1528 km across and just under half the size of our own Moon, Rhea is well over 10 times the size of Epimetheus, which is a modest 113 km across.
As is traditional for the earliest discovered moons of Saturn, both are named after figures from Greek mythology: the Titan Rhea (“mother of the gods”) and Prometheus’ brother Epimetheus (“after thinker” or “hindsight”).
This image was taken by Cassini’s narrow-angle camera on 24 March 2010, and processed by amateur astronomer Gordan Ugarković. A monochrome version was previously released by NASA as PIA12638: Big and Small Before Rings.
The F ring shepherd Pandora is captured here along with other well-known examples of how Saturn’s moons shape the rings. From the narrow F ring, to the gaps in the A ring, to the Cassini Division, Saturn's rings are a masterpiece of gravitational sculpting by the moons.
Pandora (50 miles, or 81 kilometers across), along with its fellow shepherd Prometheus (53 miles, or 86 kilometers across), helps confine the F ring and keep it from spreading.
This view looks toward the unilluminated side of the rings from about 31 degrees below the ringplane. The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera on March 8, 2014.
The view was obtained at a distance of approximately 533,000 miles (858,000 kilometers) from Saturn and at a Sun-Saturn-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 63 degrees. Image scale is 32 miles (51 kilometers) per pixel. The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency.
The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington.
The Cassini orbiter and its two onboard cameras were designed, developed and assembled at JPL. The imaging team is based at the Space Science Institute, Boulder, Colo.
The Cassini imaging team homepage is at http://ciclops.org.
A Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) from the Sun frames Mercury, as observed by the SOlar Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) on 13 August 2014.
The shaded blue disc surrounding the Sun at the centre is a mask in SOHO’s LASCO instrument that blots out direct sunlight to allow study of the details in the Sun’s corona.
This new NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image shows a whole host of colourful and differently shaped galaxies; some bright and nearby, some fuzzy, and some so far from us they appear as small specks in the background sky.
The most prominent characters are the two galaxies on the left — 2MASX J16133219+5103436 at the bottom, and its blue-tinted companion SDSS J161330.18+510335 at the top. The latter is slightly closer to us than its partner, but the two are still near enough to one another to interact. Together, the two make up a galactic pair named Zw I 136.
Both galaxies in this pair have disturbed shapes and extended soft halos. They don’t seem to conform to our view of a “typical” galaxy — unlike the third bright object in this frame, a side-on spiral seen towards the right of the image.
Astronomers classify galaxies according to their appearance and their shape. The most famous classification scheme is known as the Hubble sequence, devised by its namesake Edwin Hubble. One of the great questions in galaxy evolution is how interactions between galaxies trigger waves of star formation, and why these stars then abruptly stop forming. Interacting pairs like this one present astronomers with perfect opportunities to investigate this.
A version of this image was entered into the Hubble's Hidden Treasures image processing competition by contestant Judy Schmidt.
Night and day images of southern Italy taken by Expedition 40 crewmembers from on board the International Space Station.
The night image was posted by ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst on Twitter with the comment: "You can see the red glowing lava of 2 volcanoes on this photo! Spot them on @astro_reid's day photo! #teamwork"
The day image was posted by NASA astronaut Reid Wiseman who said: "#Etna and #Stromboli erupting by day. @astro_alex took the exact same shot at night, with lava. #teamwork"
Follow the Blue Dot mission via www.esa.int/bluedot
Connect with Alexander Gerst on social media via alexandergerst.esa.int
Follow Reid Wiseman on twitter.com/astro_reid
Week In Images
11-15 August 2014