Photograph taken from onboard the International Space Station showing a nighttime Paris and London. ESA astronaut Luca Parmitano posted this image on his Twitter account with the caption: "London and Paris brighten up a European night".
This image, captured by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, shows part of NGC 3621, an unusual spiral galaxy located over 20 million light-years away in the constellation of Hydra (The Water Snake).
The small, bright nucleus on the right of the image does not have the significant bulge of older stars that is common in spiral galaxies, marking NGC 3621 as a "pure-disc" galaxy. Many luminous clumps of blue young stars are scattered along the loose spiral arms, which are partially obscured by the dark dust lanes snaking across the frame. This galaxy is very useful for astronomers; some of its brightest stars can be used to estimate extragalactic distances, allowing us to measure the vast scale of the Universe.
This Kompsat-2 image, acquired on 6 July 2012, shows the Amazon River in the heart of northern Brazil’s rainforest. The false colour makes land vegetation appear pink, while water appears green and dark blue. In the upper-right corner, we can see some sparse clouds. The shades of pink vary – the bolder colour representing thick vegetation with lighter pink showing where trees were possibly cut down. In fact, in the upper-left portion of the image, there’s a clear line between the two shades, showing where vegetation was cut. The white dots show man-made structures. With their unique view from space, Earth observation satellites have been instrumental in highlighting the vulnerability of the rainforests by documenting the scale of deforestation.
This image is featured on the Earth from Space video programme.
3D printing builds a solid object from a series of layers, each one printed on top of the last. This ‘additive manufacturing’ technique produces very complex structures with minimal waste and maximum flexibility.
Never before have titanium structures been so flexible. Leaving traditional casting techniques aside, the AMAZE team printed its logo in titanium as an intricate net shaped to millimetre precision. The project is working with materials that can withstand temperatures up to 3500°C.
Pieces like the example in this photo were shown in the London Science Museum, UK, on 15 October, where international experts presented the world’s largest metal 3D-printing project, lead by ESA and the EU.
AMAZE – Additive Manufacturing Aiming Towards Zero Waste & Efficient Production of High-Tech Metal Products – involves 28 industrial partners across Europe.
This ‘Bridget’ prototype Mars rover supplied by Astrium Stevenage in the UK was used for last week’s five-day Sample Acquisition Field Experiment with a Rover, or SAFER, field trial in Chile’s Atacama Desert. The arid, rock-strewn Atacama visually resembles Mars, but here the similarity has been made much clearer by subtracting all the blue colour from the sky.
The arid, rock-strewn Atacama visually resembles Mars, but here the similarity has been made much clearer by subtracting all the blue colour from the sky.
The SAFER field trial was overseen by ESA’s Directorate of Technical and Quality Management, with its international industrial team led by the UK Science and Technology Facilities Council’s RAL Space. The activity is funded by ESA’s Basic Technology Research Programme, with additional co-funding from the UK Space Agency. To get more details of SAFER, visit the team at http://safertrial.wordpress.com .
RCW 120 is a bubble blown by a central star (not visible at these infrared wavelengths) that has exerted enough pressure in the bubble ‘walls’ that material can begin collapsing into the next generation of star. The bright knot in the bottom right of the bubble is one such stellar embryo, which is surrounding by material amounting to 2000 solar masses. The star already has a mass of about 8–10 Suns, and will likely grow larger still. RCW 120 lies about 4300 light-years away.
The image was created from data collected using the PACS and SPIRE instruments on ESA’s Herschel space observatory, covering wavelengths of 100µm (blue), 160µm (green) and 250µm (red).
The Gaia Deployable Sunshield Assembly (DSA) during deployment testing in the S1B integration building at Europe's spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana, on 10 October 2013.
Week in Images
14-18 October 2013