The loading process for ATV Albert Einstein begins at Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana. In January 2013, the big ‘M1 cargo bags’ were loaded aboard. There was a second opportunity to load more cargo two weeks before launch, as ATV sat on top of its Ariane launcher.
Six hundred newly forming stars are crowded into these colourful filaments of dust that form a stellar nursery seen by ESA’s Herschel space observatory.
The nebulous blue area, known as W40 or Sharpless 2-64, is roughly 1000 light-years away in the constellation Aquila, and is about 25 light-years across.
This image was featured as Space science image of the week on 7 January 2013.
ESA’s Herschel Space Observatory captured asteroid Apophis in its field of view during the approach to Earth on 5/6 January 2013. This image shows the asteroid in Herschel’s three PACS wavelengths: 70, 100 and 160 microns, respectively.
Its closest pass, on 9 January 2013, brought it to 14.45 million km from Earth, 35–40 times that of the distance of the Moon. In 2029, it will approach even closer than the geostationary orbit of many satellites, which are positioned at an altitude of 36 000 km.
During the latest pass, Herschel collected important information about the physical properties of the asteroid, which will help astronomers make refined predictions for the future trajectory of the asteroid.
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Two of the first six Galileo Full Operational Capability (FOC) satellites being assembled and prepared for the testing phase at OHB, Bremen, on 19 September 2012.
The FOC phase consists of the deployment of the remaining ground and space infrastructure. It includes an intermediate initial operational capability phase with 18 satellites in operation (the four IOV satellites plus 14 others). The full system will consist of a complete satellite constellation, control centres located in Europe and a network of sensor stations and uplink stations installed around the globe.
The lush landscapes of Ireland, Great Britain and northern France are pictured in this rare cloud-free view, acquired by Envisat on 28 March 2012.
To the west, thousands of lakes speckle the island of Ireland. Brown rugged cliffs along the coast frame its plush green interior. In the lower-right corner, the river Seine flows through Paris (seen here as a grey area) and snakes toward the English Channel. Following mainland Europe’s coastline north, we can see the Rhine–Meuse–Scheldt delta followed by part of the intertidal Wadden Sea in the extreme top-right corner. The green and tan-tinted swirls in the seas and channels are due to sediments being transported in the water. Sediment is particularly concentrated around Britain’s southeastern coast, carried by the River Thames through London and into the North Sea.
This image is featured on the Earth from Space video programme.
NASA astronauts Kevin Ford (background) and Tom Marshburn, setting up two Spheres robots in the Kibo laboratory on the International Space Station. The volleyball-sized satellites have their own power, propulsion and navigation systems and are used in an international competition for high-school students.
Each year a tournament is held where students earn points by writing control algorithms to operate the spheres and by choosing the best tactics to win the game. The European finalists of 2013 consisted of six alliances from Italy, Germany, Spain and Portugal.
Week in Images
07-11 January 2013