Here is a collection of the most popular ESA Science animations. Enjoy!
ESA Science animations
Life of a comet This animation shows how most comets originate in an area beyond the orbits of Neptune and Pluto, filled with millions of tiny comet nuclei. Occasionally a comet has a gravitational encounter with a planet and is dragged into orbit around the Sun.
Making light work of the dark The start of eclipse season for Mars Express. This animation shows the unavoidable passages of the spacecraft through the shadow of Mars, which cut off the sunlight from the orbiter’s solar arrays, used to provide electrical power.
A history of European space science A brief animated tour through the history of European space science - discovery, co-operation and exploration.
Let gravity assist you... When a spacecraft launches on a mission to another planet it must first break free of the Earth’s gravitational field. Once it has done that, it enters interplanetary space, where the dominant force is the gravitational field of the Sun.
Ion drive versus chemical rocket This is a simple comparison to show the difference in fuel efficiency and performance between conventional chemical rocket thrusters and ion thrusters.
Searching for planets with life This animation shows how ESA plans to search for Earth-like planets in other solar systems, with space missions currently in development. It may be possible to find signs that these planets can host life, at least, as we know it.
Where is Cassini now? This animation shows the journey, key events and current position of the NASA/ESA/ASI Cassini spacecraft. The ESA Huygens probe is now on Titan.
Rosetta's journey An animation of Rosetta's 12-year journey, which began in February 2004, with an Ariane 5 launch from Kourou in French Guiana. It performs three fly-bys of Earth and one fly-by of Mars, reaching the comet in 2014.
Where is Mars Express now? This animation shows the current position of ESA's Mars Express, now at Mars.
Last update: 12 April 2012