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Space exploration demands high performance on-board computers with low power requirements that can survive the rigours of aggressive radiation. The EU-funded APEX project has developed the advanced technologies needed to design an ultra-reliable processor for future space missions as far away as Saturn and Jupiter.
Published: 11 September 2017
What would it be like to live on Mars? Much like Earth, maybe, in due course - but the pioneers who will one day head out there will face a deeply hostile environment upon arrival. EU-funded researchers have developed a habitat for simulated space missions in suitably challenging locations down here on Earth. It can also support research in extreme conditions.
Published: 11 April 2017
One spacecraft, five years or more, and over a billion stars - ESA's Gaia mission set out in 2013 to produce a three-dimensional map of the Milky Way. It will discover many new celestial objects in the process and provide astronomers with clues as to how our galaxy formed. An EU-funded training network involved 17 early stage researchers in this mission.
Published: 29 June 2016
The TeraComp project has developed a state-of-the-art 'terahertz receiver' that may help detect traces of life in space. The technology could be used in a 'sub-millimetre spectrometer' for measuring wavelengths of light during the first ESA mission to Jupiter's moons, planned for launch in 2022.
Published: 2 October 2015
Thriving settlements on Mars, mining operations on the moon, exploration teams heading out into the universe - humankind may one day be able to establish a presence far beyond its home planet. The EU-funded SR2S project strives to remove one of the main obstacles by developing a magnetic shield to protect astronauts from radiation in deep space.
Published: 18 May 2015
In more than 15 years since the first vehicle drove on the surface of Mars, no rover has had the ability to make its own decisions about where to go and what objects to examine. This has limited rovers' capacity to explore a planet with varied landscapes that include sand dunes, steep cliffs, or valleys deeper than the Grand Canyon. The European Union (EU)-funded project PRoViScout has developed a navigation system that enables a rover to decide on its own which geological features to inspect.
Published: 8 December 2014
Many children dream of becoming an astronaut, yet only a few ever see that dream realised. That may soon change, thanks to the European Union (EU)-funded project, Future High-Altitude High-Speed Transport 20XX (FAST20XX). Run by a European consortium, which was led by the European Space Agency (ESA), the project investigated and developed technologies to conquer the grey zone between aeronautics and space in Europe.
Published: 2 May 2014
Peering into the very depths of the universe gives scientists a better understanding of its origins. Since the speed of light is finite, the objects we are seeing are from the distant past. A recently completed EU-funded project developed not only a new means of measuring these cosmic distances, but also discovered galaxies at the point of their creation.
Published: 2 April 2014
Researchers worked to improve on the robotic vision-processing tools available to explore planet surfaces. When unmanned space missions explore planets they have a limited time frame within which to collect data from surface or aerial vehicles. Improvements to their imaging capabilities can therefore maximise the information that researchers are able to collect from planetary surfaces.
Published: 3 February 2014
A European team of researchers led by the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Switzerland has developed a prototype of a new, ultra-compact motor that will enable small satellites to journey beyond Earth's orbit. The objective of this new motor is to make space exploration less expensive. The result is an outcome of the MICROTHRUST ('Microelectromechanical systems (MEMS)-based electric micropropulsion for small spacecraft to enable robotic space exploration and space science') project, which is supported under the Space Theme of the EU's Seventh Framework Programme (FP7), to the tune of EUR 1.9 million.
NB: This article is more than 4 years old so the information may not be up to date.
Published: 19 April 2012