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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
Published: 23 May 2016
Since the early 1990s almost 2000 planets have been detected outside our solar system. These discoveries led to a new area of universe sciences which is rapidly expanding. Astronomers are currently searching for extra-solar planets using a huge array of telescopes and instruments. Funded by the ERC, Prof. Cardoso Santos team has developed new tools to be used in both ground and space-based facilities, to detect and study these planets.
Published: 5 April 2016
If we ever want to put down roots beyond our home planet, we will need a way to grow food out there. Pre-packaged meals will only get us so far. The EDEN ISS project has set out on a four-year mission dedicated to plant cultivation on the International Space Station. Its work could help to remove one of the barriers standing between us and thriving colonies on Mars.
Published: 2 February 2016
When we look at galaxies far, far away, we don't see them as they are today. We see them as they were a long time ago, because their light takes a while to reach us. These images could easily fade on their epic journey, but "natural telescopes" in their path enable astronomers to study some of these postcards from the distant past.
Published: 20 November 2015
Today's most ambitious planetary and lunar exploratory missions pin their hopes on rovers to capture scientific data. Getting the rover to move around is complex and can rely among other technologies, on a harmonic drive. Crucial to positioning, this special gear is light in weight, compact and accurate.
Published: 9 November 2015
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