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This image from Sentinel-1A’s radar on 11 July shows Tokyo Bay in Japan.

Tokyo’s centre lies mainly south of the Arakawa River. Other visible rivers on this image are the Edo River to its north and the Tama River just to its south, with all three streaming into Tokyo Bay. At the mouth of the Tama River we can see the runways of Haneda Airport.

Note the difference between the area northwest of Tokyo Bay – where bright radar reflections show dense construction – and its southeastern opposite. This area with an overall brownish colour is the site of the Minami-Bōsō Quasi-National Park.

Greater Tokyo is home to nearly 38 million people, making it the world’s largest ‘megacity’ (a metropolitan area with more than 10 million people). Today, there are over 30 megacities across the globe.

Urban areas are home to over half of the world’s population, and are rapidly changing environments. As more people move from rural areas to cities, this growth needs to be monitored to help it proceed on a sustainable basis.

Observations based on high-resolution satellite data provide essential information for city planning and for the sustainable development of urban regions. They can be used to monitor air pollution, water availability and extreme temperatures.

Radar in particular can be used to monitor slight ground movements down to a few millimetres –valuable information for urban planners. 

This image is featured on the Earth from Space video programme.

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The Soyuz TMA-15M spacecraft is rolled out by train, on 21 November 2014, from the MIK 40 integration facility to the Baikonur Cosmodrome launch pad 31, in Kazakhstan.

The launch of the Soyuz rocket to the International Space Station (ISS) with Expedition 42/43 ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti, Roscosmos commander Anton Shkaplerov and Terry Virts of NASA, is scheduled on 23 November at 20:59 GMT (21:59 CET).

Samantha was assigned to the Futura mission more than two years ago and has travelled the world training on all the elements of the most complex machine ever built: the International Space Station. She learnt how to control the Station’s robotic arms, how to handle any emergency and how to perform all the scientific experiments she will run for the scientists on Earth.

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Canadian space engineers are hoping private funding can fuel a robotic rocket to Mars

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Canadian space engineers are hoping private funding can fuel a robotic rocket to Mars

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Rosetta made history by delivering the Philae lander to the surface of a comet. This film covers the exciting events at the Rosetta mission control room at the European Space Operations Centre at Darmstadt, in Germany, from the moment of touchdown on 12 November to Philae’s hibernation.

It shows the celebrations and explains the race against time to ensure that the lander’s science experiments were completed before its batteries died. It also covers the extraordinary three touchdowns, as imaged by the OSIRIS camera on the Rosetta orbiter, the discovery of organics and Philae’s hibernation.

It contains soundbites in English with: Andrea ACCOMAZZO, Rosetta Flight Director, ESA (A-roll and B-roll), Stephan ULAMEC, Philae Lander manager, DLR (A-roll and B-roll), Jean-Jacques DORDAIN, Director ESA (A-roll), James Green, Head of Planetary Science, NASA (A-roll and B-roll), David Parker, Director UK Space Agency (A-roll and B-roll), Klim Churyumov (A-roll).

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Earth from Space is presented by Kelsea Brennan-Wessels from the ESA Web-TV virtual studios. The one hundred twenty-fourth edition features A Sentinel-1A radar image of Tokyo Bay.

See also Earth from Space: Tokyo Bay, Japan to download the image.

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This second video in the ‘Journey to the International Space Station’ series follows the Soyuz capsule from Earth orbit to docking  with the Space Station. Featuring interviews with ESA astronauts Luca Parmitano, Frank De Winne and Paolo Nespoli, and an introduction by Alexander Gerst, it includes unique footage taken from inside the Soyuz spacecraft.

Produced by the ESA Human Spaceflight and Operations Astronaut Training Division in Cologne, Germany, in collaboration with the Human Spaceflight and Operations Strategic Planning and Outreach Office in Noordwijk, The Netherlands.

Narration: Bernard Oattes
Technical experts: Stephane Ghiste, Dmitriy Churkin
Content design: Stephane Ghiste, Dmitriy Churkin, Matthew Day, Celena Dopart
Animation: Nelson Steinmetz, Yannis Nourrisson
Video editing: Celena Dopart, Andrea Conigli
Project coordination: Matthew Day

Special thanks to:
NASA
Roscosmos
Frank De Winne
Paolo Nespoli
Luca Parmitano
Alexander Gerst
Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum

Also watch:
Journey to the ISS Part 1: The Soyuz launch sequence explained
Journey to the ISS Part 3: Soyuz undocking, reentry and landing explained

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This mosaic comprises four individual NAVCAM images taken from 42.0 km from the centre of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko on 17 November 2014. The image resolution is 3.6 m/pixel and thus each original 1024 x 1024 pixel frame measured 3.7 km across. The mosaic has been slightly rotated and cropped, and measures roughly 5.0 x 4.1 km. 

The four individual images making up the mosaic are available via the blog: Cometwatch – 17 November

This work is licenced under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 IGO (CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO) licence. The user is allowed to reproduce, distribute, adapt, translate and publicly perform this publication, without explicit permission, provided that the content is accompanied by an acknowledgement that the source is credited as ‘European Space Agency – ESA’, a direct link to the licence text is provided and that it is clearly indicated if changes were made to the original content. Adaptation/translation/derivatives must be distributed under the same licence terms as this publication. To view a copy of this license, please visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/igo/

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NASA has selected Orbital Sciences Corporation of Dulles, Virginia, to provide launch services for the Ionospheric Connection Explorer (ICON) mission.

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On Nov. 20, 2004, NASA’s Swift spacecraft lifted off aboard a Boeing Delta II rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., beginning its mission to study gamma-ray bursts and identify their origins. Gamma-ray bursts are the most luminous explosions in the cosmos. Most are thought to be triggered when the core of a massive star runs out of nuclear fuel, collapses under its own weight, and forms a black hole. The black hole then drives jets of particles that drill all the way through the collapsing star and erupt into space at nearly the speed of light.

Astronomers at NASA and Pennsylvania State University used Swift to create the most detailed ultraviolet light surveys ever of the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds, the two closest major galaxies. Nearly a million ultraviolet sources appear in this mosaic of the Large Magellanic Cloud, which was assembled from 2,200 images taken by Swift’s Ultraviolet/Optical Telescope (UVOT) and released on June 3, 2013. The 160-megapixel image required a cumulative exposure of 5.4 days. The image includes light from 1,600 to 3,300 angstroms — UV wavelengths largely blocked by Earth’s atmosphere — and has an angular resolution of 2.5 arcseconds at full size. The Large Magellanic Cloud is about 14,000 light-years across.

Viewing in the ultraviolet allows astronomers to suppress the light of normal stars like the sun, which are not very bright at such higher energies, and provides a clearer picture of the hottest stars and star-formation regions. No telescope other than UVOT can produce such high-resolution wide-field multicolor surveys in the ultraviolet.

Pennsylvania State University manages the Swift Mission Operations Center, which controls Swift’s science and flight operations. Goddard manages Swift, which was launched in November 2004. The satellite is operated in collaboration with Penn State, the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico and Orbital Sciences Corp. in Dulles, Va. International collaborators are in the United Kingdom and Italy, and the mission includes contributions from Germany and Japan.

Image Credit: NASA/Swift/S. Immler (Goddard) and M. Siegel (Penn State)

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