OK, our next caller is… from Mars!

It is midnight on 1 January 2004 and you want to send a greeting on your mobile phone to a friend. Sorry, the line is too busy, try again later. If you think you are alone with this problem, you are wrong.

Space agencies have had to work out ingenious solutions to prevent similar ‘engaged, call later’ tones from happening on Mars. For the first time, there will be seven spacecraft on the Red Planet at the same time. Will they all be able to ‘phone home’?

Read more at:

Successful Inter-satellite Communications Experiment

The National Space Development Agency of Japan (NASDA) conducted for the first time the inter-satellite communications experiment between the Data Relay Test Satellite (DRTS), Kodama*1, and the Advanced Earth Observing Satellite II (ADEOS-II), Midori-II*2, and successfully transmitted the real-time imagery of earth surface taken by Midori-II in the sky where Japan cannot make a direct communication via Kodama in the geostationary orbit to the Earth Observation Center.
Continue reading

Opportunities for students in 2003

Students interested in space science and technology might like to check out ESA’s education site to see what activities are new or ongoing in 2003.

One of the valuable opportunities for students is the chance to take part in the 2003 annual congress of the International Astronautical Federation (IAF). Last year, under its Student Participation Programme, ESA sponsored 220 students to take part in the IAF Congress held in Houston, Texas.

Read more at:

Eyeing orbits from a new perspective – your PC

Ever wonder where your favourite ESA Earth observation satellites are, right now?

Now that curiosity can be satisfied from your PC, thanks to ESA’s Satellites in Orbits website and the new addition of its Earth observation missions. The Earth Observation Orbits site displays real-time information and animations about the orbital tracks and current locations of ESA’s four Earth imaging satellites that were launched to help us better understand our own planet.

Read more at:


In the early morning hours of Nov. 15, 1953, an amateur astronomer in Oklahoma photographed what he believed to be a massive, white-hot fireball of vaporized rock rising from the center of the moon’s face. If his theory was right, Dr. Leon Stuart would be the first and only human in history to witness and document the impact of an asteroid-sized body impacting the moon’s scarred exterior.
Continue reading

International Living With a Star programme

ESA is providing the first chairman for the International Living With A Star (ILWS) programme. ILWS is an unprecedented initiative in which space agencies worldwide are getting together to investigate how variations in the Sun affect the environment of Earth and the other planets, in the short and long term. In particular, ILWS will concentrate on those aspects of the Sun-Earth system that may affect mankind and society. It is a major collaborative initiative between Europe, the United States, Russia, Japan, and Canada.
Continue reading

Columbia Failure investigation technical update

The Columbia Accident Investigation Board (CAIB), chaired by retired Admiral Harold Gehman, has taken over full responsibility for the investigation, with support from a number of boards and expert groups. It has visited the Johnson Space Center, Kennedy Space Center, Marshall Space Flight Center and the Michoud facility (Louisiana) where the external tanks of the Shuttle are fabricated and assembled.
Continue reading