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ESA moving forward with plans to explore exoplanets by end of 2020s

ESA moving forward with plans to explore exoplanets by end of 2020s

Science
Nov. 12 (UPI) -- The European Space Agency said Thursday it's moving forward with an ambitious mission to study exoplanets and plans to start by the end of the decade. ESA said it will choose a contractor to build a state-of-the-art spacecraft that can study various exoplanets for composition and clues as to how they evolved. Advertisement The studies are part of the ESA's Ariel mission, which it says will launch in 2029. Ariel, short for Atmospheric Remote-sensing Infrared Exoplanet Large-survey mission, will be the first to attempt to measure chemical composition and thermal structures of distant exoplanets. "Ariel will enable planetary science far beyond the boundaries of our own solar system," Gunther Hasinger, ESA director of science, said in a statement. "The adoption of Ariel ceme...
UK robot 'to pave way for humans to explore Mars'

UK robot 'to pave way for humans to explore Mars'

Technology
Work has started in Britain on building on a robot vehicle that will be sent to look for life on Mars. The European Space Agency's Mars rover is being constructed in Stevenage with the aim of exploring the Martian surface in 2021.It has a drill to probe up to two metres under the surface of Mars and has instruments on board that can examine the samples it finds.The 300kg robot vehicle is capable of travelling 2cm a second for at least 90 days, but scientists hope it will remain active for as long as the latest American rover Curiosity, which landed in August 2012 and is still exploring. Image: An artist's impression of the ExoMars rover on the Red Planet's surface. Pic: ESA Liz Seward, senior strategist ...
UK space probe to explore Mercury's mysteries

UK space probe to explore Mercury's mysteries

Technology
A British-built spacecraft is set to blast off from Earth bound for Mercury, the scorching planet closest to the sun. BepiColombo, the European Space Agency's (Esa) first mission to Mercury, will send two probes to explore the planet where surface temperatures reach 450C.The four-tonne spacecraft will be launched into orbit by Esa's rocket Ariane 5 from the European spaceport at Kourou, French Guiana, on 20 October.It will then make a 5.2bn mile (8.5bn km) journey over seven years to reach its destination by 2025. Image: NASA's Messenger probe orbited Mercury from 2011 to 2015, taking photos of the surface The spacecraft will then deploy the Mercury Planetary Orbiter (MPO), built by satellite-maker Airbus Space a...
Microbots capable of sensing environs could explore intestines, pipelines

Microbots capable of sensing environs could explore intestines, pipelines

Science
July 23 (UPI) -- Engineers at MIT have designed tiny, new robots capable of sensing their surroundings. The microbots, roughly the size of a human egg cell, could be used to explore hard-to-reach passageways, like the human intestines or a gas pipeline. Scientists designed the tiny robots by coupling electric circuitry to colloids, a mixture feating insoluble particles so small they never settle in water or air. Colloid particles always remains dispersed. "We wanted to figure out methods to graft complete, intact electronic circuits onto colloidal particles," Michael Strano, a professor of chemical engineering, told MIT News. Researchers have previously tried to turn small particles or molecules into robots, but scientists have mostly focused their efforts on improving the mobility of mi...