European Space Agency Flickr Update

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Voyage around Earth
17-05-2016 01:31 PM CEST

europeanspaceagency posted a photo:

Voyage around Earth

ESA astronaut Tim Peake took this picture from the International Space Station and commented: “Today the International Space Station completed its 100 000th orbit of our beautiful planet Earth! An amazing feat of science, engineering and international cooperation – congratulations Space Station.”

The odometer was set when the first module, Zarya, was launched on 20 November 1998. Each orbit takes around 90 minutes to complete but relative to Earth the Station moves to the west by around 2200 km each time.

In the Station’s 100 000 circuits it has travelled more than 4.1 billion km. In the 6762 days it has been flying it has coped with the temperature swings of over 10 000 sunrises and sunsets.

Europe’s Columbus module was added to the complex in 2008 and passed its own milestone last month: 26 April 2016 marked its 3000th day of operation in space. The Solar facility on Columbus has been observing the Sun for most of these 3000 days, tracking our star’s output to help understand its influence on our climate.

For researchers on Earth, the Station’s longevity is unique among weightless laboratories. Microgravity experiments can be run closer to home on parabolic flights, but only for 20 seconds at a time.

Credit: ESA/NASA

Cut crater in Memnonia Fossae
17-05-2016 01:31 PM CEST

europeanspaceagency posted a photo:

Cut crater in Memnonia Fossae

An extensive network of fault lines cut through this region of Mars, including one that slices clean through an ancient 52 km-wide crater.

The fault network is likely linked to the formation of the Tharsis Bulge, a region to the east that is home to several large volcanoes, including Olympus Mons.

Vast volumes of lava that erupted from these volcanoes in the past were deposited onto the surface, building up thick layers. The load imposed on the crust by the lava resulted in immense stress, which was later released by the formation of a wide-reaching fault and fracture system.

One 1.5 km-wide ‘graben’ cuts through the crater in this image. It also encounters numerous blocks of material that sit on the otherwise smooth crater floor, reminiscent of chaotic terrain found in many locations on Mars.

The crater has apparently been infilled by other materials, perhaps a mix of lava and wind-blown or fluvial sediments. To the top left of the crater, in particular, the sediments have been shaped into parallel features known as yardangs.

This image was first published on the DLR website on 28 April 2016.

Credit: ESA/DLR/FU Berlin, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO

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