Massimo Luciani

Four image montage of pictures of the comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko taken by the space probe Rosetta (Image ESA/Rosetta/NAVCAM)

During the past weekend, ESA’s space probe Rosetta has taken a new flyby about 14 kilometers (about 8.6 miles) away from the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. This means that it hasnt come as close as in February, however, the comet’s increasing activity caused some problems in Rosetta. Among the consequences, it had serious difficulties in communicating with ESA’s mission control.

The Planck all-sky map at submillimetre wavelengths with the protoclusters indicated as black dots. The inset images showcase some of the observations made by Herschel’s SPIRE instrument (Image ESA and the Planck Collaboration/ H. Dole, D. Guéry & G. Hurier, IAS/University Paris-Sud/CNRS/CNES)

An article published in the journal “Astronomy & Astrophysics” describes the results of a research carried out by combining the observations made with ESA’s Herschel and Planck space telescopes. The purpose was to find protoclusters, the precursors of today’s galaxy clusters seen in the distant past when the universe was only three billion years. This will help to understand how these huge groups of tens, hundreds and even thousands of galaxies formed and evolved.

Astronaut Scott Kelly with cosmonauts Gennady Padalka and Mikhail Kornienko in front of a model of the Soyuz rocked used for the launch (Photo NASA/Bill Ingalls)

A few hours ago the Soyuz TMA-16M spacecraft blasted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan and after almost exactly six hours reached the International Space Station carrying astronaut Scott Kelly and cosmonauts Gennady Padalka and Mikhail Kornienko. The Soyuz traveled on the fast path normally used.
Generally, the members of the International Space Station crew spend about six months in space, this time there there’s a change because a very special mission lasting one year is starting. Scott Kelly and Mikhail Kornienko will spend a year on the Station to make a series of more in-depth studies on human beings reactions to life in the microgravity of space.