One and a half year after its launch in October 2018, the BepiColombo spacecraft has performed an Earth flyby on April 10, 2020, so as to reach Venus on its way to an orbital insertion around Mercury end of 2025. BepiColombo is the first European mission using ionic propulsion, which makes it possible to implement major changes in the trajectory with a limited impact on the mass budget.
During the Mercury transit on November the 11th, 2019, IAS researchers and the ALCOR astronomy club will organize an afternoon with observations of the Sun, conferences, and workshops. This event will take place on the University campus at the new physics teaching building, "hbar" (building 625).
« Hello, JUICE ? - Hi MAJIS, nice to meet you ! Let’s have fun ! ;-) »: This is the first message that ADS (Airbus Defense and Space), prime contractor of the ESA JUICE satellite, sent to the MAJIS (Moons And Jupiter Imaging Spectrometer) team, hence validating the EM (Engineering Model) stage of the MAJIS spacecraft.
The “Planetary and Solar System Sciences” Division of EGU (European Geophysical Union) has awarded to John Carter, associate astronomer at IAS, its 2019 “Oustanding Early Career Scientist” medal for his discoveries on the composition of the martian surface, in particular hydrated minerals and their implications on the climate history of Mars, and for his contributions to the interpretation of orbital spectral data.
This critical operation, performed on February 22, 2019, constituted the most complex and risky part of the ISAS/JAXA Japanese mission: it required to bring the entire spacecraft in contact with the surface of Ryugu, entirely covered with boulders of all sizes. Its success demonstrates and translates an extraordinary and unique control of space operations by ISAS/JAXA engineers. A second sample collection could be performed in a few months, prior to the return to Earth: Hayabusa2 should leave Ryugu in December 2019, to land on Earth a year later. Our laboratories should thus get in 2021 samples collected at the very surface of one of the most ancient solar system objects, rich in particular of organics which might have played a major role in the evolution towards life on Earth.