Earth from Space is presented by Kelsea Brennan-Wessels from the ESA Web TV virtual studios. With the Chinese calendar rolling over into a new year, the Sentinel-2 mission offers us a view of the country’s capital in this edition.

See also http://www.esa.int/spaceinimages/Images/2018/02/Beijing to download the image.


ESA astronaut Luca Parmitano sends his greetings for the 10th anniversary of Europe’s space laboratory Columbus during his winter survival course.

Luca is gearing up for his second mission to the International Space Station in 2019 on a Russian Soyuz spacecraft. All astronauts who fly on a Soyuz do a winter survival course in the forests near Star City, Russia.

When a Soyuz spacecraft lands on Earth support teams are usually at hand within minutes to help the astronauts out of the capsule, but there is always the possibility that the spacecraft module lands in a remote, cold area. As part of standard flight safety astronauts learn to survive in harsh climates while waiting for rescue.

For Luca the course is more of a refresher training than learning new skills, he already survived the training in October 2012 as part of his first mission, called Volare, in 2013.

The training course included getting out of the Soyuz unaided, changing from spacesuits into more winter-friendly garments, signalling for help as pictured here, building a shelter out of the spacecraft parachute and wood, building a fire and providing first aid.

The Columbus laboratory ascended to orbit aboard Space Shuttle Atlantis from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, USA on 7 February 2008. Nestling in the spaceplane’s cargo bay was Columbus.

On 11 February, the crew on the International Space Station captured the new arrival. At that moment, Columbus became Europe’s first permanent human outpost in orbit and Europe became a full partner of the International Space Station.

Columbus houses as many disciplines as possible in a small volume, from astrobiology to solar science through metallurgy and psychology – more than 225 experiments have been carried out during this remarkable decade. Countless papers have been published drawing conclusions from experiments performed in Columbus.

Follow Luca and his adventures in space and on Earth via http://lucaparmitano.esa.int

More about Columbus here: http://www.esa.int/Columbus

Credits: GCTC/roscosmos/ESA


With the ongoing 2018 Winter Olympics, the Copernicus Sentinel-2 mission takes us over the host city of Pyeongchang in South Korea. Pyeongchang is about 180 km southeast of Seoul and nestles in the Taebaek Mountains. The animation shows the sites of several events such as the Olympic Stadium – where the opening and closing ceremonies will be held – and the Sliding Centre where athletes will compete in bobsleigh and luge.
This image was captured on 30 January 2018.

Go to our website to download the animation: http://www.esa.int/spaceinvideos/Videos/2018/02/Winter_Olympics

Credits: contains modified Copernicus Sentinel data (2018), processed by ESA


Ginevra Favole is an ESAC research fellow working on the large-scale structures of the universe. Her main scientific field is emission-line galaxies, galaxy clustering and weak gravitational lensing. She also works with mock catalogues and N-body cosmological simulations.

Go to https://www.cosmos.esa.int/web/esac-science-faculty/home to learn more.


Maggie Lieu is an ESAC research fellow working on Euclid, a visible and near-infrared space telescope due to launch in 2021. By measuring the shapes of distant galaxies we can determine the mass of the largest systems in the Universe, galaxy clusters. Euclid will achieve unprecedented shape measurements of galaxies covering almost half of the extragalactic sky.Maggie is developing statistical methods to deal with this upcoming big, noisy dataset, so that we can better understand the physics of galaxy clusters and their role in the Dark Universe.

Go to https://www.cosmos.esa.int/web/esac-science-faculty/home to learn more.


Bruno Altieri coordinates the research fellowship programme at the European Space Astronomy Centre (ESAC).He also works as archive and instrument scientist on the Euclid mission, to be launched in 2021 to map the dark universe.His main scientific field is galaxy clusters, gravitational lensing and deep multi-wavelength surveys.

Go to https://www.cosmos.esa.int/web/esac-science-faculty/home to learn more.


On 7 February 2018, 10 years to the day that Europe’s Columbus space laboratory was launched to the International Space Station, 20 lucky clubbers got a taste of weightlessness – not to conduct gravity-free science but to party with superstar DJs Steve Aoki, W&W and Le Shuuk.

Taking off from Frankfurt airport and organised by BigCityBeats, the WORLD CLUB DOME project served as a teaser party for a bigger event on Earth in June. The aircraft flew up and down angled at 45º – at the top of the curve the passengers and experiments experience around 20 seconds of microgravity. Before and after the weightless period, increased gravity of up to 2 g is part of the ride.

ESA astronauts Pedro Duque and Jean-Francois Clervoy joined the weightless flight and provided background and safety tips to the DJs and party-goers.

The aircraft was on loan from its usual airport in Bordeaux, France, where it is used for scientific research and testing equipment for spaceflight. These flights are the only way to test microgravity with humans without going through lengthy astronaut-training and flights to the International Space Station. For this reason, parabolic flights are often used to validate space instruments and train astronauts before spaceflight.

ESA’s parabolic flight campaigns for science and technology investigations are generally performed twice a year, in spring and autumn.

ESA, Fraport Frankfurt and the City of Frankfurt and BigCityBeats combined a fascination of science with the joy and fun of dancing in this world’s-first flight.

More about ESA’s parabolic flights: http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Human_Spaceflight/Research/Parabolic_flights

This event was the official pre-party to the BigCityBeats WORLD CLUB DOME "The Hollywood Edition" taking place 1/2/3 June 2018 in Frankfurt. More info via http://www.worldclubdome.com

Credit: BigCityBeats/WorldClubDome


Earth from Space is presented by Kelsea Brennan-Wessels from the ESA Web TV virtual studios. In this edition, Sentinel-3 takes us over the Atlantic Ocean close to Spain and Portugal where the sky features criss-cross tracks from ships.

See also http://www.esa.int/spaceinimages/Images/2018/02/Atlantic_ship_tracks to download the image.


NASA astronaut Joe Acaba on the International Space Station celebrates 10 years of the European space laboratory Columbus in orbit with a greeting and blowing out a digital candle on the educational computer Astro Pi.

Aboard the Columbus laboratory are two specially equipped Raspberry Pi computers, called Astro Pis. They are there to run code written by children and teenagers.

The Columbus laboratory ascended to orbit aboard Space Shuttle Atlantis from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, USA on 7 February 2008. Nestling in the spaceplane’s cargo bay was Columbus.

On 11 February, the crew on the International Space Station captured the new arrival. At that moment, Columbus became Europe’s first permanent human outpost in orbit and Europe became a full partner of the International Space Station.

Columbus houses as many disciplines as possible in a small volume, from astrobiology to solar science through metallurgy and psychology – more than 225 experiments have been carried out during this remarkable decade. Countless papers have been published drawing conclusions from experiments performed in Columbus.

More about Columbus here: http://www.esa.int/Columbus


ESA's Automated Transfer Vehicles (ATV) served the International Space Station with five launches over six years following its 2008 debut.

ATVs delivered more than 31 500 kg of supplies over the course of their five missions. They boosted the Station to raise its orbit numerous times and similarly moved it out of the way of space debris.

The vehicles demonstrated European mastering of automated docking, a technology that is vital for further space exploration.

ATV was conceived in 1987, when ideas for an international space station to succeed Russia’s Mir complex were beginning to surface. In 1994, ESA and Russia discussed the possibility of using the vehicle for a new station. The decision to build it was taken in October 1995 and development began the following year.

The ATV programme was part of a barter arrangement between ESA and its international partners through which ESA pays its share of the running costs of the International Space Station by supplying vital equipment and systems.

The knowledge gained by ESA and European industry from designing, building and operating the complex ATV missions has been instrumental for ESA’s participation in NASA’s Orion spacecraft that will fly astronauts to the Moon and beyond.


Looking at a decade of European science on the International Space Station with the Columbus laboratory.

Columbus houses as many disciplines as possible in a small volume, from astrobiology to solar science through metallurgy and psychology – more than 227 experiments have been carried out during this remarkable decade. Countless papers have been published drawing conclusions from experiments performed in Columbus.

From circadian rhythms and new temperature sensors to edible algae as astronaut food through running experiments to grow crystals and investigate processes in a pure environment without gravity interfering with the process – Columbus helping scientists push the boundaries of what is possible and increase our knowledge for life on Earth.

More about Columbus:
http://www.esa.int/columbus


From building to liftoff and installation, these images show the making of European space lab Columbus and its daily use for out-of-this-world research.

Like the transatlantic voyages that Christopher Columbus made half a millennium ago, the Columbus module was meticulously planned, budgeted, scrapped and redesigned before getting the official blessing to build, ship and launch.

The laboratory ascended to orbit aboard Space Shuttle Atlantis from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, USA on 7 February 2008. Nestling in the spaceplane’s cargo bay, Columbus was accompanied by a seven-man crew.

On 11 February, the crew on the International Space Station captured the new arrival. At that moment, Columbus became Europe’s first permanent human outpost in orbit and Europe became a full partner of the International Space Station.

Columbus houses as many disciplines as possible in a small volume, from astrobiology to solar science through metallurgy and psychology – more than 225 experiments have been carried out during this remarkable decade. Countless papers have been published drawing conclusions from experiments performed in Columbus.

More about Columbus here: esa.int/Columbus


ESA astronaut Andreas Mogensen narrates this re-edited video on the inspiring endeavours of human spaceflight and how it changes our daily lives.

Andreas covers the first flight in Earth-orbit and the permanent inhabitation of space on the International Space Station to future exploration of our Solar System – and how these events inspired his work as an engineer and later astronaut.

The video touches on the amazing research done in space and for space and the technological impact this has making life on Earth better.


On 7 February 2008, Space Shuttle Atlantis launched to the International Space Station. In its cargo bay, ESA’s laboratory module Columbus. Now for a decade Columbus has been a part of the ISS. It is the place where ESA astronauts have done countless experiments in microgravity and the scientific importance of the module can hardly be overstated.

Join us live from ESA’s technical heart in the Netherlands on 7 February for the celebration of the 10th anniversary of the Columbus laboratory and the launch of the first Automated Transfer Vehicle. Details: http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Human_Spaceflight/Columbus/Live_celebrating_10_years_of_European_space_science


ESA's XMM-Newton has spotted surprising changes in the powerful streams of gas from two massive stars in the binary star system HD 5980. One of the two stars had a major outburst reminiscent of the 19th-century eruption of Eta Carinae, and astronomers expected that its X-ray emission would fade gently over the years. Instead, they found the pair was two and a half times brighter than a decade earlier, and its X-ray emission was even more energetic, suggesting that colliding stellar winds don’t behave as expected.

Full story: Stellar winds behaving unexpectedly - http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Space_Science/Stellar_winds_behaving_unexpectedly

Music: David Hilowitz – CC BY-NC 4.0