After undocking from the Space Station on Saturday, Discovery was cleared for landing after a last inspection revealed no signs of damage to the spacecraft. A three minute de-orbit burn at 14:07 CEST (12:07 UT) started the Shuttle's descent to Florida.
The touchdown at KSC marks the end of a successful 13-day mission to the ISS – and confirms the return-to-flight of the Space Shuttle, after more than three years of uncertainty following the loss of Columbia in February 2003.
During the mission, the STS-121 crew delivered supplies, scientific experiments and spare parts, as well as a third crewmember to the International Space Station. Shortly after arrival at the Station, ESA astronaut Thomas Reiter officially joined the Expedition 13 crew as Flight Engineer 2 when his Soyuz seatliner was installed in the Soyuz TMA-8 at 21:13 CEST (19:13 UT) on 6 July, marking the start of ESA's first long-duration mission to the ISS.
Thomas Reiter becomes the first non-US, non-Russian astronaut to join an Expedition crew on orbit. As Flight Engineer, he will be in charge of vital tasks regarding ISS guidance and control, environmental control and life support systems, power control and communications, crew health & safety and extra-vehicular activities.
On 3 August, Reiter is due to become the first ESA astronaut to perform a spacewalk from the International Space Station. In addition, he will operate research facilities on board to support the ongoing international science programme.
Among his science activities, he will conduct a series of experiments devised by European scientists for ESA’s Astrolab Mission. These will include investigations in the field of human physiology and psychology, microbiology, plasma physics and radiation dosimetry. He will also perform technology demonstrations and conduct industrial and educational experiments for universities and primary/secondary schools.
Jean Coisne | alfa
Hope to discover sure signs of life on Mars? New research says look for the element vanadium
22.09.2017 | University of Kansas
22.09.2017 | Forschungszentrum MATHEON ECMath
Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.
A warming planet
Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.
The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...
Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...
Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!
When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...
For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.
Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...
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22.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy