FEATURE: ESPRESSO transforms VLT into today’s largest optical telescope
ESPRESSO is being developed and built for ESO (first light in 2017) by a consortium of 4 countries, including Portugal through the IA. The IA is involved in ESPRESSO since its conception, with one Co-PI of the project. ESPRESSO is currently in the procurement and construction phase. The Portuguese participation is fully assured by IA, including scientific and technological aspects (IA is responsible for the CoudÃ© Train component, including design, procurement, and implementation). The key science goals of the consortium are to use this new-generation spectrograph to search for rocky extra-solar planets in the habitable zone of nearby stars and to determine the possible variability of physical constants. The consortium will be granted more than 270 nights of observations with the VLT to accomplish its scientific goals.
More than 20 years after its launch, one of the main objectives of…
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Tiangong-1, the first chinese space station (actually, a prototype) will descend gradually in the coming weeks, and the space laboratory will eventually be destroyed by heat in Earth’s atmosphere around March.
Chinese scientists say it will be a safe process with no risk to structures or humans. However, the different statements made over the laste months make us wonder even about the crashing site. Sometimes it’s Portugal and Spain, other mention India…
Harvard astrophysicist Jonathan McDowell, among others, has noted that parts of the craft such as the rocket engines are probably too dense to be burnt up upon re-entry and may result in chunks of debris up 100 kg in weight falling to the Earth’s surface, with little possibility of predicting where they may crash.
Tiangong-1 (Heavenly Palace-1 or Sky Palace-1, in English) is China’s first prototype space station, serving as both a manned laboratory and an experimental test bed to demonstrate orbital rendezvous and docking…
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