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Despite being essential to life on Earth, the magnetic field isn’t something we can actually see in itself, or ever hear. However, magnetic signals measured by ESA’s Swarm satellite mission were converted into sound – with a pretty scary result.

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As the world’s space agencies prepare to return to the Moon and explore the planets, space materials engineers have been getting to grips with a challenging enemy: dust. The abrasive, talcum-like dust enshrouding the Moon and other planetary surfaces can obscure surfaces, wear away at coatings and clog space mechanisms.

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ESA’s Navigation Directorate is planning a new satellite whose results will enable the generation of an updated global model of Earth – the International Terrestrial Reference Frame, employed for everything from land surveying to measuring sea level rise – with an accuracy down to 1 mm, while tracking ground motion of just 0.1 mm per year.

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Ariane 6, the new heavy-lift launch system being developed by the European Space Agency (ESA), will make its inaugural flight as soon as the fourth quarter of 2023. Briefing media, Director General Josef Aschbacher said sufficient progress had been made over the past several months to anticipate a Q4 2023 first flight, pending the realisation of three key milestones before April next year.

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We have now discovered 30 039 near-Earth asteroids in the Solar System – rocky bodies orbiting the Sun on a path that brings them close to Earth’s orbit. The majority of these were discovered in the last decade, showing how our ability to detect potentially risky asteroids is rapidly improving.

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