Antarctica is just one of several 'space analogues', or environments that can be used to mimic elements of spaceflight on Earth. In 'Home Alone', we look at history of these studies and how ESA is using these environments to prepare its astronauts and trainers for the real thing.
Nestled beside the dunes of Noordwijk, on the Netherlands' North Sea coast, is ESTEC - the European Space Research and Technology Centre - the largest space centre in Europe. But did you know that the decision to locate ESTEC in the Netherlands was made half a century ago this year, in April 1962·
Celebrating 50 years of bringing space missions to life, 'ESTEC: ESA's Technical Heart' looks at the planning and development of the facility itself, which began in earnest on 1 January 1963. From designs drawn up in a garden house in Delft 50 years ago, ESTEC has become not only ESA's space hub, but also an essential part of the local economy and the Dutch knowledge and innovation infrastructure.
Launched in 2009, SMOS, standing for Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity, is observing key elements of Earth's water cycle. SMOS is the second Earth Explorer Opportunity mission to be developed as part of ESA's Living Planet Programme.
After three years in space, SMOS is in very good shape and the number and variety of applications of ESA's water mission have exceeded expectations. In 'SMOS Over Land', we look at how new data products have been opening the door for more novel applications.
The full archive of Bulletins is also available at ESA's Publications web site, www.esa.int/publications.