News Article | May 17, 2017
Red Points, a global leader in brand and copyright protection, will release the latest version of its software-as-a-service platform during the upcoming 2017 INTA Annual Meeting in Barcelona. The updated technology offers innovative business intelligence and analytical tools to Red Points users, along with new features benefitting attorneys and law firms that partner with the company. Based in Barcelona, Red Points is a fast-growing technology company dedicated to fighting intellectual property (IP) infringements online, currently protecting more than 250 companies worldwide. Red Points combines state-of-the-art technology, expert analysts, and an in-house legal team to protect its clients’ intellectual property against the growing scourge of counterfeiting and piracy. The firm detects more than 150,000 IP infringements every month, and removes them from the Internet immediately. The latest version of the Red Points solution reflects the company’s most advanced technological and business approaches to combating IP infringement. Its technology platform introduces new features to the company’s partnership program, which enables attorneys and law firms to provide their clients with full IP protection online by offering them Red Points software and services. For existing Red Points users, the update provides full access to the company’s new analytical tools and business intelligence features, along with an improved user experience with adjustable settings that customize the technology to meet each client’s particular needs. The platform also integrates new monitoring capabilities that constantly watch for infringements on more than 5,000 marketplaces, social apps and websites based on criteria created by the users. Important enhancements have also been made “under the hood,” according to Red Points CEO Laura Urquizu. “We have updated our search algorithms and now offer even faster and more precise results. INTA’s annual meeting gives us the perfect opportunity to showcase our latest developments. We’re very pleased to have this opportunity to demonstrate the way we detect and eliminate online piracy and counterfeits within hours of discovering an issue.” INTA 2017 attendees can visit Red Points at Booth F6. INTA (International Trademark Association) expects to welcome more than 10,000 registrants from around the world to the Fira Gran Via Convention Center in Barcelona for its 139th annual meeting, considered the largest annual intellectual property event worldwide. About Red Points Red Points is a global leader in brand and copyright protection, combining proprietary technology with unmatched legal, technical, and analytical expertise to defend international brands and online content providers against counterfeiting and digital piracy. Red Points is the preferred brand protection partner for prestigious global brands and content owners in the sporting, entertainment, fashion, editorial, design and luxury industries, providing unique services across the entire digital spectrum. The company has been devoted to protecting creativity, innovation, and design since our founding in 2011. To learn more about Red Points, please visit http://www.redpoints.com.
News Article | May 22, 2017
"This innovative product is uniquely placed in the industry to truly ensure maximum value from the portfolio and business transparency. Applicable to all industry sectors, connecting this data and establishing the linkages from a product perspective is invaluable. I'm excited about another innovative product and solution developed by the highly skilled team here at Yerra," notes Nadine Stuttle, Managing Director, Switzerland and senior IP expert at Yerra Solutions. Some of the advantages offered by the Yerra IP Magic Triangle Solution: - Actively manage contractual expiries and renewals in line with IP asset management timelines whilst also reducing risk - Access to in-depth reporting capabilities against the portfolio to ensure maximum value - Ability to view loss of exclusivity and patent expiry per product, and levels of product syntax - Ability to link IP and contractual aspects to all levels of the defined product syntax - Significantly reduces cost and time spent in establishing linkages, as opposed to manually establishing You can learn more about this solution at the INTA Annual Meeting in Booth F28. Yerra serves the operational and technology needs of in-house legal & IP, eDiscovery and compliance organizations. The company's offerings include consulting, managed services and technology solutions that drive operational efficiency and improved outcomes. Yerra is headquartered in Basel, Switzerland with offices in the UK, US, Singapore, Hong Kong and Poland. Learn more at www.yerrasolutions.com. To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/yerra-solutions-launches-its-ip-magic-triangle-solution-at-inta-annual-meeting-in-barcelona-300461232.html
News Article | May 23, 2017
"Alt Legal's docketing software is proof positive of the value of IP automation and data," said Michelle Virzi, Wolters Kluwer's Product Manager for Intellectual Property. "We are pleased to integrate Wolters Kluwer's best-in-market trademark content with Alt Legal's powerful docketing software." "Trademark Navigator from Wolters Kluwer is a go-to resource for trademark professionals. We are excited to offer our customers immediate access to expert trademark content and strategy guides directly in their dockets," said Nehal Madhani, Alt Legal's founder and CEO. IP professionals can immediately take advantage of the Alt Legal/Wolters Kluwer integration by accessing their Alt Legal accounts and enabling Trademark Navigator from Wolters Kluwer. Representatives from Alt Legal and Wolters Kluwer will demonstrate the new collaboration at INTA's annual meeting at booth D84 & D86. Information about the integration can be found at https://www.altlegal.com/wknavigator. To learn more about Trademark Navigator from Wolters Kluwer, visit: https://lrus.wolterskluwer.com/wktmnavigator About Wolters Kluwer Legal & Regulatory U.S. Wolters Kluwer Legal & Regulatory U.S. is part of Wolters Kluwer N.V. (AEX: WKL), a global leader in information services and solutions for professionals in the health, tax and accounting, risk and compliance, finance and legal sectors. We help our customers make critical decisions every day by providing expert solutions that combine deep domain knowledge with specialized technology and services. Wolters Kluwer headquartered in Alphen aan den Rijn, the Netherlands, serves customers in over 180 countries, maintains operations in over 40 countries and employs 19,000 people worldwide. For more information about Wolters Kluwer Legal & Regulatory U.S., visit www.WoltersKluwerLR.com, follow them on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. About Alt Legal Alt Legal, Inc. is a New York-based legal software company started by Nehal Madhani. A former Kirkland & Ellis attorney, Madhani left the top-tier international law firm, taught himself programming, and founded Alt Legal. Alt Legal's intuitive cloud-based software provides automated IP docketing, document assembly, and analysis tools for IP professionals to file and manage trademarks, patents, and copyrights. Am Law firms, premier IP boutiques, and public and private companies trust Alt Legal's software to manage hundreds of thousands of filings every day. Alt Legal automatically updates case statuses and deadlines, seamlessly collects key client details, and instantly generates IP filings. For more information, visit http://www.altlegal.com or follow them on Twitter @altlegalhq. To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/wolters-kluwer-and-alt-legal-announce-collaboration-at-annual-inta-conference-300462341.html
News Article | December 2, 2016
An international team of scientists, with IAC participation, has discovered that the biggest galaxies in the universe develop in cosmic clouds of cold gas. This finding, which was made possible using radio telescopes in Australian and the USA, is being published today in the journal Science. Galaxies are usually grouped into clusters, huge systems comprising up to thousands of millions of these objects, in whose interior are found the most massive galaxies in the universe. Until now scientists believed that these "supergalaxies" formed from smaller galaxies that grow closer and closer together until they merge, due to gravitational attraction. "In the local univers we see galaxies merging" says Bjorn Emonts, the first author of the article and a researcher at the Centro de Astrobiología (CSIC-INTA) in Madrid "and we expected to observe that the formation of supergalaxies took place in the same way, in the early (now distant) universe." To investigate this, telescopes were pointed towards an embryonic galaxy cluster 10 thousand million light years away, in whose interior the giant Spiderweb galaxy is forming, and discovered a cloud of very cold gas where the galaxies were merging. This enormous cloud, with some 100 thousand million times the mass of the Sun, is mainly composed of molecular hydrogen, the basic material from which the stars and the galaxies are formed. Previous studies had discovered the mysterious appearance of thousands of millions of young stars throughout the Spiderweb, and for this reason it is now thought that this supergalaxy condensed directly from the cold gas cloud. Instead of observing the hydrogen directly, they did so using carbon monoxide, a tracer gas which is much easier to detect. "It is surprising", comments Matthew Lehnert, second autor of the article and researcher at the Astrophysics Institute of Paris, "how cold this gas is, at some 200 degrees below zero Celsius. We would have expected a lot of collapsing galaxies, which would have heated the gas, and for that reason we thought that the carbon monoxide would be much more difficult to detect". However, combining the interferometers VLA (Very Large Array) in New Mexico (USA) and the ATCA (Australia Telescope Compact Array) in Australia, they could observe and found that the major fraction of the carbon monoxide was not inthe small galaxies. "With the VLA", explained Helmut Dannerbauer, another of the authors of the article and researcher at the IAC who contributed to the detectoin of the molecular gas, "we can see only the gas in the central galaxy, which is one third of all the carbon monoxide detecte with the ATCA. This latter instrument, which is more sensitive for observing large structures, revealed an area of size 70 kiloparsecs (some 200,000 light years) with carbon monoxide distributed around the big galaxy, in the volumen populated by its smaller neighbours. Thanks to the two interferometers, we discovered the cloud of cosmic gas entangled among them". Ray Norris, another of the authors of the study and researcher at the CSIRO and Western Sydney University underlined that "this finding shows just what we can manage to do from the ground with international collaboration". According to George Miley, a coauthor of the article, and whose group at the University of Leiden (the Netherlands) discovered and studied this embryonic cluster with the Hubble Space Telescope at the end of the 90's: "Spiderweb is an astonishing laboratory, which lets us witness the birth of supergalaxies in the interiors of clusters, which are the "cosmic cities" of the Universe" And he concludes: "We are beginning to understand how these giant objects formed from the ocean of gas which surrounds them". Now it remains to understand the origin of the carbon monoxide. "It is a byproduct of stellar interiors, but we are not sure where it came from, or how it accumulated in the centre of this cluster of galaxies. To know this we will have to look even further back into the history of the universe", concludes Emonts.
News Article | December 21, 2016
This gorgeous image shows this month's full moon, also known as a 'cold moon', seeming to hover above a set of satellite tracking dishes on the campus of the Instituto Nacional de Tecnica Aerospacial (INTA), in the southern part of the Canary Islands' Gran Canaria, at Montaña Blanca. One of the antennas – the 15 m-diameter dish seen at left – is ESA's Maspalomas tracking station, which currently communicates with ESA's Cluster, LISA Pathfinder and XMM-Newton missions. It was captured on 14 December by amateur photographer Claus Vogl, from Fürth, Germany, who writes: "I spent my vacation last week at Gran Canaria. I spotted the ESA site many years ago and always was fascinated by this big antennas facing into space. The entire shooting window for this image was just two minutes. I shot from on top of a little mountain 1.6 kilometres West of the big antenna, just outside a very little village called Montaña la Arena on a narrow dirt road. The camera equipment was a Canon EOS 5D Mark 3 with an EF 70-200/2.8 IS L lens (exposure time 1.0 sec/aperture F5.6/ISO 400)." Explore further: Image: First pass of Echo 1 satellite over the Goldstone Tracking Station
News Article | January 25, 2016
A "selfie" of Philae's foot taken when it landed in November 2014. Image: ESA/Rosetta/Philae/CIVA Philae, the European Space Agency’s comet lander, made history and melted hearts when it touched down on Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko as part of the Rosetta mission in 2014. It didn’t just bring us the closest we’d ever come to a comet; it landed right on it. In all likelihood, Philae is now at permanent rest. Nothing has been heard from the lander since July last year, and last-ditch attempts to communicate with it earlier this month yielded no response. When you’re a comet lander, inability to communicate is pretty much as close as you get to death. “I would say the chances to hear something from Philae are getting very, very low at the moment,” Philae project manager Stephan Ulamec from the German Aerospace Center told me. “This is mainly due to the fact that the situation gets worse every day—the comet is moving away from the Sun so the situation is not improving—and if we do not hear something today, there is little reason why we should hear something tomorrow.” ESA puts Philae’s likely inevitable demise at the end of January, by which point its comet steed will be too far from the Sun’s heat to accommodate the lander’s electronic components. If it’s not already done for, it’ll freeze into silence. An illustration of Philae on the comet (where it was supposed to land). Image: DLR/Wikimedia Exasperatingly, it’s impossible to know Philae’s current status. Matt Taylor, the Rosetta mission’s project scientist, described it as “Schrödinger’s lander.” Like Erwin Schrödinger’s paradoxical cat, it’s impossible to know whether the lander is alive or dead now that we’ve stopped receiving signals. “We just don’t know what state it’s in, because we haven’t communicated with it,” he said. “It could be that it’s perfectly healthy and for some reason the communications aren’t going through… Or, the lander is not functioning and that’s why we haven’t communicated with it.” Philae has had a rough ride from the moment it touched down on 67P. Ulamec, who has been working on Philae since the first proposals were being drawn together over 20 years ago, remembers initial concepts for a surface payload ranging from wild ideas like a giant corkscrew to much more modest surface packages. As more institutions got involved and put forward instruments and experiments for the lander, it evolved into the 100kg fridge-sized Rosetta lander and was named Philae after the obelisk that helped decode the Rosetta Stone. Launched onboard the Rosetta orbiter in 2004, Philae had its starring moment on 12 November 2014, when it made its descent to the comet surface. Laurence O’Rourke, ESA’s Rosetta science operations manager and Philae lander engineer, said the hardest part of preparing to land was the inability to choose a landing spot—they didn’t know what 67P looked like before Rosetta got up there to check it out. “We knew nothing more about the comet’s surface than the fact it was more or less about four kilometres in size, but we hoped there were some flat areas,” said O’Rourke. “You have no information about it.” With only months left before the landing, the scientists got a surprise: the comet was, in Ulamec’s words, “a rubber ducky and not a potato.” Rather than one ovoid rock, 67p had two lobes, the result of two objects colliding billions of years ago. They selected a landing site, Agilkia, on the dusty plain of the ducky’s head. “We had a few months to go from not knowing what this thing looks like to trying to land a fridge onto it,” said Taylor. And land they did, with Philae touching down within 100 metres of the selected site after its 20 km flight. But there was a problem: the harpoons that were meant to fire and anchor the lander to the comet malfunctioned, and the lander bounced—twice—before coming to a stop in an unplanned, rockier location known as Abydos. Philae's descent to the comet. Image: ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA “The harpoons did not fire, so that meant we weren’t able to arrest or stick ourselves to the surface of the comet and we bounced about a kilometre across the surface and ended up actually in a region we would never have dreamed to have been in,” said Taylor. O’Rourke said the harpoons had shown problems before when they were tested after spending time in a vacuum chamber. “When they were tested, we had an issue with firing the harpoons,” he said. So the engineers changed the way they were fired. “What happens? They didn’t fire,” said O’Rourke. “Was there anything we could do about it? Well, we did all we could; it’s just he way it is.” In those few hours Philae was bouncing, O’Rourke, who was at the lander control center, said he wasn’t worried. “There’s an expression, ‘Where there’s life there’s hope,’” he said. “While we were getting the signal from the lander, everything was fine in principle.” Bumpy landing or not, there was no questioning the historic moment: for the first time, a spacecraft had successfully landed on a comet. The news met with the kind of media frenzy usually reserved for human spaceflight. Both Taylor and O’Rourke offer a glass-half-full take on the lander’s unexpected relocation. “We ended up somewhere much more interesting,” said Taylor, noting that the environment was less dusty than the planned site, giving better access to the materials just under the comet surface. “And also, because we did this traverse across the surface of the comet, we did more science than we would have been able to if we had stayed in one place.” Despite its precarious position, the lander was able to collect a ton of data in its first science sequence over two and a half days. While Rosetta observes the comet from orbit, Philae was intended to get a ground zero view by “scratching and sniffing” up close. Taylor gave a few examples of observations Philae made: The Cometary Sampling and Composition (COSAC) instrument analysed samples of the comet’s materials and found four organic compounds never before detected on a comet; the Comet Infrared and Visible Analyser (CIVA) panoramic camera imaged 67P’s cracked surface up close, revealing how gas could escape from the comet to generate the outer coma; and a hammer tool that made up part of the Multi Purpose Sensors for Surface and Subsurface Science (MUPUS) instrument found that the surface at the lander’s new location was significantly harder than expected for the landing. “It may have been that the harpoons wouldn’t have gone through anyway,” said Taylor, conceding that he liked to see the optimistic side of events. The only instrument that didn’t function properly was the drill. Researchers left this until last, concerned that it could dislodge Philae from its still largely unknown perch and tip it over. The drill deployed fine, but did not manage to collect a sample. Nevertheless, the science sequence was overall a resounding success: it collected 80 percent of the planned data. An image taken by Philae's CIVA instrument in the first science phase. Image: ESA/Rosetta/Philae/CIVA But Philae’s detour took its toll. The onboard battery was only designed to last for the first science sequence, after which the scientists hoped the lander’s solar arrays would provide more power. Wedged next to a cliff, however, Philae wasn’t in a good position for sunbathing. Three days after landing, it fell silent. The way the researchers tell it, the mission was always mainly about the first science sequence, with any extra time granted by the solar panels a hoped-for bonus. After Philae went dark, they focused their efforts on trying to regain contact and at least recoup some of the data Philae hadn’t been able to transmit before hibernating. A window of opportunity appeared to open on 13 June last year: over 85 seconds, Philae sent signals via Rosetta to the ESA operations centre. “Our teams, mainly in the control centre here, were working out messages or command sequences that could help to establish the link,” said Ulamec. Philae made contact a total of eight times, the last of which was on 9 July—but the communication phased in and out. The control room listening out for Philae's signals. Image: ESA/D.Scuka O’Rourke said that in the last contact, the data revealed Philae was having some problems with its communications equipment. Philae has two receivers to input commands and two transmitters to respond. “On the 9 July, we saw that one of the receivers had died, or at least was no longer working, and one of the transmitters also had died,” he said. “So you’re on the redundant components, you’re on the backup—but also we saw on the 9 July that the other transmitter, the one that was still working, had a short and had a problem.” Ulamec’s team attempted to correspond with the lander without any feedback. “We tried blind commanding, called TC backup mode, where we send commands into the blind without having two-way communications, hoping the lander could receive them, do something, then when there is the next chance for a telemetry link we would get better data or we would enable the lander to send data,” he explained. The efforts didn’t pay off; the eight packages Philae sent back during its brief revival all contained housekeeping data rather than more science observations. Why Philae couldn’t reconnect remains a mystery, but one likely scenario is that it simply got too cold already, tucked away in the shade as it was. “When it fell asleep in November 2014 we were able to see the outside temperature and we could see the temperature was pretty cold, over -100 degrees [Celsius],” said O’Rourke. The temperature of the lander would have slowly decreased down to around -100 or -150 before heating up in the sunlight, resulting in “thermal cycling” from cold to hot. O’Rourke suggests this could have put too much pressure on electronic components in the lander. “They’re designed to do that, but not continuously for many many days,” he said. A jet bursting from the comet around perihelion. Image: ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA After the brief contact in July, comet 67P continued to move closer to the Sun, which meant Rosetta had to put more distance between itself and the comet surface owing to the risk posed by increased activity as the icy material warmed up to give off greater plumes of gas and dust. This would make communication between it and the lander more difficult. Since then, nothing has been heard from Philae. “We don’t know exactly what it is,” said Taylor. “It is frustrating, and it was frustrating in July.” Rosetta is now closer to Philae than it was when signals were heard then, so the fact that it hasn't picked anything up doesn’t bode well. “This is one of the things about doing deep space robotic exploration,” Taylor added. “You don’t know, because you can’t go up there and have a tinker with it.” If Philae didn’t get too cold then, and hasn’t since, it probably will soon. But the operators are continuing to listen out just in case. “I have to say that while it is true that, from a simulations perspective, we believe Philae doesn’t have much of a life after January, we haven’t given up hope at all,” said O’Rourke. “Philae has never stopped surprising us, and I would not be in the slightest bit surprised that we get a signal from Philae in February.” He’d draw the line at March or April. And Philae still has one major role to play in its slumber. The lander is just a small part of the overall Rosetta mission, and in summer the Rosetta orbiter will get closer to the comet surface—close enough to see Philae for itself. These images, as well as perhaps clearing up some of the mysteries of Philae’s position, will add value to the scientific data already collected; knowing exactly where the measurements were made will add crucial context. “Once you have the context of the wider area around it, with more precision, you can do better science—or more science,” said Taylor. After taking these images, Rosetta will finish its mission by touching down on the comet surface itself. Exact plans for this impromptu kamikaze finale haven’t been confirmed, but Taylor said the science team recognised there’d be a certain poetry to bringing the orbiter down in the same area as the lander, effectively reuniting Rosetta and Philae in the spacecraft afterlife. One of the more visible human characters on the mission, Taylor described the overall experience as “draining.” “It’s been highly exciting and stimulating, but it’s been a lot more stressful and a lot more draining than I could have imagined when I said, ‘Yes, I will do the job,’” he said. “It’s something I don’t think I will experience again in my career in my life, because I don’t think there’s anything like Rosetta in existence. In a way, that’s a relief for me personally.”
News Article | August 25, 2016
The Rosetta spacecraft is living out its final days at Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko. Scheduled to crash into the comet on September 30, the orbiter will finally rejoin its longtime companion, the recently deceased Philae lander (RIP, sweet prince). But though its days are numbered, Rosetta is still churning out spectacular imagery and data like a boss, including newly released pictures of a powerful outburst of gas and dust released by an avalanche on the comet’s surface. These eruptions are extremely capricious, so it’s rare for them to be observed at all, let alone from only 35 kilometers (22 miles) away. “Over the last year, Rosetta has shown that although activity can be prolonged, when it comes to outbursts, the timing is highly unpredictable, so catching an event like this was pure luck,” said Matt Taylor, ESA’s Rosetta project scientist, in a statement. The majority of Rosetta’s instruments recorded the outburst. Image: ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA; all data from Grün et al (2016) For months, researchers led by planetary scientist Eberhard Grün of the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear Physics mined this comprehensive data set for clues about the origins, dynamics, and scale of the outburst. The team’s findings will be published in a forthcoming issue of the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, but the short version is that eruption was likely sparked by a landslide along the steep slopes of the comet’s Atum region, caused by sudden exposure to sunlight after a long period in shadow. As ice rapidly sublimated into gas, Rosetta picked up a spike in temperature of 30℃ and a sixfold increase in ultraviolet brightness over the course of several hours. This prompted outgassing that weakened surface integrity and generated the landslide and geyser-like plume of material that followed it. Rosetta recorded the event with its cameras, dust collectors, gas analyzers, and temperature sensors. Even the orbiter’s star trackers (navigational aids that help orient Rosetta in space) detected an uptick in reflected light off the scattered detritus of the outburst. “It’s great to see the instrument teams working together on the important question of how cometary outbursts are triggered,” Taylor said. Even as it faces its impending doom, Rosetta continues to be a prolific scientific dynamo. We’ll miss you, old girl.
News Article | February 22, 2017
Left, an image of comet Chury showing outgassing of water vapor, which entrains dust. Right, the neck region, between the comet's two lobes. Various types of relief can be seen, including the dunes, at bottom left (circled in red), in the sandy region. Credit: ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA) Surprising images from the Rosetta spacecraft show the presence of dune-like patterns on the surface of comet Chury. Researchers at the Laboratoire de Physique et Mécanique des Milieux Hétérogènes (CNRS/ESPCI Paris/UPMC/Université Paris Diderot) studied the available images and modeled the outgassing of vapor to try to explain the phenomenon. They show that the strong pressure difference between the sunlit side of the comet and that in shadow generates winds able to transport grains and form dunes. Their work is published on 21 February 2017 in the journal PNAS. The formation of sedimentary dunes requires the presence of grains and of winds that are strong enough to transport them along the ground. However, comets do not have a dense, permanent atmosphere as on Earth. Nonetheless, the OSIRIS camera on board the Rosetta spacecraft showed the presence of dune-like forms approximately ten meters apart on 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. They are found on the lobes of the comet as well as on the neck that connects them. Comparison of two images of the same spot taken 16 months apart provides evidence that the dunes moved and are therefore active. Faced with this unexpected finding, the researchers show that there is in fact a wind blowing along the comet's surface. It is caused by the pressure difference between the sunlit side, where the surface ice can sublimate due to the energy provided by the sunlight, and the night side. This transient atmosphere is still extremely tenuous, with a maximum pressure at perihelion, when the comet is closest to the Sun, 100 000 times lower than on Earth. However, gravity on the comet is also very weak, and an analysis of the forces exerted on the grains at the comet's surface shows that these thermal winds can transport centimeter-scale grains, whose presence has been confirmed by images of the ground. The conditions required to allow the formation of dunes, namely winds able to transport the grains along the ground, are thus met on Chury's surface. This work represents a step forward in understanding the various processes at work on cometary surfaces. It also shows that the Rosetta mission still has many surprises and discoveries in store. More information: Pan Jia et al. Giant ripples on comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko sculpted by sunset thermal wind, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (2017). DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1612176114
News Article | September 1, 2016
A colour image of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko composed of three images taken by Rosetta's scientific imaging system OSIRIS in the red, green and blue filters. The images were taken on 6 August 2014 from a distance of 120 kilometres from the comet. Credits: ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA A European team of researchers has reported on comet dust sample examinations being conducted by the Rosetta space probe in a letter in the journal Nature describing the types of experiments the probe has been conducting and what it has found thus far regarding space dust grains. Ludmilla Kolokolova with the University of Maryland offers a News & Views take on the work done by the team in the same journal issue. Space dust is important to space scientists because they believe it is one of the most basic components of planets and other objects such as asteroids. Many believe that the more we learn about space dust the more we will learn about the early history of our solar system and perhaps the universe in general. The Rosetta project involved putting a probe into orbit around comet 67P by the European Space Agency—it was launched in 2004 and took ten years to reach its target. The probe, which is still working, successfully launched a lander module called Philae to the surface of the comet, also known as Churyumov–Gerasimenko—the lander collected samples for two days before losing power. In this latest effort, the researchers have analyzed dust collected directly from around the comet by the Rosetta craft between November 2015 and February 2015. It has been doing so using an onboard device called the Micro-Imaging Dust Analysis System. They now report that they have obtained data regarding size, texture, shape and even the microstructure of particles. The particles, the team reports, varied in size from as large as tens of micrometers to as small as hundreds of nanometers. There were also many shapes, the most important of which were single grains—the team was able to calculate the elongation of over a hundred of the dust grains—enough to confirm that they conform to theories of the size of interstellar dust particles, which suggests they represent some of the building blocks of comets and also offers some degree of optimism that someday soon, interstellar craft (such as Breakthrough Starshot) could become a reality. The Rosetta mission is set to end on the last day of this month with a dramatic plunge into the comet it has been studying. Explore further: Comet-chasing probe closes in on target More information: Mark S. Bentley et al. Aggregate dust particles at comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko, Nature (2016). DOI: 10.1038/nature19091 Abstract Comets are thought to preserve almost pristine dust particles, thus providing a unique sample of the properties of the early solar nebula. The microscopic properties of this dust played a key part in particle aggregation during the formation of the Solar System. Cometary dust was previously considered to comprise irregular, fluffy agglomerates on the basis of interpretations of remote observations in the visible and infrared and the study of chondritic porous interplanetary dust particles that were thought, but not proved, to originate in comets. Although the dust returned by an earlier mission has provided detailed mineralogy of particles from comet 81P/Wild, the fine-grained aggregate component was strongly modified during collection. Here we report in situ measurements of dust particles at comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko. The particles are aggregates of smaller, elongated grains, with structures at distinct sizes indicating hierarchical aggregation. Topographic images of selected dust particles with sizes of one micrometre to a few tens of micrometres show a variety of morphologies, including compact single grains and large porous aggregate particles, similar to chondritic porous interplanetary dust particles. The measured grain elongations are similar to the value inferred for interstellar dust and support the idea that such grains could represent a fraction of the building blocks of comets. In the subsequent growth phase, hierarchical agglomeration could be a dominant process and would produce aggregates that stick more easily at higher masses and velocities than homogeneous dust particles. The presence of hierarchical dust aggregates in the near-surface of the nucleus of comet 67P also provides a mechanism for lowering the tensile strength of the dust layer and aiding dust release.
News Article | September 5, 2016
The image of Philae on Comet 67P. Main image and lander inset: ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA; context: ESA/Rosetta/NavCam With less than one month to go before the end of the European Space Agency’s mission to Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko, the Rosetta orbiter’s high-res camera has at last spotted the Philae lander jammed into a shadowy crack. In the photo taken by Rosetta’s OSIRIS camera, which came within 2.7 km of the comet’s surface, the main body of Philae can clearly be seen—easily identifiable with two of its three legs proudly on display. Matt Taylor, Rosetta mission project scientist, told Motherboard, “Philae was the cherry on the top of the Rosetta cake, which has become a REALLY massive science cake. Philae was there to provide the ground truth. Now we know exactly where that ground is…” The image was downlinked on Sunday evening, and first seen by Cecilia Tubiana of the OSIRIS camera team. “With only a month left of the Rosetta mission, we are so happy to have finally imaged Philae, and to see it in such amazing detail,” Tubiana said in a statement. An annotated picture of Philae in situ. Image: ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA The Philae lander was shot towards Comet 67P from the Rosetta orbiter in 2014, but stopped communicating after three days when the lander’s battery died out. ESA scientists concluded that, after bouncing, Philae ended up in a ditch or underneath an icy overhang, sheltered from the sunlight that gave power to its solar panels. That hypothesis has proved to be correct, with the image from Rosetta now clearly showing how good Philae really was at hide and seek. The last ever sighting of Philae was when the lander first touched down on a region of Comet 67P known as Agilkia. Philae then bounced and flew for two hours until landing at its final resting place, named Abydos. Philae last communicated with Earth in July 2015, with final attempts to contact the lander by ESA failing in January of this year. In July, ESA finally switched off Rosetta’s Electrical Support System Processor Unit to conserve power as the comet raced more than 520 million kilometres away from the Sun. “This remarkable discovery comes at the end of a long, painstaking search,” said Patrick Martin, ESA’s Rosetta Mission Manager. “We were beginning to think that Philae would remain lost forever. It is incredible we have captured this at the final hour.” Rosetta will complete its mission with a controlled descent (crash) into the surface of the comet at the end of this month, finally joining Philae to rest in peace on Comet 67P’s long adventure through our Solar System.