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Submission + - SPAM: The Kessler run, organized by ESA started. Save the SunSynchronous orbit.

Dario Izzo writes: For the 9th edition of the Global Trajectory Competitions ESA has organized the Kessler run. 67 international teams are competing in a hypothetical 2060 scenario where the SunSynchronous orbit is flooded with junk and need saving. The "race" can be watched in real time here . Like in sailing, its not obvious to tell who is winning as all teams need to remove all 123 debris pieces and partial scores, while indicative, are not necessarily a good ranking system.
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Submission + - SPAM: ESA's organizing "The America's cup of rocket science"

Dario Izzo writes: The opening of the registration period to the 9th edition of the "Global Trajectory Optimisation Competition" (a.k.a. the America's cup of rocket science) (GTOC9) has been announced by ESA. For this year edition a new interactive website (Kelvins) will be used so that during the competition spectators will be able to follow in real time the evolution of the leaderboard making the "race" more appealing to follow. In the intention of ESA, anybody with math and dynamics knowledge can participate and challenge the big teams (i.e. JPL/NASA, Tsinghua University, DLR, The Aerospace Corporation, etc.) in the design of a complex interplanetary trajectory problem that will be disclosed on the first week of April.
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Submission + - ESA is asking to mine data from Mars Express telemetry to prolong its life (

Dario Izzo writes: The Mars Express spacecraft from ESA has been orbiting the Red Planet for 12 years. While its controllers know the spacecraft inside out, additional insights are hidden within the mounds of telemetry the mission generates – inspiring the first of ESA’s new data mining competitions: the Mars Express Power Challenge. The goal is to use machine learning techniques to predict Mars Express’s thermal power consumption during the martian year ahead, based on its past telemetry. ESA is targeting the international data mining and machine learning community – including students, research groups or companies”. The website Kelvins is hosting the competition.

Submission + - Biologists find bees land like spacecraft (

An anonymous reader writes: It appears that, when landing, honey bees have been proved to make use of the same simple principle that was proposed and studied in the context of planetary and Micro Air Vehicles landing. In essence they measure, using their bee-eye, the time left to hit the ground and thus they control their vertical speed. In a video from the European Space Agency, a drone is shown while landing using the exact same principle and simulated Moon landing are reported.

Submission + - ESA Summer of Code In Space Application Deadline 1

joelsherrill writes: August 8 is the deadline for students to apply to participate in the European Space Agency's Summer of Code In Space ( This is a great opportunity to contribute to the use of free and open source software in the space community and get paid. Eligible students should look through the list of software projects participating ( and see what interests them.

As the organization administrator for the RTEMS Project (, I am honored to be participating again and can't wait to see what students propose.

Comment Re:In other news... (Score 1) 52

Even accounting only 4 possible bodies (as in the Jupiter system) if 140 fly-bys are to be designed (as was the case for this particular mission) and at each fly-by one has to choose to "perform experiment" in of 1 out of 32 areas of the moon/planet, you have (4*32)^140 = 10^(295) possibile routes that all need to be optimized in low-thrust. It does not seem likely a computer will ever be built that can do that.

Submission + - ESA Summer of Code in Space announces mentoring organizations (

An anonymous reader writes: Similar to the Google Summer of Code, ESA funds students to work on open-source projects during summer. After some delay, 23 accepted mentoring organizations were announced today. Students can now start to apply to work for these organizations on a specific topic. Application deadline is the 4th of August!

Submission + - Sharknado! - CIA offers $630k to fund study on the effects of geoengineering. (

SomewhatRandom writes: The CIA offers $630,000 to fund a geoengineering study. Geoengineering is the practice of trying to control the weather, earthquakes, solar radiation, or other terrestrial phenomena. One can only assume they want to harness the disastrous power of the Sharknado. Who could blame them, just look at the damage it did to Tara Reid's career.

Submission + - Evolution of interplanetary trajectories reaches human-competitive levels (

LFSim writes: It's not the Turing test just yet, but in one more domain, AI is becoming increasingly competitive with humans. This time around, it's in interplanetary trajectory optimization.

From the European Space Agency comes the news that researchers from its Advanced Concepts Team have recently won the Gold "Humies" award for their use of Evolutionary Algorithms to design a spacecraft’s trajectory for exploring the Galilean moons of Jupiter (Io, Europa, Ganymede and Callisto).

The problem addressed in the awarded article was put forward by NASA/JPL in the latest edition of the Global Trajectory Optimization Competition. The team from ESA was able to automatically evolve a solution that outperforms all the entries submitted to the competition by human experts from across the world.

Interestingly, as noted in the presentation to the award's jury, the team conducted their work on top of open-source tools (PaGMO / PyGMO and PyKEP).


Submission + - ESA seeks software innovators. Test your software in orbit!! (

Dario Izzo writes: "The European Space Agency is giving the opportunity to try innovative software algorithms on board of one of its planned orbiting platform. The core architecure includes processors of unprecedented power (for space platforms) and it is fully reconfigurable even down to the operating system and firmware levels. Peripherals include cameras, GPS and attitude control. The full technical specifications are available via the European Space Agency web pages."

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