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Comet Trails: Esa Rosetta and Comet Trails
Hi everyone,

this is a brief news for now, it will be expanded later.

Today, the ESA Rosetta mission will approach its destination at Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko. It is an extraordinaire achievement and we want to celebrate this is a special way.
We thought, it would be great to have all of us somehow related to this event, so we made you calculate the dust streams of Churyumov–Gerasimenko during the last runs of our Comet Trails app and animate it.

Here you go... click the image for the youtube video

6 Aug 2014, 4:29:01 UTC · Comment

Call for mentors and students for ESA Summer of Code in Space 2014! ESA awards stipends of €4000 to selected students (please forward!) is proud to announce to be selected for the Summer of Code in Space 2014 (SOCIS) program run by the European Space Agency (ESA).
SOCIS "aims at offering student developers stipends to write code for various space-related open source software projects. Through SOCIS, accepted student applicants are paired with a mentor or mentors from the participating projects, thus gaining exposure to real-world software development scenarios. In turn, the participating projects are able to more easily identify and bring in new developers."[0]

As an official SOCIS mentoring organization,[0] accepts applications for mentors and students for ESA SOCIS 2014, now! As a mentor, you can realize your space software, and as a student you are coding it during the summer and are paid €4000 by the European Space Agency for it!

For you students, the application period starts now and will end 15/05/2014. Prepare yourself and read our and all the other 20 organizations' ideas. And then come back to, because we have the most awesome coding ideas for your. They are all space applications! Here is a brief overview:

[SSGT-XX] Solar System Grand Tour (continuation of last year's GSOC project)
[DGSN-XX] Distributed Ground Station Network
[COMT-XX] Comet Trails (supported by Institute of Space Systems, Stuttgart University)
[SNET-XX] Sensor Networks for global satellite reception with SDRs and GNSS performance measurements (supported by RadioPunks)
[DEOP-XX] Dynamical Evolution of Protoplanets
[XXXX-XX] YOUR IDEA! Propose it today!

The application period for mentors is open and you can apply via [1]. So be creative and propose your idea and be a trustworthy mentor to a young and creative mind!

This year it is ESA's 3rd Summer of Code in Space. SOCIS is open for students aged 18 and older[0]. It offers diverse projects ranging from software development for Mission Control Software, to Graphical User Interfaces, to firmware and also academic work on basic algorithms. People can also mentor emerging developers during their three months of work and provide support and personal help.

On a private remark about last year's SOCIS, was lucky to have been selected as an organization and mentoring one student. Together with SOCIS spiritual brother, the Google Summer of Code, we want to repeat last year's success in this combined teamwork and even provide an even bigger experience for the selected student(s) and building a important software supporting the space community.
So this is your chance again to combine three things you like during summer: space, programming and money. Of course ESA looks for talented programmers like you! Take this as a good networking chance.

Even if you choose to take the mentor role for the student(s), it will be inspiring because you support great students and great space projects. You, as a mentor, can propose and let your space project ideas be realized! So if you have coding ideas for your project, you can propose them to us and we will announce them on our ideas page to the coding SOCIS students. Here is your chance to find further helping hands in your project's team. has open space for everyone.
We are looking for your contact and application!

[0] SOCIS page:
[1] Our ideas page:
4 May 2014, 13:11:45 UTC · Comment

Exactly 1week to "Space Race - Yuri's Night 2014: Hunting Comets!" team challenge on BoincStats
Hello everyone,

in exactly one week the "Space Race - Yuri's Night 2014: Hunting Comets!" team challenge on BoincStats will start. The challenge will support our Comet Trails simulation by the Dust Team of the Insitute of Space Systems (IRS) at University of Stuttgart. Comet Trails is their project for the Interplanetary Meteoroid Environment for eXploration (IMEX) initiative by the European Space Agency (ESA).

There are already 14 teams in for for the Yuri's Night challenge and we hope to see more of you participating there. So go to BoincStats, register your team and then join the fun April 11th at 12:00 UTC.

This is our annual team challenge to honor Yuri Gagarin, first human in space, and our own birthday. Be there, have fun, celebrate!
4 Apr 2014, 12:23:02 UTC · Comment

Comet Trails: An IMEX application for predicting meteor storms at spacecraft or planets is happy to announce the next application running on the Constellation platform, the "IMEX Cometary trails". After successful tests during the last months, you will now help predicting meteor storms at spacecraft or planets by donating idle computing time.

The "IMEX Comet trails" project is an ESA-funded project run at the Institute of Space Systems (IRS) at the University of Stuttgart to characterize dust trails produced by comets in the inner solar system. We want to predict meteor showers at any position or time in the solar system: for example, can we predict meteor storms at spacecraft or at other planets?; can we understand how dust produced by comets disperses to the interplanetary
dust cloud?

(click here for Youtube-video

Meteoroid environment modelling is crucial to providing hazard risk assessments for the design phase of spacecraft missions: meteoroid impacts can damage or destroy spacecraft or spacecraft subsystems. Manned space activities are especially vulnerable to any damage caused by meteoroid impacts because of their much lower tolerance level, their large cross sections and their long exposure times. Such models also provide an important scientific role by helping to defining the dust environment and the parent bodies of these grains. Existing dust environment models do not include small-scale and time-dependent structures caused by streams and trails of recently released cometary material.

Dr. Rachel Soja (IRS) commented:
"I can't wait to see what this plot looks like with all of the data!
This data is intended for our first analysis of Leonid meteoroids on the date of one of the best Leonid storm in my lifetime - 18 November 1999. If they hit Earth in our model, then our model is ok. We'll know this when we have all the data.

comet_trails_jupiter by on Flickr

The IMEX contribution:
The Interplanetary Meteoroid Environment for eXploration (IMEX) project aims to close this gap, allowing for identification of the important cometary streams at any point in space and time. We extend the application of meteoroid stream modelling at the Earth to ask whether we can determine `meteor showers' that occur at spacecraft locations or at other planets or points of interest. This
improves both our understanding of the impact hazard to spacecraft, and our understanding of the formation and dispersion of cometary trails and streams.

Integrating dust trajectories with Constellation:
We have developed a simple model of emission of dust from comets. We now need to integrate the trajectories of these dust particles as they orbit the sun, in order to explicitly include the effect of planetary gravity (Jupiter is a major perturber). For each comet we have thousands of test particles which must be integrated for 200-400 years. This problem is therefore trivially parallelizable. Our first aim is to model meteor storms and outbursts at the Earth to validate the model for use in predicting the meteoroid environment at other locations in the inner Solar System.

First Work-Units:
Our first workunits are to compute streams for the Leonids and the October Draconids. These are two meteor showers that we observe each year at the Earth - Leonids in November and Draconids in October. However, in some years, we pass through a trail of very recently released dust and rocks, and we see a 'meteor storm'. The Leonids storms have been the most spectacular displays of meteors ever witnessed, and the storms of 1833 and 1867 helped to fuel scientific and popular interest in meteors, which had previously been considered a mere atmospheric phenomena, rather than evidence of extraterrestrial objects. More recently, Leonid storms were seen also in the years 1998-2002, with up to 3000 Leonids per hour. Understanding these storms through modelling can give us important clues about comets and their dust production, and of the dynamics of cometary dust trails and meteoroid streams.

Draconids, named after the constellation Draco (the Dragon), also occasionally demonstrate unusual activity, such as major storms in 1933 and 1946, and, more recently, outbursts in 1998, 2005, 2011, and 2012. Leonid meteors come from a 'Halley-type' comet, 55P/Tempel-Tuttle, which has an orbit that stretches out the the orbit of Uranus, and hurtle into the Earth's atmosphere at 70km/s. However, many meteors, such as Draconids, have rather lower speeds, of perhaps 20km/s – these come largely from 'Jupiter-family comets', which have the outermost part of their orbits near the orbit of Jupiter, and thus can suffer significant perturbations by this planet. These two streams are therefore complementary as test cases for the cometary trails model.

Special Event - A Team Space Race - Yuri's Night 2014 - Hunting Comets!:
The announcement of the new application is the third and final reason for starting a team challenge! For this year's Yuri's Night, the 12th of April, which is also the birth day of the Constellation platform, we invite you for seven days of number crunching the workunits of Comet Trail and other Constellation apps. You and your team can join via BOINCstats. We also remind you to spend your weekend at one of the many Yuri's Nigh events. You can check their website for a party near you! We will attend Yuri's Night in our home town Stuttgart and we will have a fun day at the planetarium with great events and shows. So just leave your computers running and working for the team challenge, and have a great time outside!
12 Mar 2014, 15:11:11 UTC · Comment

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