Norcia earthquake: Why multiple quakes are hitting Italy

Aerial view of Amatrice - 30 October (firefighters' handout) Image copyright EPA
Image caption The town of Amatrice has been hit by earthquakes several times in recent months

Sunday's early-morning quake near the town of Norcia is the biggest in Italy since the Magnitude-6.9 Irpinia event in the south of the country in 1980.

Back then, some 2,500 people died and more than 7,000 were injured. Thankfully, we are not expecting loss of life on that scale here.

In part this is because of the strides made in recent years in improving readiness and reaction.

But the fact that the population of central Italy is currently living on such an acute alert status also will have further limited any dreadful consequences.

We have now seen three Magnitude-6 tremors in Italy's Apennines region in just three months.

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Schiaparelli: The imperative to touch another world

Schiaparelli probe

"Dare to fail" is one of those mantras that engineers like to repeat. It's how you learn.

That is certainly the attitude being taken by the European Space Agency (Esa) in the wake of its Schiaparelli mishap.

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Europe must find another Rosetta

Sylvain Lodiot Image copyright ESA
Image caption End of mission announcement: "Thank you and goodbye"

It was the strangest of atmospheres. Quite sombre, actually. Akin almost to a wake.

Controllers had waited in silence for a radio signal to drop off their screens. It did so, abruptly, indicating that the billion-euro Rosetta mission had finally come to an end.

Read full article Europe must find another Rosetta

Gaia clocks speedy cosmic expansion

Artwork Gaia and Milky Way Image copyright ESA
Image caption Artwork: Gaia is making the definitive map of our Milky Way Galaxy

Europe’s Gaia space telescope has been used to clock the expansion rate of the Universe and - once again - it has produced some head-scratching.

The reason? The speed is faster than what one would expect from measurements of the cosmos shortly after the Big Bang.

Read full article Gaia clocks speedy cosmic expansion

Falcon blast to reverberate across space industry

Explosion Image copyright TIA GRANT
Image caption A thick pall of smoke drifts across the Cape after the explosion

It is usual for SpaceX to do a "hot fire" test a few days before a launch.

The procedure involves holding down the Falcon 9 on its launch pad and then igniting its Merlin engines.

Read full article Falcon blast to reverberate across space industry

Quakes 'ever present' for Apennines

Amatrice quake Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Every so often, one of the faults that run along the Apennines will rupture

Quakes are the ever present danger for those who live along the Apennine mountain range in Italy.

Through the centuries thousands have died as a result of tremors equal to, or not much bigger than, the event that struck in the early hours of Wednesday.

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Aeolus space laser catches a following wind

Artwork Image copyright ESA
Image caption The mission's full name is Atmospheric Dynamics Mission (ADM-Aeolus)

Europe’s Aeolus space laser mission, which is designed to make unprecedented maps of Earth’s winds, has reached a long-awaited key milestone.

Engineers at Airbus in the UK have finally managed to bolt together all the elements of the satellite after overcoming major technical challenges.

Read full article Aeolus space laser catches a following wind

Where next for solar-powered flight?

Solar Impulse Image copyright KARIM SAHIB

There was something mesmerising about watching Solar Impulse come in to land, particularly at night.

Moving slowly but deliberately, its LEDs lighting the way - the plane did look very different to anything we would recognise at an airport.

Read full article Where next for solar-powered flight?

Tim Peake, Brexit and the UK space sector

Media captionTim Peake: Care will be needed when it comes to science

It was inevitable that Tim Peake would be asked about Brexit at the Farnborough International Air Show.

The visit - his first public engagement since returning from orbit - drew huge crowds, and everyone wanted to know what he had to say on the topic of space science and the industry that supports it.

Read full article Tim Peake, Brexit and the UK space sector

Funding flows for UK’s ‘revolutionary’ Sabre rocket engine

Two-stage launcher Image copyright ORBITAL ACCESS LIMITED
Image caption Artwork: Sabre-enabled test vehicles could perhaps one day power a two-stage launcher flying out of Prestwick

The £60m UK government investment in the "revolutionary" Sabre rocket engine concept has finally started to flow.

The company behind the power unit said at the Farnborough International Air Show that this would now enable it to push ahead with a new demonstrator.

Read full article Funding flows for UK’s ‘revolutionary’ Sabre rocket engine