Image: Laser test bench

April 22, 2015, European Space Agency
Credit: ESA–A. Le Floc'h

This ESA test bench is usually shrouded in darkness, except for the laser beam being projected across it.

Human eyes are not normally supposed to witness the laser being fired – for this photo, it was fired at the lowest possible energy level, while the camera was switched to its highest light-sensitive settings for an exposure time of half a second.

Lasers are versatile tools for space, variously used for remote sensing, interferometry and communications. ESA's Opto-Electronics Laboratory, at the Agency's ESTEC technical centre in Noordwijk, the Netherlands, specialises in assessing devices that generate, detect and manipulate light.

Explore further: Image: ESA's Optical Ground Station laser tags ISS

Related Stories

Image: Test driving remote-control rover

July 15, 2014

A team at ESA's Space Operations Centre, ESOC, in Darmstadt, Darmstadt are seen here maintaining the link between a simulated astronaut on the International Space Station and the agency's Eurobot rover. The rover is one of ...

Igniting the air for atmospheric research

February 18, 2015

Scientists from Vienna and Moscow have created a high-energy mid-infrared laser powerful enough to create shining filaments in the air. Such devices could be used to detect chemical substances in the atmosphere.

Interferometric microscope images the nano-world

December 5, 2013

These images might resemble a planetary surface but actually show a different kind of alien environment: a microscopic view across a damaged laser lens, down to the nanometre level – a millionth of a millimetre, smaller ...

Image: ESA's telerobotic robot hand

May 1, 2014

(Phys.org) —As engineer Manuel Aiple moves his gauntleted hand, the robotic hand a few metres away in ESA's telerobotics laboratory follows in sync.

Robot 'shadow hand'

December 12, 2014

Picking up an apple is one of those jobs requiring the delicate touch of the human hand – or its robotic counterpart.

Recommended for you

Supermassive black holes are outgrowing their galaxies

February 15, 2018

The growth of the biggest black holes in the Universe is outrunning the rate of formation of stars in the galaxies they inhabit, according to two new studies using data from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory and other telescopes ...

Hubble sees Neptune's mysterious shrinking storm

February 15, 2018

Three billion miles away on the farthest known major planet in our solar system, an ominous, dark storm - once big enough to stretch across the Atlantic Ocean from Boston to Portugal - is shrinking out of existence as seen ...

Kepler scientists discover almost 100 new exoplanets

February 15, 2018

Based on data from NASA's K2 mission, an international team of scientists has confirmed nearly 100 new exoplanets. This brings the total number of new exoplanets found with the K2 mission up to almost 300.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.