To the naked eye there is nothing to see, and yet the small transparent container holds something never observed before. For the first time, scientists are studying asteroid dust collected by a spacecraft and returned to Earth. Ute Böttger, from the Institute of Planetary Research at the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR), belongs to one of 11 teams across the world that are carrying out scientific work on the asteroid particles from the Japanese Hayabusa mission.
There are very few ways of conducting experiments without the influence of Earth's gravity. One of these platforms became available on 25 November 2012, when a rocket was launched from the Swedish Esrange Space Center in Kiruna.
Glasses are rattling on the shelves and the ground is rumbling – since January 2011 the earth under the Santorini volcano has been stirring. Most of the time, it is barely noticeable, but every now and then the inhabitants notice small tremors jolting the volcanic archipelago.
On 20 and 21 November 2012, delegates from the 20 member states of the European Space Agency (ESA) and Canada met at the 'Mostra d'Oltremare' conference centre in Naples, Italy.
Clouds, darkness, rain – the radar 'vision' of TerraSAR-X is unaffected by these conditions. Dark and light areas contrast clearly in this image, acquired by the German Aerospace Center's (DLR) TerraSAR-X satellite.
The first solar tower power plant in North Africa will be built in Algeria. The People's Democratic Republic of Algeria Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research and the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) have agreed to collaborate on this project.
The first two satellites for the European Galileo navigation system have been orbiting Earth since 21 October 2011. Now, two more are about to follow; on 12 October 2012 at 20:15 CEST, a Soyuz rocket will launch satellites three and four into their position in space.
On 8 June 2012, the High Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC), operated by the German Aerospace Center (DLR) on board ESA's Mars Express spacecraft, acquired images of a region inside the Argyre Impact Basin, which is 1800 kilometres across and five kilometres deep.
Researchers at the German Aerospace Center (DLR) have been instrumental in the preparation of a report by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) regarding the development of the ozone layer in the stratosphere. Based on estimates, by about the mid 21st century, the ozone layer will have the same thickness as it had in the early eighties.
The German Aerospace Center (DLR) has developed VibroTac (Vibrotactile Feedback), a device to support blind and visually impaired people in their daily lives.