Ten years ago, NASA's Dawn space probe embarked on a mission destined to become one of the most exciting and scientifically productive in the history of unmanned exploration of the Solar System. On board is the German framing camera that is providing fundamental information on planetary formation from Vesta and Ceres.
The German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR), the Japanese space agency, JAXA, and the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology in Japan (AIST) signed two cooperation agreements on 21 September 2017 in Tokyo.
Electric propulsion systems are considered to be particularly promising space technology. Although they produce less thrust, their fuel efficiency is significantly higher than that of conventional chemical engines. Satellites can thus be made considerably lighter and more durable. Additionally, the payload capacity can be increased because of the lower fuel mass needed.
The German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) will be showcasing its latest research at this year's International Astronautical Congress (IAC) in Adelaide, Australia.
Despite their large potential to reduce emissions and increase transport efficiency, cargo bikes have thus far not been used to any significant extent for business purposes. The German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) is seeking to exploit this potential to the greatest possible extent in the new nationwide 'I unload cities' project.
One hundred tons of molten salt circulate through the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) test facility in Cologne. The molten salt is alternately heated and cooled from 250 to 560 degrees Celsius.
Over billions of years, meteorite impacts have altered the surface of Mars. Current images from the High Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC) operated by the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) on board the ESA Mars Express spacecraft show an impact crater over 30 kilometres in size with a prominent ejecta blanket. It is located to the north of the largest impact basin on Mars, Hellas Planitia, where some scientists believe there was once a large lake.
Since the first observation of an extrasolar planet, or exoplanet, almost 4000 planets have been identified orbiting other stars in the Milky Way. With these new discoveries, scientists are now increasingly investigating their atmospheres, the composition and structure of gas hull.
There are a total of 18 scientific instruments on board Cassini-Huygens. One of these is the Cosmic Dust Analyzer (CDA), which analyses ice and dust particles in the Saturnian system. The special thing about this instrument, which is still the only one in the world, is that it can simultaneously determine the electrical charge, speed, direction of flight and mass of individual particles.
Without solar and wind power there would be no Energiewende (energy transition). And no energy transition without energy storage. Energy storage materials store the energy and release it when it is needed. Salt could play an important role here.
Twenty nine parabolic flight campaigns run by the Space Administration of the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) have resulted in 97 flight days, 3270 parabolas and almost 19 hours of microgravity.
Today, thanks to Cassini, we know 62 of Saturn's moons. Maps are important to be able to study them further. The DLR Institute of Planetary Research has produced maps for the seven medium-sized ice moons Mimas, Enceladus, Tethys, Dione, Rhea, Iapetus and Phoebe, based on high-resolution images acquired by the camera on board Cassini.
On 15 October 1997 the Cassini spacecraft took off from Cape Canaveral and embarked on an almost seven-year journey to the Saturn System, atop a Titan 4B rocket. It circled the planet and its numerous glacial moons for almost 13 years, from 2004 to 2017.
In anticipation of the catastrophic Hurricane Harvey, the International Charter 'Space and Major Disasters' was activated early on the evening of 24 August 2017. This was initiated by the Charter member United States Geological Survey (USGS) on behalf of the Texas Emergency Management Council. The German Aerospace Center (DLR) provided real-time recordings and archive data from the German radar satellite TerraSAR-X, which enabled a detailed analysis and an overview of the flood situation. Using these and other satellite data provided by 16 Charter members, the Center for Space Research at the University of Texas is currently working on providing assistance and information to disaster relief personnel on the ground.
On 25 August 2017, the Italian ESA astronaut Paolo Nespoli, currently residing on the International Space Station (ISS), remote-controlled the German Aerospace Center (DLR) Rollin’ Justin robot. During the experiment, a tablet-PC was used to send instructions to the robot at the DLR Institute of Robotics and Mechatronics in Oberpfaffenhofen from the ISS. Justin was then left to his own devices in the completion of various tasks and was required to use artificial intelligence to decide how individual work stages needed to be completed. These tasks belong to the SUPVIS Justin experiment, which is being carried out as part of the METERON project (Multi-Purpose End-to-End Robotic Operation Network) in cooperation with the European Space Agency (ESA).
A total solar eclipse is spectacular for observers: “Around 30 seconds before the Sun disappears entirely behind the Moon, it becomes noticeably darker in the middle of the day, as if someone had quickly turned the dimmer switch for a light,” explains Manfred Gaida, an astrophysicist in the Space Administration team at the German Aerospace Center (DLR), describing the phenomenon. The Moon moves in front of the Sun until just a luminous halo – the corona – can be seen. Where the conical umbra reaches the Earth, the sky goes dark. The partial phase of the eclipse begins around 75 to 90 minutes beforehand, and lasts for the same amount of time after the eclipse, until the ‘all-around twilight’ has completely disappeared.
The oldest regions on Mars are often the most interesting as well. Here, numerous traces of geological processes that have altered the planet's surface are visible. The latest images from the high performance HRSC camera show such an ancient area – the Thaumasia Highlands with grabens and mountain ranges.
On 3 August 2017, Rolf Henke, Executive Board Member of the German Aerospace Centre (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) responsible for Aeronautics, opened the new DLR Institute of Software Methods in Dresden, together with Martin Dulig, Saxon State Minister for Economic Affairs, Labour and Transport.
It is one of the big unknowns in climate research. The aerosol cloud that sits above the Asian summer monsoon consists of small droplets and dust particles that reach an altitude of up to 17 kilometres and have an effect on the climate.
He is the new guy. Sporting blue overalls – the traditional work garb of European Space Agency (ESA) astronauts – and a broad smile, Matthias Maurer strides confidently through the lobby of the European Astronaut Center (EAC), where so many of his predecessors trained before him.