"It´s the first time we do anything like that. The environment is totally unknown." (Andrea Accomazzo, Spacecraft Operations Manager)
Among the most fascinating projects in the exploration of the Universe is the European Space Agency's Rosetta mission, launched in 2004 to investigate the comet 67P/Churyumov--Gerasimenko. For the first time, a spacecraft will follow a comet as it approaches the Sun and land on its nucleus.
This highlight of the mission will take place in November 2014, when the small, autonomous daughter craft, Philae, lands on the comet itself. Philae was designed and built by an international consortium led by the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR). DLR also runs the lander control centre which is preparing for and overseeing the difficult task of landing on the comet, a feat never before accomplished.
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This impressive video takes us on a virtual flight over the mouth of the Kasei Valles region. Earlier in the planet's history, enormous amounts of water flowed through the Martian highlands, sculpting these valleys and leaving its trace in the landscape.
What has a certain SANDRA to do with a digitally networked sky? And why do we consider a research flight that does not even take off newsworthy? Where exactly does the noise emitted by aircraft come from and how can it be reduced? How does an astronaut prepare for a six-month stay on the International Space Station, ISS ? The German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) 2013 annual film has the answers.
From the wide variety of projects in 2013, we again chose a few exemplary ones -- SANDRA, for instance. Of course it is not a person, but the eponymous flight experiment carried out on DLR's Airbus A320 'D-ATRA' research aircraft. Its acronym 'Seamless Aeronautical Networking through integration of Data links Radios and Antennas' says it all; the goal is to develop an integral aeronautical communication system. And it's true -- DLR's research aircraft Dornier 728 is stationed in a hangar and, although it will not take off any time soon, it is still in service for science, or, more explicitly, for cabin design and research. A project called LiKab examines the influence of cabin light on aircraft passengers.
What else? The opening of DLR's 3500-square-metre research laboratory :envihab in Cologne, a 'pressure cooker' for materials of the future, a self-parking car, the CeraStorE competence centre for sustainable energy research, wind tunnel research and much more.
But, as said in the beginning, at DLR we only look back to take a look into the future. One of the highlights of 2014 will be 'Blue Dot', the mission of German European Space Agency astronaut Alexander Gerst. On 28 May 2014, he will lift off for a six-month stay on the International Space Station, ISS. In the video, he explains how he prepares for the mission.
On 11 and 12 November 2013, the robots of 10 teams from across Germany competed against one another in the first DLR SpaceBot Cup. The Supercrosshalle in Rheinbreitbach near Bonn was transformed into a planetary landscape with mountains, valleys and a variety of different terrains. The SpaceBot Cup was organised by the DLR Space Administration and supported by the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology (Bundesministerium für Wirtschaft und Technologie; BMWi).
On 22 September 2013, researchers from the DLR Institute of Materials Research kept a 16.1-ton truck suspended in the air.
The truck was held only by two steel bolts roughly the same size as a credit card (seven centimetre diameter). The bolts were glued together with a special adhesive.
In 55 videos, researchers from the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) facilitate profound knowledge about the fundamentals of CSP (Concentrating Solar Power) project planning, construction, maintenance and optimisation of solar thermal power plants.
Die Filme vermitteln in den einführenden Units die Grundlagen über linien- und punktfokussierende Technologien. Thematisiert wird auch das Solar Resource Assessment, bei dem die solare Einstrahlung an einem Standort bewertet wird, ein wichtiges Kriterium für den Ertrag und damit die Standortwahl von solarthermischen Kraftwerken. Weiterhin werden über optische und thermische Messtechniken für die Ertragssteigerung bis hin zu deren Installation sowie Software zur Kraftwerksplanung und Ertragsprognose alle wichtigen Themen ausführlich behandelt.
Tilman Spohn is head of the DLR Institute of Planetary Research. In this interview he talks about the possibility of life, not just on Mars, but also on other planets and moons as well.
Ralf Jaumann is head of the Planetary Geology department at the DLR Institute of Planetary Research. He is the principal investigator (PI) for the HRSC on Mars Express, focusing on the climatic history of the Red Planet.
In this interview, Ernst Hauber, a planetary geologist at the DLR Institute of Planetary Research, talks about the geology of Mars, its long-lasting volcanism, its tectonics and the development of the crust of the planet.
Laetitia Le Deit, a planetary geologist at the DLR Institute of Planetary Research, investigates sites on the surface of Mars that are well suited for landers and are of particular interest to research.
In this interview, Harald Hoffmann, a planetary geologist at the DLR Institute of Planetary Research, reports on the current debate on the formation and future of the Martian moons Phobos and Deimos.
In this interview, Daniela Tirsch, a planetary geologist at the DLR Institute of Planetary Research, explains how wind and weather continue to leave their mark on the surface of Mars today.
Ulrich Köhler, a planetary geologist at the DLR Institute of Planetary Research, gives us an overview of the history of the exploration of our planetary neighbour.
In this interview, Klaus Gwinner, a planetary geologist at the DLR Institute of Planetary Research, reports on the 3D modeling and cartography of the surface of Mars based on data from the HRSC camera.
The new facility, located at the DLR site in Cologne, was inaugurated on 5 July 2013. The focus of :envihab and its eight modules, spread over 3500 square metres, is on people, their health and their performance levels. The construction of:the facility lasted several years. The assembly steps have been recorded since 2010 and compiled in this time-lapse video.
How will the volume of traffic develop over the coming years? What mode of transport will people prefer in the future? What needs to happen to improve people's mobility and make it more environment-friendly? If you want to design transport systems, you need to know the demand and the mix of users. Researchers at the DLR Institute of Transport Research have developed the model TAPAS (Travel and Activity Patterns Simulation) for this. TAPAS documents people's individual travel behaviour and shows the effect of changing conditions on infrastructure and transport policy. With the traffic model, researchers can calculate, for example, demand for transport or draw conclusions on transport development in the whole of Germany.
The focus of the new :envihab research facility, operated by the German Aerospace Center and its eight modules, spread over 3500 square metres, is on people, their health and their performance levels. ":envihab is the only facility in the world with this configuration and these capabilities," says Rupert Gerzer, head of the DLR Institute of Aerospace Medicine. Here, researchers will not only focus on astronauts, but on people on Earth as well.
In addition to giant volcanoes and deep rift valleys, Mars has even more spectacular landscapes. Experience the various features of this planet in fascinating images acquired with DLR's High Resolution Stereo Camera on board the Mars Express spacecraft.
A special passenger was on board during the launch of ESA's fourth Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV), 'Albert Einstein', on 5 June 2013 at 23:52 CEST – the STEREX experiment, funded by the DLR Space Administration and the European Space Agency (ESA). The heart of this system consists of four cameras incorporated into the Ariane 5. Two of these cameras recorded the separation of ATV-4 for the first time in 3D. The video data received last night at the DLR ground station in Weilheim was recorded, and presented, firstly, in a two-dimensional video format, from the launch to the separation of the European cargo vehicle.
The vertical exaggeration factor of the digital terrain model in this video is 2.5. The European Mars Express mission was launched from Baikonur Cosmodrome on 2 June 2003. The High Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC) on board the spacecraft has enabled planetary researchers to view Mars in three dimensions. The Institute of Planetary Research at the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) developed and is operating the camera.