The Occator crater on the dwarf planet Ceres is a real eye-catcher: with a diameter of 92 kilometres, it is larger than Tycho crater on the Moon – which appears like a bright spot when seen with the naked eye. The Occator crater's steep walls stand tall at over 2000 metres, higher than the North face of the Eiger in the Bernese Alps.
The German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) will send the 'Mole' HP3 (Heat Flow and Physical Properties Package) to Mars on board the United States InSight Mission on 5 May 2018 to conduct heat flow measurements. And it has just received good news: the landing site in the plains of Elysium Planitia most probably has a heat flow that is classified average, and will therefore be representative of Mars as a whole.
Approximately 600 kilometres long and up to two kilometres deep, Mawrth Vallis is a dried-up outflow channel on our planetary neighbour Mars. The High Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC) operated by the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) on board ESA's Mars Express spacecraft has imaged the valley in high resolution.
For the first time in the history of space exploration, scientists at the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) have demonstrated in a real space experiment how a satellite can approach a counterpart by fully autonomously, making use of only optical or vision-based navigation.
The highest decision-making body of the European Space Agency (ESA) met this year on 1 and 2 December at the Culture and Convention Centre (KKL) in Lucerne, Switzerland, to set the financial and programme-based course for European space travel for the coming years. Ministers in charge of space in Europe last came together exactly two years ago on 2 December 2014 in Luxembourg.
The plasma crystal experiments are among the most successful research projects on the International Space Station (ISS). The PKE-Nefedov plasma crystal laboratory was one of the first scientific research laboratories on the International Space Station (ISS).
The Rosetta mission reached the end of its observation phase in late September when the orbiter touched down spectacularly on the surface of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gersimenko. By then, it had spent 4595 days in space, and had travelled 7.9 billion kilometres, performed a total of six fly-bys past Earth, Mars and two asteroids and accompanied Comet 67P during its journey through the Solar System on a mission lasting more than two years.
Antonianna, Lisa, Kimberley and Tijmen – those are the names of the four Galileo satellites launched on 17 November 2016, at precisely 14:06 CET, for the first time with a specially adapted version of the European heavyweight carrier Ariane 5 from the European spaceport in French Guiana.
The Budget Committee of the German Federal Government has approved 42 million euro in funding to establish six new institutes within the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR).
Human beings do not always retain the same level of dexterity in a weightless environment as they would on Earth – not even with practice. This is a familiar, yet still mysterious, phenomenon encountered in human spaceflight: what is the reason for the reduced hand-to-eye coordination in space, and what can be done to compensate these performance deficits?
At 10:30 Central European Time (CET) on 8 November 2016, the HEROS3 (Hybrid Experimental Rocket Stuttgart) research rocket was successfully launched from the Esrange Space Centre in Sweden to great enthusiasm from the students. Reaching an altitude of 30 kilometres, it set a new European altitude record for student rockets.
The menu for polar explorers in the Antarctic is not usually very exciting. Often, there are only durable goods, especially in the polar winter, when the researchers are cut off from the outside world for months.
A unique experiment – with a very special goal – has been devised by the German Space Operations Center (GSOC) of the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR). The AVANTI experiment (Autonomous Visual Approach Navigation and Target Identification) is intended to demonstrate how a satellite can detect a spacecraft in space and approach it autonomously.
These images, acquired by the High Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC) operated by the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) on board the European Mars Express spacecraft show the western part of Acheron Fossae, a network of fractures on Mars.
Researchers at the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) have set a new record in data transmission using laser: 1.72 terabits per second across a distance of 10.45 kilometres, which is equivalent to the transmission of 45 DVDs per second.
Showcasing and promoting outstanding and innovative concepts for applications of satellite navigation and Earth observation are the objectives of the 'European Satellite Navigation Competition' (ESNC) and 'Copernicus Masters', two ideas competitions.
Starting 24 October 2016, a four-week 'space mission' will take place in Utah's semi-desert: this field test programme of the Field Trials Utah (FT-Utah) project is focusing on the SherpaTT Rover and Coyote III. In the impassable, Mars-like test area not far from the small town of Hanksville in the south of the US state, the robots will have to undergo endurance and stress tests and should also successfully complete a mock-up mission scenario.
The European Space Agency's (ESA) Venus Express mission has provided a great amount of data from the surface and atmosphere of Earth's inner twin planet. Among these observations was the mapping of the southern hemisphere of Venus in the near infrared spectral range using the VIRTIS (Visible and InfraRed Thermal Imaging Spectrometer) instrument.
The German satellite duo TerraSAR-X and TanDEM-X have consistently delivered one-of-a-kind Earth observation data since 2007 and 2010, hence shaping the international research landscape. Now, scientific users from across the globe have gathered for the TerraSAR-X and TanDEM-X Science Meeting at the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) in Oberpfaffenhofen, where they will discuss the results obtained from the data and define requirements for future remote sensing technology.
More than 1.5 million children and their families in over 130 countries around the world are currently receiving support from the humanitarian aid organisation SOS Children's Villages International. The Centre for Satellite Based Crisis Information (ZKI) at the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) site in Oberpfaffenhofen is supporting the organisation by establishing emergency and disaster management concepts in order to provide effective assistance in the event of natural disasters, such as floods, earthquakes or forest fires.