The vision is enticing – board in Europe, sit back, and disembark 90 minutes later on the other side of the world, in Australia. But before the SpaceLiner, which is being developed by the Institute of Space Systems at DLR, can fly a route like this for the first time, new technologies still have to be tested and basic requirements defined.
Observing a seasonal phenomenon has its own special appeal on Mars. As the planet's rotational axis has a slightly greater inclination to that of Earth, our planetary neighbour experiences distinct seasons too – except these last around twice as long since it takes nearly two Earth years for Mars to orbit the Sun.
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.
Nereidum Montes, a chain of mountains over 1000 kilometres long, is part of the northern rim of Argyre Basin, the second largest impact basin on Mars. On 6 June 2012, the HRSC camera on board ESA's Mars Express spacecraft, which is operated by DLR, photographed a part of this mountain range
Mars is clearly much smaller than Earth, but it can still come up with impressive superlatives. Several landscape features have unquestionably enormous dimensions – at over 21 kilometres in height, Olympus Mons is the largest volcano in the Solar System; the Hellas impact basin is more than 2000 kilometres across and eight kilometres deep – but particularly spectacular is the Valles Marineris canyon system
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 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.
When the Japanese Hayabusa-2 mission is launched towards asteroid 1999 JU 3 in 2014 to collect surface samples, MASCOT – the Mobile Asteroid Surface Scout – an asteroid lander developed by DLR will be on board.
A robotic arm controlled entirely by the thoughts of a paraplegic woman – to accomplish this, Patrick van der Smagt from DLR and John P. Donoghue from Brown University in the USA 'networked' expertise from their two research disciplines, robotics and neuroscience.
A service satellite captures an uncontrollable satellite in space, repairs or refuels it and, at the end of the mission, ensures that the defective satellite is disposed of in a controlled manner. Something that sounds like science fiction is now a step closer to reality.
Poland is the official partner country of the ILA Berlin Air Show 2012, and is in the process of becoming the twentieth member state of the European Space Agency (ESA).
Hadley Crater on Mars has been subject to several impacts by large asteroids in the course of its history. The 'craters within a crater' formed in this way give us a view over two kilometres into the Martian crust.
From the magnificent Vinci upper stage engine to the small but important MOSFET circuit board for the flight to asteroid 1993 JU3 – DLR will be showcasing new developments in space technology at its stand during the ILA Berlin Air Show 2012 from 11 to 16 September.
A giant impact crater on its south pole; deep grooves around its equator; dark material on the craters that puzzles planetary researchers; and a mountain more than twice the height of Mount Everest.
Satellites with electric propulsion, a 'mole' for exploring the Martian subsurface, a mobile robot that moves sideways like a crab, a pinch of Moon dust and a hands-on medical experiment.