Human skin is an organ with many functions; it regulates, among other things, the water balance and temperature of the body, it prevents the entry of pathogens, protects the body from ultraviolet radiation and serves as a sensory organ. But how does it react to the harsh conditions of space? Researchers at the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) are seeking answers to these questions with the SKIN B experiment, funded by DLR Space Administration. The experiment started its journey to the International Space Station (ISS) from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 21:43 CET on 28 March 2013, carried by the Soyuz TMA-08M spacecraft with the crew of ISS Expedition 35.
From the outside it looks like just a large industrial robotic arm with a cockpit, but to the pilot inside the simulator, it feels like a real aircraft. The pilot sits at the controls, and the flight commands are converted into corresponding movements of the robotic arm in real time.
It began in the summer of 2009, with two legs and a camera mounted on top – but it was still far from being a robot of humanoid appearance. Gradually, the TOrque controlled humanoid RObot (TORO), the German Aerospace Center's (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) walking machine, has become more human-like – an upper body, a head with camera eyes and arms have been added.
Temperatures alternating between extreme heat and cold, electromagnetic radiation and weightlessness – environmental conditions prevailing in space are harsh. Nevertheless, satellite components and those of the International Space Station ISS and other systems must withstand these conditions and continue to function reliably. Within the national "On-Orbit-Verification"-(OOV)-Programme- the Deutsche Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt (DLR) is testing the maturity of space technologies under real condtitions in their intended space environment. The core element of this programme is the small satellite TET-1 built by the prime contractor Kayser-Threde GmbH of Munich.
The original Philae comet lander has been travelling through space since 2 March 2004. It is currently in hibernation mode, awaiting its arrival at Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. But the Philae models on the ground are being put through their paces: they are being tested to breaking point and examined by DLR.
2153 mirrors twist and turn at DLR Experimental Solar Thermal Power Plant in Jülich, directing sunlight onto a 22-square-metre receiver. TerraSAR-X, the German radar satellite operated by DLR, can also detect the mirrors as they follow the Sun – from more than 500 kilometres above Earth.
The northern hemisphere of Mars is a single, massive lowland with only a few distinctive landscape features. Frequent, intense dust and sand storms are recurrent here over the course of the seasons. When this happens, the wind transports very small particles, which are either deposited in other locations, or, if they encounter rock, leave their mark through the effects of erosion.
Last week, the European Space Agency (ESA) announced its choice of scientific experiments for the JUICE Mission (JUpiter ICy moons Explorer). The decision taken involved two experiments developed by the German Aerospace Center (DLR) Institute of Planetary Research.
Near Hanksville, Utah, in the United States, but 'on Mars'. At least that is what Volker Maiwald will feel when he embarks on his two-week mission in the Mars Desert Research Station on 23 February 2013.
On 13 January 2013 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, imaged the mouth of the Tinto Vallis region of Mars, southwest of Palos Crater.
From the outside it resembles a shiny barrel; inside, however, it contains a myriad of possibilities for scientific work under microgravity conditions. The European Columbus research module has been flying through space for five years, attached to the International Space Station (ISS).
On 7 February 2008, the Space Shuttle Atlantis took off from Kennedy Space Center, en route to the International Space Station (ISS). Also on board was the European Columbus laboratory.
The German Aerospace Center (DLR) is using knowledge for tomorrow to shape the future of our society today. DLR is a world-renowned partner for research and will continue to develop its international network in 2013 by establishing new collaborations with research institutes and universities.
From the research stage to full operation – The Center for Satellite Based Crisis Information (ZKI) is now on call around the clock. This service facility established in 2004 provides up-to-the minute satellite-based maps for activities related to natural and environmental disasters, humanitarian aid, and civil security worldwide. On 22 January 2013 the German Aerospace Center (DLR) in cooperation with the Federal Ministry of the Interior (BMI) officially launched regular ZKI operations.
As we look at the numerous graben and valleys that wind through the Martian highlands, it is not always clear which geological processes created them.
For 205 days in 2011, Jens Titze, Professor of Electrolyte and Circulatory Research at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, and his team strictly controlled the diet for the Mars500 test subjects during their virtual flight to Mars.
Captain William Mynors was not particularly creative as he sailed past a remote island in the Indian Ocean on the 'Royal Mary', a ship belonging to the British East India Company, on 25 December 1643.
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.