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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
After the successful landing of the Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover, NASA has selected one more lander mission to Mars. The InSight mission will reach Mars in September 2016, after a six-month journey; it has been designed to take a 'look' into the deep interior of the Red Planet; it will do this with geophysical experiments including DLR's HP3, which will penetrate several metres into the Martian subsurface to measure the soil's thermo-physical and electrical properties.
On 27 April 2012, the High Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC) operated by the German Aerospace Center (DLR) on board ESA's Mars Express spacecraft acquired images of part of Ladon Valles. These images show an area north of the Holden and Eberswalde craters in Mars' southern highlands.
On 17 April 2012, 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 acquired images of a region in Melas Dorsa.
A mere 10 kilometres separate John O'Groats, at the northernmost tip of the Scottish mainland, and South Ronaldsay, in the Orkney Islands. What passengers on the ferries directly experience can also be observed from space by the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) TanDEM-X and TerraSAR-X satellite duo; in the Pentland Firth, the water flows at great speed, often causing a rough crossing.
Following the flight of the SHEFEX II spacecraft on 22 June 2012, researchers at the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) have performed an initial assessment.