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Mars Express - Pit chains on the Tharsis volcanic bulge

5. April 2012

In the Tharsis volcanic region, almost the size of Europe, the Martian highlands have arched up into a shield several thousand metres in height as a consequence of volcanic processes. Quite a few unusual topographic features can be observed there.

Successful launch of ATV-3 'Edoardo Amaldi'

23. March 2012

It is a freighter, storage facility and propulsion system all in one - and an important link between the astronauts on board the International Space Station (ISS) and their base on Earth. The third European Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV) space transporter was launched on 23 March 2012 at 05:34 CET (01:34 local time) on board an Ariane 5ES rocket, from Europe's Spaceport in French Guiana.

TerraSAR-X image of the month – Lively winter view

2. March 2012

Ice and snow can be colourful – at least when seen through the 'eyes' of the German Aerospace Center's (DLR) TerraSAR-X radar satellite. The radar signals are able to penetrate the snow cover to a depth of one metre – and the subsurface reflects the pulse in different ways.

Mars Express - The 8000-metre scarp of Ius Chasma

1. March 2012

Ius Chasma is one of the main graben in Valles Marineris, one of the largest known canyon systems in the Solar System. Over a length of 940 kilometres, Ius Chasma forms the northern boundary between the western half of this enormous valley system and the Martian highlands.

SCIAMACHY - 10 years monitoring climate in space

28. February 2012

How has our ozone layer changed in the last 10 years? How do trace gases like nitrous oxides, carbon dioxide and methane influence our climate? How do environmental protection measures work? These were the questions that German researchers sought to address.

Searching for life in the depths of Enceladus

22. February 2012

Is there life under the icy crust of Enceladus? If Europe's plans for a future mission to Enceladus do become reality, German researchers would like to study this water source for traces of life.

Project NEOShield: Asteroid defence systems

3. February 2012

It is not entirely clear when exactly the last major asteroid impact on Earth occurred. But there are plenty of examples of impact craters, such as the Nördlinger Ries in Bavaria.

Mars Express - A dark spot on Mars - Syrtis Major

2. February 2012

Amateur astronomers who on occasion observe Mars through the eyepiece of their telescopes are quite familiar with the region of Syrtis Major; when observing conditions are good, it can be easily identified as a dark spot on Mars.

A step closer to mapping the Earth in 3D

13. January 2012

After a year in service, the German Earth observation satellite TanDEM-X, together with its twin satellite, TerraSAR-X, have completely mapped the entire land surface of Earth for the first time. The data is being used to create the world's first single-source, high-precision, 3D digital elevation model of Earth.

Mars Express: 'Wrinkle ridges' and grabens in Tempe Terra

6. January 2012

Tempe Terra is located at the northeastern edge of the Tharsis volcanic region and forms the transition zone between the southern highlands and the northern lowlands.

Dawn spacecraft now in its lowest orbit around Vesta

22. December 2011

NASA's Dawn spacecraft has been in its lowest orbit around asteroid Vesta since mid-December 2011. During November the orbit was gradually lowered to an altitude of 210 kilometres above the asteroid's surface.

Unusual flow patterns in Phlegra Montes

2. December 2011

Phlegra Montes is a mountainous massif on Mars that extends for several hundreds of kilometres from the northeastern part of the Elysium volcanic region (between 30 and 50 degrees north) to deep into the northern lowlands.


Asteroid Vesta in 3D - seemingly close enough to touch

1. December 2011

No asteroid or rocky planet looks quite like the asteroid Vesta, which the US Dawn spacecraft has been orbiting since July 2011; countless craters, furrows and slopes define the landscape of this celestial body. The German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) has produced a 3D film from the imagery recorded by the cameras on board the spacecraft.


Curiosity - a heavyweight Mars explorer

25. November 2011

The US 'Curiosity' rover began its journey to Mars at 16:02 CET on 26 November on board an Atlas V 541 / Centaur launcher that lifted off from Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

Russian Phobos-Grunt spacecraft launched

8. November 2011

On 8 November at 21:16 CET (02:16 on 9 November, local time) the Russian Phobos-Grunt (Phobos Soil) spacecraft began its journey to Mars on board a Zenit-2 rocket that lifted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

Return from virtual flight to Mars

4. November 2011

520 days without sunlight, fresh air or direct contact with the outside world - the six test subjects on the Mars500 mission have had to forego plenty of things while 'travelling' to Mars and back to Earth in their virtual spacecraft.

Mars Express: Tharsis Tholus, a collapsed 8000-metre peak

4. November 2011

The volcanoes on Mars are true giants. As well as being home to the largest volcano in our Solar System, the 24-kilometre-high Olympus Mons, and its three neighbouring shield volcanoes Arsia, Pavonis and Ascraeus, there are a number of less-frequently observed volcano complexes on the Tharsis bulge near the Martian equator that also reach impressive heights. With a base measuring 155 by 125 kilometres, the 8000-metre Tharsis Tholus may only be a ‘mid-range’ volcano, but when measured against terrestrial standards, this volcano is truly gigantic. The High Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC) operated by the German Aerospace Center (DLR) on board ESA’s Mars Express spacecraft acquired images of Tharsis Tholus over the course of several orbits, which have been combined to form a mosaic image with a resolution of 14 metres per pixel. The images show an area located at 13 degrees north and 268 degrees east.

TerraSAR-X image of the month - Tents in the desert

3. November 2011

Viewed from above, the US 'Burning Man' festival resembles a spider web. In October and September 2011, the TerraSAR-X radar satellite, operated by DLR, acquired some impressive images of the festival and its setup process.


Germany and China - joint experiments in space

1. November 2011

On 31 October at 22:58 CET (on 1 November at 05:58 local time), the Chinese spaceship Shenzhou-8 was launched on board a Long March rocket from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in Inner Mongolia.

Greenhouse effect – Venus’ crust moved by climate

26. October 2011

To this day, continental drift has been responsible for changes to Earth’s surface. Venus, on the other hand, displays a motionless crust, but this was not always the case. Using simulations, planetary researchers at the German Aerospace Center (DLR) have now discovered that, in the past, the surface of Venus was probably quite hot, and consequently dynamic.