The DLR institute established at Berlin-Adlershof was founded in 1992 and is involved in all major European missions of planetary research venturing out into our Solar System.
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Space travel is no easy task – first comes the stressful launch with vibrations, then the long flight through the bitter cold and the vacuum. The Mobile Asteroid Surface Scout (MASCOT) has been travelling on board the Japanese Hayabusa2 spacecraft for the last one-and-a-half years, and is currently at approximately 65 million kilometres from Earth.
With a length of 600 kilometres and a depth of up to two kilometres, Mawrth Vallis is one of the biggest valleys on Mars and a possible landing site for the ESA ExoMars and NASA Mars 2020 missions. It is entrenched in the Arabia Terra highland, which is more than four billion years old, and ends in the great Chryse Planitia lowland region.
The small containers that are currently being disassembled at the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) are rather inconspicuous, yet they may contain organisms that have endured the conditions of space for over 530 days.