Mars' northern hemisphere is currently experiencing winter. A newly generated colour mosaic depicts the extraordinary, almost perfectly symmetrical pattern of Mars' north polar ice cap, 1100 kilometres in diameter. Studying the North Pole cap will tell us more about climate development on our planetary neighbour.
Expansive forest fires have raged through Chile for some weeks now due to a long dry spell. On 25 January 2017, the Chilean National Office for Emergency (Oficina Nacional de Emergencia del Ministerio del Interior; ONEMI) activated the International Charter Space and Major Disasters to obtain up-to-date situation images of the disaster area to assist emergency services.
Climate change, digitalisation, Industry 4.0 and transformation of the energy and traffic systems – these central societal responsibilities will be at the heart of the research conducted by the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) in 2017. DLR will present the focus of this year's research and some selected projects at the New Year’s press conference on 26 January 2017 in Berlin.
The asteroid 16 Psyche is the target of the NASA Discovery Programme's 14th mission. The eponymous robotic mission will be launched in 2023 and will explore a metallic asteroid for the first time in order to gain further knowledge about the formation of the Solar System and especially about the structure and development of planetary bodies.
A test simulating crashes between high-speed trains, hunting for clouds in West Africa, the maiden flight of a four-passenger fuel cell aircraft – 2016 at the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) has been a year of numerous research highlights.
The Occator crater on the dwarf planet Ceres is a real eye-catcher: with a diameter of 92 kilometres, it is larger than Tycho crater on the Moon – which appears like a bright spot when seen with the naked eye. The Occator crater's steep walls stand tall at over 2000 metres, higher than the North face of the Eiger in the Bernese Alps.
The German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) will send the 'Mole' HP3 (Heat Flow and Physical Properties Package) to Mars on board the United States InSight Mission on 5 May 2018 to conduct heat flow measurements. And it has just received good news: the landing site in the plains of Elysium Planitia most probably has a heat flow that is classified average, and will therefore be representative of Mars as a whole.
Approximately 600 kilometres long and up to two kilometres deep, Mawrth Vallis is a dried-up outflow channel on our planetary neighbour Mars. 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 has imaged the valley in high resolution.
For the first time in the history of space exploration, scientists at the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) have demonstrated in a real space experiment how a satellite can approach a counterpart by fully autonomously, making use of only optical or vision-based navigation.
The Rosetta mission reached the end of its observation phase in late September when the orbiter touched down spectacularly on the surface of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gersimenko. By then, it had spent 4595 days in space, and had travelled 7.9 billion kilometres, performed a total of six fly-bys past Earth, Mars and two asteroids and accompanied Comet 67P during its journey through the Solar System on a mission lasting more than two years.