The flight of birds is still largely unexplored; in particular, the movements performed during the beat of a wing and the airflow around the wing are a puzzle to scientists. The German Aerospace Center (DLR), in collaboration with its partners, is addressing question. On 26 April 2011, they will photograph the wing of a barn owl while it is in flight.
To support the European ExoMars Mission to explore the Red Planet, an international project is being launched on 20 January 2011 with the aim of simulating the entry of spacecraft into the martian atmosphere. The project team is made up of German, Russian and Italian scientists and will be coordinated by the Supersonic and Hypersonic Technology Department (Überschall- und Hyperschalltechnologie) at the German Aerospace Center (DLR) Institute of Aerodynamics and Flow Technology (Institut für Aerodynamik und Strömungstechnik; IAS). Among other things, researchers are now simulating the atmosphere of Mars in a wind tunnel at the DLR's site in Cologne.
Lighter aircraft save fuel and are environment friendly, but they also need to be safe and offer comfort for passengers. Gusts of wind are a particular challenge for lightweight aircraft, because they can cause the wings and horizontal stabilisers to oscillate, subjecting the passengers to a shaking motion. This has prompted the German Aerospace Center (DLR) to study a model of a lightweight aircraft's wing and tail unit in a wind tunnel at its Göttingen facility.