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Institute of Planetary Research
Head of the Institute
the Institute of Planetary Research carries out and supports research programs on the internal structure, formation and evolution of the planets, their moons, and asteroids and comets. Techniques employed include remote sensing and in-situ investigations using instruments carried on spacecraft, astronomical observations from the ground, theoretical modeling, and laboratory experiments.
The solid surfaces of planets, moons, asteroids, and comets define a boundary layer that separates the interior of a planetary body from the surrounding atmosphere and from space. Planetary surfaces interact with the solid matter of the substrate as well as with the overlaying volatile matter and the influence of interplanetary space, and are thus affected by endogenic and exogenic processes.
Size, shape, rotation, and gravity field are fundamental properties of any planetary body. The Institute¹s Planetary Geodesy Department is concerned with the determination and the detailed study of these properties, including how they might affect geophysical processes.
The interior structure and evolution of planetary bodies are affected by endogenic processes acting deep inside the body and manifesting themselves at the surface through various geological and tectonic features. Our Department develops and applies numerical models to explain these endogenic processes.
Extrasolar Planets and Atmospheres
The research focus of the department is the characterization of planetary atmospheres, gas and dust envelops of comets as well as the search for extra-solar planets. The exploration of extra-solar planets makes it possible to put the formation and evolution of our Solar System into a more generalized cosmogonic context.
Asteroids and Comets
The main objectives of the Section are to increase our knowledge and understanding of comets and asteroids by means of observations in the visible, infrared and radio regions and the modelling of associated physical processes,...
Planetary Sensor Systems
The Department specializes in the design and development of instruments for planetary exploration in close collaboration with industry and other scientific institutions world-wide, but with emphasis on Europe (ESA) and the USA (NASA).
Experimental Planetary Physics
The far-infrared (FIR) or terahertz (THz) part of the electromagnetic spectrum is relatively unexplored with regard to scientific applications and available technology. Observations in this spectral range will contribute significantly to our understanding of the origin and evolution of stars, planets, comets or asteroids.
Planning and Common Management
The department supports the Director of the Institute in all day-by-day operations. The focus is on planning and evaluation of strategic measures to optimize the scientific output of the Institute. These measures have to comply with DLR's overall corporate goals and guidelines.
Institute of Planetary Research
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