The German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) Mars Exhibition will be hosted from 17 December 2009 to 31 January 2010 by the Kobe Science Museum. It shows fascinating high-resolution, large-format 3D images of Mars, taken by the German High Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC) on board the European orbiter, Mars Express. These are supplemented by a vast amount of information about the Red Planet, its moons and exploration efforts.
The exhibition was inaugurated in Kobe on 17 December 2009. The exhibition, which has already been on show in Japan in Kyoto and Kitakyushu, is a cooperation between DLR, the city of Kobe and the German Consulate-General in Osaka. The idea of mounting the exhibit in Kobe goes back to scientific contacts between the DLR Institute for Planetary Research and Japanese researcher Dr Ai Inada, a member of the HRSC science team.
Mars Express is the first independent European mission to another planet. The probe has been orbiting Mars, the next planet out from the Sun after Earth, since Christmas 2003, to gain new knowledge about the planet’s geology, mineralogy and atmosphere. The main aim of the mission is to look for signs of water, which is believed to have covered large expanses of Mars’ surface in its early history, and to map the planet’s surface topography and mineralogy. The mission involves scientists from DLR, the Free University of Berlin and other German scientific institutes.
The exhibition presents a number of large-format 3D images and scientific information obtained by Mars Express. Along with other exploration equipment, the orbiter carries the German-high performance HRSC camera. The High Resolution Stereo Camera is the first imaging system capable of photographing the planet’s surface in high resolution, in colour and in 3D. The exhibition is nothing less than a new view of our neighbour Mars.
The concept and contents of the exhibition were designed collaboratively by DLR’s team in Berlin, led by Prof. Ralf Jaumann, and Prof. Gerhard Neukum, leader of the HRSC science team at the Free University of Berlin. The images were created by the DLR Institute for Planetary Research together with the Institute of Geological Sciences at the Free University of Berlin. It has already been seen by more than half a million visitors in Germany, at the United Nations in Austria and New York, as well as in Japan and the United States.