Space sciences aim to address some of the fundamental questions of mankind. Where do we come from? Where are we going? Space research offers unique opportunities to acquire fresh insights into elementary questions in science:
How did the Universe originate, what is its basic structure, and how will it develop over time?
How did the Solar System and more particularly our Earth originate, and how will they evolve in the future?
Does life exist on other celestial bodies in our Solar System or in extra-solar planetary systems?
What is the part played by gravity and cosmic radiation in the origin, evolution, and spread of life?
In what way does gravity influence fundamental physical, physical-chemical, biological, and human-physiological processes and systems?
To answer these questions, the Space Administration pursues three programme lines relating to space science, the intention of which is to:
ities to acquire fresh insights into elementary questions in science:
In all these fields, scientists make use of conditions prevailing in space that cannot be reproduced in terrestrial observatories and laboratories, such as the absence of atmospheric restrictions and disturbances, weightlessness, and cosmic radiation. Telescopes positioned in near-Earth orbit, such as the new European space-based observatories, Herschel und Planck, enable us to study the Universe without obstacles or interference.
Satellites and orbital platforms like the International Space Station (ISS) serve as laboratories for studying fundamental laws in physics, biology, and medicine. Probes equipped with intelligent lander systems such as the Rosetta mission are sent to faraway planets, moons, and asteroids in our Solar System to acquire important facts on the spot.
Germany is well set up for all three programme lines in space science. Successful scientists, the development of innovative measuring devices by Germany's industry and a wide range of missions and mission participations within ESA, bilateral co-operations and the National Programme – all this has contributed to our success.