Articles for "Columbus-Modul"

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Space | 17. May 2022 | posted by Christian Krause

Martian dust reduces power for InSight – but measurements are ongoing

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
A dusty affair: this image was acquired on 28 April 2022 by the camera on the InSight lander's robotic arm. The layer of dust on the lander, including the solar panels, is clearly visible.

NASA's InSight lander has been operating on Mars for a good year and a half during its extended mission. However, the lander has been struggling for a considerable time with a reduction in available power, which is due to the increasing quantities of Martian dust covering its solar panels. This dust can only be removed by sufficiently strong Martian winds. However, despite detecting many passing whirlwinds, none have cleaned off the solar panels.

The available energy has had to be planned for and used very carefully during recent months. The overall focus has been particularly on the scientific measurements of the mission. The teams involved, led by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) and Lockheed Martin, which operates the lander, have managed to keep this unique mission in operation until now. When InSight landed, its solar panels were producing approximately 5000 watt-hours per Martian day, or sol. Now, at 500 watt-hours per sol, they produce only about a tenth of this. And the Martian dust on the panels continues to increase while the Sun's elevation at the landing site decreases as winter sets in. read more

Space | 11. May 2022 | posted by Thomas Berger

MARE to the Moon – our M-42 radiation meter with a smart solution for saving power

DLR-Strahlungsmessgerät M-42
Credit: DLR (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)
A flight model of the DLR M-42 radiation meter with the two batteries plugged in and the battery holder

The MARE experiment includes a set of 16 radiation measurement devices called M-42, which the Biophysics Working Group of the Radiation Biology Department at the DLR Institute of Aerospace Medicine developed, tested and now finally built for the NASA Artemis I mission. M-42 is an active radiation meter. This means that it needs to obtain power from somewhere for the radiation detector (a small silicon diode) and the associated measurement electronics, and for storing the resulting measurement data. This power can be supplied either directly via a USB cable or batteries that simply plug into the M-42 via two connectors.

In principle, this sounds very simple. However, anyone who has ever hoped that their mobile phone would last until the next charging opportunity knows how dependent we are on batteries and their capacity. This poses a big challenge for this mission in particular. Our M-42 measuring instruments and the mannequins Helga and Zohar are part of NASA's Artemis I mission, but we do not get data or power interfaces to the Orion spacecraft. read more

Space | 27. April 2022 | posted by Thomas Berger

Project MARE – to the Moon and back with Orion

NASA-Raumschiff ORION
Credit: NASA
The uncrewed NASA mission Artemis I is set to fly to the Moon and back to Earth in 42 days with the Orion spacecraft

In summer 2022, the time will finally have come – our Matroshka AstroRad Radiation Experiment (MARE) will fly to the Moon and back with NASA’s Artemis I mission. We have been working towards this moment for several years and have had to live with the fact that space projects are frequently delayed. We have also had to contend with the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. This presented us with new, major challenges when putting together the experiment.

MARE aims to measure radiation exposure during the lunar flight of the Orion capsule using two ‘non-human’ passengers, Helga and Zohar. These two female mannequins – measuring 95 centimetres tall – contain slices of plastic elements of different densities (38 to be precise). These simulate the bones and organs of the body, such as the lungs, stomach, uterus and bone marrow. Zohar will fly on the Orion Moon flight wearing an AstroRad protective vest; Helga will fly without protection. In this way, these two identical models will collect comparable data sets to enable the evaluation and improvement of the effectiveness of the protective vest. read more

Aeronautics | 18. January 2022 | posted by Tim Stelkens-Kobsch

The SATIE project – greater security for airports

© whity
Credit: © whity
Airports are complex places, and that makes them vulnerable. In the SATIE project, leading EU partner organisations have joined forces to improve the resilience of European airports in the face of cyber and physical attacks.

As part of the Security of Air Transport Infrastructure of Europe (SATIE) project – a complex scenario at Zagreb Airport – one of the project partners demonstrated the potential effect of an extortion attack on an airport's Baggage Handling System (BHS). In the process, 'attackers' carried out virus attacks on the control system of the BHS live and on site. The airport staff were asked to detect and fend off these attacks during the demonstration. They were provided with the SATIE toolkit developed as part of the project. This recognises physical and cyber-attacks – or combinations of the two – and provides decision-making suggestions to clarify the situation.

The simulated attack on the BHS was just one of a total of five scenarios devised to test the new components of the SATIE toolkit as realistically as possible. Each scenario provides a step-by-step description of how a specific complex attack on an airport would be likely to proceed. read more

Space | 15. December 2021 | posted by Bed-rest-study

SANS-CM bed rest study: Detecting space eye disease while lying down

Messung der Veränderung der Augachsenlänge mittels objektive Refraktion zum Ausschluss einer Verkürzung des Augapfels
Credit: © DLR. All rights reserved
A large number of eye examinations await the test persons in the current bed rest study. The image shows the measurement of the change in eye axis length by means of the so-called objective refraction to exclude a shortening of the eyeball.

Living in space puts an enormous strain on the body. Among other things, astronauts are exposed to space radiation and experience their muscles deteriorate and body fluids shift towards the head. To protect against the radiation, international research is being conducted on protective vests, for example in the MARE mission. Effective training programmes have been developed to combat muscle atrophy, so that today astronauts hardly have any difficulties upon returning to Earth, even after spending months on the International Space Station (ISS). However, the increased pressure in the head due to the changed fluid distribution can lead to permanent problems – especially for the eyes. Time and again, space travellers report a deterioration of their eyesight, with about 70 percent experiencing eye changes, either temporarily during the stay in space or permanently.

The causes are still unclear. There are some theories but no evidence explaining why this affects some astronauts and not others, but it is clear that the eye condition is a significant risk. If we think about the future of human spaceflight with missions to the Moon and Mars, stays in weightlessness will last longer and longer. Through all of this, the health and safety of the space travellers must be maintained. Therefore, reliable prevention and countermeasures are needed. read more

Space | 08. December 2021 | posted by Bed-rest-study

SANS-CM bed rest study: Docking manoeuvres while lying down, guitar concerts and jelly legs

Probandin der SANS-CM-Bettruhestudie in der Unterdruckkammer LBNP
Credit: © DLR. All rights reserved
Six test participants spent two times three hours per day in the low pressure chamber during the bed-rest phase. They were built by DLR in coordination with NASA and they ensure that the body fluids are 'pulled' to the lower half of the body.
 

The first campaign of the SANS-CM bed rest study has come to an end and the DLR Institute of Aerospace Medicine is already preparing for the next one, which will begin in spring 2022. While the test participants spent their last days after their 30-day bed rest at :envihab, the research team has been working on processing the extensive data and continuing the study with new test participants. Before this round's participants packed their bags at the end of November to resume their real lives, we asked them about their experiences. read more

Space | 01. December 2021 | posted by Bed-rest-study

SANS-CM bed rest study: Subject D1 looks back on his 30 days in bed

medizinische Untersuchungen während der Bettruhestudie SANS-CM am DLR Köln
Credit: © DLR. All rights reserved
The daily schedule for the bed rest study includes a number of medical examinations, including intraocular pressure measurement (Fig.1), an MRI (2), an assessment of heartrate and stroke volume via inert gas rebreathing (3) and ultrasound measurements (4)

I 'm at the entrance to the DLR premises in Cologne. Somehow everything seems a bit surreal. The door of the :envihab is about to close behind me for eight weeks. I feel this strange sensation come over me, coupled with keen curiosity and tension. Although it has taken a long time for the study to get started, it's as though someone has only just asked me if I fancy taking part. And now the moment has arrived: as of today, I am Subject D1 in the new bed rest study at DLR.

I'm 42 years old and in my 'normal life' I work as a senior electrician in Facility Management at a hospital specialising in cardiovascular diseases. I'm mainly responsible for building control technology and the power supply. When you have an interest in technical things like I do, it generally comes with a keen sense of curiosity. That's why I'm prepared to lie down for 30 days. read more

Space | 25. November 2021 | posted by Bed-rest-study

The SANS-CM bed rest study: Lying down for 30 days for space research

DLR-Unterdruckzylinder LBNP (Lower Body Negative Pressure Device)
Credit: DLR (CC-BY 3.0)
The beds in the current bed rest study at DLR. As usual, the head end is tilted six degrees below the horizontal. The vacuum cylinders that enclose the body from the waist down are a new feature; they are used on the test participants for six hours a day.

What happens to humans in microgravity conditions? How do space conditions affect the human body? How can we prevent adverse effects on long-term spaceflight? Scientists on Earth are also asking themselves these kinds of questions. And they're coming up with answers, despite the occurrence of gravity. The researchers can outsmart it, as the ongoing bed rest study at :envihab, our aerospace medicine research facility, demonstrates. Here, eight men and four women lie in bed for 30 days straight. The head end of each bed is tilted six degrees downwards and there is no pillow. In these conditions, body fluids are distributed as they would be in microgravity, flowing from the legs towards the head. The test participants are 'astronauts on Earth'. read more

Space | 08. October 2021 | posted by Nicole Schmitz

Perseverance – the name says it all

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS
Perseverance takes a selfie after successful acquisition of a sample

On 18 February 2021, the Perseverance rover of NASA's Mars 2020 mission landed on Mars safe and sound. The research mission, initially scheduled to last two years, has begun. In this blog, DLR researcher Nicole Schmitz, together with her colleague Frank Preusker, will report regularly on the progress of the mission and the camera experiment in which they are involved. Both are part of the Science Team of the Mastcam-Z instrument, a stereo camera located on Perseverance's approximately two-metre-high mast. read more

Space | 21. September 2021 | posted by Celia Baumhoer

Aerial campaign on the Aletsch Glacier

DLR-Wissenschaftler auf dem Weg über den Gletscher zur Konkordiahütte
Copyright: © DLR/Celia Baumhoer
The path across the glacier to the Konkordia Hut

Only superlatives can properly describe the sheer magnitude of the Aletsch Glacier. Measuring over 22 kilometres in length and with a thickness of up to 900 metres, it is the largest glacier in the Alps, accounting for one fifth of Switzerland's total ice mass. But climate change is obviously leaving its mark on the Aletsch Glacier as well. How has the snow cover changed in the Jungfrau-Aletsch region over recent decades? How much mass is the glacier losing each year? At the start of September 2021, a DLR team from the Polar Monitor Project embarked on a two-week mission to seek answers to these and other questions using high-resolution aerial images and a variety of satellite sensors. read more