Articles for "Mars"

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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 | 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 | 16. October 2020 | posted by Tilman Spohn

The InSight mission logbook

Credit: DLR (CC-BY 3.0)

Since February 2019, the scientific director of DLR's HP3 instrument, Tilman Spohn, has been providing us with the latest news about the InSight mission in the DLR blog and regularly explains the current situation of the heat probe HP3, which we affectionately refer to as the Mars 'Mole'. read more

Space | 07. July 2020 | posted by Tilman Spohn

The InSight mission logbook (February 2019 - July 2020)

Credit: DLR (CC-BY 3.0)
You can find more graphics explaining the instruments of the InSight mission on flickr

In his logbook, Instrument Lead Tilman Spohn who is back in Berlin since April and communicating with JPL via the web, gives us the latest updates regarding the InSight mission and our HP3 instrument - the 'Mole' - which will hammer into the Martian surface. read more

Space | 25. February 2015 | posted by Ulrich Köhler

Could water molecules from Mars come to Earth?

Credit: ESA/DLR/FU Berlin, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO
The HRSC camera on board the Mars Express acquired this image of the Martian horizon primarily because it provides a clear view of the atmospheric structure enveloping the planet. A clear separation between the lower, denser atmosphere and the stratosphere is visible.

The High Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC) on board ESA's Mars Express orbiter has been delivering high-resolution images from the surface of Mars since January 2004 – in colour and 3-D. A monthly selection of these images is published on the dedicated page that covers the Mars Express mission. Quite often, we receive questions about these images and the geological peculiarities they reveal. Other questions are simply about Mars in general. In this blog post, Ulrich Köhler from the DLR Institute of Planetary Research provides an answer to a particularly interesting question. read more

Space | 09. April 2014

Mission HI-SEAS: 'Life on Mars'

Lucie Poulet said goodbye to the outside world for four months; the scientist from the German Aerospace Center DLR is a crewmember in the Mars simulation run by the University of Hawaii at Manoa. Among other things, the 28-year-old scientist will use the second mission within the Hawaii Space Exploration Analogue and Simulation (HI-SEAS) programme to study the influence that light of different wavelengths has on plants. But she will also be the subject of intense observation – the University of Hawaii is using the habitat to examine how the six participants behave and work together during the months of isolation. In this blog she tells about her ‘life on Mars’. read more