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Space | 24. May 2019 | posted by Reinhold Ewald

Reinhold Ewald visits AGBRESA participants – from astronaut to explornaut

Image: DLR
From astronaut to explornaut – Reinhold Ewald visits the 12 AGBRESA bed-rest study participants.

The spaceship hatch is open, so pressure equalisation with the outside world has clearly already taken place. Standing before the :envihab facility in Cologne early on a Monday evening on my way to a special kind of ‘nauts’, namely ‘explornauts’, I feel as if I’m about to enter a space station. While Earth’s astronauts have not come much closer to their goal – the stars (astro-) – explornauts are in a comparatively better position. On the way to new inventions and discoveries, which explorers have always made, one does not always need impressive technology; sometimes a bed inclined down at the head end by six degrees is sufficient. read more

Space | 22. May 2019 | posted by Friederike Wütscher

AGBRESA: HyperCampus – How does artificial gravity affect plasticity of the brain?

Credit: DLR
Tests with the VR headset were conducted even before the bedrest period as part of the HyperCampus experiment by Alexander Stahn

"Do not disturb – Experiment ongoing!" is the message hanging from the door of participants' rooms during the AGBRESA studies. Often, a concession of scientists and medical staff march in and out of the participants' rooms – which are usually open – to administer various experiments – to transport them via gurney to the experiments in the nearby modules of the aerospace medicine research facility: envihab. read more

Space | 17. May 2019 | posted by Pierre-François Migeotte

AGBRESA - Cardiac deconditioning in astronauts

Credit: DLR
A participant in the MRI machine

During the AGBRESA study, we are studying the cardiac deconditioning that occurs during space flight. Together with colleagues from the Université Libre de Bruxelles, the German Aerospace Center (DLR) and the Politecnico di Milano, and with the support from the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Belgian Science Policy Office, we are looking at the weakening of the heart, which can lead to an astronaut fainting upon returning to gravity after a long duration spaceflight. This is a big problem for space exploration and requires countermeasures to be implemented during such missions. Our study aims to evaluate whether artificial gravity, generated by short-arm centrifugation, could be a valid countermeasure for space exploration missions. read more

Space | 15. May 2019 | posted by Timo Frett

AGBRESA – you take everything with you into space, apart from gravity – training on the short-arm centrifuge

Credit: DLR
Alexandra Noppe, Timo Frett and Michael Arz from the DLR centrifuge team prepare a test participant for treatment

Strict bedrest and spinning – how do they fit together? Very easily – as a participant in the AGBRESA bed-rest study! The participants complete their training on the DLR short-arm human centrifuge every day during their 60 days of bedrest. read more

Space | 09. May 2019 | posted by Friederike Wütscher

AGBRESA – "In 'space', you have plenty of time, but no fuel station nearby" – docking training

Credit: DLR
DLR doctoral candidate Sarah Piechowski monitoring a test participant during docking training

Navigating a spacecraft through the endless expanse of the cosmos and performing difficult manoeuvres under adverse conditions to dock safely with the Space Station – what sounds like the childhood dream of any hobby astronaut is in fact a routine task for participants in the AGBRESA bed-rest study. Learning how to control a spacecraft with six degrees of freedom or 6df, to use the more usual term, is one of the numerous experiments that study participants are required to complete. The spaceflight, however, is carried out in a lying-down position in Cologne to be compatible with the requirements of the bed-rest study. By the time the study is over, the participants will each have completed 20 docking 'sessions' in total, acquiring the necessary skills to control a spacecraft and – if everything goes according to plan – dock it safely with the Space Station. read more

Space | 17. April 2019 | posted by Manuela Braun

AGBRESA – strict bed-rest for 60 days

Credit: DLR
The participants' beds are tilted six degrees downwards at the head end. This allows the negative effects of weightlessness in space to be induced on Earth.

With his head down and legs lifted upwards, Test Participant B is being rolled towards the centrifuge. Or rather, his bed is. He will not be allowed to stand up for the next two months. From his bed, Test Participant B mainly sees one thing as he travels the few metres from the test station to the centrifuge – the :envihab ceiling. The 5400-square-metre building has been home to ESA astronauts Alexander Gerst, Andreas Mogensen, Timothy Peake and Thomas Pesquet immediately following their missions, in order to study the effects of microgravity on the human body. Since 25 March 2019, the :envihab facility at the DLR site in Cologne has housed the test participants taking part in the AGBRESA (Artificial Gravity Bed Rest Study) project, a joint effort by NASA, ESA and DLR. All 12 of them have been lying in their beds since 14 April read more

Space | 12. December 2018 | posted by Manfred Gottwald

TanDEM-X image of Hiawatha Glacier

Credit: DLR
TanDEM-X radar amplitude image of the region around Hiawatha Glacier. The apparent texture is due to the surface structure of the ice and its dynamics.

Glaciers abound on Greenland's coastline; fed by the Greenland ice sheet, they flow towards the Arctic Ocean. In the northwest, Hiawatha Glacier is located at 78.8 degrees north, 67 degrees west. It emerges from a semi-circular lobe at the ice sheet margin and forms a narrow tongue with a length of 10 kilometres extending onto the ice-free Inglefield Land. Hiawatha Glacier’s northern neighbour, the large Humboldt Glacier, is much more widely known. The front of the Humboldt Glacier is over 100 kilometres wide where it flows into the Nares Strait. The TanDEM-X image shows the region around Hiawatha Glacier.

Recently, however, Hiawatha Glacier has received worldwide attention. Some years ago, radar measurements performed as part of NASA’s Operation IceBridge, a campaign to monitor changes in the polar ice caps, revealed a circular depression in the ground underneath the ice where Hiawatha Glacier emerges from the ice sheet. Subsequent surveying by an international research team using a more advanced airborne radar system on board the Polar 6 aircraft operated by the Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI) yielded a more detailed view of that bowl-shaped feature. With a diameter of 31 kilometres and a depth of more than 300 metres, it resembles impact craters on Earth or the solid surface of other celestial bodies. read more

Space | 23. October 2018 | posted by Friederike Wütscher

Study on ageing athletes at the World Championships in Málaga: A review

Credit: DLR
The MAFS team with the 70-year-old participant Ian Richards from Great Britain, a walker who took gold over three distances!

The study at the World Master Track & Field Championships in Málaga is now over and the crates with the instruments, devices, furniture and technical equipment have already been unpacked and stowed away at the Institute in Cologne. The time has now come to process and analyse the collected data, and the various groups of scientists are excited to find out the results of their work in the stadium over the last few weeks. But before detailed work on the data commences, we want to look back on the intense two weeks in Málaga and pass on a few impressions from the team. read more

Space | 02. October 2018 | posted by Tra-Mi Ho

MASCOT – Just hours before separation

Credit: DLR (CC-BY 3.0)
Ready for #asteroidlanding - MASCOT Control Center at the DLR site in Cologne

About 7 years ago, when the MASCOT lander took its 'first steps' in the form of a CAD drawing was – at least for some of us – an unimaginable moment. Today, we are in the control room, following the slow descent of the Hayabusa2 spacecraft carrying our small landing package through the returned housekeeping data. We are ready to go. read more