The Antarctic greenhouse EDEN ISS has weathered the polar night – as well as Antarctic storms and temperatures below minus 40 degrees Celsius – in its practical test under the direction of the German Aerospace Center (DLR). It has been yielding herbs, lettuce and freshly harvested vegetables to the 10-member overwintering crew in the Alfred Wegener Institute’s Neumayer Station III for the first time since the beginning of 2018. After more than half a year of operation in Antarctica, the self-sufficient greenhouse concept appears to be effective for climatically demanding regions on Earth, as well as for future manned missions to the Moon and Mars. DLR researcher Paul Zabel is overcoming challenges, as well as acquiring knowledge from cultivating plants under such harsh conditions. To the overwintering team, the fresh greens are a welcome change during their long-term isolation. Zabel will report on his experiences in a live transmission from Antarctica on 13 September 2018.
Not too hot and not too cold. Not too many boulders, nor too few. Easily accessible and scientifically exciting. Meeting the requirements that the Mobile Asteroid Surface Scout (MASCOT) team had for the landing site on the asteroid Ryugu was no easy task. "However, we have now decided on an almost perfect landing site," says Ralf Jaumann from the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) Institute of Planetary Research, who is Principal Investigator of the MASCOT landing probe and responsible for the lander's MasCam camera experiment.
In early October 2018, the Mobile Asteroid Surface Scout (MASCOT) lander is expected to be in operation for approximately 16 hours on the Ryugu asteroid. The selection of the landing site will take place this August. The ideal site must firstly offer the MASCOT team engineers excellent conditions for a safe landing and stable operation on the asteroid, while providing the researchers with a wealth of new and productive measurements.
Scientists and engineers have been waiting nearly four years for the Japanese Hayabusa2 spacecraft – which is carrying the Mobile Asteroid Surface Scout (MASCOT) lander that was developed and constructed by the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) – to reach its destination: the asteroid Ryugu.
As the Japanese Hayabusa2 spacecraft closes in on asteroid Ryugu, more details become visible to the planetary scientists. On 20 July 2018, from a distance of just six kilometres, the spacecraft’s Optical Navigation Camera - Telescopic (ONC-T) acquired an image of the asteroid’s surface, with its largest crater. "We see that the entire surface of Ryugu is strewn with large boulders – we have not yet seen this on an asteroid," says Ralf Jaumann, a planetary scientist at the German Aerospace Center (DLR) and Principal Investigator for the MASCOT (Mobile Asteroid Surface Scout) lander aboard the Japanese spacecraft. It is anticipated that on 3 October 2018, MASCOT will land on Ryugu and examine the asteroid surface using four instruments.
Starting on 10 July 2018, the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) will be staging a newly designed exhibition on the current Hayabusa2 and MASCOT mission in the Untere Rathaushalle (ground floor) of Bremen's town hall. The Japanese space probe Hayabusa2 recently reached the near-Earth asteroid Ryugu on 27 June 2018.
On 6 July 2018 at 03:15 CEST (01:15 UTC), it was time. The team at the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) MASCOT Control Center in Cologne received the first signals from the German-French asteroid lander MASCOT upon its arrival at the near-Earth asteroid Ryugu.
The Japanese Hayabusa2 spacecraft has made a 3200-million-kilometre journey with the German-French Mobile Asteroid Surface Scout (MASCOT) lander on board. The two spacecraft have been travelling through the Solar System since December 2014, culminating in an approach manoeuvre to the near-Earth asteroid that has lasted several weeks and was completed on 27 June 2018.
The EDEN ISS greenhouse has been in the Antarctic for nearly six months, and for four of these, Paul Zabel from the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) has been operating the greenhouse on his own. It is now fully operational. Paul Zabel harvests an average of 740 grams of tomatoes, 1.8 kilograms of cucumbers, and 400 grams of kohlrabi every week, in addition to various herbs, lettuce and radish varieties.
Over the course of a few months, the HP3 'Mole' developed by the German Aerospace Centre (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt, DLR) will burrow up to five metres deep into the Red Planet to explore its inner structure. This will be the first time that a fully automatic self-hammering probe of this sort has been used.
The formation of planets and the occurrence of volcanism and earthquakes are determined by the thermally driven forces acting inside a planet. Continents and life as we know it emerged on Earth. On Mars, the internal development dynamics slowed rapidly. To decipher the interior of Mars and its past in more detail, and to find out what makes Earth so unique, an Atlas launch vehicle will lift off from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California at 13:05 CEST (04:05 local time) on 5 May, carrying NASA's Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport (InSight) lander to Mars.
The first 1480 kilometres from Denver to the launch site at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California have been completed – aboard an aircraft. The InSight (Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport) lander will now have to travel the remaining 485 million kilometres to Mars alone, following its planned launch on 5 May 2018.
The time has come: the EDEN ISS laboratory in the Antarctic has been set up, the first seedlings have been placed in the growth cabinets, and after eight weeks, the majority of the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) team has returned to Germany.
With the arrival and unloading of the EDEN ISS greenhouse at the edge of the Antarctic ice shelf, the construction process has begun. "We can hardly wait, as our four-person construction team set foot on the Antarctic continent before Christmas," says EDEN-ISS Project Manager Daniel Schubert.
A delegation with representatives from Canadian aerospace companies, led by the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) and its Vice President Luc Brûlé, is visiting Bremen from 23 to 25 October 2017. Gerd Gruppe, the Member of the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) Executive Board responsible for the Space Administration, initiated the trip.
The German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) will be showcasing its latest research at this year's International Astronautical Congress (IAC) in Adelaide, Australia.
On 14 July 2017At 08:36 CEST, the two research satellites 'Flying Laptop' and 'TechnoSat' were successfully launched to space on board a Russian Soyuz rocket from Baikonur Cosmodrome.
Global food production is one of the key societal challenges of the 21st century. A growing world population with the simultaneous upheaval caused by climate change demand new methods of cultivating crops in regions with unfavourable climates. A closed greenhouse is a good way of growing food in deserts and low-temperature regions – as would be the case on missions to the Moon and Mars – as it permits harvesting regardless of the weather, the Sun and specific seasons.
It looks simple: the rover heads straight for the landing craft, uses a gripper arm to remove a sensor unit from the loading bay and takes it quickly to the determined deposit location, where seismic measurements are then carried out. Everything takes place without human intervention, as the rover, lander and sensor unit complete their job autonomously and effectively.
Climate change, digitalisation, Industry 4.0 and transformation of the energy and traffic systems – these central societal responsibilities will be at the heart of the research conducted by the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) in 2017. DLR will present the focus of this year's research and some selected projects at the New Year’s press conference on 26 January 2017 in Berlin.