July 12, 2019

DLRmagazine 161 - Light as air and versatile

The cover image showing cornflower-blue spheres is not drawn from the realm of botany. Is it a sponge? The airy pores suggest it. In fact, it comes from the world of high-tech materials It shows an aerogel – light, electrically conductive and thermally stable. These properties are seldom combined in one material. Barbara Milow is impressed. She and her team are constantly creating new aerogels for interesting applications – from insulation in aircraft cabins to use in electric cars. This edition of the DLRmagazine also offers something botanical – tomatoes, herbs, rocket – grown in the middle of the eternal ice. At the EDEN ISS laboratory, DLR researcher Paul Zabel investigated whether plants can thrive without soil and sunlight. This process could find future applications in inhospitable regions on Earth and could be useful for space exploration missions.

Virtual reality is also playing an increasingly important role in the planning of the next space exploration missions. DLR researchers are already able use a simulation to explore the Solar System. And simulations will also shape aircraft design in the future. This will make it possible to avoid lengthy test campaigns and numerous flight hours, and will open up opportunities for aircraft with completely new designs, perhaps even for a zero-emission aircraft. If this succeeds, the climate impact of flying will no longer be a concern.

The question of how the energy transition should be implemented is the subject of intense public debate. For Carsten Agert, the answer lies in the integration of the various energy sectors. You can read more about this in an extensive interview.

Last but not least, the July 2019 issue would notbe complete without mentioning the 50th anniversary of the first Moon landing. This edition features a selection of items about Apollo and many other topics from aeronautics, space, energy, transport and digitalisation.


Cordula Tegen

German Aerospace Center (DLR)
Public Affairs and Communications