The DLR Institute of Planetary Research is a central DLR site for the construction and operational use of scientific instruments for satellite missions in the science and exploration programmes of ESA, NASA and JAXA, and provides infrastructure for this purpose. The institute studies the planets, moons and small bodies (asteroids and comets) of our Solar System as well as extrasolar planetary systems. It bundles the necessary scientific and technical expertise, from the scientific idea, the instrument design and instrument operation to the processing and analysis of the data obtained.
The main focus of instrument development is on cameras, radiometers, laser altimeters and spectrometers. In addition, there are laboratory analyses of surfaces under extreme conditions and of extraterrestrial samples. The Institute also ensures the necessary expertise for the often long development and operation times of instruments for planetary space missions (typically 10 years and more) as well as for continuous data processing and analysis.
Joint instrument developments with industry are used to transfer know-how to industry. Our research results inspire the public and help to attract young people to study science and engineering (STEM subjects).