The Planetary Sciences and Remote Sensing Group participates in the following space missions of ESA and NASA and is funded within the framework of the national space program by the National Space Administration with means of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action. Other projects are funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) and the European Research Council (ERC).
project term: 2023 - 2028
The “DIVERSE” project will focus on "Class X planets", which have a strongly reduced interior chemistry. The result would be an atmosphere that was formed by volcanic outgassing, but one which would look quite different to that of Earth or its neighboring planets. These planets would then more closely resemble ice giants like Neptune, where atmospheres are formed from the accretion disc during the creation of planets and are thus dominated by hydrogen and helium.
project term: 2014 - 2026
Does a second Earth exist in the Universe? Planet hunter Plato will focus on the properties of rocky planets orbiting Sun-like stars. In particular, Plato will discover and characterise planets in orbits up to the habitable zone – the ‘goldilocks’ region around a star where the temperature is just right for liquid water to exist on a planet’s surface.
project term: Jan 01, 2022 – Jun 30, 2024
In the framework of the “Koregistrierung” project, large-volume single images are automatically combined into coherent global image and topography models of planetary surfaces. The often existing inadequate positional accuracy of the image data is to be corrected by coregistration to other data sets.
Due to the large, heterogeneous data volumes, new methods from the field of artificial intelligence will be applied to enable processing by means of automated procedures.
project term: Feb 01, 2017 — Apr 30, 2023
The ERC-funded project 'Habitability of Oceans and Aqueous Systems on Icy Satellites' (Habitat-OASIS) will mainly focus on investigations of the icy moons Enceladus at Saturn and Europa at Jupiter, which both have a very high astrobiological potential. Data from Enceladus was collected with the Cosmic Dust Analyzer experiment during the Cassini Mission until 2017. A future mission to Europa will carry a similar experiment to explore the subsurface ocean of the Jovian moon.
project term: Jan 01, 2015 — Aug 06 2022
Over a period of 6 years, DFG is funding research projects within its SPP framework (DFG-Schwerpunktprogramm) "Building a Habitable Earth". The SPP will contribute to the still open question how Earth became the only known habitable planet.
In a concerted approach the SPP will address this eminent issue by involving different earth science disciplines like geology, geochemistry, planetology, cosmochemistry, geobiology and geophysical modelling.
project term: Jan 01, 2021 - Aug 31, 2024 (2nd funding period)
The SPP 1992 addresses the diversity and complexity of exoplanets. It links observational methods for planet detection and characterization with theory and modeling.
project term: Jan 01, 2020 - Dec 31, 2023 (2nd funding period)
The major theme of the collaborative research centre TRR 170 'Late Accretion onto Terrestrial Planets' is to understand the late growth history of the terrestrial planets, from the last giant collisions with Moon- to Mars-sized planetary embryos to the subsequent late bombardment with smaller objects.
The composition of interstellar dust in our Solar System was analyzed in situ by the Cassini spacecraft with the Cosmic Dust Analyzer. For the future mission Destiny+ by JAXA a similar dust analyzer is being developed at the moment to conduct flyby exploration of an asteroid known to be a parent body of a meteor shower.
The composition of Saturn’s rings as well as mineral dust at Saturn was determined with the Cosmic Dust Analyzer (CDA), which is the only German instrument on-board the Cassini spacecraft. The project focuses mainly on the investigation of Saturn's E ring, as well as on exogenic mineral dust that does not stem from Saturn’s ring system.
Image Credit: Lena Noack
Image Credit: ESA
Image Credit: —
Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
Image Credit: Wikimedia (https://foundation.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:970525-Damavand-IMG_6598-2.jpg)
Image Credit: SPP 1992 Exoplanet Diversity / Nico Bartmann
Image Credit: www.earthspacecircle.blogspot.de
Image Credit: Hope Ishii/University of Hawaii (dust particle); NASA/JPL (CDA instrument)
Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
project term: Jan 01, 2020 — Nov 30, 2022
Mars Express is the first European mission to Mars. Since its arrival in 2003, the experiments aboard the spacecraft have provided important clues on surface geology and morphology, the subsurface, the atmosphere, the history of water and the question of life.
One experiment on the spacecraft is the High Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC) which aims at global multispectral and three-dimensional coverage of the Martian surface with a resolution of up to 10 meters per pixel.
project term: Nov 01, 2015 — Aug 31, 2020
From 2007 until 2018 the US space probe Dawn was on its mission to explore the small bodies Vesta and Ceres in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. The NASA-mission aimed at investigating the formation and evolution of these bodies to find clues to the solar system’s early history. In July 2011 Dawn arrived at its first target, the asteroid Vesta. For one year, the probe collected scientific data of Vesta before going on a journey for two and a half years to its second mission object, the dwarf planet Ceres.
project term: Jul 01, 2015 — Dec 31, 2019
Journeys to planets and moons of the Outer Solar System always pose a great challenge to space-mission design and conduct. Within the framework of the Cassini-Huygens mission US and European space agencies jointly succeeded in sending a probe and a lander to the Saturnian system, over 1 billion kilometers away. From 2004 until 2017, instruments aboard the Cassini spacecraft continuously collected scientific data. Thousands of stunning images have to be processed and interpreted now. Scientists of the Planetary Sciences and Remote Sensing Group were involved in the Cassini camera experiment, the Imaging Science Subsystem (ISS).
project term: Jan 01, 2016 — Dec 31, 2019
In the Collaborative Research Centre „Late Accretion onto Terrestrial Planets“, scientists from five institutions (Freie Universität Berlin, Technische Universität Berlin, University of Münster, German Aerospace Center, Museum für Naturkunde) investigated the late accretion history of planetary bodies in the inner solar system from 4.5 to 3.8 billion years ago.
project term: Jan 01, 2014 — Mar 31, 2017
The iMars project focuses on developing a user platform for Mars surface science, consisting of a consistent set of data products of Mars from the 1970s to the present day. The concept aims to generate a webGIS using imaging data from NASA and ESA missions; including specific tools for producing, exploring and analyzing data products for studies of surface changes over time.
project term: Apr 01, 2013 — Sep 30, 2015
The US Apollo- and the Russian Luna-missions returned hundreds of kilograms of surface rocks from the Moon to the Earth which have been used for detailed rock analysis. We therefore have high-precision geochemical information from very few locations on the Moon, whereas information about the rest of the Moon's surface is sparse. The main objective of developing a planetary X-ray fluorescence spectrometer (XRF) is the design of an experiment that allows us to precisely determine the geochemical composition of rocky surfaces from orbit.
project term: Apr 01, 2008 — Mar 31, 2013
The Helmholtz Alliance “Planetary Evolution and Life” under the coordinative direction of the DLR Institute of Planetary Research in Berlin-Adlershof examines the correlation between life and the formation and evolution of planets in our solar system. The focus of studies is planet Mars, which is investigated from its interior to its atmosphere.
Image Credit: ESA
Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute
Image Credit: Dylan O’Donnell (Web)
Image Credit: ESA/iMars (UCL/FUB/EPFL/UNOTT/UoS)
Image Credit: Freie Universität Berlin
Image Credit: ESA/DLR/FU Berlin (G. Neukum)