On 12 November 2014, the Philae lander touched down on the surface of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. This is the first time a man-made device has landed on a comet and collected data directly from the surface.
In 1969, Svetlana Gerasimenko and Klim Churyumov discovered the comet that the Philae lander will descend to on 12 November 2014.
The Philae lander on board the Rosetta spacecraft has been en route to its destination, Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, since 2 March 2004. On 12 November 2014, it will be released from its mother craft at an altitude of 22.5 kilometres above the comet and – if everything goes according to plan – will touch down on the surface of the comet about seven hours later.
Egyptian history has been explored, new words invented and appropriate comparisons sought for; a total of about 8300 suggestions for Philae’s landing site on Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko were received at the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR), the French Space Agency (Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales; CNES) the Italian Space Agency (Agenzia Spaziale Italiana; ASI) and the European Space Agency (ESA).
The Airbus A300 ZERO-G has completed 5200 flights, 4200 flying hours and 13,180 parabolas in the service of science and microgravity research. Now, the parabolic flight aircraft, operated by French company Novespace, is bowing out into well-earned retirement following the 25th research campaign for DLR.
After a 10-year journey of some seven billion kilometres, the Rosetta mission is now heading towards its next major milestone – setting the lander Philae on a comet.
The German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) has been commissioned by the World Bank to investigate Pakistan’s potential for the exploitation of solar energy. DLR researchers will be using satellite data and ground measurements to generate a radiation map showing the best regions for solar power generation in Pakistan.
The Dii (Desertec Industrial Initiative) has been dissolved in its current form, and will now only continue to exist as a consultancy firm. Robert Pitz-Paal, Director of DLR's Institute of Solar Research, explains his view of how the idea of power generation using solar thermal power plants in sunny regions will continue to develop.
The radar satellite TerraSAR-X has been orbiting the Earth since June 2007; in June 2010 its twin, TanDEM-X, followed it into space. For almost four years, the two satellites have been operated in a close flight formation by DLR.
Volcanic ash can cause serious problems for aviation. Under Project VolcATS-Vehicle, researchers from DLR are investigating the effects of volcanic ash on aircraft.