The Mössbauer Group at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU), Germany, has made a significant contribution towards the exploration of Mars during its long-term cooperation with the US space agency NASA. The Mainz research team led by Dr Göstar Klingelhöfer is now building up new contacts with the aim of cooperating with JAXA, the Japanese space agency.
It is planned to use an innovative spectrometer to determine the chemical composition of lunar material during the next Japanese Moon mission, SELENE-2. In this context Professor Nobuyuki Hasebe of Waseda University in Tokyo has been with the Mössbauer Group as a visiting professor for the past weeks. "Professor Hasebe will be working with me and my team until early August on current and planned projects to explore the solar system, especially Mars and the Moon, but also asteroids," explains Klingelhöfer, head of the Mössbauer Group. Hasebe is one of the leading researchers at the Japanese space agency and has been involved in various space missions.
As an unmanned lunar mission, SELENE-2 was originally planned for a launch in 2012, but it is postponed until 2014, probably. The researchers in Mainz will contribute a newly developed x-ray fluorescence spectrometer, which will be used to analyze in situ the elemental composition of lunar material. The SELENE-2 rover will deploy the spectrometer very close to the surface of a rock or lunar dust that is of interest to the scientists. The novel approach of the x-ray fluorescence spectrometer is the usage of a specially designed x-ray generator instead of a radioactive source. Such radioactive sources are applied by the well-known alpha particle x-ray spectrometer (APXS), also known as "the Mainz snooper." "We are currently in the development phase and are fitting a special x-ray generator to the well-approved and tested APXS used during NASA's last missions on Mars," states Klingelhöfer. The APXS was used on-board of the two Mars rovers, Spirit and Opportunity, and it is in large degree thanks to its chemical analyses that we now know that our neighboring planet once had a warm and humid climate about 4 billion years ago. As was the case with NASA's mission to Mars, Dr Johannes Brückner of the Max Planck Institute of Chemistry is also involved in the SELENE-2 project helping to design the instrument, formulating the research topics, and analyzing the data.
Even before SELENE-2 is ready for take-off, the Mainz researchers will be cooperating with their colleagues in Russia and Japan to have a closer look at the Martian moon Phobos. The question is whether Phobos is an asteroid once captured by Mars or was originally formed from orbiting Martian rocks and dust. This mission is scheduled to start at the end of 2011 and is being equipped with an advanced version of the MIMOS II, a miniature version of the Mössbauer spectrometer. Test runs were carried out about one year ago in Hawaii, where Mars-like materials can be found on the slopes of the Mauna Kea volcano. A field test was jointly carried out there by NASA and CSA, the Canadian Space Agency, to try out instruments for future space missions to Mars and Earth's Moon.
Moreover, the Mars Rover Mission, which started in the summer of 2003, is also still on-going. The rover Opportunity is now in the eighth year of its journey and is moving across the surface of the red planet in the direction of the big Endeavor crater, where it is expected to arrive in late summer or early fall. "Once it arrives there, we will be looking for specific clay minerals containing iron. We have not yet detected these minerals in situ on the Martian surface, but we are hoping to obtain additional data on rocks that make up Mars as well as information on the origin of the red planet," explains Klingelhöfer.
Klingelhöfer and his team, with their expertise in planetology and solar system research, are internationally connected. They are also involved in the "Earth and the Anthropocene" (ERA) Excellence Cluster at Mainz University, which is currently submitting a full application during the second phase of the Federal Excellence Initiative. ERA is based on the cooperation of four internationally renowned research institutions in Mainz: Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, the Max Planck Institute of Chemistry (MPIC), the Roman-Germanic Central Museum (RGZM), and the Institute for Spatial Information and Surveying Technology (i3mainz) at the Mainz University of Applied Sciences. The ERA researchers are pursuing innovative and high-level interdisciplinary approaches to earth system research by incorporating the cultural sciences into a natural science project.
Petra Giegerich | idw
Study offers new theoretical approach to describing non-equilibrium phase transitions
27.04.2017 | DOE/Argonne National Laboratory
SwRI-led team discovers lull in Mars' giant impact history
26.04.2017 | Southwest Research Institute
More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.
Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...
Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.
"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...
The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.
Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...
The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...
Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.
Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...
28.04.2017 | Event News
20.04.2017 | Event News
18.04.2017 | Event News
28.04.2017 | Medical Engineering
28.04.2017 | Earth Sciences
28.04.2017 | Life Sciences