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 Mobility and Aerospace
Next Stop Outer Space Text MARC WINKELMANN / Illustration PIA BUBLIES
ESA
Which laws govern the universe? How do planets form, and how does life emerge? To learn more about these questions, the European Space Agency is sending observers into space: the Cheops space telescope, used to study exoplanets, will be launched at the end of 2019 and, amongst others, the LISA gravitational wave detector will be launched in 2034. Whether the ISS space station, orbiting 400 kilo­ meters above the Earth, will continue to operate be­ yond 2024 is something that ESA, together with its partners, has yet to decide. Johann­Dietrich Wörner, who directs ESA, has brought up the alternative idea of successively establishing a “moon village.”
The earth might soon exhaust its supply of certain essential resources. Researchers are therefore searching for new sources on the Moon, on Mars, and in the depths of outer space.
Earth
There are currently 7.7 billion people living on planet Earth. The United Nations predicts that this figure will rise to 9.7 billion in 2050, and more than 11 billion by 2100.
Cheops
The Cheops telescope weighs 280 kilograms, has a diameter of thirty­two centimeters, and draws the energy it needs to operate from its 2.5-square-meter solar panels. Eleven of ESA’s member states are participating in this mission, which will extend to a period of 3.5 years, in collaboration with Switzerland.
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The Moon
The Earth’s moon is the fifth- largest in our solar system. It orbits the Earth at a mean distance of 384,400 kilometers, and to date, twenty­four people have stepped foot on its surface. Scientists continue to study the rock samples brought back from it.
NASA
The United States actually had little interest in returning to the Moon—it was considered too costly, with too few insights to be gained. President Donald Trump is now putting the pressure on and urging for a new attempt to be made. The Artemis program aims to put astronauts on the Earth’s lunar satellite by 2024. Private aerospace companies have already been asked to provide support by contributing the landing technology, while NASA is, at the same time, planning to use the Moon as a base for advancing further into the far reaches of outer space: it spends almost a quarter of its annual budget of US$21 billion on deep space research.
Exoplanets
Exoplanets are planets
found outside our own solar system. They do not orbit our sun, but rather another star. Several thousand exoplanets have been discovered to date.
One day, “millions of people” will be living and working in space, according to the founder of Amazon, Jeff Bezos. This is why he and his com­ pany Blue Origin are working on building the New Glenn rocket, having unveiled the spider­shaped Blue Moon lunar lander, which is powered by hydrogen, in spring 2019. This will be able to transport vehicles, scientific equipment, and— potentially—astronauts to the Moon as well, as is a stated objective. Bezos is hoping to prevent fu­ ture energy crises by conducting further research into the solar system. And he has another goal as well: space travel should become as inexpensive as commercial aviation is today.
BLUE ORIGIN















































































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