The research focus of the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research is our cosmic neighborhood: the solar system with its planets and moons, comets and asteroids as well as the sun. The aim of the scientists is to describe the processes in the solar system in models and to simulate them on the computer. In addition, instruments are being developed and built to study these bodies from space. The Institute is involved in numerous space missions.
At a distance of only 199 kilometers, the European-Japanese twin probe BepiColombo flew past Mercury last Saturday, October 2. Some of scientific instruments to which the MPS scientific and technical teams contributed were also in operation giving them the opportunity to record measurement data under "Mercury conditions" for the first time.
The Moon’s polar regions are home to craters and other depressions that never receive sunlight. A group of researchers led by MPS presents the highest-resolution images to date covering 17 such craters in the journal Nature Communications. Three of the craters lie within the just-announced mission area of NASA's rover VIPER, which is scheduled to touch down on the Moon in 2023. The researchers have now produced images at 1-2 meters per pixel.
In the clean rooms at MPS, the balloon-borne solar observatory Sunrise III is gradually taking shape. Launch is planned for the summer of 2022. Sunrise III will look at the Sun from the stratosphere with the help of a 1-meter telescope and three scientific instruments.