10 years of successful german-russian collaboration|
In these days the International Space Station ISS celebrates its
10th anniversary. Also the MPE has a good reason
for celebration: 10 years ago Prof. Vladimir Fortov - at this
time research minister in the Yeltsin government - and Prof. Gregor
Morfill - Max Planck Director and head of MPE's Theory Group -
met for the first time to initiate a common project on complex plasma
research. With the assistance of the companies Kayser-Threde (Munich)
and RKK Energia (Moscow) and with financial supports by DLR (German
Aerospace Center) and Roskosmos (Russian Space Agency) the complex
plasma laboratory ''PKE-Nefedov'' was implemented and launched to the
ISS in 2001 as the first physical experiment onboard the new space
station. Between 2001 and 2005 the PKE-Nefedov facility took part in
13 experimental sessions in space which makes it the most used experiment
onboard the space station. Since 2006 the improved plasma facility
''PK-3 Plus'' continues the successful story of German-Russian
collaboration on complex plasmas in microgravity.
On the occasion of this anniversary a Russian delegation headed by
Prof. Vladimir Fortov visits the MPE to have a joint symposium.
Other guests are from the Institute for High Temperatures
(JIHT, formerly known as IHED), from the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training
Center, personnel from DLR, Roskosmos and Kayser-Threde, and last,
but not least, the three Russian Cosmonauts Yuri Baturin, Salizhan
Sharipov, and Pavel Vinogradov. German astronaut Thomas Reiter -
today member of the
DLR directorate - joined us at a reception
at the Bavarian Ministry of Economics. He also performed our experiment
twice during his stay on the ISS in 2006.
During this symposium the latest results of complex plasma research are
presented and reports of live and work onboard the space station are
given by the cosmonauts.
All participants agree that the collaboration over 10 years can
be described as very rewarding and it should be continued in this way
The picture on the right side shows members of the Russian delegation,
among which are the ISS cosmonauts Yuri Baturin
(Soyuz Taxi Flight 2), Salizhan Sharipov
(Expedition 10) and Pavel Vinogradov
(Expedition 13), who performed MPE's plasma crystal
experiment in Earth orbit. (Click to enlarge.)
Powersolo - ''Plasma Crystal Dope''
Plasma crystal experiment inspires Rock'n'Roll band|
While searching the world wide web for 'plasma crystal' we found a
music video produced by the Danish Rock'n'Roll band 'Powersolo' titled
'Plasma Crystal Dope'. We have the slight suspicion that MPE's
plasma crystal experiment onboard the International Space Station ISS
inpired the group to this title.
The song is about a ''mission'' called ''The Plasma Crystal'' that
''circles around planet Earth at Mach 21''. A damaged (space shuttle
heat protection?) ''tile'' makes the astronauts wait a while. In the
meantime they smoke ''Plasma Crystal Dope''. The video shows an astronaut
(Kim Kix from Powersolo) carrying green (plasma?) crystals in his gloves.
Powersolo, if you read this: Great song! Whenever you are near
Munich please visit us and take a look at some of our plasma crystals.
And please bring some of these cool plasma crystal dope t-shirts you
wear in the video. Thanks a lot!
Watch the video!
Mission 9 Team-Autogramme und PK-3 Plus
Emblem in Koroljow, Moskau
9th Mission of PK-3 Plus onboard the ISS|
Research staff members of MPE are now in Moscow - exactly at the
Russian space control center in Korolev - to prepare the 9th mission
of MPE's complex plasma experiment 'PK-3 Plus' onboard the International
The main topic of this experiment session, where the facility and a
Russian cosmonaut are available to us for 90 minutes on 3 days, is the
investigation of 'Thermophoretic Bubbles' in a complex plasma.
This phenomenon was discovered in a MPE laboratory and is now to
be studied under the unique microgravity conditions in space.
PK-3 Plus is onboard the ISS since December 2005, replacing the former
MPE developed facility 'PKE-Nefedov' which was operated at 13 experiment
sessions between 2001 and 2005 and that was very successful in providing
total new insights to the physics of complex plasmas under microgravity.
With the MPE team in Moscow is also Mierk Anne Schwabe (right picture)
who exclusively writes about the progress of the mission and her
personal experiences during her stay in Russia for a
Blog of the German science magazine Spektrum der Wissenschaft
(spektrum.de). You can follow her daily reports at
''Zündspannung'' (German only).
Scientific Symposium in Munich|
By invitation of Prof. Gregor Morfill (MPE) and under the patronage of
the Bavarian Minister of Economic Affairs, Infrastructure, Transport
and Technology Ms. Emilia Müller
representatives of research institutes, industry and politics meet
in June at a two-day symposium in Munich, Bavaria, to discuss issues
of space-borne fundamental research to be conducted in Germany in
the next decades. The goals are:
This should be summarized in a note for the convention of ESA's council
of ministers which is going to meet in fall 2008.
- Identification of the most important scientific challenges in
fundamental research that need to be done in space,
- Determination of the existing national know-how and the
intermediate and long-term plans,
- Clarification of a coordinated strategy of research funding and the
resulting international placing of the national desires and claims.
Main topics are:
- Gravity & Relativity
- Dark Energy & Dark Matter
- Natural Constants
- Crtitical Phänomena
- Planets, Stars, Galaxies
- Soft Matter
- Quantum Physics in the Universe
Bayerisches Staatsministerium für Wirtschaft,
Infrastruktur, Verkehr und Technologie,
Prinzregentenstraße 28, 80538 München,
For more information
and registration visit the
dedicated web site.
See also: Review by
Kayser-Threde, press release by
MPG (German only).
Launch of STS-122 (NASA)
Columbus now part of the International Space Station|
The European research module ''Columbus'' reaches the International
Space Station ISS inside the space shuttle Atlantis.
With the docking of Columbus the ISS - now made up mainly by Russian
and American parts - will truly be 'international'.
Columbus is also important for the MPE because the next complex
plasma experiment PK-4, being under
contruction now, will be launched to the space station in 2010 and
probably be installed in the European module.
MPE staff members attended the launch party and watched the launch
that was screened live at the German space control center, located
in Oberpfaffenhofen near Munich, together with the head of the State
of Bavaria, Ministerpräsident Günther Beckstein. The launch
was commented live by German astronaut Ulf Merbold (see
Player needed for play-back. Video © M. Kretschmer)
For more information see these
DLR press releases:
Contact: Michael Kretschmer