Category: geosciences

3, 2, 1, … Ready for Take-Off!

Launch Campaign in Esrange as the Highlight of the REXUS/BEXUS Programme

by Greta Sondej and Christoph Kulmann

Fig. 1: The REXUS 25 sounding rocket on its way to the stars. Copyright © FORAREX 2019

“There is no comfortable path that leads from the earth to the stars”, this was already known by the Roman philosopher and naturalist Lucius Annaeus Seneca (ca. 4 BC – 65 AD), also known as Seneca the Younger.

For our journey to the stars, we have been working towards this event for almost two years with our FORAREX project: The Launch Campaign at the European Space and Sounding Rocket Range (Esrange) at the civilian balloon and rocket launch site near Kiruna in northern Sweden. It is the highlight of the German-Swedish student programme REXUS/BEXUS, which we have already presented here on the Science Blog. 


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Kiruna – All Fired up for an Icy Adventure

by Christoph Kulmann and Greta Sondej

Fig. 1: With a bit of luck, you can see northern lights (Aurora borealis) in the night sky during the training week. Copyright © WikiImages 2012 / Pixabay

Long anticipated and eagerly awaited, our student training week starts in snowy Lapland near Sweden’s northernmost city: Kiruna (from the North Sami “giron”, meaning “snow grouse”).

Bremen Airport is already getting us in the mood for the weather that awaits us in Lapland… 

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FORAREX – Astronaut in Miniature Form

How a Single-Celled Organism Finds its Way From the Sea Into Outer Space

by Team FORAREX

Fig. 1: Maximum relaxation – lounging on the seabed and swaying to the rhythm of the waves. Copyright © StockSnap 2017 / Pixabay

Imagine you are living under the sea. You see the suns rays shining through the water. There is sand beneath you. The water flows around you to the rhythm of the wave – and you sway with it (see Fig. 1). Everything feels very pleasant. You are thinking how wonderful your home is. The waves, the light – everything is perfect.

But suddenly a dark shadow looms over you – and this shadow takes you out of this paradise and catapults you into space! Isn’t that a disturbing and rather improbable idea?

But that is in fact my story. 

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Foraminifera – A Hard Shell With a Soft Core

by Christoph Kulmann and Greta Sondej

Fig.1: Left: Close-up of a foraminifera with pseudopodia; right: Four foraminifera in direct size comparison with a pinhead. Copyright © FORAREX 2018

Foraminifera (Latin for “hole bearers”, informally called “forams”) are single-celled organisms that usually have a multi-chambered shell, which can be built in various ways depending on the species. They are the stars of the FORAREX (FORAminifera Rocket EXperiment) project, in which we investigate their behaviour and shell growth under microgravitational conditions. 

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Steps Back into the Past of the Ice Cores and the Planet

About Ice Cores Part III

by Hanna Sophie Knahl

Ice cores preserve stories of the past. Now we want to compare these stories  with other history books. Illustration: Hanna Knahl

We have now already learned a lot about ice cores. We know where to find them, how to drill them and how to extract information about the past climate from them. BUT there is still one important piece of information missing. The time stamp. How do we determine how far back in time the ice we hold with our gloved hands comes from? We will see, the ice also uses special languages to encode this secret.

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