Scientific Goals

Is somebody out there?


Did you ever look up into the nightsky, watching the stars and thinking about life on other planets or solar systems? What could it look like? How could we communicate?

These are some of the questions astronoms are trying to answer for hundreds of years. Until now, they weren’t successful…

There are chances to find marks of extraterrestrial life in our own solar system though. One of Saturn’s moons, Enceladus, mostly consists out of ice. Under its icy surface, scientists presume an ocean, in which it is likely to find evidence for life.

A question revolves around how to penetrate the thick ice layer and how to reach these oceans. Obviously, it’s no problem to reach Enceladus, as a couple of missions have proven already. Cassini reached out into Saturn’s orbit and, during its primary mission, separated Huygens, which landed on Titan in January 14th, 2005.

One of the most popular solutions to surpass the ice shell is by melting through the ice. So far, there haven’t been any experiments dealing with melting/sublimation processes through ice in vacuum and under microgravity conditions. A research team at the FH Aachen UAS already developed a working icemole (a robot that can melt through the ice). With the experience of the IceMole project we aim to support the research leading to a future mission to Enceladus.

One of these projects, DiMIce, is currently dealing with the situation on Enceladus.


Cassini, Saturn and Enceladus | Quelle: Flickr, Kevin Gill

Enceladus | Quelle: Flickr, Stuart Rankin


Members of this division

    Fabian Baader

    Science (Leader)

    degree:              Aerospace Engineering M.Sc.
    focus:                aerospace technology

        Kai Schüller

        Thermal Control (Leader), Science

        degree:              Aerospace Engineering M.Sc.
        focus:                spaceflight, numerical modelling

          Eric Tiede


          target degree:  Aeronautical Engineering B.Eng.
          focus:                spaceflight technology