Passionate about exploration and pushing the frontiers of planetary missions.

The Planetary Exploration group at TU Delft’s faculty of Aerospace Engineering is dedicated to the exploration of the solar system and the planets beyond.

Our science is focused on planetary atmospheres; planetary surface processes and materials; planet and moon interiors; and exoplanet detection and characterisation. We design and develop scientific instruments and trajectories for future space missions aimed at exploring the characteristics of other planets and moons in our solar system. We are also part of the Delft Space Institute.

Colloquium 25 October, 12:30 hr 

Daedalus: a low-flying spacecraft for the in-situ exploration of the Lower Thermosphere – Ionosphere. by: Theodoros Sarris, Democritus University of Thrace, Greece

Daedalus is a mission concept targeting to sample in-situ the Lower Thermosphere and Ionosphere (LTI), focusing in particular at altitudes below 200 km, where the atmosphere transitions from being well-mixed and electrically neutral to heterogeneous and partly ionized. Daedalus aims to study processes related to the interactions between neutral and charged constituents which shape and uniquely characterize this critically unexplored region of Earth’s upper atmosphere. Daedalus data products include ionosphere and thermosphere parameters (including ion drifts/neutral winds, ion & neutral temperatures, densities and composition), as well as electric and magnetic fields and energetic precipitating particles. In-situ sampling of all relevant parameters within this region enables the accurate characterization of key processes involving ion-neutral interactions, such as Joule heating, electrical currents and conductivities. We present an overview of the Daedalus mission concept and results from Daedalus MASE, a mission simulator aiming to assess the performance of Daedalus and to demonstrate how Daedalus’ requirements will be met.

Our latest news.