Our group has developed several facilities and software toolboxes that we use for our research in Planetary science. The list continues to be expanded.
We recently opened our brand new DakLab, a rooftop laboratory dedicated to radio, satellite and astronomical observations. It has been set-up and developed by dr. ir. Bart Root. Various users operate instrumentation placed outside on the rooftop of the faculty building. One of the key projects is the DopTrack station, a satellite tracking station hosting several VHF/UHF antenna’s to capture the radio signals of over passing satellites for educational and research purposes. The principle of Doppler shift is used to determine the range-rate of the satellites. The TU Delft own precise orbit determination software TUDAT is able to use these observables to predict trajectories of cubesats. DopTrack is open for student and staff to experiment and able to track Delfi-C3, Delfi-n3Xt, Delfi-PQ, and any other satellite transmitting in the VHF/UHF bandwidth.
High performance computing
We have 2 servers which are used for simulating planetary deformation with the commercial finite element software ABAQUS:
- 64-cpu (AMD Opteron(TM) Processor 6276 @ 2.30GHz) for MSc students
- 72-cpu (Intel(R) Xeon(R) Gold 6140 CPU @ 2.30GHz) for PhD students and researchers
Delft Meteorite Lab
The Delft Meteorite Lab is a framework for research and educations that involved a virtual collection of 3-D models of meteorites, impact rocks and other objects. The collection is the first of its kind in the Netherlands and is based on photorealistic digital 3-D models created using photogrammetry. Using a dedicated portable imaging set-up we can document meteorites at any location. Through collaborations with other researchers institutes and museums we are working towards an national online collection for open-access use in research, education and outreach. The DML has been created and is being maintained by dr. Sebastiaan de Vet.
Planetary Flight Office
At the Planetary Exploration group of Astrodynamics & Space Missions we are exploring the use of drones as a new type of research facility to support drone-assisted studies of planetary analogues. We currently operate a DJI Mavic 2 Pro using specialized mission planning and control software from UgCS to fly photogrammetry missions. This process allows high-quality images to be obtained to render digital surface models. Similar surface models can be produced using satellite images taken from orbit around other planets and moons. These datasets allow a quantitative comparison to be made between places on Earth and those on other planetary bodies. The facility aims to become a powerful educational tool to allow students to be involved in the full research cycle, from problem definition, data acquisition in the field (by drone), to data processing and interpretation, tailored to their specific research requirements. The facility is run and operated by our drone pilot dr. Sebastiaan de Vet.