From Space to Life

Space research from Germany for a more sustainable planet Earth

Growing kohlrabi in space. Understanding how viruses and cancer cells behave in microgravity. Observing wildlife from satellites to protect biodiversity. Space research and the application of space-based technologies are full of innovation and can bring many benefits for a better and more sustainable future here on Earth.

Germany has a great deal to offer in this area. Our From Space to Life campaign showcases exciting projects at German universities and research institutes. And it gives an insight into the work of the scientists involved.

Enjoy discovering!




Jess builds greenhouses for Mars in Germany

Growing kohlrabi in space sounds like fiction - scientists like Jess make it happen. Learn how space research into crop production can help to sustainably feed Earth’s population.

Bruno helps to stop viruses spreading on space missions and planes

How can the outbreak of a virus be stopped as quickly as possible during a space mission?  And how can this be applied to air travel to prevent further pandemics?

José fights cancer in microgravity

Cancer cells exhibit some interesting behaviour when exposed to microgravity. Find out how José is trying to understand this process to help cancer patients here on Earth.

Help Loeka fight light pollution!

Join the Time for the Night citizen science project and help Loeka better understand how light sources on the ground contribute to light emissions.

Meg investigates animal societies using space-based technologies

How does social complexity arise in animal societies? And how does the physical world shape the social connections of animals? Meg uses space-based technologies to find answers.

Research and Innovation Areas


Medical research in space shows: Exploring space not only enhances our understanding of the cosmos, it can also help improve the health and well-being of people on Earth. 

An astronaut looks through a mobile retina

Agriculture and Horticulture

Growing kohlrabi in space is no longer fiction, it’s science. Space research into efficient crop production not only feeds our dreams of inhabiting other planets, it can also help to sustainably feed a growing population here on Earth.

Cucumbers in the laboratory

Climate and enviroment

Pollution, biodiversity loss and climate change are among the most pressing challenges of our time. Looking down at the Earth from space is particularly precious for researchers to better monitor, understand and assess global environmental phenomena.

A group of free-living vultures


Amazing research, amazing images – flip through and learn more about how space research and technologies can improve our life on Earth.

ICARUS Project: Animals' early warning system

Can animal movements contribute to an early warning system for natural disasters? Within the International Cooperation for Animal Research Using Space (Icarus), researchers have attached transmitters to goats and other animals to gather more evidence.

International Cooperation for Animal Research Using Space (Icarus)


MEPA: The mobile deployable plant cultivation unit

Perfect light and nutrition let vegetables grow in record time. DLR's mobile deployable plant cultivation unit (Mobil Entfaltbare PflanzenAnbaueinheit; MEPA) uses insights from the EDEN ISS greenhouse system to provide a means of producing fresh food in emergency situations – in refugee camps, after catastrophic floods or during droughts.



EDEN ISS: Greenhouse for safe food production in space

To simulate crop production on Mars or the Moon an international researcher team at AWIs Neumayer Station III in Antarctica grew fresh tomatoes and cabbage in the innovative EDEN ISS greenhouse.

AWIs Neumayer Station III

EDEN ISS greenhouse


FLUMIAS: Microscope to observe living cells in space

German ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst took the FLUMIAS fluorescence microscope to the ISS in June 2018, where he and his colleagues recorded the first high-resolution images of living cells in space. These images are not only helping to ensure the health of astronauts on future long-duration space flights. FLUMIAS is also helping to deepen our understanding of neurodegenerative diseases, immune deficiencies and tumour development.

FLUMIAS fluorescence microscope


Retinal diagnostics: Make changes in the brain visible

The mobile retina diagnostic system was an innovative highlight of the 'Cosmic Kiss' ISS mission conducted by the German ESA astronaut Matthias Maurer. The experiment was designed to make changes in the optic nerves and in the brain visible. Along with cosmic radiation exposure, this is one of the most serious risks on space missions.

Retinal Diagnostics – The retina is a window into the brain


How to fight cancer in microgravity

Many cells behave differently when growing in microgravity. What we learn from this and how we can use these effects on Earth is what José is researching at the Department of Microgravity and Translational Regenerative Medicine at Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg.

Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg


How to stop viruses spreading on space missions

How can the outbreak of a virus be stopped as quickly as possible during a space mission? At the DLR Institute of Aerospace Medicine in Cologne, PhD student Bruno Pavletić is looking for technologies that could make this possible – and that could also be used in aircraft to prevent further pandemics.

DLR Institute of Aerospace Medicine


The Cupola of the ISS: Beautiful view of Earth

Artistically edited view from the “Cupola” of the International Space Station ISS. Cupola provides an observation and work area for the crew that gives visibility to support the control of the Station's robotic arms and a beautiful view of Earth.

European Space Agency


DLR's Short-Arm Human Centrifuge: More gravity for less health risks

DLR's Short-Arm Human Centrifuge is a special development that is unique in the world. The DLR Institute of Aerospace Medicine in Cologne is using it in the :envihab research facility to investigate the effects of acceleration loads on the human body and to counteract the health risks associated with weightlessness, such as the loss of bone and muscle mass or cardiovascular problems. The centrifuge allows a variety of measurement and training setups for human studies as well as for biological or material physics questions. With a maximum acceleration of up to six times the Earth's gravity, the facility is used to prepare and control measurements for experiments in parabolic flight, on sounding rockets (MAPHEUS) and on the International Space Station (ISS).

The Short-Arm Human Centrifuge is equipped with a bicycle ergometer, a jumping sled, a vibration platform, an ultrasound device for cardiovascular analysis and a motion capture system for recording movement dynamics for research into physical training in microgravity (via rotation), and can be adapted for other applications.

Research Facilities - Institute of Aerospace Medicine


MyoQuant: Quantum technology to combat muscle atrophy

Muscle atrophy or changes occur during space travel. In order to be able to diagnose these changes at an early stage on board a spacecraft or space station and to better understand the underlying mechanisms, magnetometers based on quantum technology are being developed as part of MyoQuant. These will be housed in a kind of cuff into which a test person can put their arm or leg. The technology also has great potential for terrestrial applications, such as diagnosing neuronal muscle diseases in children.

Researchers from the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB), the Ferdinand-Braun-Institut (FBH), the University of Tübingen and the Ostschweizer Kinderspital (KISPI) are working together on this project, which is funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK).

Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB)


SyNaKI Project: Synergy of Natural and Artificial Intelligence in a Swarm

To protect biodiversity, the SyNaKI project investigates the behavior of animal swarms. In the process, a virtual swarm intelligence is emulated in a network of animal tags. The integration of distributed AI directly into the tags makes energy efficient data analysis possible. This also benefits transmission via satellite: it becomes cheaper and more flexible. The project is part of the GAIA initiative and is led by the Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits IIS.