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News

25.10.2012

Three Episodes of ESA-Investigation

ESA à la CSI

In the US crime series CSI, investigators are interested in the smallest measurable traces to solve a case. For ESA, this is no different. In the Materialistic Laboratory, engineers search for faults in the material, which might cause the success or failure of a mission. In three short episodes, we show the ESA investigators at work – and how they solve the problem.

For a space mission to go well, all material and parts must be absolutely reliable. They need to withstand great thermal exposure. Moreover, they need to be extremely light, to keep transport cost to space low.

With increasing demands on materials, errors can happen in any step of development. This is why the investigators in the labs look for fine cracks or material impurities, which might lead to failure of space missions, and even become a matter of life or death in manned missions. Sometimes these material errors are easy to fix, sometimes they challenge the engineers‘ creativity.

In the labs of ESA, we look over the specialists‘ shoulders. With microscopes, various tests and a lot of experience they will find the faults and find a solution to fix any problems which have arisen. While in real life, this may take a few weeks, it only takes four minutes in each of the three episodes. Have fun with the ESA investigators!