Tag Archives: DLR

re:publica 2013: a (personal) resumé

Starting off I have to say that this certainly was the best re:publica ever since I attended it for the first time in 2010. So well done! Many thanks and lots of respect to everybody who made this possible.

Following a rather light and entertaining panel discussion entitled “Tweeting from Space for the Digital public” I held in 2012, I had the chance to curate a couple of sessions on Space Science within the Open Science Track together with programme coordinators Geraldine and Sandra. Although in the end just four (or respectively three) of nine planned sessions took place, these have been terrific. Let’s begin with one of my highlights of the Open Science Track:

I have been following Carolina’s Blog and her work for quite a while now with growing interest, so I was really lucky. Not just because we coud invite her, but also because she and her family including her baby undertook the long travel from Cape Town to Berlin. Carolina’s talk on crowdsourced stronomy, citizen science and hacking projects was equally inspiring and raising awareness. Many thanks to Geraldine de Bastion who made this possible.


Furthermore, I recommend watching the following three media reports:

3sat nano



Side note: as a musician and netlabelist I of course liked Chromotone, kind of an astronomy sound hack:


Let’s continue with Part Time Scientists: Karsten Becker, Robert Böhme and their international team of about 100 people are among the favourites to win the Google Lunar XPrize. The goal is to safely land a rover on the surface of the Moon, travel 500 metres and send high resolution images and data back to Earth – as well as the first SMS an email from the moon. Google offers up to 30 Million US dollars as reward. Although launching rover Asimov on board a russian Dnepr rocket will cost just as much, Part Time Scientists (PTS) don’t even think about shying away. I think that gives an impression about the fact PTS have to manage not just enormous technical but also administrative challenges. But if Robert, Karsten and team will tackle these challenges with the same enthusiasm as they delivered their talk I have absolutely no doubt they will make it.

Part Time Scientists are supported by DLR, or more precisely by the DLR Institute of Robotics and mechatronics, which contributes the rover’s propulsion technology as well as the autonomous navigation based on environmental perception technology.

Furthermore, there was my own contribution named “Space Science as a Creative Commons?” which took place in the workshop area (no video recording). I wrote a separate blog post on the session which you may read here.

Space science as a creative commons? from Marco Trovatello

Unfortunately, Hojun Song’s talk on the Open Source Satellite Initiative had to be cancelled, obviously he couldn’t make it in time. But re:publica surprised us with …


Space Night-Diskussion auf der rp13

Space Night-Diskussion auf der rp13: Links Team Pro (Luci van Org, Marco Trovatello), rechts Team Contra (Ellen Vorac, Volker Tripp). Bild: Andrea Schaub.

What else?

John Weitzmann organised a panel discussion on the german late night cult series Space Night, named “Space Night Mission Control … GEMA, we have a problem”. Here, two teams (Contra: Ellen Vorac, expert on label mangement and digital distribution and Volker Tripp, lawyer, netlabelist and freelance journalist; Pro: Luci van Org, musician and author, and me in my role as musician licensing under Creative Commons and as netlabelist) debated for and against how public service broadcasters should use free (or “freed”) content such as music licensed under creative commons and the role collecting societies like GEMA or C3S might play.

All in all, re:publica 2013 was a true content overkill: Even more digital and analog culture, science, technology, politics … some more of my personal hightlights (in no particular order) were

… a talk about the making of the animated short movie R’ha:


… Cory Doctorow’s talk on Digital Rights Management (DRM), computers in our bodies and elsewhere:

Peter Kirn and his historic and current view on Human-Music-Machine interfaces


… as well as just about 50 missed session which probably have been equally interesting.

Space Science as a creative commons?

At this year’s re:publica, Europe’s largest conference on the digital society, I had the pleasure to give a talk with subsequent discussion on the topic “Space Science as a creative commons?” among other things (read more about these in my next blog post). The respective presentation can be found on slideshare:

Space science as a creative commons? from Marco Trovatello

As my goal was to cover at least some major aspects with regard to the status quo of Open Science and Open Access I did a bit of research with interesting findings: While DLR, german space agency and research centre for aeronautics and space, has a more liberal approach with regard to sharing its public imagery, videos etc. by licencing under Creative Commons, it has a strict approach with regard to Data: no open access here, non-commercial use of data is mostly subject to submitting a scientific proposal (example), which prevents not just interested laypeople, but also e.g. pupils and students from freely using the data. Commercial use of data is, e.g. in the case of DLR’s Earth observation missions like TerraSAR-X or TanDEM-X, managed by Astrium Geo due to a public-private partnership.

A multilateral mission like Mars Express (by ESA, DLR and many others) for example follows a quite liberal data policy: After a blocking period of six months, data is freely available via the web. Also, ESA missions like Planck (see Planck Legacy Archive) or the Sentinel earth observation missions follow a full and open access approach.

Discussion following

Discussion following “Space as a creative commons?” talk. Image credit: republica, CC-BY.

Subsequent to my talk, a small but nice discussion took place with John Weitzmann (Creative Commons Germany, iRights.info), Paul Klimpel (iRights.info), Mathias Schindler (Wikimedia Germany), Kirsten Rulf (TV-correspondent for German national TV news Tagesschau) and some more. The discussion was quite controversial at times, but always full of insight. Thanks to all who joined!

Please take a look at the slides – and post a comment in case you have any further questions, amendments or corrections for me. Many thanks go to my partners and colleagues Fernando Doblas, Head of the Communication Department of the European Space Agency (ESA), and Bob Jacobs, Deputy Associate Administrator for NASA‘s Office of Communications, for providing me with statements on the status quo of licencing and copyright matters with regard to their agencies.

Here’s the original re:publica session announcement:

NASA, the United States government agency for aeronautics and space, provides all of its own images without copyright and under public domain. Why? The answer is simple: Tax-funded so-called ‘government works” are excluded from copyright law. Hardly any other space agency has followed this liberal approach so far.

OK, Copyright in the United States differs from e.g. Copyright in Germany or respectively Europe, but nevertheless, one may realise a – even if small – trend towards liberation and opening also of this specific kind of tax-funded content and data: DLR German Aerospace Center, space agency as well as research center for aeronautics and space with 7000+ employees, took an important step forward in March 2012 as it officially began licensing its own media under Creative Commons. The decent storm of enthusiasm by media and the digital public was preceded by a considerable process of coordination and creation of confidence among all persons and entities involved.

This is what Marco Trovatello’s session will be about. He managed the conversion from traditional “all rights reserved” to “some rights reserved” for DLR’s own media – and will provide insight and perhaps also some clues on how to turn your research centre away from anachronistic conditions of use and towards transpartent licensing.

Annotation: The focus of the talk will be on multimedia content such as space images, videos etc. provided for use by the general public, Open Access and use of Open Data will only play a minor role, although the presenter – a science communicator, not a scientist – will try to address also these important topics.

An approx 15 to 20 minutes talk shall flow into an open and laid-back discussion with the audience on the topic of copyright and commons with regard to space images, space science, the creative sector and beyond. On the panel, John Weitzmann, Legal Project Lead, Creative Commons Germany, and Mathias Schindler, Project Manager, Wikimedia Germany, will join in on the discussion.

Reference: http://re-publica.de/en/sessions/space-science-creative-commons

P.S.: Use of NASA, ESA and DLR logo with friendly permission of the respective agencies.

Session at re:publica Berlin

Update, 20 May 2012

Video of our session now online:

Update, 1 May 2012, 15:21

Here we go! Storyboard ready, slideshow ready, moderation ready, checked-in for my  flight. Can’t wait to see you all at #RP12: My colleagues and session guests (see below), Andreas Schepers & many other friends, mates & colleagues such as FC Stoffel, Mo. Sauer, Sim Sullen, Katti and lots of other people I’ve been communicating frequently with over social networks in past years, but whom I actually haven’t met yet in person … hope two days will be enough & see you soon!

On 2 May 2012, I will take part in a session at re:publica Berlin on behalf of DLR. re:publica is Germany’s largest and most prominent conference on the future of society and all things digital.

re:publica 2012Via the re:publica call for papers I initiated a panel discussion titled ‘Tweeting from space for the digital public’. It will feature ESA astronauts Samantha Cristoforetti and Paolo Nespoli, as well as my dear colleagues Jocelyne Landeau-Constantin, Head of ESA-ESOC Communication Office and Bob Jacobs, NASA Deputy Associate Administrator of Communications, and myself.

During the 60 Minute session, we will discuss why space agencies and their astronauts blog and tweet (sometimes even from Space), how it all works and why the intense use of social media has become an important part of the respective communication strategies.

What started off as a ‘class reunion’ of bloggers, researchers and internet activists, now regularly attracts over 3000 participants: As a result of last year’s full house at ‘Friedrichstadtpalast’, this year’s re:publica will bring participants together at Station Berlin. Even so, the conference has preserved an open and familiar atmosphere. “A quality conference with a festival feel”, in the words of the organisers.

This year, as well as in 2011, re:publica features a great variety of interesting speakers, such as Neelie Kroes, European Commissioner for Digital agenda, Steffen Seibert, the German government’s spokesperson, renowned podcaster Tim Pritlove, blogger, author and consultant Sascha Lobo, Mercedes Bunz, Mario Sixtus and many, many more.

Further information on panel and speakers can be found at http://re-publica.de/12/en/

This is a cross-post with the DLR Communications Blog.

P.S.: I forget to mention that our session will take place in the evening of 2 May 2012, 19.00 to 20.00 CEST. and that, according to re:publica, these late events can be accessed by the general public for a fee of just a few euros. Currently, re:publica organisers are checking whether these late events can be made accessible for the general public at small fee. Full conference tickets (3 days, over 200 hours of programme) are available here for 130 Euro.


For the sake of completeness, here follows a couple of postings on other – mostly job-related – channels:

Creative Commons: the ‘Everyone licence’ and DLR’s content
(DLR Blogs, 1 March 2012)

Space Tweetup in numbers
((DLR Blogs, 3 April 2012)

ATVTweetup 28/29 March 2012, Toulouse, France
(a quick and dirty video I shot and edited with an iPad during ATVTweetup, featuring one of my tracks as score)

Two much better and more professional videos can be found here …

… and here:

Amarrage ATV3 : ça tweete ! von CNES

Interview on AMS published

The english version of my interview with Stephan Schael, German project lead for the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS) experiment on the International Space Station (ISS), has just been published in the newest edition of DLR Magazine. If you’re interested in whether antimatter or dark matter exist or not, or if you’re simply interested in the fact how fundamental research is now being carried out on the ISS, then read on here or get your own printed copy for free.

DLR Magazine 131/132: Orbital quest for mysterious matter

DLR Magazine 131/132: Orbital quest for mysterious matter

The Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS)

Today I interviewed Stephan Schael, Professor for Experimental Physics at RWTH Aachen University and German project lead for the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS) experiment on the International Space Station (ISS). The main scientific target of AMS-02 is to find evidence for the presence of dark matter and antimatter and it is the first astrophysics experiment on the ISS.

The interview focused on the fundamental questions regarding origin and function of our universe AMS seeks to answer, but it also deals with international cooperation in Space Science, the operational aspects of and technology behind a Space experiment as large as this one and – of course – education and outreach.

Now I have to analyse two and a half hours of audio material, plenty of notes and some dozens of photos within approximately one week from now, as the article is already due for production. It will be published in DLR Magazine (No. 132) in both english and german language by end of November 2011 (and on the DLR Portal).

In case I aroused your interested in this fascinating project, take a look at these two videos. The first one btw features a track by the icelandic band Múm and is produced by Widlab, an imaging studio from Bologna, Italy. Check their website, these guys produced some more great stuff on AMS and other science projects. Science communication needs good music, too. So, well done, Widlab!