Rheinisches Institut für Umweltforschung (RIU), Abt. Planetenforschung of the University of Cologne is running several radio science experiments on ESA missions, Rosetta RSI, Mars Express MaRS, Venus Express VeRa, and the NASA mission New Horizons REX and is contributing to the Corot mission for the search of extrasolar planets. The main planetary research topics are gravity fields of small bodies (asteroids and small moons), the structure and dynamics of planetary atmospheres and ionospheres, the structure and plasma distribution within the solar corona, CME dynamics and morphology, tidal interaction of extrasolar planets with their stars, search for extrasolar planets by various methods. A number of collaborations and contacts have been established over the course of the initial funding period at the I. Physikalisches Institut. There is already a strong cooperation with partners form the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, USA. The group around Theodor Kostiuk also developed an infrared heterodyne spectrometer (HIPWAC) for observations of planetary atmospheres and we share instrumental and data analysis developments as well as scientific findings. Data analysis will be accomplished with the planetary radiative transfer model BEAMINT/CODAT which was developed by this group. Besides that we have several collaborations with other ground-based and space-based observers as well as modelers.
Privatdozent Dr. Martin Pätzold is the Director of the Department of Planetary Research at RIU. He is Principal Investigator of the radio science experiments of the ESA missions Rosetta RSI and Mars Express MaRS, he is Co-Principal Investigator of the Venus Express radio science experiment VeRa for the radio sounding of the Venus atmosphere and ionosphere, he is collaborator of the NASA discovery mission New Horizons for the determination of the individual masses of Pluto and Charon during the flyby in 2015, he is Co-Investigator with the Corot mission for the search of extrasolar planets. His fields of work are gravity fields of small bodies (asteroid Luteia, Mars moon Phobos, Pluto system), the radio sounding of the ionospheres of Mars and Venus, and tidal effects between extrasolar planets and their host stars.
Dr. Silvia Tellmann, is the Vice-Director of the Department of Planetary Research of RIU. She is Co-Investigator of the radio science experiments Rosetta RSI, Mars Express MaRS and Venus Express VeRa for the radio sounding of planetary atmospheres. She is an expert for the structure, dynamics and circulation of planetary atmospheres.
Dr. Manuela Sornig works at the RIUUK on IR heterodyne observations of the Venusian atmosphere. She is an expert on ground-based observations and is involved in the instrument development of the receivers THIS and iCHIPS at the I. Physikalisches Institut. Focusing on the atmosphere of Venus she is engaged in a number of collaborations and dedicated coordinated observing campaigns including ground-based and space-based techniques.