From Witterswil to Mars: Professor Nikolaus Kuhn testing the camera.(© Universität Basel, Florian Moritz)
From Witterswil to Mars: Professor Nikolaus Kuhn testing the camera.(© Universität Basel, Florian Moritz)
  • dl / hc / dt / barfi
  • Aktualisiert am

Local News Summary of March, 8th

  • Alleged drug dealers arrested in Baselland
  • Two cyclists attacked in Rheinfelden
  • Camera for Mars rover tested at University of Basel

Alleged drug dealers arrested in Baselland

Several people have been arrested for suspected drug offences following months of investigation by the prosecution office of Baselland and the cantonal police. Four people were taken into custody at the request of the prosecution office. Two were arrested in Basel-Stadt and two more in Baselland. A fifth person is in extradition custody in Spain.

Request of custody

The five men, with Turkish, Italian, and Swiss citizenship, are aged between 29 and 32 years old. They are accused of dealing marijuana and heroin over a long period of time. They are also accused of money laundering. The prosecution has initiated criminal proceedings against the men. The mandatory measures court has granted a request by the prosecution office that all men be remanded in custody.

During the arrest, cash amounting to several thousand Swiss francs as well as drugs were seized. Further information has not been released due to the ongoing criminal proceedings.

Two cyclists attacked in Rheinfelden

Two cyclists were attacked on Monday evening in Rheinfelden on the bicycle path between Rheinfelden and Magden. A 50-year-old cyclist suffered bruises and grazes. An investigation has been opened and the police are looking for witnesses.

The 50-year-old Swiss citizen was attacked as he rode his mountain bike on the cycle path from Rheinfelden towards Magden at around 8.30pm on Monday night. The attacker tried to stop the man’s bicycle and grabbed the back of the bike. The cyclist fell off and suffered minor injuries. He was able to get back on his bike and cycle to Magden to report the incident to the police.

Patrols of the cantonal and regional police of lower Fricktal searched the area for the perpetrator without success. The motive for the attack is not clear.

The following morning, the cantonal police in Aargau received a similar report by another cyclist. A 53-year-old Swiss citizen had been cycling from Rheinfelden towards Magden when someone called out to him and touched him on the shoulder at around 8.30pm. The cyclist rode off.

The stranger was described as being between 20 and 30 years of age, 180-185cm tall, slim with brown hair. He may have been wearing a cap or a woollen hat and spoke Swiss-German.

Call for witnesses

The cantonal police station at Rheinfelden (phone 061 836 37 37) has begun an investigation and is looking for witnesses to come forward.

Camera for Mars rover tested at University of Basel

In 2020, the European space agency ESA will send a rover vehicle to the planet Mars to look for signs for life on the planet's surface. The rover will be equipped with a high-resolution camera which was developed and built in Switzerland. Researchers at the University of Basel are currently testing the camera in an artificial Martian landscape.

The goal of the «ExoMars» European-Russian mission is to search for any signs of current or past life on Mars. The rover will be equipped with a Close-Up Imager (CLUPI); a high-resolution camera for coloured close-up shots.

The CLUPI will be attached to the outside of the rover vehicle and will act as a magnifying glass for the investigation of rocks and drill core samples. Researchers at the University of Basel are currently running simulation test-runs at the technology centre in Witterswil.

A Martian garden as test premises

Geographer Nikolaus Kuhn from the University of Basel is part of the «Science Team» supervising CLUPI. Before the camera starts its nine-month long journey to Mars in 2020, it will be intensely tested and optimised. The CLUPI is financed by the Swiss Space Office and was developed at the Space Exploration Institute in Neuchâtel under the leadership of Dr Jean-Luc Josset.

«We try to simulate its operation on Mars», said professor Kuhn. For this purpose, he created an artificial Martian landscape with his team. «We call the test premises Mars Garden – on a surface of 30 square metres we create a landscape which is very similar to the surface of the planet». With the help of sediments, rocks, and corresponding light sources, the researchers are simulating the working conditions the rover will face on Mars.

«With the help of these models and the Martian landscape we can test the shadowing of the rover, which distance the CLUPI needs to the surface, and how long it takes to take photographs of the rocky surface in detail», said professor Kuhn.

The rover and camera are still working models, but the Basler researchers know where the camera will be installed and which positions it would have towards the surface.

Data directly from Mars

As a member of the CLUPI science team, professor Kuhn is not only taking part in the preparations. He will also be one of the first researchers to receive data and who will have the chance to analyse data as soon as the rover has begun its research trip on Mars.

«This direct access to the data is very exciting for us – we are at the forefront and can participate in the decision what should be examined», said the geo-scientist. The landing will take place on 19th March 2021. Until then, professor Kuhn and his colleagues have to content themselves with the Mars Garden in Witterswil.