• Cosmic Sense - DFG-Forschungsgruppe FOR 2694
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Photo: cosmic sense consortium

Welcome to Cosmic Sense

Cosmic Sense is a research unit funded by the German Science Foundation (DFG), grant no. FOR 2694. After a successful first phase from end of 2018 to beginning of 2022, the second phase was now granted by the DFG and is about to kick off in spring 2022 for another three years.

The core approach of the research unit is advancing of the Cosmic Ray Neutron Sensing (CRNS) technology and its application together with other methods, as an innovative approach to measuring soil moisture at the scale of hundreds of meters and beyond. This scale perfectly matches the need for soil moisture assessment at the landscape scale, e.g. for small catchments, and is also an important link between point-scale soil moisture measurements and large-scale maps obtained from remote sensing or hydrological modelling. It is therefore, a highly attractive tool for both, scientific research and applied water management.

Cosmic Sense brings together scientists from nine institutes and universities from Germany and Austria, joining forces in order to advance the technology itself and develop a quantitative, adaptable, and transferable approach for observing root-zone soil moisture at the field scale while accounting for other dynamic water pools, such as biomass. In phase 2, special emphasis will be on including snow as an additional dynamic water pool in the landscape, agricultural land use such as cropped fields, and a shift towards larger scales (10 – 100 km²).

Find out more about the project, its members and latest activities!

Cosmic Sense Logo
Photo: cosmic sense consortium

We are hiring!

Check out open positions for phase 2 and join our team!

Latest articles

Find a regularily updated list of articles published by the Cosmic Sense consortium

What's new in phase 2?

Picture of a alpine landscape with patchy snow cover and measuring equipment | picture: Cosmic Sense consortium

New Research Module

Snow Dynamics will be one of the new foci in the second phase of Cosmic Sense

Portraits of the new PIs of Cosmic Sense: Paul Schattan, Sabine Attinger and Sander Huisman | Cosmic Sense consortium

New Faces

Paul Schattan, Sabine Attinger and Sander Huisman have been partners during phase 1 and joined the team of PIs for phase 2

In preparation for the defense of the second phase of Cosmic Sense a short documentary was produced, featuring the activities of the Cosmic Sense team at the research site Marquardt

Latest news

September 2022 - Meeting and site scouting

The second meeting of the second phase of Cosmic Sense took place, featuring a bike tour to explore the selke catchment and identify suitable sites for CRNS measurements

August 2022 - New paper published

Jakobi et al. published a paper on the potential of thermal neutrons to correct cosmic-ray neutron soil moisture content measurements for dynamic biomass effects

Graph showing the spatial and temporal scale of different soil moisture measurements, including FDR, Lysimeters, Gravimetry, mobile & stationary CRNS, and remote sensing | Heistermann et al., 2022

June 2022 - New data paper published

Heistermann et al. published a data paper on soil moisture observation based on the combination of a dense cosmic-ray neutron sensor network with roving and hydrogravimetry.

Picture of a remote sensing drone fllying over a agricultural field laboratory with CRNS detector installed | picture: Tobias Hopfgarten (ZIM)

May 2022 - Official kick-off of phase II

Preparations have been made and new team member were hired. Now, the actual work began with a Kick-Off meeting on May 9th and 10th at TU Berlin.

The second phase of Cosmic Sense has officially started!