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OU Space Month

In October 2016, OU Space Month is celebrating The Open University's involvement in some of the most challenging and exciting missions of our time. 

Landing on Mars

OU Space month will culminate with the arrival of TGO at Mars and the landing of Schiaparelli on Wednesday 19 October.

Dr Manish Patel and his team have been instrumental in developing specific apparatus on the NOMAD instrument on the orbiter. This instrument will detect trace gas concentrations that could indicate the signs of life, and will be studying the images from the Schiaparelli descent along with the weather it encounters at the surface. Dr Stephen Lewis, is co-leading the investigation to analyse the entry of Schiaparelli through the atmosphere to determine the atmospheric structure.

The OU has a unique position in co-leading experiments on both orbiter and lander and this cutting-edge research expertise is used in developing our teaching curriculum in a range of undergraduate space and planetary science courses, and in the new MSc in Space Science and Technology.

Rosetta mission ending but still saving lives on Earth

The Rosetta Mission will end with a controlled descent to the surface of Comet 67P on Friday 30 September 2016. Its legacy will live on in applications on Earth, developed by academics at the OU, including detecting cancer and sniffing bed bugs.

OU research into the Ptolemy instrument on board the spacecraft, which 'sniffed' the isotopic make-up of the comet is now being adapted for use in the health sector and commercial applications. Watch the video below for an introduction to these real-world uses or hear what OU Space Scientist Dr Geraint Morgan has to say about how Rosetta research expertise is being used on Earth.

World Space Week – Remote sensing

The campaign will also mark World Space Week – an annual event that aims to celebrate advances and research in space technologies.

The 2016 theme is ‘Remote Sensing’. The ESA/Roscosmos ExoMars 2016 TGO mission contains a new sensing challenge – to 'sniff' the Martian environment for markers of life, and carries the Schiaparelli lander due to land on Mars on 19 October.

Meet some of our Space Science academics

Study Space Science at the OU

The OU will launch a new MSc in Space Science and Technology in January 2017, which equips graduates with the skills to contribute to major such missions like ExoMars and Rosetta.

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