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A talk by Professor Monica Grady
1969 was the year when Neil Armstrong took his small step on the Moon. But the Moon was not the only planetary body that started to give up its secrets in 1969. Two spacecraft flew closer to Mars than ever before, picturing its cratered surface and one of its polar caps. Two large meteorites fell, one in Mexico, the other in Australia. They were not from the same asteroid, but each carried crucial information about happened as the Sun was born.
Two astronomers in Kazakhstan discovered a comet that was subsequently given their names, Churyumov and Gerasimenko. The comet was the target of the European Space Agency’s incredibly successful Rosetta mission. And finally, a party of Japanese glaciologists found fragments from nine separate meteorites together on a patch of blue ice. Since then, another 50,000 meteorites have been recovered from Antarctica.
Monica Grady was involved in the Rosetta mission and has collected meteorites in Antarctica. She has studied meteorites from the asteroid belt, from the Moon and from Mars. In her talk, she will explain what, 50 years later, we have learnt about the Solar System from the events of 1969.
About the speaker
Monica Grady is Professor of Planetary and Space Sciences in the School of Physical Sciences at the Open University (OU) in Milton Keynes. Monica has led major research programmes in the study of the origin and evolution of the Solar System through analysis of meteorites, the Moon, Mars, asteroids and comets. Her particular research interests are in carbon and nitrogen chemistry. In honour of her contributions to the field, the International Astronomical Union named Asteroid (4731) as “Monicagrady”. Monica gave the Royal Institution Christmas lectures in 2003, on the theme ‘Voyage in Space and Time’. In June 2012, she was appointed a Commander in the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for her services to Space Sciences and in July 2019 was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Letters by Liverpool Hope University for her work on Science and Faith.
Also see wikipedia.