The Open University (OU) has received £2.5 million from the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) to fund research in planetary sciences, building on the university’s 50 years in space science.
Scientists from the School of Physical Sciences have been awarded the grant to further their research in the origin and evolution of the Solar System, and to answer the age-old question: is there life beyond the Earth?
On 1 April, the OU team will begin work on five new projects to study extra-terrestrial materials and environments from the Moon to the icy satellites of the giant planets.
Commenting on news of the award, Simon Green, Professor of Planetary and Space Science at the OU, said:
“This award maintains the Open University’s place at the forefront of planetary science research and exciting new developments in Solar System exploration and the search for extra-terrestrial life.
“With these projects, we will utilise data from a range of past and current space missions, Earth-based observations and the university’s extensive analytical laboratories to study the earliest stages of the formation of our Solar System and processes that shape its current properties and ability to host life beyond the Earth.”
The three-year award, entitled: Planetary Sciences at The Open University 2020 – 2023, will fund a team of 22 research, technical support and academic staff, as well as laboratory facilities. Projects will include: