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Sniffing the Solar System at Science Museum Lates in London

Geraint (Taff) Morgan and Simon Sheridan were at the Science Museum, London for Science Lates this week, which focussed on the Apollo landings. They took along their instruments that are used to sniff out gases and determine chemical signatures, the same instruments they plan to use in space.

1st August 2019

Mahesh Anand celebrating the Moon landing anniversary on the USS Hornet

Mahesh Anand, Reader in Planetary Science and Exploration within the School of Physical Sciences, visited the USS Hornet on 24th July 2019 on the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 splashdown. USS Hornet is the ship that was used to recover the Apollo 11 capsule upon its splashdown in the Pacific Ocean on 24th July 1969, and is now moored off San Francisco bay on Alameda island where it has been converted into a museum. The photo shows a ‘broiler plate’ copy of the capsule that was used to practise Apollo 11 capsule recovery.

29th July 2019

Further funding release in support of ProSPA: prospecting for volatiles on the Moon

We have got a release of 1 million Euros for the next phase of ProSPA, with another 9 M Euro due in November. ProSPA is a miniature chemical analysis laboratory being developed by the Open University for European Space Agency (ESA).

Together with a drill provided by Italian industry it forms ESA's PROSPECT tool for prospecting for volatiles on the Moon. This first variant will fly on the Russian Luna 27 mission to a high southern latitude of the Moon in 2025. 

22nd July 2019

Launch of Chandrayaan-2: CEI involvement in mission science

The Centre for Electronic Imaging (CEI) in the School of Physical Sciences was involved in development of the X-ray detectors for the CLASS XRF instrument on Chandrayaan-2, which India will attempt to launch on Monday 22nd July at 09:14 GMT. The Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft contains a lunar orbiter and a lander for the Moon. CEI have also very recently been invited to collaborate over the coming year on supporting aspects of its calibration. 

22nd July 2019

New OU/BBC programme ‘8 Days: To the Moon and Back’

We have a new OU/BBC programme ‘8 Days: To the Moon and Back’ airing on Wednesday 10th July on BBC Two at 9pm. Our own Mahesh Anand was the academic advisor to this co-production, a fascinating drama-documentary portraying in dramatic reconstruction the ultimate human adventure using previously classified cockpit audio recorded by the astronauts and original footage from the Apollo programme - combined with newly shot reconstruction of key moments and cinematic CGI. 

9th July 2019

The Open University at The Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition 2019

The “Living on the Moon” exhibit took place at the Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition last week and proved very popular, with an estimate of more than 10,000 visitors. The exhibit was created by a consortium of 5 UK institutions (The Open University, Birkbeck, Natural History Museum, Oxford University and Manchester University), bringing together lunar research from the past 50 years and showcasing cutting-edge technology that paved the way for future lunar exploration over the next 50 years.

9th July 2019

OU Planetary Robotics Student Team compete in largest collegiate rocket competition in the USA

The OU Planetary Robotics Student Team recently competed in the largest and most prestigious collegiate rocket competition at Spaceport America in New Mexico, USA.  Out of the 4 UK teams, they were the only team who achieved a "nominal" launch, meaning that launch and separation worked as intended. They were also the highest scoring UK team, coming 18th out of 46 in their category, and 38th out of 120 overall. 

9th July 2019

Solar eclipse in Chile

Some of our staff and students happened to be in Chile at the same time as the solar eclipse in July, Research Fellow Jesper Skottfelt snapped these images to share with us. Absolutely beautiful

9th July 2019

SPS PhD student Heidi Thiemann scoops poster prize at National Astronomy Meeting 2019

 

Congratulations to second year PhD student Heidi Thiemann who was awarded second prize in the Oxford University Press Poster Competition the National Astronomy Meeting 2019 at Lancaster University in July for her poster titled "Investigation of the Rotation-Activity Relation in the SuperWASP All-Sky Survey". Her prize was awarded by the Royal Astronomical Society. 

9th July 2019