Oxford scientists worked on the concept and design for the VIRTIS infrared spectrometer and will model the scattering of light through the dusty coma to understand dust physics and comet activity.
Pat Irwin is a Professor of Planetary Physics at Oxford University's Department of Physics. His main research interest is the study of planetary atmospheres and in particular: 1) computational modelling of their reflected and thermally emitted spectra in the visible to far-infrared range, and 2) the inversion of observed spectra to determine atmospheric properties. He is a co-I on the Cassini/CIRS and Venus Express/VIRTIS instrument teams and on Rosetta/VIRTIS will be modelling the reflection of sunlight from particles in Comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko's dusty coma.
Fred Taylor is Emeritus Halley Professor of Physics at Oxford University and has been for many years a Distinguished Visiting Scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory at the California Institute of Technology. He is involved in American and European space missions to all the planets of the Solar System from Mercury to Saturn, plus the Moon and a comet, and has contributed to the development of flight hardware for most of these. Fred was involved in the early planning stages of ESA's Comet Nucleus Sample Return mission, which later evolved into Rosetta, and is now an team member for the VIRTIS spectrometer on that mission.
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