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Landing on a Comet: What we found from Rosetta and how we are applying it on Earth

Updated Tuesday, 3rd February 2015

Speakers from The Open University's Science Faculty discuss what we found from Rosetta and how we are applying it on Earth.

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OpenMinds: Talks from The Open University will showcase the University’s thought leadership in learning and teaching and the application of research to policy and practice across the UK. They will bring cutting-edge research and developments to both physical events in the OU’s Berrill Lecture and through live video streaming, providing a platform for those who watch or attend to engage with leading academics and respected figures within specific research fields.

The second talk in the series was entitled: Landing on a Comet: What we found from Rosetta and how we are applying it on Earth

For nearly 20 years The Open University researched and developed tools for the Rosetta mission and literally jumped for joy when the European Space Agency (ESA) probe, Rosetta, deployed its landing craft, Philae, and achieved the first ever landing on a comet in November 2014. Now three months later, key OU academics are in a position to share their initial findings and their new perspective on the properties and formation of comets as a result of the landing and the applications for the science on Earth, particularly in industry.

Speakers from the OU’s Faculty of Science are:

Professor Ian Wright Copyrighted  image Icon Copyright: The Open University Professor Ian Wright, Professor of Planetary Sciences, who led the design of Ptolemy, reports how the instrument performed and what it found.


Dr Simon Green Copyrighted  image Icon Copyright: The Open University Dr Simon Green, a Senior Lecturer, whose research focuses on physical studies of planetary surfaces and small solar system bodies, reveals what we have learned so far about the physical properties of the cometary surface (measured by MUPUS - Multi Purpose Sensors for Surface and Subsurface Science) and the dust grains released from it (measured by GIADA - Grain Impact Analyser and Dust Accumulator).


Colin Snodgrass Copyrighted  image Icon Copyright: The Open University Dr Colin Snodgrass, an Ernest Rutherford Research Fellow, shows images of the comet which illustrate some of the variations in terrain and which allow us to speculate about what this means for the large scale structure and formation of comets.



Geraint Morgan Copyrighted  image Icon Copyright: The Open University Dr Geraint Morgan, Project Manager, focuses on how the collective expertise used to develop an instrument that can “sniff” the environment around a comet is now being used by industry to monitor the atmosphere in submarines, improve the quality of perfumes and even “sniff” for bed bugs in hotels.






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