The Centre for Planetary Sciences

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The Centre for Planetary Sciences at UCL/Birkbeck is one of the United Kingdom's leading centres for planetary science. It houses expertise in understanding planets from their deep interiors, through their surfaces and atmospheres, to their space environment.  This expertise is complemented by world leaders in astronomy, terrestrial and solar science, life and chemical sciences.  Read more...

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Comet 67P and Lithium release comparison. From Coates et al. (2015)

Ions from Comet 67P – early Rosetta results and increasing activity

As a comet nears the Sun, its icy nucleus heats, and neutral water and other gas molecules sublime, carrying ice and dust grains away also. The gas ionizes in sunlight, producing pickup ions. In a new paper, Andrew Coates and colleagues look at the early pickup process at 67P using data from the Rosetta Plasma Consortium (RPC) particle instruments. They compare the results to what was learned with the AMPTE and Giotto missions 30 years ago. The trajectory of Rosetta, the first spacecraft to fly with a comet at different distances to the Sun, is ideal for this. They discuss an elegant momentum balance seen between the new-born pickup ions and the solar wind. More...

Published: Oct 27, 2015 11:37:15 AM

Mars (credit: NASA, ESA)

Europlanet 2020 Research Infrastructure launches new era of planetary collaboration in Europe

A €9.95 million project to integrate and support planetary science activities across Europe has been launched. 

Published: Sep 15, 2015 10:00:00 AM


Planetary group student organises Sample Space Science Week at MSSL for sixth formers


Published: Jul 29, 2015 4:15:43 PM

Concept view of the ARIEL spacecraft. Credit: ESA

ARIEL mission to reveal 'Brave New Worlds' among exoplanets

An ambitious European mission is being planned to answer fundamental questions about how planetary systems form and evolve. ARIEL will investigate the atmospheres of several hundreds planets orbiting distant stars. It is one of three candidate missions selected last month by the European Space Agency (ESA) for its next medium class science mission, due for launch in 2026.  The ARIEL mission concept has been developed by a consortium of more than 50 institutes from 12 countries, including UK, France, Italy, Germany, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Belgium, Austria, Denmark, Ireland, Portugal.  The mission will be presented today at the Pathways 2015 conference in Bern, Switzerland, by ARIEL’s Principal Investigator, Prof Giovanna Tinetti of UCL.  More...

Published: Jul 16, 2015 4:58:53 PM

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Page last modified on 04 jun 15 15:15 by Joanna N Fabbri