Strong 'electric wind' strips planets of oceans and atmospheres
Publication date: 21 June 2016
Liftoff to Mars!
Publication date: 6 April 2016
On 14 March, the first
mission of the ESA-Russia ExoMars programme began its journey to Mars from the
Baikonur cosmodrome. Soaring over the steppes of Kazakhstan, the Proton rocket
and Briz upper stage both performed flawlessly, putting the first of the two ExoMars
missions on course for Mars with arrival in October 2016. This opens a new era
of European-Russian Mars exploration – with UCL-MSSL and UCL's Centre for Planetary Sciences (CPS) playing key
Solar storms trigger Jupiter's 'Northern Light'
Publication date: 31 March 2016
Giotto at Halley: 30 years ago!
Publication date: 14 March 2016
It was the year of the tragic Challenger
disaster – but UCL-MSSL was making good news in space and making history too. The
Giotto spacecraft carried 10 instruments, including one led by UCL-MSSL just
596 km (MSSL to ESOC distance!) from comet Halley on the night of 13th/14th
March, with some spectacular results.
First detection of gases in super-Earth atmosphere
Publication date: 17 February 2016
Saturn and Enceladus produce the same amount of plasma
Publication date: 11 February 2016
Professor Hilary Downes elected to the Presidency of the Mineralogical Society
Publication date: 21 January 2016
Congratulations to CPS member Professor Hilary Downes on her recent election to the role of President of the Mineralogical Society of Great Britain and Ireland. A full report can be found in the news article from Birkbeck's Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences.
UCL's ExoMars PanCam kit one step closer to Mars
Publication date: 4 December 2015
The UCL-made ‘structural-thermal model’ of the ExoMars PanCam instrument for the joint ESA-Roscosmos (Russian space agency) 2018 rover mission leaves UCL Mullard Space Science Laboratory (MSSL) today for Airbus UK in Stevenage. This is the first of several steps on the way to Mars - in 2016, UCL will deliver engineering- and flight models. The flight model will be the actual instrument which travels to Mars where it will identify promising targets for the mission.
Cassini mission provides insight into Saturn
Publication date: 1 December 2015
Ions from Comet 67P – early Rosetta results and increasing activity
Publication date: 27 October 2015
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.