Latest News and Events

Astrobiology and Planetary Exploration (APEX) Meetings

The APEX series of meetings is held on Thursdays at 1pm in the Garwood Lecture Theatre, located on the 1st Floor of the South Wing, UCL: APEX programme

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CPS News

An artist's rendition of the Cassini spacecraft approaching the planet Saturn. Image credit: NASA/JPL

Cassini mission provides insight into Saturn

Scientists have found the first direct evidence for explosive releases of energy in Saturn's magnetic bubble using data from the Cassini spacecraft, a joint mission between NASA, the European Space Agency, and the Italian Space Agency. The research is reported in the journal Nature Physics. More...

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...

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. 


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


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...

Dr. Geraint Jones

Dr. Geraint Jones: Pluto’s moons in sharper focus

Dr. Geraint Jones, Reader in Planetary Science at UCL, highlights Pluto's moons in his recent article for The Conversation: "New Horizons brings Pluto’s mysterious moons into sharper focus". More...

Original plates from Clyde Tombaugh's discovery of Pluto (apparent magnitude +15.1). Credit: Lowell Observatory Archives via Wikipedia

Pluto and Charon - A Planetary Waltz, in celebration of NASA's New Horizon Mission

On July 14, 2015, NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft made its closest approach to the dwarf planet Pluto, the outermost body in the Solar we have visited. A hundred years previously, Gustav Holst had been composing his Planet Suite, ignorant of Pluto’s existence. More...

Prof. Andrew Coates

Prof. Andrew Coates: There is still lots more solar system exploration to do... 

In his recent article for The Conversation: "Fly-by missions: what is the point when we have the technology to go into orbit?", Prof. Andrew Coates, Head of Planetary Science at the Mullard Space Science Laboratory at UCL, discusses the significance of fly-by missions, including the recently successful NASA New Horizons mission to Pluto, and the importance of continued solar system exploration. More...


Titan's atmosphere even more Earth-like than previously thought

Scientists at UCL have observed how a widespread polar wind is driving gas from the atmosphere of Saturn’s moon Titan. The team analysed data gathered over seven years by the NASA/ESA Cassini probe, and found that the interactions between Titan’s atmosphere, and the solar magnetic field and radiation, create a wind of hydrocarbons and nitriles being blown away from the top of its atmosphere into space. This is very similar to the wind observed coming from the Earth’s polar regions. More...

Close-up of the lunar regolith with astronaut’s boot for scale (credit: NASA)

Prof. Ian Crawford awarded Leverhulme Trust research grant to study what the Moon may tell us about the history of the Milky Way

The new grant, entitled Assessing the potential of lunar geology as a window into galactic history, was awarded to Professor Crawford and colleagues Dr Pieter Vermeesch (UCL) and Dr Katherine Joy (University of Manchester). Dr Louise Alexander, who obtained both her B.Sc. and Ph.D degrees in planetary science from Birkbeck, will be employed as researcher on the project. More...

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CPS Events

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RAS Specialist Discussion Meeting: Extraterrestrial resources in facilitating space science and exploration

On Friday 8 April 2016, the Royal Astronomical Society will be holding a Specialist Discussion Meeting on the theme of: More...

Starts: Apr 8, 2016 10:30:00 AM

Lake Como School

Brave New Worlds: Understanding the planets of other stars

Next year the Lake Como School of Advanced Studies will focus on exoplanet science. The school is directed to PhD students and young postdocs who are interested in widening their knowledge in the field of exoplanets. Lecturers will report on theoretical, observational and experimental aspects of the research, reviewing the latest achievements in the field. The program includes: More...

Starts: May 29, 2016 12:00:00 AM

Cometary science after Rosetta

Results from the European Space Agency’s Rosetta mission to Comet  67P/Churyumov Gerasimenko are leading to a revolution in our understanding of these ancient bodies, and hence the conditions prevalent in the early Solar System. This meeting will report on all  aspects of the mission's ground-breaking discoveries, placing them in the context of cometary science as a whole. More...

Starts: Jun 14, 2016 9:00:00 AM

Page last modified on 04 feb 15 14:57 by Joanna Fabbri