Landing on a planet at 600 miles per hour

14 February 2011

Tuesday 8 February

Professor Alan Smith (UCL Mullard Space Science Laboratory)

Unmanned robotic missions are essential for understanding the planets within our solar system. Current missions comprise of gentle landings combined with rovers to explore the local region. Due to the expense of such missions, and their sometimes unsuitability as scientific outposts, UCL’s Mullard Space Science Laboratory is developing Planetary Penetrators, which aim to land on planets at very high speed, penetrating the planet and implanting equipment just below the surface.

This lecture discusses the engineering difficulties of ensuring delicate instrumentation remains intact and operable after such high impact and highlights the biggest hurdle of all - convincing the space agencies to adopt the equipment in the first place!

With a whole solar system waiting to be explored, this talk describes the UK Penetrator Programme - where we've been, what we've achieved and the opportunities for the future.

Page last modified on 14 feb 11 15:59

Bookmark and Share