• Here is an image of the crab nebula
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LEADING RESEARCH

The UCL Department of Space and Climate Physics, also known as the Mullard Space Science Laboratory, is a world-leading research facility. We are the largest university-based space research department in the UK.

MSSL delivers a cutting-edge science programme, underpinned by a capability in space science instrumentation, systems engineering and project management. 

Our scientific research ranges from cosmology and the study of extra-galactic objects, to studies of our local Sun, the planets and the Earth. We also research and develop the next generation of space instrumentation and hardware. Our research is supported through European grants and by the UK research councils.

Space researchers make up approximately half of the staff and students at MSSL

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SHARING KNOWLEDGE

As a department of UCL, members of staff are actively involved in teaching both undergraduates and post-graduates. Our post-graduate education programme consists of taught courses, leading to an M.Sc., and research degrees, leading to an M.Phil or Ph.D.

Students studying at MSSL become active members of their research groups and wider research communities. Research projects in our taught courses give students the opportunity to be involved in the development of new space hardware and future missions. 

The research undertaken at MSSL drives an active outreach programme. Scientists and engineers are happy to talk about their work and run activities for groups of all ages and interests.

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DELIVERING TECHNOLOGY

MSSL has a long heritage of providing high-quality space instrumentation for international space research missions. In our 40 year history we have been involved in over 35 scientific space missions and over 200 rocket launches.

MSSL develops hardware and software for international space projects. Our technology development engineers work along side scientists to ensure that the instruments we produce are as relevant as possible. Post-launch support enables our scientists to understand the responses of the instrument, greatly benefitting our data analysis.

Engineers and project support staff make up around half the staff and students at MSSL.

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WORKING WITH INDUSTRY

As a builder of scientific instruments, MSSL has developed expertise and facilities for manufacturing and testing of space hardware. We make these facilities and expertise available for industrial contracts. 

Through UCL Centre for Systems Engineering, we offer a range of industrial training courses in areas including systems engineering, project management, risk management and system design, and conduct consultancy projects for industry in systems engineering and technology management.

Mullard Space Science Laboratory with comet McNaught
Mullard Space Science Laboratory with comet McNaught

WELCOME TO MSSL

UCL was one of the first universities in the world to become involved in making scientific observations in space. Since MSSL was established in 1966, we have participated in over 35 satellite missions and over 200 rocket experiments. We have the unique capability of designing, building and testing instruments and other spacecraft systems on site. 

Our groups of research scientists and development engineers work together to ensure that the instruments we produce are as relevant as possible. The subsequent data analysis benefits from a fundamental understanding of the instruments.

MSSL, and the site on which we are based, has a rich history and can be explored on this site. Details of how to find us, up coming opportunities and our outreach programme can also be found.

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MSSL News

Electronics Design Engineer

The focus of this particular post is the development of the PanCam instrument for the ESA Exomars programme. Exomars is a joint European and Russian mission to develop special technology for future sample return missions and to search for signs of past or present life. PanCam is a Rover based stereo camera system designed to operate in the harsh Martian environment. This instrument consists of a power converter, camera systems, filter wheel mechanisms and a field programmable gate array based digital control system. Communications with the Rover are over a Spacewire high speed digital link. LabView from National Instruments is widely used in our ground check-out systems and we use EDA design tools from Mentor Graphics. More...

Published: Jul 26, 2016 4:12:00 PM

Prof Ivan Parkin

New Dean of Mathematical & Physical Sciences appointed

The faculty is delighted to announce the appointment of Prof Ivan Parkin as the new Dean of Mathematical and Physical Sciences. The appointment will be effective as of next academic year (2016-17). More...

Published: Jul 20, 2016 12:04:15 PM

Einstein's general relativity passes another stringent test

Einstein's general relativity passes another stringent test

In a recent paper published today in the Astrophysical Journal, Ignacio Ferreras (UCL Space & Climate Physics/Mullard Space Science Laboratory) and Ignacio Trujillo (IAC) presented the most detailed test of the so-called cosmological redshift.
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Published: Jul 11, 2016 2:35:05 PM

Magnetic Rope observed for the first time during the interaction between Saturn and the Sun

Magnetic Rope observed for the first time between Saturn and the Sun

A twisted magnetic field structure, previously never seen before at Saturn, has now been detected for the first time, using instrumentation built at UCL and Imperial  College.

When the Sun’s magnetic field interacts with the Earth’s magnetic field (the  magnetosphere), a complex process occurs called magnetic reconnection which can twist the field into a helical shape.

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Published: Jul 6, 2016 8:58:32 AM

This is an artist's concept of the electric wind at Venus. Rays represent the paths that oxygen and hydrogen ions take as they are pulled out of the upper atmosphere. Credits: NASA/Goddard/Conceptual Image Lab, Krystofer Kim

Strong ‘electric wind’ strips planets of oceans and atmospheres

Venus has an ‘electric wind’ strong enough to remove the components of water from its upper atmosphere, which may have played a significant role in stripping the planet of its oceans, according to a new study by NASA and UCL researchers.  More...

Published: Jun 20, 2016 5:46:53 PM

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Upcoming Events

Laboratory Literature

In preparation for the setting up of MSSL at Holmbury House in 1965, its first director, Sir Robert Boyd, had to promise the local planning committee he would not launch any rockets from the MSSL grounds. However, the promise did not include book launches! So MSSL is having a laboratory literature evening to celebrate the Sun and space through writing. MSSL staff and poet-in-residence Simon Barraclough have recently launched poetry books and a popular science book and you can find out about these books during the evening. More...

Starts: Jun 16, 2016 6:30:00 PM

Page last modified on 21 sep 11 10:24