MSSL News

Prof. Louise Harra to give 2018 Robinson Lecture at Armagh Observatory

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Prof. Louise Harra

MSSL's Prof. Louise Harra will be giving the prestigious 2018 Robinson Lecture for the Armagh Observatory. Louise, who is co-PI of the Extreme-UV Imager for the Solar Orbiter mission, will be talking about Solar Orbiter, its mission goals, how we will get there, and why we are doing it. 

MSSL Alumni Celebrate 60 years of Skylark

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MSSL Alumni Chris Rapley, John Zarnecki and Ken Pounds with former director Alan Smith at the launch of the Skylark exhibit

MSSL Alumni Chris Rapley, John Zarnecki and Ken Pounds came together with former director Alan Smith to celebrate 60 years since the start of the UK's Skylark rocket programme at a new exhibit at the Science Museum. The Skylark programme signalled the start of the British space age. All four worked on numerous experiments launched on Skylark rockets during their times at MSSL.

Probing the nature of the neutrino using SuperNEMO

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Inspection of one of the tracker modules at UCL MSSL by members of the UCL team

One mile beneath a mountain in the French Alps, an international team involving UCL scientists is hoping to unlock more secrets of the mysterious neutrino using a new, cutting-edge experiment called SuperNEMO.

Jupiter’s X-ray auroras pulse independently

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Jupiter’s south pole, as seen by NASA’s Juno spacecraft from an altitude of 32,000 miles (52,000 kilometers) (credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Betsy Asher Hall/Gervasio Robles)

Jupiter’s intense northern and southern lights pulse independently of each other according to new UCL-led research using ESA’s XMM-Newton and NASA’s Chandra X-ray observatories.

SMILE mission gets £3 million boost

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A space mission called SMILE (Solar wind Magnetosphere Ionosphere Link Explorer), jointly developed by the European Space Agency and the Chinese Academy of Sciences with major UK involvement from UCL, has received additional funding from the UK Space Agency.

Revolutionary techniques developed by MSSL Imaging scientists show the location of the Beagle 2 Lander on the surface of Mars in the finest detail ever

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Super-resolution restoration technique in image (a) lander, parachute candidate and rear cover candidate arrowed, and zoomed-in view of the lander (b) and parachute target (c). Image credit: MSSL/UCL/HiRISE/NASA

In a paper published this week in the peer review journal from the Royal Society Open Science are details of the image stacking and matching techniques developed by the MSSL imaging group, including Prof. Jan-Peter Muller with PhD student Yu Tao, and work on measuring the reflectances of different surface objects by PhD students Si-Ting Xiong and Kiky Putri.

Prof. Andrew Fazakerley is the new director of MSSL

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Andrew Fazakerley

Professor Andrew Fazakerley has recently been appointed as Head of the Department of Space and Climate Physics, also known as UCL’s Mullard Space Science Laboratory (MSSL).

Andrew has been at MSSL for more than 20 years. His scientific background is in the area of space plasma physics, but he has also been involved in space mission preparation and operation for much of this time.

“I am looking forward to my new role at MSSL, which is the UK’s largest university space science laboratory. I will be helping our unique team to continue to achieve excellence in scientific research, space instrumentation and teaching, and to explore new opportunities in all those areas. We have current roles in many orbiting missions, including the recently launched UCLsat. Only a few weeks ago, we said farewell to our instrument on the Cassini mission at Saturn."

Prof. Lucie Green interviewed on R4 The Life Scientific

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MSSL's Prof. Lucie Green was interviewed by Jim Al-Khalili on BBC Radio 4's The Life Scientific. Lucie talked about her first love, art, and how she came to be a solar physicist studying events that can potentially impact life and technology on Earth.

Class of 2017 DRILL into a new mission

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Class of 2017

In the culmination of a year’s hard work, the students of the MSc Space Science and Engineering programme have applied everything they have learnt to put together a new mission proposal that would meet the cost cap of an ESA M-class mission. During the final 6 weeks of the course, the students worked together in a Group Project to respond to an announcement of opportunity to propose a lunar sample return mission. A 60,000 word proposal later, they successfully presented 'DRILL: a lunar sample return mission to the far side of the moon' to a panel of experts from SSTL, the University of Manchester, STFC’s Rutherford Appleton Lab and QMUL.

Electronics Assembly Technician

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Applications are invited for the post of Flight Electronic Assembly Technician at MSSL to support the Laboratory’s space science instrumentation programme.

MSSL PhD Student presented award at international SHINE meeting

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Georgina Graham

Joint MSSL and ESA PhD student Georgina Graham was awarded the Outstanding Student Poster Award at the Solar Heliospheric and INterplanetary Environment (SHINE) 2017 Workshop in Saint-Sauveur, Quebec, Canada. SHINE is a very strongly discussion driven conference  with a unique style that sets it apart from many other annual conferences. SHINE workshops are driven by community interest and controversy, with the aim of engaging both established members of the field and students in conversations about current issues with data, theories and models. 

Senior Teaching Fellow in Technology Management

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MSSL is seeking to appoint a Senior Teaching Fellow to our Technology Management group. The successful applicant will contribute significantly to the teaching and training activities of the Technology Management Group at MSSL, dedicating most of their time to academic Masters-level teaching at UCL’s main campus in London, and to industrial training at various locations in the UK and overseas. The successful applicant may also have the opportunity to conduct project management or systems engineering for one or more instrumentation development projects at MSSL. The post will be based at Holmbury St Mary (Surrey) or central London, to suit the applicant’s circumstances (although travel to both sites will be necessary).

New clue to solving the mystery of the sun’s hot atmosphere

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The largest active region of the solar cycle on 23 October 2014 (credit: NASA)

The elemental composition of the Sun’s hot atmosphere known as the ‘corona’ is strongly linked to the 11-year solar magnetic activity cycle, a team of scientists from UCL, George Mason University and Naval Research Laboratory has revealed for the first time. 

Electronics Technician

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We are seeking a new Electronics Technician to join our Electronics Engineering Group. The post holder will work within project teams to assist with the design and test activities that go on in the course of the development of electronics sub-systems for the Laboratory’s space projects. As well as being necessary to support instrument development, this work is seen as a training environment for the more demanding tasks that can be undertaken when experience is gained.

Has Cassini found a universal driver for prebiotic chemistry at Titan?

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Titan's atmospheric haze

An important type of molecule that helps produce complex organic material has been detected within Titan’s hazy upper atmosphere by a UCL-led team as part of the international Cassini-Huygens mission.

SMILE SXI Instrument Software Scientist

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A new postdoctoral position has been created at UCL’s Mullard Space Science Laboratory (MSSL, based at Holmbury St. Mary, near Dorking in Surrey), the home of UCL’s Department of Space and Climate Physics. For administrative purposes the Department is part of the UCL Faculty of Mathematical and Physical Sciences (MAPS). The position will entail creating and analysing science and instrument simulations, and designing and coding elements of the Soft X-ray Imager (SXI) Pipeline Processing Software. The SXI is the primary instrument onboard the SMILE (Solar wind Magnetosphere Ionosphere Link Explorer, http://www.mssl.ucl.ac.uk/SMILE/) mission which is currently under joint development by the European Space Agency and the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

MAPS Faculty Teaching Awards 2017

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portico___statue.jpg

Each year the Mathematical and Physical Sciences Faculty recognises excellence in teaching by staff and teaching assistants at all levels within the faculty through the Faculty Teaching Awards.

IOP Medal and Prize for Prof. Lucie Green

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Prof. Lucie Green (courtesy: IOP)

Congratulations to Prof. Lucie Green who was awarded the IoP's 2017 Lise Meitner Medal and Prize for distinguished contributions to public outreach, via public lectures, science festivals, organising public events and open days, frequent radio and TV appearances including presenting, and writing a popular science book.

Training for Space Weather Forecasters at MSSL

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Participants and trainers for the Met Office Space Weather Forecasters training workshop at MSSL. (c) MSSL

MSSL hosted its first Training Workshop for Space Weather Forecasters this week. The 3-day course, designed in collaboration with the Met Office, provided space weather forecasters from the Met Office Space Weather Operations Centre (MOSWOC) with the chance to explore some of the new science in solar-terrestrial physics with potential applications to space weather with experts from both the MSSL Solar Physics and Space Plasma Physics Groups.

Senior Promotion and Awards

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Dr. Jason McEwen, Dr. Raul Leal and Prof. Dhiren Kataria

MSSL is delighted to announce the following senior promotions within the department:

  • Dhiren Kataria has been promoted to Professorial Research Associate
  • Jason McEwen has been promoted to Reader in Astrophysics

Mechanical Designer

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Applications are invited for the post of Mechanical Designer in the mechanical and thermal engineering group at MSSL to support the Laboratory’s space science instrumentation.

UCL’s first satellite ‘UCLSat’ launched

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UCLSat in the test chamber at MSSL. Credit: UCL/MSSL

UCLSat, a satellite designed and built by UCL engineers and scientists, has been launched today from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in India as part of an international mission called QB50.

PLATO adopted as ESA M-Class mission

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Credit: DLR

We are excited to announce that the PLATO exoplanet mission has been
formally adopted by the European Space Agency as their 3rd Medium Class mission at a meeting of its Science Planning Committee on the 19th June 2017. The PLATO mission is due for launch in 2026 and will operate for a minimum of four years during which it will observer planetary transits and stellar oscillations. By this means it will characterised a very large number of planetary systems and, together with ground-based follow-up observations, will determine the radius of the planets and the mass and age of the central star. The spacecraft will comprise 24 'Normal' cameras and two 'Fast' cameras with the sensors being supplied from the UK by Teledyne in Chemlsford. MSSL has the responsibility for the development and production of the front-end electronics for the 'Normal' cameras and the final characterization of the optical sensors. The project is funded within the UK by the UK Space Agency.

UK Gaia Teams win two Sir Arthur Clarke Awards

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Gaia

UK Gaia Science Team, including six members from the UCL Mullard Science Space Laboratory, have won an Arthur Clarke Award.

UK Gaia Teams win two Arthur C Clarke Awards

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Last night (31 May 2017), the Gaia project picked up two ‘Arthurs’ at the annual UK Space Conference Gala Dinner held at the Victoria Warehouse in Manchester. The Sir Arthur Clarke Awards (the ‘Arthurs’) have been presented since 2005 and recognise significant contributions to space activities.

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