Archive of MSSL News

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Herschel loses its cool, but the work continues

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The scientific instruments on board Herschel are housed inside the black tank below its 3.5m diameter main mirror. To observe far-infrared and sub-millimetre light, these instruments were cooled by a tank of liquid helium, which has now been exhausted. Image credit: ESA

Europe's Herschel Space Observatory has exhausted its supply of liquid helium coolant, after almost four years of scientific observations. Using Herschel data, astronomers have already made ground-breaking discoveries about the formation and evolution of stars, galaxies and planets. But this has only scratched the surface, and there is far more still to come from the immense archive. Scientists at UCL’s Mullard Space Science Laboratory (MSSL) and Department of Physics & Astronomy have been at the forefront of this exciting mission, both by leading a number of the key scientific investigations carried out by the observatory, and for their prominent role in the design of the SPIRE instrument, one of the three instruments carried on board Herschel. The SPIRE (Spectral and Photometric Imaging Receiver) instrument, which, made images of the sky simultaneously in three submillimetre ‘colours’ and measured the spectral features of atoms and molecules, was built by an international consortium headed by the UK.

Space lasers used to reduce emissions

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Steel exiting a continuous caster at a Tata Steel plant

Laser based technologies developed to assist the landing of Mars Rovers could soon be used to help reduce CO2 and waste in Tata Steel making plants.

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