Archive of MSSL News

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Testing Penetrators at Pendine Sands

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Test penetrator attached to rocket sled

On 11th July a team of scientists and engineers led by Astrium UK and including MSSL/UCL, Qinetiq and the Open University conducted a high velocity penetrator trial at Pendine Sands in South Wales. The test item was fired into a ice target at ~340 m/s. The test is part of a more extensive programme that is funded by European Space Agency which follows an earlier successful set of trials related to future lunar exploration. In this test the important and novel thermal isolation was demonstrated which is essential for any future planetary mission since target sites on the Moon, Mars and the Jovian moons are extremely cold while the inner instrumentation within  the penetrator must remain near room temperature.

Solar tsunami used to measure Sun’s magnetic field

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A three-colour difference image made by combining three passbands from the AIA instrument onboard the SDO spacecraft. The different colours correspond to different passbands and are can be used to indicate temperature change as the tsunami sweeps across the Sun.

A solar tsunami observed by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) and the Japanese Hinode spacecraft has been used to provide the first accurate estimates of the Sun's magnetic field.

MSSL at NAM2013 

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NAM2013 Logo. Courtesy University of St. Andrews/RAS

Staff and students from MSSL attended the RAS National Astronomy Meeting at the University of St Andrews, Scotland, this week, presenting 26 talks and posters on their latest scientific discoveries and technological advances in astronomy, solar physics and solar-planetary physics (listed below).

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