MSSL News Page
ExoMars Landing Sites Narrowed Down - And PanCam Appears on BBC News
Publication date: 7 April 2014
The first landing site selection workshop for the Esa-Roscosmos ExoMars rover was held on 26-28 March at ESAC near Madrid. Prof Andrew Coates of the Planetary Science Group attended the meeting, as Principal Investigator of the PanCam instrument on the rover. MSSL leads the international PanCam team which includes hardware from Germany and Switzerland, with important contributions from Austria, as well as the UK. PanCam includes a pair of wide angle cameras (WACs) for stereo imaging and a High Resolution Camera (HRC) for zoom capability. PanCam provides geological and atmospheric context for the mission.
Publication date: 27 March 2014
Megan Whewell, George Seabroke and Daisuke Kawata visited the UCL Academy, and explained about the European Space Agency’s new astrometry mission, Gaia (launched on 19th December 2013). This is a part of a Pan-European outreach event for the Gaia mission, Gaia Live in school (http://great.ast.cam.ac.uk/great-itn/gaialive) organised by the GREAT-ITN network, of which MSSL is one of the associate nodes. During the event, 34 schools in different countries in Europe linked up with ESA, and learned about the Gaia mission, which will map a billion stars in our Milky Way.
MSSL student wins UCL poster competition
Publication date: 7 March 2014
MSSL student Jason Hunt won 1st prize in the Built Environment, Engineering Sciences and Mathematical & Physical Sciences category in the UCL Graduate School Research Poster Competition 2013/14 for his poster entitled PRIMAL: Mapping the Milky Way from Gaia data. The competition highlights the excellent work done at UCL, showcasing a variety of different projects from different subject areas including Radiation Therapy, Ecology and Galactic Astrophysics.
ESA selects Plato as its next science mission
Publication date: 20 February 2014
Plato will discover Earth-like planets in our part of the galaxy and add a whole new dimension the the Hertzsprung-Russell diagram. Each of the PLATO telescopes will comprise a focal plane of light sensitive detectors made by the UK company e2v. These specially designed devices will be the largest ever flown in space. The associated detailed characterisation of the devices together with their readout electronics, will be developed at the Mullard Space Science Laboratory, part of University College London. Professor Alan Smith, director of MSSL said ‘This is a wonderful mission and MSSL are excited to by part of it. Our role is essential to the mission and builds upon similar involvements in earlier ESA missions”. The mission science is led by Don Pollacco from Warwick University, Cambridge University has a major role in the complex image processing software while the Open University will be engaged with public outreach.
Astronomers find solar storms behave like supernovae
Publication date: 20 February 2014
Researchers at UCL have studied the behaviour of the Sun's coronal mass ejections, explaining for the first time the details of how these huge eruptions behave as they fall back onto the Sun’s surface. In the process, they have discovered that coronal mass ejections have a surprising twin in the depths of space: the tendrils of gas in the Crab Nebula, which lie 6500 light-years away and are millions of times larger.
UCL and Big Data: funding announcement
Publication date: 13 February 2014
Kimberley Birkett awarded 2013 Outstanding Student Paper Award (OSPA) at the AGU Fall Meeting
Publication date: 17 January 2014
Prof. Louise Harra awarded RAS Chapman Medal
Publication date: 13 January 2014
Professor Louise Harra, of UCL's Mullard Space Science Laboratory, has been responsible for much excellent and far-reaching research in solar physics, especially in the exploitation of extreme-UV and X-ray spectroscopy and solar plasma diagnostics to understand the active solar atmosphere. Since September 2006, she has been Principal Investigator of the UK’s EUV Imaging Spectrometer on the Hinode satellite mission, and has taken a leading role in exploiting its observations.
ESA’s Billion Star Surveyor: UCL’s contribution
Publication date: 19 December 2013
New Results from Cryosat
Publication date: 18 December 2013
Cryosat, the European satellite first proposed at MSSL, has been delivering an unprecedented view of the seasonal growth and retreat of sea ice since its launch in 2010. A new Cryosat study presented in San Fransisco to the Americal Geophysical Union shows that there was 50% more sea ice in the Arctic this summer compared to 2012. This surprising result emerged from research by PhD student Rachel Tilling from the NERC Centre for Polar Observation and Modelling (CPOM) at UCL and is covered on the BBC News website.
CSM signs Agreement of Collaboration with Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Centre, Star City, Russia
Publication date: 28 November 2013
During the November 2013 visit to Star City in preparation for joint projects, the Centre for Space Medicine took collaboration with the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Centre to the next level and signed the Agreement of Collaboration, undersigned by Krikalev Sergey Konstantinovich, Head of State Organization “Gagarin Research & Test Cosmonaut Training Centre”.
China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation visits MSSL
Publication date: 31 October 2013
On Wednesday 31st October, MSSL hosted a delegation from the China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation. We discussed with the delegation MSSL's Technology Management programme as well as the development of in-situ plasma detectors with Prof. Alan Smith, Michael Emes and Dhiren Kataria. A number of the delegation also had a tour of the recently revamped clean rooms at MSSL.
ExoMars Rover uses PanCam to explore Atacama Desert
Publication date: 17 October 2013
The shocking truth about solar eruptions
Publication date: 8 October 2013
The Sun gives light and heat that makes life possible on Earth. That said, our nearest star can have more sinister effects, sometimes unleashing huge eruptions of hot gas, called coronal mass ejections (CMEs), which carry billions of tons of matter travelling at millions of kilometres an hour into space. These storms can be accompanied by solar radio bursts, and if they head in Earth’s direction, they can cause damaging effects on many of the technologies that we rely on in our everyday lives, such as communications satellites and mobile phone networks.
Reflecting on Earth’s albedo
Publication date: 9 September 2013
Who won the annual MSSL cricket match?
Publication date: 5 September 2013
David Willetts visits UCL Mullard Space Science Laboratory
Publication date: 16 August 2013
David Willetts, Minister of State for Universities and Science, visited UCL’s Mullard Space Science Laboratory on Tuesday 13th August. The minister inspected a number of instruments which are being built at the laboratory for future scientific spacecraft, including Euclid, ExoMars and Solar Orbiter, as well as hearing about MSSL’s role at the heart of the UK and European space programme.
Magnetic star reveals its hidden power
Publication date: 15 August 2013
A team of astronomers including two researchers from UCL’s Mullard Space Science Laboratory has made the first ever measurement of the magnetic field at a specific spot on the surface of a magnetar. Magnetars are a type of neutron star, the dense and compact core of a giant star which has blasted away its outer layers in a supernova explosion.
Testing Penetrators at Pendine Sands
Publication date: 12 July 2013
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
Publication date: 11 July 2013
MSSL at NAM2013
Publication date: 5 July 2013
Huge flare caught by Hinode
Publication date: 3 June 2013
Researchers at MSSL have been monitoring a recent increase in solar activity using the Japanese Hinode mission. In this news article on the MAPS Faculty website, Prof. Louise Harra describes how Hinode makes observations of these dramatic solar events.
MSSL student experiment successfully launched on European rocket
Publication date: 7 May 2013
Herschel loses its cool, but the work continues
Publication date: 29 April 2013
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
Publication date: 29 April 2013
Three Royal Society University Research Fellows at MSSL
Publication date: 30 October 2012
MSSL is proud to announce that Drs Lucie Green and Chris Arridge have both been awarded a prestigious Royal Society University Research Fellowship in the 2012 competition. Lucie and Chris will be joined by Dr Thomas Kitching who was awarded a University Research Fellowship last year and has moved to MSSL from the University of Edinburgh. All three will take up academic posts at MSSL on completion of their fellowships.
MSSL wins contract to train ESA project managers
Publication date: 3 October 2012
UCL’s Mullard Space Science Laboratory (MSSL) has won a major 3-5 year contract to provide project management training to the next generation of project managers at the European Space Agency (ESA). MSSL’s Technology Management Group will deliver the training at a venue close to ESA’s European Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC) in the Netherlands, with a team consisting of Prof Alan Smith, Dr Michael Emes (Programme Manager), Matthew Whyndham and Simon Jackson.
MSSL becomes a member of ISIC
Publication date: 29 August 2012
MSSL has become a member of the International Space Innovation Centre (ISIC) in Harwell, Oxfordshire. ISIC drives innovation and enterprise, creating new technologies and developing applications and intellectual property for the benefit of the UK. Launched in May 2011, ISIC is a not-for-profit organisation based in the UK formed between industry, academia and government.
Hinode Scientists' Stellar Effort Keeps Sun Mission 'Burning Bright'
Publication date: 14 August 2012
Whilst the most powerful earthquake since records began hit Japan in 2011, triggering a massive tsunami which devastated much of the country, space scientists involved in one of the ‘brightest’ international Sun missions continued working tirelessly at the Institute of Space and Astronautical Science in Sagamihara, Japan, to capture new data from our turbulent star.
Technological Breakthrough in MSSL Milli-Kelvin Cryocooler
Publication date: 14 June 2012
A 22 gram Chromium Potassium Alum (CPA) paramagnetic refrigerant has been demonstrated to cool from 4 Kelvin to 178 millikelvin in only 30 seconds; an unprecedented achievement made possible by detailed thermal modelling and the development of a superconducting magnet capable of ramping from zero to two Tesla (20,000 gauss) in 30 seconds and vice versa. This is a key technological breakthrough in MSSL’s EPSRC funded millikelvin cryocooler development.
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