UCL Research Domains


Space Domain Events & News

Events & News with UCL Space Domain

ESA's Artificial Intelligence Strategy

The European Space Agency have developed an ESA-wide strategy for AI

Alessandro Donati, Head of the Advanced Mission Concepts and Technologies Office, will present this strategy at this Webex. The event is open to all staff and students and will include a Q&A session.

UCL's Space Domain/ESA_Lab@UCL, is currently bringing together ESA and UCL interests in this area, building upon existing, very effective links in the field of AI and machine learning. As a precursor to a joint workshop on 17 December 2020 ESA will explain its new AI strategy. Those wishing to attend the workshop on the 17 December and who have not done so, should contact alan.smith@ucl.ac.uk

The ESA-wide AI Strategy Webex will be on:

Wednesday, December 2, 2020 between 13:00 and 14:00


JOIN WEBEX MEETING https://esait.webex.com/esait/j.php?MTID=m8cf6e55273c741d050c1bbae62f4494f

Meeting number (access code): 175 213 9768
Meeting password: Nmtjw8WTJ74

JOIN BY PHONE +44-20-3478-5289 United Kingdom Toll

One O'Clock Space Lecture "Rockets and research schools: The making of a modern space lab"

Osnat Katz is a PhD researcher with UCL and the Science Museum working on the history of British space science. To better understand the social and cultural dynamics of British space history, she looks at the material culture of space science in the form of space instrumentation and flight spares, and she conducts oral history interviews with space scientists and engineers.

Call for Speakers


woman sitting at laptop

Our One O’clock lunchtime Webinar series is intended to be an informal platform for sharing on Space related topics to a general, non-specialist audience including UCL undergraduate and postgraduate students, staff members, and is open to the general public. All lectures now take place via Microsoft Teams virtually between 13:00-14:00. Time permitting, we open up the chat for questions at the end of the lecture. 

We are looking for either 20 minutes (in which we would have two speakers to fill the slot with 10 minutes for Q&A each) or 40 minutes presentations with 20 minutes for Q&A, time permitting. We welcome contributions related to Space Research/Projects/Competitions/Interests taking place at UCL. Although definitely not exclusive, we are particularly interested in topics which fit within the following Themes:

  • Earth/Climate Change
  • Humans in Space
  • Space as a Natural Asset
  • Science in, about and from Space
  • “Living with a Star”
  • ‘The Exploration conversation: Robots or humans or both?’
  • Local Space
  • ‘Propulsion; from rockets and motors to the future’
  • National and International Space Policy
  • What is New Space: Privatization, commercial exploitation of space, or democratization?
  • How to get involved in space – career paths and journeys
  • Space and culture – a historical relationship
  • Xenobiology/Astrobiology – Learning from extreme environments on Earth

This is a fantastic opportunity for Early Career Researchers and Postgraduate Students at UCL to engage, communicate and reach out to a wider audience with their research. As well as providing excellent exposure for their research and showcasing future leaders in the Space Sector this series offers a supportive, collegiate environment for sharing ideas/research and the potential of constructive comments/feedback/insights from a wide audience including senior academics at UCL, leaders in the Space Sector, student peers, industry professionals and the wider interested general public. 

Speakers can be very diverse, including senior academics describing their research, post docs describing recent result and students outlining an area of current interest. We particularly encourage the participation of Early Career Researchers, postgraduate students and other researchers particularly those who identify as underrepresented groups including Women, BAME, LGBT + community and disabled individuals at UCL. In this spirit, we would like to reach out to our senior UCL colleagues and staff and ask them to actively encourage their Early Career Researchers and Postgraduate Students who may not normally feel confident presenting or sharing their work to come forward and apply. 

To be considered to speak please fill out the form or email an abstract (of approximately 250-300 words) or alternatively a graphical/video/audio abstract to the organising committee.  Please note that we encourage all postgraduate students to discuss this opportunity with their supervisor/s before submitting an abstract.    

Past One O’clock Space lectures can be found here.

Additional Requirements 
If you anticipate having any additional requirements when presenting, please make us aware of these when you register. These may include accessibility, access, caring responsibilities or other additional requirements that will enable you to present. 

It is expected that presentations and handouts adhere to Advance HE’s accessibility requirements and we will provide presenters with the relevant guidance material.


One O'clock Space Domain Webinars


Our One O'clock Space Domain lunch time lectures have returned in Virtual Format. We have an excellent line-up of talks scheduled once a week including: 

The SMILE mission: A novel way to explore solar-terrestrial interactions given on Thursday May 21st. 

G. Branduardi-Raymont (MSSL/UCL, UK), C. Wang (NSSC/CAS, China) and the SMILE collaboration

The coupling between the solar wind and the Earth's magnetosphere-ionosphere system, and the geospace dynamics that result, comprise some of the key questions in space plasma physics. In situ measurements by a fleet of solar wind and magnetospheric missions, current and planned, can provide the most detailed observations of the Sun-Earth connections. However, we are still unable to quantify the global effects of the drivers of such connections, and to monitor their evolution with time. This information is the key missing link for developing a comprehensive understanding of how the Sun gives rise to and controls the Earth's plasma environment and space weather.

SMILE (Solar wind Magnetosphere Ionosphere Link Explorer) is a novel self-standing mission dedicated to observing the solar wind - magnetosphere coupling via simultaneous X-ray imaging of the magnetosheath and polar cusps (large spatial scales at the magnetopause), UV imaging of global auroral distributions (mesoscale structures in the ionosphere) and in situ solar wind/magnetosheath plasma and magnetic field measurements. X-ray imaging of the magnetosheath and cusps is made possible by the X-ray emission produced in the process of solar wind charge exchange, first observed at comets, and subsequently found to occur in the vicinity of the Earth's magnetosphere. One of the science aims of SMILE is to track the substorm cycle, via X-ray imaging on the dayside and by following its consequences on the nightside with UV imaging.

SMILE is a collaborative mission between ESA and the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) that was selected in November 2015, adopted into ESA’s Cosmic Vision Programme in March 2019, and is due for launch at the end of 2023. The science that SMILE will deliver, as well as the ongoing technical developments and scientific preparations, and the current status of the mission, will be presented.

"A machine learning tool for characterising the evolution of nearby galaxies" given on May 28th by Choong Ling Liew-Cain, UCL PhD student.

Abstract: Whilst we have some idea about how galaxies evolve, quantifications of their evolutions, particularly in the nearby universe, are still being determined. With the next generation of telescopes, terabytes of data are being collected each night to help answer this question. In order to examine all of these data, we need fast algorithms to determine the values of age and metallicity of galaxies, which parameterise the evolution of galaxies. I will present my work on creating a machine learning method of analysing large volumes of data efficiently to investigate the evolution history of galaxies. I will show neural networks, which are a type of machine learning, are able to reproduce the properties of galaxies accurately from lower resolution data.


"Nature-Inspired, Multi-Functional Surface Coatings for Sustainable Life Support in Space and On Earth" given by UCL PhD Student, Malica Schmidt on June 11, 2020. 

Abstract: The environmental control and life-support system (ECLSS) is, among other things, responsible for the absorption of humidity from cabin air, which is treated, stored, and re-used. However, efficiency could be improved, as only 70-93% of water is recyclable, and costly resupply from Earth is required. Additionally, bacteria start to disperse and proliferate at high humidity levels, which poses a potential risk towards the health of astronauts with a weakened immune system, thus control of microbial contamination is necessary. Ionizing radiation further threatens bio-regenerative ECLSS, but more importantly, is becoming the biggest risk to astronauts’ health. Currently, neither of the above is feasible for missions to Moon, Mars, and beyond, thus finding new approaches for regenerative life support through passive systems is crucial. Here, we present the design of a nature-inspired, multi-functional surface coating, which absorbs excess atmospheric moisture produced by astronauts’ indoors activities and transports it passively to improve existing and future ECLSS. Inspired by the structures of cicada wings, moth eyes and tree capillaries (Figure 1a, b), the surface coating consists of vase-shaped microstructures (Figure 1c), fabricated by 3D microprinting. Informed by calculations, ground-based experiments were carried out (Figure 1d), demonstrating a significantly increased contact angle, great surface tension, liquid intake, and condensation formation. This will be further fundamentally investigated under microgravity conditions at the 35th DLR parabolic flight campaign. An increase in liquid intake can be expected, as capillary-dominated systems are supported 1,000 times more in space. The proposed structures could additionally lead to the transport of microbes and could potentially enhance radiation shielding. Advantages of this multi-functional surface coating include an improved understanding of passive hydrodynamic processes in microgravity, and, therefore, the reduction of energy consumption for applications in space and on Earth. Figure 1: From inspiration, concept, and design to realization and experiments.


Robin Brand "Britain's First Space Rocket" June 25, 2020. 

Sky rocket

MediaCentral Widget Placeholderhttps://mediacentral.ucl.ac.uk/Player/1Ic1aji9

These webinar event will be hosted in Microsoft Teams at UCL.

UCL users should log in to Teams using their UCL credentials.

If you use Microsoft Teams at your institution, please sign in to your Microsoft Teams App with the
credentials issued by your host institution.

You do NOT need to possess an Office 365 or ‘Teams Licence’ to attend this event. Click the meeting link
to join the meeting at the time of the event.

Please note that the session may be recorded and retained as per UCL’s retention schedule. The Chat
function within the meeting will be retained as per UCL’s retention schedule.

Please note we are unable to offer technical support to participants external to UCL.

Blogs and Video Blogs Wanted!


The Space Domain is looking for blog or video blog posts to host on our website. We are particularly interested in the following themes but welcome all topics on Space. 

  • Off-World Living
  • ESA
  • Satellite Applications
  • AI and Space

We want to particularly encourage ECRs. Postgraduate students are also welcome to submit posts with the permission of their supervisors. Please email submissions. 

Space Images Wanted!

The UCL Space Domain is looking for your best Space images to create a mosaic image of London taken from the ISS and put on our new Space Domain T-Shirts and Tote Bags. If you have a great image that encapsulates the Space Domain or the research that is going on at UCL please add it to our mosaic here. 

London at Night image
Please note that the images will not be attributable as part of the mosaic but will be fully attributed if used in any other way.