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Space Science - UK invests for the future

The UK’s leading position in space science research and innovative technology development has been further secured with the award of cross disciplinary research fellowships to three young scientists.

The Aurora Fellowship scheme is a new Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council (PPARC) fellowship dedicated to enhancing the UK’s long term capabilities and cross disciplinary approach to planetology and astrobiology, in order to better position the UK to exploit both the European Space Agency’s Aurora Programme and continuing Science Programme.

The primary objective of Aurora is a European long-term plan for robotic and human exploration of the Solar System, with Mars, the Moon and the asteroids as the most likely targets. The second objective is to search for life beyond Earth.

Professor Keith Mason, CEO of PPARC said, “This new award scheme aims to help develop the careers of promising young researchers and represents a continued commitment to investing in the long term future of planetary science research – setting the UK in a strong position for future plans for the European exploration of the Solar System.”

This year’s Aurora Fellowships have been awarded to:-

•Dr Axel Hagermann from the Open University. Dr Hagermann’s fellowship will investigate the interaction of energy, gases and granular surfaces on planetary surfaces.

•Dr Manish Patel from the Open University whose fellowship will concentrate on research into habitats for life in the solar system.

•Dr Giovanna Tinetti from University College London. Dr Tinetti’s research involves the detection of atmospheric signatures and biosignatures for planets in our Solar System and beyond.

The three year Fellowships start on 1st October 2007 and provide funds to cover the Fellow’s salary, and costs of personal travel associated with the Fellowship.

Advance Notice - Future Photo Opportunity
At the end of May there will be a photo opportunity involving Science and Innovation Minister Malcolm Wicks, the 3 Aurora Fellows and EADS Astrium’s EXOMARS rover, Bridget. More details available in due course.

Gill Ormrod | alfa
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