Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Rosetta mission – the countdown begins…

12.11.2014

This Wednesday, 12 November 2014, OU space scientists will be waiting with bated breath, both in Milton Keynes and at the European Space Agency (ESA) control centre in Germany, to see the outcome of over twenty years of OU research and a landmark in space science - the world’s first ever attempt to land on a comet.

After 10 years journeying through the solar system, the ESA probe, Rosetta, will deploy its landing craft, Philae, to attempt the first ever soft landing on a comet. The mission is a joint project across a number of European countries including the UK. The OU’s involvement was initially spearheaded by the late Professor Colin Pillinger who was instrumental in getting the proposed Ptolemy device accepted as part of the science payload.


The Open University in Milton Keynes

B. Polgar-Stüwe

OU researchers have contributed to and developed a number of instruments on board Philae, including Ptolemy which will analyse samples from the comet and tell us what it is made of.

OU scientists and expertise have also contributed to the MUPUS (Multi-Purpose Sensors for Surface and Subsurface Science) instrument, also on Philae and to GIADA (Grain Impact Analyser and Dust Accumulator) on the Rosetta orbiter. MUPUS will be used to monitor the temperature of the comet, whilst GIADA will measure the number, mass, momentum and velocity distribution of dust grains in the near-comet environment.

Professor in Planetary Sciences and Head of the OU’s Department for Physical Sciences, Monica Grady said: “Whatever the outcome on Wednesday, the mission is already a tremendous success and is teaching us so much – not only about comets, but also about what is possible in space science.

“The images taken by the Rosetta orbiter are the closest ever taken, allowing us to learn more about the surface of the comet. In addition to that, here at the OU the technology and expertise developed to create a craft of this type has already delivered significant scientific breakthroughs closer to home.”

If the landing is successful, it will be a significant breakthrough in the scientific community’s knowledge of comets, potentially providing researchers with unprecedented information about the comet's structure and composition. Such information may give invaluable insight into the role comets may have played in the formation in our Earth. Instruments such as Ptolemy will be vital to discovering such things as whether water on the comet bears any chemical resemblance to that found on Earth.

Professor Grady added: "The biggest question that we are trying to get an answer to is: where did life on Earth come from? How did life get going? Was it the building blocks of life that were brought to us from comets or did it get going on Earth? Did the water on Earth come from comets? Are we reliant on these bodies to have brought water to us?"

OU staff, students, alumni and special guests will all be joining the OU’s Rosetta team to watch the landing via ESA’s live feed at a special live screening at the OU’s main campus in Milton Keynes. This event is freely available as a live webcast which anyone can join. To join please go to (the event will go live online a few minutes before the scheduled start at 3pm): http://stadium.open.ac.uk/stadia/preview.php?whichevent=2477&s=1

About The Open University
The Open University (OU) is the largest academic institution in the UK and a world leader in flexible distance learning. Since it began in 1969, the OU has taught more than 1.8 million students and has more than 200,000 current students, including more than 15,000 overseas.

In the UK’s latest Research Assessment Exercise (RAE 2008) The Open University was ranked in the top third of UK higher education institutions. More than 50% of OU research was assessed in the RAE as internationally excellent, with 14% as world leading.

For further information please visit: http://www.openuniversity.edu
To find out more about the Rosetta mission in the UK visit: http://www.rosetta.ac.uk


Weitere Informationen:

http://www.openuniversity.edu

Beatrix Polgar-Stüwe | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht When fluid flows almost as fast as light -- with quantum rotation
22.06.2018 | The Henryk Niewodniczanski Institute of Nuclear Physics Polish Academy of Sciences

nachricht Thermal Radiation from Tiny Particles
22.06.2018 | Universität Greifswald

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Temperature-controlled fiber-optic light source with liquid core

In a recent publication in the renowned journal Optica, scientists of Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology (Leibniz IPHT) in Jena showed that they can accurately control the optical properties of liquid-core fiber lasers and therefore their spectral band width by temperature and pressure tuning.

Already last year, the researchers provided experimental proof of a new dynamic of hybrid solitons– temporally and spectrally stationary light waves resulting...

Im Focus: Overdosing on Calcium

Nano crystals impact stem cell fate during bone formation

Scientists from the University of Freiburg and the University of Basel identified a master regulator for bone regeneration. Prasad Shastri, Professor of...

Im Focus: AchemAsia 2019 will take place in Shanghai

Moving into its fourth decade, AchemAsia is setting out for new horizons: The International Expo and Innovation Forum for Sustainable Chemical Production will take place from 21-23 May 2019 in Shanghai, China. With an updated event profile, the eleventh edition focusses on topics that are especially relevant for the Chinese process industry, putting a strong emphasis on sustainability and innovation.

Founded in 1989 as a spin-off of ACHEMA to cater to the needs of China’s then developing industry, AchemAsia has since grown into a platform where the latest...

Im Focus: First real-time test of Li-Fi utilization for the industrial Internet of Things

The BMBF-funded OWICELLS project was successfully completed with a final presentation at the BMW plant in Munich. The presentation demonstrated a Li-Fi communication with a mobile robot, while the robot carried out usual production processes (welding, moving and testing parts) in a 5x5m² production cell. The robust, optical wireless transmission is based on spatial diversity; in other words, data is sent and received simultaneously by several LEDs and several photodiodes. The system can transmit data at more than 100 Mbit/s and five milliseconds latency.

Modern production technologies in the automobile industry must become more flexible in order to fulfil individual customer requirements.

Im Focus: Sharp images with flexible fibers

An international team of scientists has discovered a new way to transfer image information through multimodal fibers with almost no distortion - even if the fiber is bent. The results of the study, to which scientist from the Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology Jena (Leibniz IPHT) contributed, were published on 6thJune in the highly-cited journal Physical Review Letters.

Endoscopes allow doctors to see into a patient’s body like through a keyhole. Typically, the images are transmitted via a bundle of several hundreds of optical...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Munich conference on asteroid detection, tracking and defense

13.06.2018 | Event News

2nd International Baltic Earth Conference in Denmark: “The Baltic Sea region in Transition”

08.06.2018 | Event News

ISEKI_Food 2018: Conference with Holistic View of Food Production

05.06.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Graphene assembled film shows higher thermal conductivity than graphite film

22.06.2018 | Materials Sciences

Fast rising bedrock below West Antarctica reveals an extremely fluid Earth mantle

22.06.2018 | Earth Sciences

Zebrafish's near 360 degree UV-vision knocks stripes off Google Street View

22.06.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>