Space Science and the Engines of Change. Keith Mason CEO UK Science & Technology Facilities Council. Astronomy as a change engine. Human kind is instinctively curious about the world and their place in it Astronomy, the oldest science, is accessible to all
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UK Science & Technology Facilities Council
“Space Travel is bunk”
Sir Harold Spencer Jones, British Astronomer Royal, 1957,
2 weeks before launch of Sputnik 1
Lesson: History has a way of overturning even the most
Microwave background / first Mars flyby
Quasars / extra-solar X-ray sources
Gamma-ray bursts extragalactic
Lunar far-side photographed
Giotto flyby of Comet Halley
Hubble constant (precise)
Hot gas in galaxy clusters
Viking landers on Mars
Voyager Neptune flyby
Earth’s radiation belts
Voyager Uranus flyby
Black Hole in Cyg X-1
Voyager Jupiter flyby
Voyager Saturn flyby
Landing on Titan
ESA’s Herschel Space Observatory has the largest mirror ever built for a space telescope. At 3.5-metres in diameter the mirror will collect long-wavelength radiation from some of the coldest and most distant objects in the Universe. In addition, Herschel will be the only space observatory to cover a spectral range from the far infrared to sub-millimetre. Located at L2 (lagrangian point).
Study the formation of galaxies in the early universe and their subsequent evolution
Investigate the creation of stars and their interaction with the interstellar medium
Observe the chemical composition of the atmospheres and surfaces of comets, planets and satellites
Examine the molecular chemistry of the universe
Planck will help provide answers to one of the most important set of questions asked in modern science - how did the Universe begin, how did it evolve to the state we observe today, and how will it continue to evolve in the future? Planck's objective is to analyse, with the highest accuracy ever achieved, the remnants of the radiation that filled the Universe immediately after the Big Bang, which we observe today as the Cosmic Microwave Background.
Mapping of Cosmic Microwave Background anisotropies with improved sensitivity and angular resolution
Determination of Hubble constant
Testing inflationary models of the early universe
Measuring amplitude of structures in Cosmic Microwave Background
Earth Orbit about Sun
LISA is an ESA-NASA mission involving three spacecraft flying approximately 5 million kilometres apart in an equilateral triangle formation. Together, they act as a Michelson interferometer to measure the distortion of space caused by passing gravitational waves. Lasers in each spacecraft will be used to measure minute changes in the separation distances of free-floating masses within each spacecraft.
To be the first spacecraft to detect gravitational waves
Measure the properties of binary star systems in the Galaxy and beyond
Test General Relativity under extreme conditions
Search for gravitational signature of the Big Bang
LISA Pathfinder will pave the way for the LISA mission by testing in flight the very concept of the gravitational wave detection: it will put two test masses in a near-perfect gravitational free-fall and control and measure their motion with unprecedented accuracy. This is achieved through state-of-the-art technology comprising the inertial sensors, the laser metrology system, the drag-free control system and an ultra-precise micro-propulsion system.
LISA Pathfinder is to demonstrate the key technologies to be used in the future LISA mission.
BepiColombo will set off in 2013 on a journey lasting approximately 6 years. When it arrives at Mercury in August 2019, it will endure temperatures as high as 350 °C and gather data during its 1 year nominal mission from September 2019 until September 2020, with a possible 1-year extension to September 2021.
- Origin and evolution of a planet close to the parent star
Mercury as a planet: form, interior, structure, geology, composition and craters
Mercury's vestigial atmosphere (exosphere): composition and dynamics
Mercury's magnetized envelope (magnetosphere): structure and dynamics
Origin of Mercury's magnetic field
Test of Einstein's theory of general relativity
2nd generation gravitational wave observatory focussed on residual radiation from the big bang – Universe at <1s
High precision measurements of cosmic microwave background polarisation to test big bang models, inflation
Large area, high spectral resolution X-ray observatory for studying earliest black holes and role in galaxy formation
High sensitivity surveys for distant supernovae, gravitational lensing – distinguish Dark Energy models
Planetary and Stellar Evolution
Infrared Interferometer: high-resolution spectroscopy at 0.01arcsec spatial resolution, capable of resolving nearby protoplanetary disks.
Survey of 100,000 stars for Earth-like and smaller planets, plus stellar evolution studies.
Environments of Earth-like planets
Molecular hydrogen explorer
First large-area focussing -ray telescope: Gamma-ray bursts, supernovae, AGN, accretion disks, Galactic centreAspirations for the Future(some ideas for ESA Cosmic Visions)
Accurate measurement of G and limits on change, equivalence principle, link General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics, search for evidence of superstrings
Magnetic Reconnection & Solar Activity
Measure processes in Earth’s magnetosphere with fleet of 12 spacecraft at proton to electron interaction scales.
Sample Solar wind environment very close to Sun
Lunar exploration & characterise interior and cosmochemistry, sample return.
Mars networks and sample return
Venus Entry Probe: long-term balloon-bourne investigation plus surface samples
Europa Exploration: characterise ice thickness and surface/interior characteristics leading to search for life in liquid subsurface oceans
Asteroid sample return: 50-100g from surface/subsurface regolith of primitive body.Aspirations for the Future (cont)
Smaller, Faster, Cheaper used to be the
With change, still makes sense, so long
as we also use Faster in the sense of