Aberystwyth University celebrates World Space Week 2015
Aberystwyth University’s Department of Physics are inviting members of the local community including students and staff, to discover more about exciting developments in space research taking place on their doorstep, as part of World Space Week (from now until 10th October 2015).
Declared by the United National General Assembly in 1999, World Space Week is the largest annual space event with activities held across the world to celebrate, educate and inspire the general public and children about space.
In keeping with this year’s theme of ‘Discovery’, Aberystwyth University will be taking part in the global celebration with a scale model of the terrain of Mars on public display in the Quad of the Old College between Wednesday 7th – Friday 9th October (09.00 – 18.00).
This scale version of the entire surface of Mars also features a larger scale version of the Gale crater, the area currently being studied by NASA’s Mars Science Lab rover ‘Curiosity’.
Built by physicists at the Department of Physics at Aberystwyth University using data from MOLA, the Mars Orbital Laser Altimeter, the model was initially showcased at the National Eisteddfod of Wales earlier this year.
On Wednesday 7th October a special ‘Meet the Experts’ event will be held between 15.30 – 18.30 in the Old College , where researchers and student ambassadors from the Department of Physics will be on hand to answer space related questions and discuss their research.
Visitors calling into Old College on Wednesday afternoon can take up interactive challenges including controlling mini-landers to traverse the Martian landscape and explore the planet using interactive software. Models of the flight hardware being produced in Aberystwyth which will fly to Mars on the European Space Agency’s 2018 ExoMars Rover Mission will also be on display.
“Meet the Experts’ will provide a great opportunity to discover more about recent advances in astronomy and space engineering”, explained Rachel Cross, Research Associate within the Department of Physics at Aberystwyth University. “This is a free ‘drop-in’ event which is open to all - we look forward to seeing you there!”.
Scientists at Aberystwyth University have long been involved with space exploration. The robotic arm of the recently rediscovered 2003 Beagle2 mission was developed and calibrated by researchers at Aberystwyth, and this work provided the basis for Aberystwyth’s current involvement with the ExoMars European Space Agency mission in 2018.
This work also informs study opportunities at the Institute of Mathematics, Physics and Computer Science at Aberystwyth University, including the BSc Space Science and Robotics degree which combines expertise in solar system and space physics with space robotics and artificial intelligence.
Photo above: Members of Aberystwyth University’s ExoMars Rover team Dr Laurence Tyler, Dr Matt Gunn and Dr Rachel Cross with items of the flight hardware developed for the 2018 mission at Aberystwyth University.