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Space Scientist involved in Rosetta

Karen Baxter thumbnail By Karen Baxter | 7 August 2014
Dr Stephen Lowry is part of an international team behind one of the most historical space missions of all time.
Stunning close up detail of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko
Picture by ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team.
Stunning close up detail of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko

On 6 August, after a 10 year and 6.4 billion kilometre journey, the Rosetta spacecraft entered the orbit of the 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko comet.

Rosetta, which involves many ‘firsts’ in space exploration, will provide scientists with the opportunity to study a comet close up. It will also reveal essential information about the formation of the Solar System.

As the UK representative for the spacecraft’s on-board scientific imaging system called OSIRIS, Dr Lowry of the University’s Centre for Astrophysics and Planetary Sciences will participate in the analysis of numerous images taken of the comet.

These images will enable scientists to analyse precise details of the comet and will help inform their conclusions about the origins of comets and life on Earth. The most recent images taken by OSIRIS on 3 August reveal a world of bizarre beauty – with steep slopes, prominent pits, and wide planes.

To date, Dr Lowry has been called upon by BBC News, ITV Meridian and BBC Radio Five Live to explain details of the mission.

The next phase of the billion-Euro mission, scheduled for November, will involve attempting to land Rosetta on the comet which is currently 250-million miles away from Earth. This will be another space history first.

Rosetta is being led by the European Space Agency (ESA). You can follow its progress on the ESA blog here.

For more information contact Katie Newton.

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