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Life in the Solar System

Wednesday 24th February 2010 @ 19:00

Non-Member: £12.00 ; Staff: £5.00 ; Student: £3.00


Professor Michele Dougherty, Chair of Space Physics, Imperial College London

Discoveries made recently regarding water and liquid on Saturn's moons from the Cassini spacecraft mission and the implications that these may have for life in our solar system are of great interest.

The Cassini-Huygens robotic spacecraft, launched in 1997, reached Saturn in 2004 and deployed the Huygens probe to the surface of Titan in January 2005.

Some of the objectives of the mission were to study the composition of the satellite's surface and the nature and behaviour of its? clouds and hazes. The atmosphere of Titan is rich in organic material and the fact that living organisms as we know them are composed of organic matter is particularly intriguing. "Organic" means only that the material is carbon-based, and does not necessarily imply any connections to living organisms.

Discoveries made recently regarding water and liquid on Saturn's moons from the Cassini spacecraft mission and the implications that these may have for life in our solar system are of great interest.

Michele Dougherty began her research career as a mathematician in South Africa working on wave-particle interactions in plasmas, in space and astrophysics.

On coming to Imperial her interests changed direction and she became more involved in data analysis of planetary magnetospheric physics and this has led to her playing a major role in the Cassini magnetometer programme.

Professor Dougherty was unable to give the lecture due to a complete loss of voice. Her colleague Professor Carl Murray, Queen Mary, University of London who is working on the Cassini-Huygens projects stepped in at the last moment and presented her lecture and slides which included some sensational slides only released from NASA a few hours before the lecture.

Optionally followed by supper (this can be booked on the event booking form).
After the lecture a Friends' Table has been reserved at a local restaurant to entertain the speaker and for any of the audience who would like to join us to continue the evening's discussion. A two-course fixed price supper is served including wine, coffee and service charge.
Or if you have already booked for the event and now want to join us for supper Book Supper now

Venue: Sir Alexander Fleming Building