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UK SCIENTISTS LOOK FORWARD TO ROBOTIC FUTURE FOR SPACE EXPLORATION

Last Updated on Monday, 03 May 2010 14:42
Published on Friday, 25 February 2005 00:00




The Inaugural Meeting of the UK Space and Planetary Robotics Network will be held in the Berrill Lecture Theatre of the Open University in Milton Keynes on Friday 17 May. 

The event is sponsored by the Dept of Design and Innovation, and the Planetary and Space Sciences Research Institute of the Open University, where the Beagle 2 Mars landing mission was conceived.


Members of the media intending to attend are asked to register by e-mail to Neil Coaten, OU Media Relations Officer (contact details at the end of this release). Advance registration is necessary to enable catering and other arrangements to be made.


AFTER BEAGLE 2.

As the British-led Beagle 2 spacecraft is being readied for its launch to Mars in May 2003, UK planetary scientists and technologists are already looking forward to the next generation of robotic space probes.

Over 20 university groups in the UK have been identified as having an interest in robotic exploration of the Solar System. This is matched by a wide variety of British space businesses offering enabling technologies from control and artificial intelligence software to ultra-lightweight struts for solar sailing craft.

More than 100 delegates from British space industry, universities and government organisations are expected to attend the meeting. Discussions will include the options for future robotic planetary exploration strategies and possible missions by robotic emissaries - flyby probes, orbiters, landers, surface rovers, aerobots and moles - to explore anywhere from near-Earth space to the planets, moons, comets and asteroids (including Near Earth Objects). Among the missions to be discussed will be Vanguard, a concept developed by Dr Alex Ellery of Kingston University and the late David Wynn-Williams of the British Antarctic Survey. The Vanguard mission is designed to carry on the surface exploration of Mars after Beagle 2.

The inspirational effects on school children of British missions to Mars and other solar system bodies will be highlighted by Dr Ashley Green of Oxford Brookes University.

Among the exhibits at the meeting will be an inert Falcon rocket, capable of launching small test payloads to 50 km altitude.

"All those with an interest in the development of space and planetary robotics activity in the UK and the vision to spend some time becoming aware of opportunities in this domain are invited to attend, " said Dr. John Zarnecki, Reader in Space Sciences at the Open University. "These are exciting times for anyone interested in the robotic exploration of other worlds and this meeting will provide an important forum for the UK space science and technology communities."

The meeting will be opened by Professor Brenda Gourley, the Vice Chancellor of the Open University.


PROGRAMME:

09:30 Arrival and refreshments
10:00 Welcome and Introductions
10:15 Dr Alex Ellery, Kingston University - The Vanguard Mission
10:45 Dr David Barnes, Aberystwyth - Robots for Planetary Exploration
11:15 James Garry, Open University - Planetary Rovers: An Animated History
11:20 Refreshments
11:45 Dr John Zarnecki, Open University - Customer Requirements!
12:15 Discussion Groups
13:15 Buffet lunch in the Berrill Foyer
14:00 Dr Ashley Green, Oxford Brooks University - Robot Planetary Explorers: A Golden Opportunity for Educational Outreach
14:30 Mark Smith, Astrium - After Beagle 2: The Opportunities
15:00 Refreshments
15:30 David Hall, BNSC - Aurora and UK Industry Interest
16:00 Discussion Group Reports
16:45 Dr Chris Welch, Kingston University - The Way Ahead
17:00 Close

MEDIA CONTACT:

Neil Coaten
Media Relations Officer, Communications Department
The Open University
Milton Keynes MK7 6AA United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0)1908 652580 Mob: +44 (0)7901 515891 FAX: +44 (0)1908 652247
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Web:http://www.open.ac.uk/


FURTHER INFORMATION ON THE MEETING CAN BE OBTAINED FROM:


Rodney Buckland,
Dept of Design and Innovation,
The Open University
Tel: +44 (0)1634 830633 ext 2301 (Tuesday 14 May and Wednesday 15 May)
+44 (0)1908-652627 (Thursday 16 May)
E-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


LOCATION MAPS CAN BE FOUND AT:
http://www.open.ac.uk/maps
  

Issued by:

Peter Bond, RAS Press Officer (Space Science)
10 Harrier Close Cranleigh
Surrey GU6 7BS
United Kingdom.
Tel: +44 (0)1483-268672  Fax: +44 (0)1483-274047
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.