MSSL Consolidated Grant 2013-16

Lead Research Organisation: University College London
Department Name: Mullard Space Science Laboratory

Abstract

This consolidated grant application comprises a portfolio of related projects across the fields of astrophysics, planetary sciences, solar physics, space plasma physics and instrumentation. Each individual project has clear objectives and the projects are generally grouped into three themes: Astrophysics; Solar System and Instrumentation.
In all areas the research builds upon our science expertise and the opportunities comming from our provision and support of space assets. However our programme is by no means limited by MSSL hardware exploitation or even the exploitation of missions flying our hardware. Rather, every route available is considered when gathering the data necessary to understand the science questions that we address and that have been identified by STFC as being important.
The consolidated grant also sets the foundation for the expoitation of future missions including Gaia, JWST and Solar Orbiter.

In Astrophysics we seek to better understand: a universe that is heavily obscured by dust; inflow of material onto black holes (of all scales); the dynamics and formation history of the Milky Way and other galaxies; the nature of gamma-ray sources discovered by the Fermi spacecraft, many of which are presently un-identified; gamma-ray bursts (natures greatest explosions) and their environs; the origin of magnetic fields on the largest-scale; the energy spectra of neutrinos produced by active galactic nuclei and stars; and the transportation of particles and radiation in extreme astrophysics environments.

In our Solar System Research we study: plasma-neutral interactions (important in understanding the interaction of the solar wind with atmospheres); the effect of the solar wind on Saturn's enormous magnetosphere; auroral acceleration mechanisms which drive such phenomena as the northern lights; various parts of the Earth's protective magnetic sheath including the magnetotail, substorms, magnetopause and the role of magnetic reconnection; properties of global coronal waves on the Sun; sun-quakes and there relation to eruption events; the formation of the solar wind; the role of flux ropes in solar eruptions; and surface formation processes on Mars and the Moon - two objects very different to the Earth in this respect.

Our Instrumentation research includes the development of novel, miniaturised plasma analysers and <0.1K coolers.

Planned Impact

MSSL's Science and Technology Research and Development programme, supported through successive rolling grants has enabled the following impacts:
The creation of novel technologies and the associated space engineering capability has allowed MSSL to engage with industry to secure major contracts and deliver state-of-the-art space hardware. By working together MSSL has been able to enhance the turnover of businesses and secure greater market share. Some examples are given below:
1. In the case of e2V CCD's MSSL has played a major role in securing their selection on space missions (e.g. Euclid) and thereby helped e2v develop their products further. MSSL has also undertaken contracted work in which e2v CCDs have been procured and characterised (e.g. GOES and Hinode FPP contract to Lockheed Martin).
2. In the case of Gaia MSSL worked closely with UK Astrium in key detector chain and science related areas both to ensure the scientific effectiveness of the mirror, and to enable Astrium-UK's selection as prime contractor with associated benefits to the UK economy.
3. MSSL has successfully bid for commercial contracts thus providing a service to the space technology supply chain.
4. Our development of kinetic penetrator technologies has formed the basis of on-going ESA-funded work led by Astrium-UK
An STFC-funded CLASP project involves the application of techniques developed from our expertise in handling and analysing large data sets in solar physics (Hinode and earlier missions) to the health sector, vis a hospital intensive care unit. Phase 2 of the project foresees the development of market-place products which will very significantly benefit patient care and the cost effectiveness of such units.
There can be no doubt that space science is an inspirational subject and its promotion has real benefit to the UK economy through greater interest in STEM subjects and a generally greater understanding of science and technology amongst the public. MSSL is very heavily engaged in a programme of outreach both through the Media and through more direct contact. MSSL staff are often seen on TV and heard on the Radio with Dr Lucie Green and Professor Andrew Coates particularly notable. Dr Green held a Royal Society Dorothy Hodgkin Fellowship in Solar Physics which explicitly allowed flexibility to allow time for outreach activities. She co-presented the BBC/Open University programmes Final Frontier and Stardate, and recently the BBC's Back to Earth programmes, which formed part of the hugely successful Stargazing series. In 2009 she won the Royal Society's Kohn Award for public engagement and it has recently been agreed that she will take up a 50/50 academic post shared between solar physics and public outreach/education policy. Our staff, in a purely voluntary capacity, engage in a programme of schools and general public outreach which includes: family open days, teacher training, primary and secondary school talks and workshops, secondary school careers events and adult education talks. The outreach programme gives over 7,000 people each year direct contact with our scientists and engineers.
UCL is London's only Beacon of Public Engagement, indicating its outreach excellence, and providing an institutional framework for outreach activities.
Our expertise in Systems Engineering and Project Management, arising in part from our prior Rolling Grant instrument development activities, has been made available to industrial customers in training programmes through the MSSL-hosted Centre for Systems Engineering. Its clients include EADS Astrium, BAE Systems, BP, Selex, General Dynamics, and Ultra Electronics. Often this has formed part of a general company capability uplift initiative (e.g. with Ultra we have delivered more than 20 courses to improve their capability and performance and have included direct consultancy as part of a broader portfolio of support).

Publications

10 25 50
 
Description Significant progress in astrophysics, space plasma physics, solar physics, planetary science and instrumentation
Exploitation Route Peer reviewed publications
Sectors Other

 
Description ESA Reviews
Geographic Reach Europe 
Policy Influence Type Membership of a guideline committee
Impact Chairmanship of ESA design review with recommendations for improved practice at the Space Agency
 
Description ESA training
Geographic Reach Europe 
Policy Influence Type Influenced training of practitioners or researchers
Impact Training courses in systems engineering and project management based on MSSL experience is space science programmes
 
Description Aurora RA: Understanding the role of liquids in the formation of RSLs and slope streaks within Valles Marineris using 3D super-resolution restoration.
Amount £402,590 (GBP)
Funding ID ST/S001891/1 
Organisation UK Space Agency 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 08/2018 
End 07/2021
 
Description Consolidated Grants
Amount £2,537,157 (GBP)
Funding ID ST/N000722/1 
Organisation Science and Technologies Facilities Council (STFC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 04/2016 
End 03/2019
 
Description Consolidated Grants
Amount £1,138,583 (GBP)
Funding ID ST/N000811/1 
Organisation Science and Technologies Facilities Council (STFC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 04/2016 
End 03/2019
 
Description Free University Berlin (FUB) - surface spectral bi-directional correction 
Organisation Free University of Berlin
Department Medical School Berlin
Country Germany 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Provided 50m HRSC DTM mosaic covering the whole of the Valles Marineris region (82 image strips). This has been the result of 18 months of work.
Collaborator Contribution FUB will apply orthorectification (terrain correction) of all the constituent HRSC colour (RGB) and panchromatic and then apply a 5x5km TES phase angle correction to provide a seamless pan-sharpened colour mosaic of the whole region. They will also assess the utility of a 1 x 1km OMEGA-based BRF to provide an improved surface phase angle correction.
Impact working with geologists and webGIS mapping specialists
Start Year 2020
 
Title Cryogenic system elements 
Description Elements of millK Adiabatic Demagnetisation Refrigerators including heatswitches and magnets. Magnets, cryogenics, vacuum 
Type Of Technology Systems, Materials & Instrumental Engineering 
Year Produced 2011 
Impact Development will lead to minaturization of coolers which will make them more suitable for space and ground-based applications 
 
Description BBC R4 In Our Time 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Interviewed guest on 'In Our Time' on Saturn, BBC R4, (mentioned Cassini, JUICE, ExoMars,) 14 January 2016.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b06vmr1m
 
Description BBC R4, World Service interviews 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Interviews for BBC R4 Inside Science and BBC World Service Science in Action on Explorer 1 anniversary, Van Allen's legacy, and space weather, 31 January, both transmitted 2 February.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b09pjgs1
 
Description BBC World interview 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Interview on BBC World on plans to fly tourists around the moon (included Cassini, ExoMars), 28 February 2017
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description BBC online on Cassini 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Info for BBC online on Cassini, 13 September 2017.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/resources/idt-sh/cassini_huygens_saturn
 
Description BBC regional, national and international news 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Interviews on BBC Surrey (x2), BBC 1 O'clock News, BBC World TV, BBC World Service Newshour, BBC World Service OS, BBC News Channel on Cassini mission end (mentioned ExoMars), 15 September 2017.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Careers talk at school (Cheam) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Talk 'Planetary scientist' at Nonsuch School for Girls 'Be Inspired' careers event, 7 February 2017.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description ESA article on Cassini 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact ESA web article on Celebrating Europe's science highlights from Cassini, 7 September 2017.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Space_Science/Cassini-Huygens/Celebrating_Europe_s_science_highlig...
 
Description Media interviews 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Frequent media interviewee on space, space science, and on our particular results, e.g. negative ions at Titan, Enceladus plumes, missions we are involved with, etc. Approx 30/year.

Difficult to quantify but frequently mentioned in conversation and hopefully helps to bring people into science
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013,2014,2015,2016
 
Description New Scientist interview 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Interview for New Scientist on possible Voyager detection of Enceladus plume, 23 February 2017
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://www.newscientist.com/article/2122321-voyager-1-might-have-seen-enceladus-icy-plumes-25-years...
 
Description Press Release - Mars exploration imaging technique spawns steel defect detection 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Press release related to a peer review paper published with breakthrough results. It related to the discovery of the action of rainfall on the surface of Mars and linked to a paper in Geology
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL https://www.theengineer.co.uk/issues/july-2015-online/mars-exploration-imaging-technique-spawns-stee...
 
Description Press Release - Super-resolution applied to imaging Beagle2 lander on Martian surface 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Press release related to peer review papers just published with breakthrough results. This press release was about the discovery of Beagle2 on the surface of Mars from super-resolution restoration, a unique method developed by Tao & Muller at UCL
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL https://www.ucl.ac.uk/news/headlines/0416/260416-mars-lander
 
Description Public Lectures 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Lectures to a wide variety of groups including schools, companies, societies etc. These relate to space science
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity Pre-2006,2006,2007,2008,2009,2010,2011,2012,2013,2014,2015,2016,2017,2018
 
Description Reflections on MSSL 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Talk 'Reflections on MSSL' at Science Museum workshop 'Culture-space: towards a better understanding of space exploration, MSSL, 21 Nov 2019
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://www.sciencemuseumgroup.org.uk/project/culture-space-towards-a-better-understanding-of-space-...
 
Description School visit (Guildford) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Talk (on Mars and ExoMars) initiated questions and discussion. Including this as one example of a school talk

Visit suggested
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
 
Description Talk at Imperial Imperial College Astronomy Society, AstroSoc, on Cassini 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Talk at Imperial Imperial College Astronomy Society, AstroSoc, on 'Highlights of the Cassini-Huygens mission', 28 November 2017.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Talk at London Institute of Space Policy and Law & UCL Space Domain joint seminar series 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Talk (invited) 'Exploration and Exploitation', at London Institute of Space Policy and Law & UCL Space Domain joint seminar series on Space serving humanity: celebrating 60 years in Space & 50 years of lawful and peaceful use, UCL, 13 December 2017.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Talk at Science Fiction Theatre film club 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Talk for Science Fiction Theatre film club, at Institute of Light, Hackney on Europa, Enceladus, Mars and Titan - favourites for life beyond Earth? (talk before 2010 film), 18 July 2017 (included ExoMars, JUICE, Europa missions).
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://sciencefictiontheatre.co.uk/podcast/
 
Description Talks to schools and groups 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Talks at schools, astronomical societies, national groups (e.g. Astrofest)
Talks always inspire questions and thinking in audiences
A privilege to be able to do this but too many to list individually

Follow up visits are requested, work experience placements performed, additional talks inspired
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity Pre-2006,2006,2007,2008,2009,2010,2011,2012,2013,2014,2015,2016
 
Description UCL lunch hour lecture 'To Infinity and Beyond! Life in our solar system: redefining the habitable zone' 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact UCL lunch hour lecture 'To Infinity and Beyond! Life in our solar system: redefining the habitable zone', 28 November 2017
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL http://events.ucl.ac.uk/event/event:z1a2-j8kaibk5-c54dih/to-infinity-and-beyond-life-in-our-solar-sy...
 
Description UCL lunchtime lecture, 19 November 2015 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Lunch hour lecture attended by about 150 people and subsequently viewed on the internet by hundreds more
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8iatr868S4M&list=PL3pa6ekyhtl2n4Cg96MtLQzxACtZ3EQPh&index=40