15 Mar 2007

Investment in future UK space scientists goes to two Open University researchers

Future investment in space science

Future investment in space science

Two out of the three Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council (PPARC) Aurora Fellowship allocations for this year have been awarded to Open University researchers. The PPARC Aurora Fellowship scheme is aimed at developing the careers of promising young researchers, and is a continuing programme of investment in the long-term future of planetary science research in the UK, within the context of the European exploration of the Solar System.

The Aurora Fellowship scheme is dedicated to enhancing the UK's long-term capabilities and cross-disciplinary approach to planetology and astrobiology. PPARC is awarding the three-year Fellowships in order to better position the UK to exploit both the European Space Agency's Aurora Programme and the continuing science programme.

The primary objective of Aurora is a European long-term plan for the robotic and human exploration of the solar system, with Mars, the Moon and the asteroids as the most likely targets. The second objective is to search for life beyond the Earth.

Open University researchers Manish Patel and Axel Hagermann of the OU’s Centre for Earth, Planetary, Space and Astronomical Research (CEPSAR) are the recipients of the Fellowships which provide funds to cover the Fellow's salary,and costs of personal travel associated with the Fellowship.

Dr Patel's Fellowship will concentrate on research into habitats for life in the Solar System, whilst Dr Hagermann's Fellowship will investigate the interaction of energy, gases and granular surfaces on planetary surfaces.

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