18 Jul 2007

Gold medal for space garden

Photo: John Thomson

Photo: John Thomson

The Open University is putting a new meaning to “space” in the garden with its support of the Spaced Out Garden of Observation and Discovery at the Royal Horticultural Society Flower Show, Tatton Park 18-22 July 2007.

This exciting show garden aims to inform the public of space awareness and to promote astronomy education in the UK. The Spaced Out garden has just been awarded a gold medal in the show garden category.

The Spaced Out garden celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Space Age and incorporates an element from 1957 (an installation of Sputnik) floating over a contemporary 2007 garden. The Open University has provided a scale model of the Rosetta spacecraft as part of the garden.

The Rosetta mission, which involves several OU space scientists, aims to land in 2014 on a comet which has been in the deep freeze of outer space since our Solar System formed 4.5 billion years ago.

Professor Ian Wright, Principal Investigator for The Open University’s Ptolemy instrument on the Rosetta Lander said:
“Our experiment will analyse water contained in the ice drilled from the comet surface, to see how it compares to water found on Earth today. We will learn more about the role comets played in nurturing life on our planet.”

The Ptolemy experiment was designed, developed and built by The Open University in conjunction with the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, and funded by the Science and Technology Facilities Research Council.

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