25 Sep 2014

Is there life beyond Earth? - World Space Week at the OU

World Space Week at the OU

World Space Week at the OU

UPDATE: Due to popular demand this event is now fully booked.
The lecture will also be available as a live webcast via

If you’ve ever wondered if there was life on other planets, now’s your chance to hear from some of the UK’s leading space scientists.

For this year’s World Space Week (4-10 October) leading space science researchers at The Open University (OU) will be giving a special free public lecture entitled ‘Is there life beyond Earth?’ at the University’s campus in Milton Keynes.

Taking place on Tuesday 7 October, 7-8pm, this event will highlight OU researchers’ recent findings on the possibility of life on comets, moons and extrasolar planets.

Speaking at the lecture will be:

Professor Ian Wright, who leads the OU's 20-year involvement in the Rosetta mission – the world’s first attempt to land a spacecraft on a comet. Professor Wright will discuss the possible connection that life on Earth has with the materials they will look at with their sensors and detectors once the spacecraft lands.

Professor David Rothery will look at whether the conditions necessary for life are likely to occur at or beneath the surfaces of the icy moons of giant planets such as Jupiter and Saturn.

Dr Carole Haswell will discuss the international efforts to find habitable conditions on planets orbiting stars other than the Sun, and will discuss her work revealing a new population of potentially habitable planets which offer the possibility for life in our Galaxy long after the Earth is swallowed by the Sun.

"The common thread that runs through OU research into space science, is our desire to understand the origin of matter and the composition of environments on other planets," said Professor Simon Kelley, Associate Dean for Research at the OU's Centre for Physical and Environmental Sciences (CEPSAR). "If we understand this composition better, we will know more about the possibility of life flourishing on other planets.”

World Space Week is the largest annual public space event on Earth. Declared by the United Nations in 1999, the event celebrates the contributions of space science and technology to the betterment of the human condition.

Is there life beyond Earth?
Date: Tuesday 7 October 2014
Time: 7-8pm - refreshments from 6.30pm
Venue: The Berrill Lecture Theatre, Walton Hall
The event is free to attend and open to members of the public.
To book a seat, please register here:

Notes to the editor

About The Open University
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About World Space Week
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