graphic_epsc_2013_homepageLondon is hosting the European Planetary Science Congress (EPSC) 2013 from the 8th-13th of September. The meeting of over 800 astronomers and astrobiologists will cover the whole scope of planetary science, from space policy to future “roadmaps”.

  • Astrobiologists will be presenting work spectroscopy can detect micro-organism and the effects of high-levels of radiation on them as is encountered on the  surface of Mars. Dr Lewis Dartnell, of the University of Leicester, will present how the Raman spectrometer, which uses lasers to interact with molecular vibrations, is used to detect signs of life on Mars.

Running in tandem with EPSC and throughout September, London’s “Festival of Planets” is the singular destination in our universe to see exhibitions, sci-fi movies, lectures, art, historical images, and even comedy theater about space travel, moon maps, and planet surface images. Festival of Planets captures the beauty, imagination, and achievement of space science to conjure the heavens to London city. “Life imitates art” was never so true here now!

The 1910 map of the Moon by Walter Goodacre, shown at UCL

1910 map of the Moon by Walter Goodacre, now hi-res, integrated across sub-sections, with interactive zooming [Credit: UCL]

Here is a sampling of the many Festival events, free except where noted:

The Baker Street Irregular Astronomers at Regent's Park

Observing at Regent’s Park [Credit: bakerstreetastro.org.uk]

  • The British Astronomical Association and the Baker Street Irregular Astronomers host a public Observing Night at Regent’s Park. View the Moon, the planet Neptune, and deep-space objects through a variety of telescopes under the guidance of expert astronomers, 11 September or raindates.
  • The stars align in the cabaret theatre, “Space Showoff“, an unpredictable space-themed journey mixing comedians and scientists, like Sci-Fi Night Live. An astrological first. At Bloomsbury Theatre, 15 Gordon Street, London, WC1H 0AH on 12 September for £10 and £7.
  • Dr Christopher Arridge, a Royal Society University Research Fellow at UCL Mullard Space Science Laboratory, delivers a public lecture, “Café Scientifique: How are the giant planets protecting us?” The Royal Society was founded 350 years ago (formed in 1600, and received its Royal Charter in 1663) by the likes of Christopher Wren and Isaac Newton to pursue knowledge science, engineering, and medicine. 350 years later, Arridge discusses why the planets are important in the history of our solar system, and the surprising nature of spaces between them. At the Royal Society, 6-9 Carlton House Terrace, London, SW1Y 5AG, 23 September 6:30pm-8pm.
  • Royal Society hosts a two-day meeting on “Origin of the Moon“, 23-24 September, for researchers and interested public.

Want to follow the EPSC on Twitter? For detailed updates from a variety of scientists, follow the #EPSC2013 tag on this week.

The internet is the world’s oyster, but if you like science – and who doesn’t? – it’s worth the travel through space and time to hop a flight to London and experience first-hand interaction with fellow enthusiasts.

Ten Miles of the Mars Surface

Ten Miles of the Mars Surface shown at University College London [credit: Londonist]

(Disclosure: The author is a descendent of an Original Fellow of the Royal Society.)