London 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!Here is a sampling of the many Festival events, free except where noted:
- See an incredible 10-mile photographic panorama of the surface of Mars installed at University College London (UCL). The mural is 40 meters long and 3 meters tall, and depicts a 10 mile sweep of the red planet’s surface. With resolution of 57cm per photo pixel, you see the red planet up close.
- UCL, as EPSC 2013 host and the only NASA’s Regional Planetary Image Facility in the UK, unveiled a new website in honor of the occasion, Snapshots from Space History. UCL has traditionally been a repository for historical space images. The snapshots are also on display at EPSC this week, and yes you may reproduce the photos. And you will want a copy of Walter Goodacre’s incredibly detailed 1910 map of the Moon, reproduced at 70″ big at 400 megapixel high-resolution format. Appreciate also the first photo taken of the Earth from the Moon in 1966; the original prints of images and data from the Viking 1 and Mariner 9 probes which travelled to Mars in the 1970s; the original handmade mosaic images of Io and Ganymede, made by Voyager 1 in 1979; or images from and of the surface of Venus, captured by the Soviet Union in 1982.
- 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.(Disclosure: The author is a descendent of an Original Fellow of the Royal Society.)