The Cruel Planet

Last Friday I went to the Science Museum in South Kensington with my nine-year-old son. We were on a mission! It had all started a few weeks earlier when we had gone to see the new Transformers movie being filmed in Oxford. Watching a movie in the making is a lot of fun and we…

Moon and Mars – Media Stars

Spot the difference! Glenelg in Scotland and on Mars. Our close planetary neighbours, the Moon and Mars, have been receiving a bit more coverage in the media lately. Well, OK, perhaps it’s not been an all-out deluge of publicity. Not really the journalistic equivalent of a feeding frenzy, I agree. But nonetheless, the news outlets…

Curiosity – Live from Mars

  The Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) team celebrate the safe arrival of Curiosity on Mars. (image: NASA/ Bill Ingalls) Last Friday I went to a really fascinating talk by Dr Carlton Allen, the Astromaterials Curator at the NASA Johnson Space Centre, Houston, Texas. Dr Allen is in charge of all the extraterrestrial samples collected by…

Tissint -Soil Science Martian Style

Dr Sasha Verchovsky and “Finesse”. Dr Verchovsky works in the Open University’s Department of Physical Sciences and made extensive measurements of carbon and nitrogen isotopes in Tissint using a high-sensitivity and high-precision mass spectrometer called “Finesse”. Dr Verchovsky’s analyses were able to show that Tissint contains traces of Martian atmosphere, as well as soil-like material…