Rosetta Scientist to give Astronomy Ireland New Year Lecture Tonight

Rosetta arrives at the comet

The gripping story of the Rosetta mission’s rendezvous with and landing on Comet 67P was one of the big science stories of 2014. Now as it celebrates its 25th anniversary, Astronomy Ireland is marking the new year with a lecture by one of the scientists working on data from Rosetta, to be held in Trinity College Dublin tonight.

Dr Pedro Lacerda works at the Max Planck Institute in Germany, where he is involved in research on the data gathered by Rosetta. He says it’s a mission which has proved to be particularly rewarding.

Dr Pedro Lacerda

Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko is currently being studied to a fantastic degree of detail by the 1.4 billion euro ESA Rosetta mission. Chosen essentially by chance and expected by some to be a relatively unremarkable comet, 67P turned out to be anything but. From its puzzling shape and fascinating rugged surface to its rich chemistry sprinkled by coarse, fluffy dust, 67P has given us enough puzzles for a few decades of interesting research. I will present an overview of the mission so far, focusing on results coming from teams at the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research, which include data from Philae, the first probe ever to land on a comet.

Dr Lacerda will also look ahead to the coming year, while Rosetta orbits the comet as it gets close to the Sun and heats up. And will the lander wake up when sunlight falls on its solar panels again in a few months?

The Astronomy Ireland lecture will be held at the Schrodinger Theatre in the Fitzgerald Building at Trinity College Dublin, beginning at 8pm tonight. Afterwards there will be a reception at The Lombard.

Tickets cost €7 (€5 for members and consessions) and must be booked in advance online, or by phoning 086 0646555.

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