Professor Mark McCaughrean

Professor Mark McCaughrean is the Senior Science Advisor in the Directorate of Science at the European Space Agency (ESA). Mark is also responsible for communicating results from ESA’s astronomy, heliophysics, planetary, and fundamental physics missions to the scientific community and wider general public.

Following a PhD from the University of Edinburgh, he worked at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Centre, followed by astronomical institutes in Tucson, Heidelberg, Bonn, and Potsdam, and taught as a professor of astrophysics at the University of Exeter before joining ESA in 2009. Mark’s personal scientific research involves observational studies of the formation of stars and their planetary systems, and he is also an Interdisciplinary Scientist for the NASA/ESA/CSA James Webb Space Telescope.

Exploring the universe near and far: Highlights from ESA’s space science programme

Is there water under the surface of Mars? What does the Milky Way look like in 3D? What is the Universe made of? Did comets deliver the raw materials for life to Earth? To answer these and other exciting questions, the European Space Agency operates and is partner in a fleet of spacecraft studying the Sun, exploring the Earth’s magnetic field, orbiting Mars, Saturn, and Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, and collecting photons across the electromagnetic spectrum, from corners of the Universe near and far. In this talk, I’ll present some key recent results from our ongoing missions, with particular focus on our comet-chasing mission Rosetta, the Milky Way surveyor Gaia, the gravitational wave technology testbed LISA Pathfinder, and the recently-launched ExoMars 2016.

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