Meteorite expert brings Mars down to earth

Posted by hct16 at Nov 19, 2012 11:45 AM |
Latest findings from Martian meteorites to be explored at University of Leicester public lecture on 22 November

Issued by University of Leicester Press Office on 19 November 2012

Tissint: The Latest Arrival from Mars

Thursday 22 November

5pm in Room E of the Physics and Astronomy Building, University of Leicester.

Free and open to the public

Insights into the environment of the planet Mars, gleaned from fallen meteorites, will be showcased at a public lecture by a leading scientist in the field of astrobiology.

The University of Leicester will host Professor Monica Grady CBE, Head of the Department of Physical Sciences and Professor of Planetary and Space Sciences at the Open University (OU) in Milton Keynes, for a Centre for Interdisciplinary Science Research Lecture.

Her lecture, ‘Tissint: The Latest Arrival from Mars’, takes place on 22 November and is free and open to the public.

The Tissint meteorite fell in Morocco in July 2011. It is only the fifth witnessed fall of a Martian meteorite and has not been subject to much terrestrial contamination. 

Tissint, named for the town at which it was found, is a type of Martian volcanic rock known as Shergottite. By studying the minerals in this meteorite, and the gasses trapped inside them, information can be deduced about the environment of Mars in which Tissint was formed.

Professor Grady has led major research programmes in the study of meteorites. One of her major areas has been in trying to understand the history of carbon and water on Mars. She is also interested in astrobiology and the possibilities of life elsewhere in the cosmos.

In honour of her contributions to the field, the International Astronomical Union named Asteroid (4731) as “Monicagrady”.

She is also an enthusiastic science communicator, and in 2003, gave the Royal Institution Christmas lectures on the theme ‘Voyage in Space and Time’. In June 2012, she was appointed a Commander in the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for her services to Space Sciences.

Professor Derek Raine, Director of the Centre for Interdisciplinary Science said: “Planetary Sciences and Astrobiology are outstanding examples of the need for different scientific disciplines to work together in order to answer some of the big, current, scientific questions: ‘How was the Solar System formed?’ and ‘Is there life outside the Earth?’

“We are very pleased to welcome Professor Monica Grady, a leading planetary scientist at the Open University whose research has made many important contributions to this interdisciplinary field of science.”

‘Tissint: The Latest Arrival from Mars’ takes place on 22 November, at 5pm in Room E of the Physics and Astronomy Building, University of Leicester. It is free and open to the public. For more information contact


Notes to editors:

Event details

For more information contact:

Peter Thorley

Tel: +44 (0) 116 252 2415

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