University of Leicester space scientist to give talk on space exploration as Tim Peake embarks on his first spacewalk

Posted by ap507 at Jan 13, 2016 03:37 PM |
Professor John Bridges to talk at National Space Centre on Friday 15 January

Issued by University of Leicester Press Office on 13 January 2016 

  • Professor John Bridges will give his talk at the National Space Centre on Friday 15 January
  • The event will also show British astronaut Tim Peake's first spacewalk
  • Speakers also include members of the Leicester Astronomical Society

As British astronaut Tim Peake takes his first steps outside the International Space Station, enthusiasts are invited to watch the historic event and listen to University of Leicester scientists at the National Space Centre.

Tim will be the first UK spaceman to ever conduct a spacewalk when he attempts to replace a voltage regulator, which failed in November last year, on the ISS on Friday.

The live viewing event at the space centre will coincide with StargazingLIVE! which takes place between 5pm and 7pm and includes a talk from John Bridges, Professor of Planetary Science, at the University’s Space Research Centre in the Department of Physics and Astronomy.

Professor Bridges will give an update about the NASA Mars Science Laboratory rover mission, in which he is involved as well as talk about the planned European Mars Rover – ExoMars.

He said: “The Curiosity Rover has revealed an ancient lake on Mars and changed our view of how that planet may have been habitable four billion years ago.

“Our view of Mars as having a purely basaltic igneous crust has also changed as we find evidence for more silica-rich igneous rocks like those we find in places on Earth.

“There is now a feeling of urgency about Solar System exploration and we are following up our discoveries on MSL by planning a European Rover – ExoMars.

“The University of Leicester is heavily involved in this new era of Mars exploration.”

The unofficial StargazingLIVE! event will also include a talk by the Leicester Astronomical Society and Kevin Moffatt and Leanne Williams, from the University of Warwick's School of Life Sciences, who will be looking for life on other planets.

But the main focus of the evening will be Tim’s first foray into the vacuum of space.

Along with fellow astronaut, American Tim Kopra, Brit Tim will don his spacesuit and exit the ISS through the US Quest airlock and he will embark on a six hour walk, which is scheduled to start at 12.55pm (GMT).

Professor Bridges said: “Having a UK astronaut signals the UK’s commitment to be a leading partner in 21st century space science and enterprise.

“Tim Peake’s time on the ISS has captured the imagination of many people in the UK and helps highlight the vigorous academic and industrial space science sector in the UK.”

The event takes place at the National Space Centre, in Exploration Drive, Leicester, on Friday 15 January, with tickets priced at £5.

To book, or for more information, visit:

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