Space and Planetary Environment, Planetary Surfaces

Module code: PA7014

This module will give you the chance to tackle and explore the design challenges posed by the space environment, we will also focus on the specific challenges of getting to, and onto the surface of planets and planetary satellites. During this module you will gain a greater insight into the interaction of radiation with matter in the context of solar system exploration with robots and humans, and gain an awareness of radiation dosimetry and radiation safety. You will familiarise yourself with mathematical principles applied to space exploration, this includes radiation environment modelling and the use of appropriate software tools, including Monte Carlo modelling codes such as GEANT4. This includes radiation transport through simple shielding geometries and instruments.

In this module we will outline the fundamental physical and engineering principles appropriate to astronautics, and highlight the objectives of space exploration and exploitation, and the achievements of key missions to help you explain the scientific questions that space exploration seeks to answer.


  • 22 hours of lectures
  • 1 hour of seminars
  • 40 hours of practicals/workshops
  • 87 hours of guided independent study


  • Coursework (50%)
  • Exam, 2 hours (50%)