Space scientists to stage show about Rosetta mission

Leicester space scientists are coming together with a local poet to stage a show about the European Space Agency's Rosetta mission. 

'TO PERIHELION AND BEYOND!' A Celebration of  Rosetta and Philae's Comet Adventure' will be hosted by the Leicester Astronomical Society (LAS) on 1 September at the National Space Centre.

Professor John Bridges (pictured) from the Department of Physics and Astronomy will join Josh Barker of the Space Centre and poet/storyteller Siobhan Logan for the event. There will be a lively presentation with images of the mission, performance and a 'build your own comet' demonstration.

Professor Bridges explained: "In 1986 Europe made the first flyby of a comet – Halley’s Comet - and now Europe has made the first landing on a comet with Rosetta. Together with samples returned from Comet Wild2 by the Stardust mission in 2006 we are learning about the very earliest stages of the Solar System from the record preserved in these primitive celestial bodies.

Artist's impression of the Rosetta orbiter
"Rosetta has sent back extraordinary images of jets composed of ice and dust coming from the surface as it approaches the Sun and analyses of organic compounds and water. As we delve deeper into the Rosetta results we are realising that some of our old ideas about the origin of the Solar System will change."

The mission captured the public imagination last November when the lander vehicle Philae launched from the Rosetta spacecraft onto a comet 317 million miles from Earth. 

Philae is the first human-designed object ever to land on a comet and together with Rosetta is right in the thick of the action as the comet heats up and spurts out dust and gas on its approach towards perihelion this week.   

The event will run on Tuesday 1 September from 7pm – 9pm in the John Eggleston Suite of the National Space Centre at Exploration Drive, Leicester.