Dr Suzie Imber appears on BBCs The One Show discussing success in Astronauts programme and Universitys involvement in upcoming BepiColombo mission to Mercury

Dr Suzie Imber (pictured) from our Department of Physics and Astronomy, who recently won BBC Two’s ‘Astronauts: Do You Have What It Takes?’, has discussed her experience taking part in the competition on BBC’s The One Show (8 November).

During her appearance, Suzie highlighted how it felt to take part in the programme and the challenges she faced, fighting off tough competition from 11 other exceptional candidates, chosen from thousands who applied, including scientists, engineers and pilots.

As winner of the competition, Suzie received the ultimate reference – former astronaut Chris Hadfield’s backing for her application when the space agency ESA next take on astronaut recruits.

Suzie’s current research looks at terrestrial space weather and Mercury’s magnetosphere, and during her time on The One Show she showed a replica of the X-ray spectrometer designed and constructed by a team of Leicester scientists, engineers and technicians which will be aboard the pioneering BepiColombo mission to Mercury.

BepiColombo is Europe's first mission to Mercury. It will set off in 2018 on a journey to the smallest and least explored terrestrial planet in our Solar System. When it arrives at Mercury in late 2025, it will endure temperatures in excess of 350 °C and gather data during its 1 year nominal mission, with a possible 1-year extension.

During the programme, Suzie also had the opportunity to meet British astronaut Tim Peake, who discussed his career and experience aboard the International Space Station. Last year, our University conferred the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Science upon Tim at a ceremony in the Sir Patrick Moore Planetarium at the National Space Centre.

Suzie said: “‘I was delighted to have the chance to highlight our work designing and constructing an instrument for the BepiColombo spacecraft, soon to be heading to Mercury. I was also very excited to get the chance to meet Tim Peake!”