Leicester Professor to lead UK Space Science Strategy

Professor Martin Barstow has been appointed as Chair of the UK Space Agency’s Science Programme Advisory Committee.

Following a call for nominations for a new Chair of the UK Space Agency’s Science Programme Advisory Committee, Professor Martin Barstow, Director of the Leicester Institute of Space and Earth Observation was chosen and has accepted the position.

The role is significant as Martin will work with UK Space Agency scientists to lead the UK Space Science Strategy, putting our academic expertise at the very forefront of decision making in the country.

Martin is a former President of the Royal Astronomical Society and has led the development of our Space Park Leicester project, which was recently awarded £14 million for the next phase of its development. He was awarded a PhD in Physics from Leicester in 1993 and has been one of our leading academics for many years. He specialises in the study of hot White Dwarfs and coronally active stars through the analysis and interpretation of ground and space based observations in optical, UV, EUV and X-ray wavebands.

This appointment once again underscores the University of Leicester’s credentials as one of the leading Space Science universities with this high profile appointment. Leicester has been a leading centre for study and research in Space Science since 1960, with involvement in missions including Gaia, the BepiColombo mission to Mercury and the James Webb Space Telescpe.

Planetary Scientists from NASA and the European Space Agency recently visited the University for a Mars Sample Return workshop, and our researchers have been responsible for breakthroughs including the discovery of a second Red Spot on Jupiter, using satellite data to measure air pollution and the first detection of light and gravitational waves created by colliding neutron stars.

Head of Science Programme for the UK Space Agency, Chris Lee said: “I look forward to working closely with Martin in shaping the UK space science strategy. This is a time of considerable activity for UK scientists and we are looking forward to the coming years with missions such as Solar Orbiter soon to be operating and the future ESA programme to be developed.”

Martin said: “I am pleased to have been appointed to this role. Space Science in the UK has an exciting future and I will look forward to working the Agency and the space science community to deliver this.”