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Our species has come a long way since our savanna-dwelling ancestors first manufactured tools. We've explored every continent, and utilised resources hidden deep underground to improve the quality of our daily lives. Tonight, we cast our gaze skyward in search of opportunities and adventure beyond our home world. From the possibility of drawing our energy directly from the sun, to the practicalities of building machines for space exploration: come share our excitement about what the solar system has to offer! Please note: this event takes place on the first floor and has no step free access.
Is solar the future of energy generation?
Scott McKechnie (Physics researcher)
Burning fossil fuels for energy is dirty and old fashioned. It powered the industrial revolution but also started a major global experiment: climate change. And we are running out of this finite resource. Is there an alternative? Well, the sun provides more energy in just over an hour than the human race needs in a year. That includes everything, from transport to gadgets to food. But can we actually use this energy? How? And is it not incredibly expensive? These questions and more will be discussed in the talk - so come join!
Balancing the very hot and the very cold - how do you keep something "just right" in space?
Katie Hassell (Senior Spacecraft Thermal Engineer)
Space is cold, very cold. The Sun is hot. Spacecraft have many different things going on and don't even stay in one place. If you've ever wondered what it takes to design spacecraft, or just want to get your hands on shiny space materials, then come and find out how thermal design impacts and is limited by every part of a spacecraft. We'll be looking at some of the best UK missions (including Rosetta, LISA Pathfinder, ExoMars Rover and Solar Orbiter) and the many aspects of their design from the thermal point of view.