Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Aberdeen Mars experts launch Scotland’s first postgraduate planetary sciences degree

Aberdeen University's new course launches in September.

Mars experts at the Aberdeen University have launched Scotland’s first postgraduate degree in planetary sciences.

It has been designed by the university’s groundbreaking Planetary Sciences Group, which is part of current and future missions to Mars.

Students of the new MSc Planetary Science will study earth, moon, and planetary sciences, as well as the technology that helps us understand the processes that form them.

Starting in September, the programme will provide an informed understanding of planetary atmospheres and landforms, space environment, astrobiology, and space systems engineering and instrumentation.

The recruitment of the Planetary Sciences Group underlines the university’s long-term Aberdeen 2040 strategy, with its emphasis on research which helps to solve real-world challenges.

Aberdeen perfectly placed amid ‘golden age of space’

The group has developed an instrument which will, among other things, produce liquid water on Mars to support future exploration of the planet.

It is scheduled to go to Mars in 2022, in the ExoMars mission.

Group leader, Professor Javier Martin-Torres, says the university is a perfect place to deliver such a course, given the rapid growth of the space industry in Scotland.

He said: “We live in the golden age of space, and solar system exploration, with unprecedented collaboration and investment between governments and space agencies for moon and mars exploration.

“There is a growing interest in the industry to participate in solar system exploration.

“Ambitious plans for the next decade include sending humans back to the moon, establishing a colony on Mars, probing Venus’s atmosphere and geology, searching for life near Saturn, sending missions to probe the metal core of a dead planet, and exploring the hidden ocean on Jupiter’s moon Europa.

“The science and technology challenges that will be faced by future generations require an interdisciplinary approach.

“The purpose of this new degree programme is to provide an overview of state-of-the-art planetary research and technologies.

“It incorporates training on the main technological challenges that must be considered in deep space exploration.

“This MSc is mainly for people driven by curiosity that would like to follow an academic or research path.

“But it is also very good for people that would like to enter the fast-growing market of space-related companies.”

The university’s Planetary Science Group used life support systems for Mars missions to build ventilators to help fight Covid.

‘Incredible new development’

According to the latest industry survey, ‘Size & Health of the UK Space Industry 2020’, Scotland is now home to 173 space organisations.

These represent around a fifth of the UK space industry’s 126,300 jobs.

Planning permission for a spaceport in Sutherland was granted last year and a recent survey found 85% of young people back the move.

Dr Dave Muirhead, head of the university’s School of Geosciences, described the new course as “an incredible new development.”

He said it would appeal to students from a broad range of science backgrounds, including geology, biology, physics, and engineering planetary science.

He added: “For students with a science background, this MSc will provide the needed spacecraft design and engineering exposure.

“At the same time, it will encourage an appreciation for space science and research, and the supporting technologies for robotic and human space exploration and instrumentation.

“We have a long history of geological and astrobiological research at Aberdeen. This programme allows us to share our passion and wonder for exploration.”

For more information about the MSc in Planetary Sciences, which will be available to study on either a full or part-time basis from September 2021, visit the main programme website.

Already a subscriber? Sign in



This article originally appeared on the Evening Express website. For more information, read about our new combined website.