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Comet mission scientist lands in Bristol

Sixth form students hear about Rosetta space mission in memory of former pupil

Posted by Stephanie Broad | November 24, 2015 | School life

Post-16 students at Kings Oak Academy and neighbouring Cabot Learning Federation academies recently heard about the European Space Agency (ESA) comet mission, Rosetta, from ESA Rosetta Project Scientist Dr Matt Taylor.

Dr Taylor discussed the audacious mission to catch up with a comet, as it travelled to the Sun and sent the small Philae lander to the surface of the comet. Despite not quite going to plan, we now know so much more about comets, and Matt informed the students about the ups and downs of being a space scientist at the cutting edge of exploring our solar system. 

The visit was arranged in memory of a former pupil Colin Pillinger. Colin attended the predecessor school, Kingswood Grammar, and went on to lead an exciting life in scientific research. 

Professor Colin Pillinger CBE FRS was instrumental in the UK involvement in the Rosetta mission and was the leader of the British Beagle 2 mission, which landed on Mars in 2003. 

Tim Bush, head of chemistry at King’s Oak Academy, said: “This is a unique opportunity for students to get a real insight into the organisation and innovation that is required to run a project of this magnitude. It will certainly make students aware of the interesting opportunities in science that are available to them after A-levels.”

Colin Pillinger’s family is working with the school to bring an inspirational speaker to Kings Oak each year.


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