Guildford Astronomical Society

Prof. David Rothery

Prof David Rothery OU - Credit: Open UniversityProf David Rothery OU
Credit: Open University

From The Open University, Professor Rothery says:-
In November 2013 I became Professor of Planetary Geosciences. I was a Senior Lecturer in the Open University Department of Earth Sciences since 1994 (transferring to the Planetary & Space Sciences Division of the new Dept of Physical Sciences in August 2011), and before that was a Lecturer here. During 1999-2004 I was Director of Teaching and Geosciences Programme Director. I have also been Leader of the IAVCEI Commission on Remote Sensing, and in 2005 I was appointed to the PPARC Solar System Advisory Panel and the BepiColombo Oversight Committee.
In May 2006 I was appointed UK Lead Scientist on MIXS (Mercury Imaging X-ray Spectrometer), which is the only UK Principal Investigator instrument on BepiColombo, the European Space Agency mission to Mercury to be launched in 2018. I became MIXS Lead Co-Investigator in 2014.
I chair ESA's Mercury Surface and Composition Working Group. As from 1 March 2018 I am leading the geological mapping workpackage for a the Horizon 2020 Planmap project, which aims to improve European capabiliy in planetary geologic mapping.
My research interests centre on the study of volcanic activity by means of remote sensing, and volcanology and geoscience in general on other planets.
DateTalk at GAS meeting
6 Feb 2020Mercury and its geology

Mercury is the Solar System's smallest rocky planet, but the only one other than Earth to generate it's own magnetic field.
It has a very large iron core, the outer part of which is fluid, overlain by a relatively thin silicate mantle & crust.
This is probably a result of much of the body's original crust & mantle having been stripped away in a collision. Despite this, the present crust is comparatively rich in volatile elements. These Lubricate tectonics (driven by global thermal contraction), & have enabled explosive volcanism to continue after the effusive volcanism that formed most of the crust waned. On-going, non-explosive, volatile loss is demonstrated by "moth-eaten" patches of ground called hollows.