Guildford Astronomical Society

Prof David Southwood

Prof David Southwood - President of the Royal Astronomical SocietyProf David Southwood

David Southwood is…

DateTalk at GAS meeting
7 Nov 2013Ten Years of ESA Space Science

The speaker spent ten years 2001-2011 in charge of the European Space Agency space science programme. His responsibilities expanded for the last three years for developing in addition a robotic exploration programme.

The talk will describe some of the high points and low points of his term. Major space observatories were launched, the two largest being the Integral Gamma Ray Observatory and, at the other end of the electromagnetic spectrum, the Herschel infrared/submillimeter telescope. Joint work continued with the US, Japan and Russia. New space science cooperation started with ESA collaborations with China and India. The decade marked ESA’s arrival in planetary exploration. Missions were launched to the Moon, Mars, Venus and building started on a mission to Mercury. Perhaps the highest point was the landing of a European probe, Huygens, on Titan and the lowest the loss of the Beagle2 lander at Mars. The speaker will give his personal perspective on these events as well as describing some of the most satisfying experiences and the most disappointing.