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A Trinity professor will play a big role in space exploration

Professor Peter Gallagher has been appointed as an adviser to the Director of Science at the European Space Agency.

Professor in Astrophysics at Trinity College Dublin, Peter Gallagher.
Professor in Astrophysics at Trinity College Dublin, Peter Gallagher.
Image: Paul Sharp/SHARPPIX

A PROFESSOR IN Trinity College Dublin has been tapped to play a key role in space exploration over the next 10 years.

Professor Peter Gallagher has been appointed as an adviser to the Director of Science at the European Space Agency (ESA). In his role with the Space Science Advisory Committee (SSAC), Professor Gallagher will be charged with interpreting the views and needs of the European science community’s access to space experimentation and data exploitation in the mandatory science programmes.

The ESA is set to invest over €5 billion in space exploration in the coming decade.

Among ESA’s flagship missions is Solar Orbiter, which Professor Gallagher is directly involved in. This spacecraft will be launched in 2019 and then take around three years to make its way inside the orbit of Mercury to study the sun and the inner solar system.

He said:

Solar Orbiter will enable us to study the sun in greater detail than ever before and to better understand solar activity and its effects on Earth. Due to the huge temperatures close to the sun, the spacecraft is protected by a heat shield, which has been coated by an innovative Irish company called EnBio.

“I’m delighted to now play a role in shaping the future of ESA’s space exploration programme.”

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The SSAC’s tasks include advising and making recommendations on the needs of the scientific community for access to space for their research; formulating and updating medium and long-term space science policy in Europe; prioritising the needs of the scientific community in selecting future space science missions, and laying the foundations for future missions based on recommendations and new discoveries.

Along with the 11 other members of the SSAC, Professor Gallagher will also implement a number of space missions under the ESA Cosmic Vision 2015-2025 strategy.

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