The mood of exploration will reach out into space, to mark the 50th anniversary of the first footstep on the Moon. Matjaž Vidmar from Edinburgh’s Royal Observatory will describe new ideas for stage-post space stations to build a highway to the Moon, Mars and beyond.
He will also tell the story of Scotland’s second Astronomer Royal, Charles Piazzi Smyth, born 200 years ago, who pioneered the use of mountaintops for studying the stars in clear air – and also made a detailed study of the Great Pyramid of Egypt, measuring all aspects include its astronomical orientation.
The present Astronomer Royal of Scotland, Prof. John C. Brown of Glasgow University, will also take part. He will be joined by Scots language poet Rab Wilson for a collaboration of stars, planets, people and poems, featured in a new book.
And Prof. Arjun Berera of Edinburgh University will describe how life may be able to travel between planets – through the impact of fast-flowing streams of interplanetary dust. Such streams collide with particles in the atmosphere and drive them into space; from there they may in time reach other planets.
Some such particles might contain living organisms, he says. It is known that some bacteria, plants and even small microscopic creatures can survive in space.