Catch A Comet – Rosetta at The Royal Society

Catch A Comet at The Royal Society Summer Exhibition
Catch A Comet at The Royal Society Summer Exhibition

I’ve gone quiet for a fair few weeks after all the excitement of the Rosetta wake-up…and thank goodness that it did manage to wake up or else the start of 2014 would not have felt very positive. So what have I been up to since? Well, we’ve had our Rosetta proposal selected for a place at the Royal Society Summer Exhibition (2014 website live in April) which has kicked me into a frenzied spin of activity including lots of planning meetings and headaches over how we’re going to bring all our plans together. It seemed so simple to propose amazing exhibit designs in the proposal but now we have to make it happen! I’ve set up a twitter feed that will slowly start to document our activity of making the exhibit happen (@CatchAComet) and Leah (my counterpart planner at Imperial) has set up a Catch A Comet Tumblr for us too.

The exhibition is on from June 30th to July 6th in London and is open to the public for a lot of the time. There’s about 25 exhibits taking part from all areas of science. It’s going to be awesome fun. Oh, and we plan to take down the cool Rosetta lander model currently at the Open University…although our first task is working out how to get it through the doors of the Royal Society because they are very narrow (and apparently we’re not allowed to remove them to fit the model through, who’d have thought?)!

I had a go today at drawing a logo that we can use as our ‘branding’ (if I give it a posh name it makes it seem better), see above. It’s subject to change because the team haven’t seen it yet but I quite like its naïve cartoon-style (my art teacher at school always told me my drawings were a bit ‘naive’, I think she was trying to find a nice way to say they were rubbish)!

But that’s not all I’ve had going on…oh no, the life of a scientist is rather more manic than this! I’ve been helping get my students paper (on the earliest solids to form in the Solar System) in order to go back to the journal after review (fingers crossed its accepted now) and I’ve been finishing my own comet dust paper (a new one, yay!). I hope to submit it this week and I spent a lovely afternoon today drawing a big schematic diagram in CorelDraw to help illustrate my model for how comet’s formed in the early solar nebula. I’ve passed it by my boss now so I’ll see what he thinks to it…again, cartoon-style seems the way forward.

Oh, and the other thing I’ve been doing is lots of NanoSIMS lab work (I just can’t get away from that instrument). Some of this work involved measuring the hydrogen isotopes in some comet dust for a collaboration I have going on. The results from 4 tiny pieces of dust are all very different which just confirms once again how variable this dust is, and therefore why it’s so exciting to analyse…you just never know which bit of the Solar System you’re going to get 🙂