New funding has been awarded to 10 UK projects that will develop technologies for the next generation of space science missions.
The UK has been at the heart of international space science missions, including:
- the once-in-a-generation James Webb Space Telescope, which launched in December
- Solar Orbiter, a mission to study the Sun and its effects on the solar system
- the BepiColombo mission to Mercury.
Future exploration of the universe
The new funding aims to encourage collaboration between industry and academia and boost technology that will support the future exploration of the universe through space-based:
- solar system science
The projects will be led by organisations across:
- Northern Ireland
Sharper images from space telescopes
The projects include using tiny, digitally controlled mirrors, smaller than the width of a human hair, to counteract the movements of space telescopes and get sharper images.
If successful, the UK-led technology could be used as a basis for instruments on future space missions.
Space-based atomic clock
Another will develop a space-based atomic clock small enough to fit inside a CubeSat the size of a microwave.
Tests of fundamental physics, such as quantum mechanics and general relativity, rely on extremely precise time measurement.
An ultra-accurate atomic clock that can fit into a tiny satellite could help revolutionise space-based physics experiments, as well as deep-space navigation for planetary science and exploration missions.