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The Mullard Space Science Laboratory is the UK's largest university space research group. We aim to unravel the mysteries of space through research in fields ranging from the Earth's climate to the most distant galaxies in the known Universe, using innovative space instruments.

MSSL is University College London's Department of Space and Climate Physics. UCL was one of the first universities in the world to become involved in making scientific observations in space. Since MSSL was established in 1966, we have participated in over 35 satellite missions and over 200 rocket experiments.

The laboratory is located in a Victorian mansion set in 30 acres of land in the Surrey Hills, 35 miles from London, with spectacular views across the Surrey and Sussex countryside. Here we have the unique capability of designing, building and testing instruments and other spacecraft systems on site.

Five research groups supported by specialist engineers conduct our scientific research. Staff also teach space-related courses at UCL.


Our research areas are...

Astrophysics: Using space and ground-based telescopes, we watch black holes and neutron stars devour their neighbour stars, and supermassive black holes swallow the hearts of distant galaxies. The Universe is the ultimate physics laboratory.

Climate Physics: Are predictions of future global warming correct? Are the polar ice caps melting? What will happen if they are? Can we forecast when hurricanes and storms will strike? These questions are important to us all. We strive to answer them using our climate models and Earth observing satellites.

Detector Physics: Detectors are the eyes of space telescopes and particle instruments. With them we can see to the edge of the known Universe. Detectors developed at MSSL have been used on many international spacecraft in the quest to explore space. Detector development ensures better, more sensitive detectors for future instruments, and more discoveries about the Universe.

Plasma Physics: Our Sun loses on average a million tonnes of its atmosphere per second into space as charged particles or plasma. We use spacecraft to study how this gusty solar wind affects the Earth, other planets, and comets, as well as the potentially devastating effects it can have on satellites, communications, and power systems.

Solar Physics: The Sun is the ultimate source of energy for all life on Earth. But it also has a violent side. Why does the Sun flare and spit huge clouds of hot gas into space? Why is the Sun's atmosphere hotter than the Sun's surface? We investigate the causes of activity on our local star using space and ground-based instrumentation.

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Thursday, April 18, 2002 1:44 PM www@mssl.ucl.ac.uk Copyright 2001 MSSL. All rights reserved.