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NAM 2013: St. NAMdrews

NAM 2013

The National Astronomy Meeting is an annual astronomy conference hosted by the Royal Astronomical Society and a UK university. NAM 2013 was held at The University of St. Andrews and Christina brings us a selection of interviews with scientists who were presenting their work at the conference.

Interview with Prof. Sanjeev Gupta

Prof. Sanjeev Gupta from Imperial College London tells us about the Mars rover: Curiosity. He tells us about its key tasks: examining the geology and looking at whether water and life could have once existed on Mars. He tells us about the instruments on board: both cameras and chemical instruments. He tells us about how the rover goes about imaging, collecting and analysing the rock samples and how it is operated remotely. He also tells us about the latest scientific results that have come from the rover and how it is beginning its "big drive" towards the mountain.

Interview with Dr Catherine Heymans

Dr Catherine Heymans from the University of Edinburgh talks to us about observing the dark universe. She tells us about the composition of the universe: matter, dark matter and dark energy. She talks to us about how it is possible to observe the effects dark matter has on the universe: galaxy rotation curves in the nearby Universe and the clustering of galaxies in the further reaches of the Universe. She explains what the theory of "Weakly Interacting Massive Particles" (WIMPS) is and how it could explain dark matter. She also tells us about the results obtained from current surveys mapping dark matter and about future experiments looking to directly detect WIMPs.

Interview with Dr Clare Watt

Dr Clare Watt from the University of Reading tells us about charged Moon dust. She first explains what charged Moon dust is and why is was a problem for the Apollo astronauts - how it could even go through the astronauts' space suits. She goes on to tell us about how it is thought to have formed and how she is going about modelling it. She discusses where abouts on the Moon this effect may be seen and whether it is in large quantities or small quantities and how this work will help future missions to the Moon.

Interview with Dr Jayne Birkby

Dr Jayne Birkby from the University of Leiden talks to us about how herself and her fellow scientists have been searching for water on exoplanets using a novel new method. She tells us about the doppler method of planet finding and how this can be done in reverse to identify emission lines originating from the exoplanet itself. She discusses what these results mean for exoplanet searches and what they hope to do in the future.

Interview with Jack O'Malley-James

PhD astrobiology student, Jack O'Malley-James from the University of St. Andrews tells us about his work on 'the last survivors of the end of the world'. He tells us all about models he has run which show that the planet will become uninhabitable within 1-2 billion years for most forms of life. He tells us about the timescales for the major extinctions caused simply by the change in the planet's temperature caused by the Sun's natural aging, and goes on to tell us about the future: looking at exoplanets and how these models will assist in identifying potential signitures of life.

Show Credits

Interview:Prof. Sanjeev Gupta and Christina Smith
Interview:Dr Catherine Heymans and Christina Smith
Interview:Dr Clare Watt and Christina Smith
Interview:Dr Jayne Birkby and Christina Smith
Interview:Jack O'Malley-James and Christina Smith
Presenters:Christina Smith
Editors:Christina Smith
Segment Voice:Mike Peel
Website:Christina Smith and Stuart Lowe
Producers:Christina Smith
Cover art:National Astronomy Meeting venue in St Andrews. CREDIT: Nathalie Skrzypek

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