Professor Pillinger is joined by guest speaker, Dr David Hughes from the University of Sheffield, an expert on the Star of Bethlehem.
Head of Planetary and Space Sciences, Open University, and Principal Investigator for the Beagle 2, Mars Express. Professor Pilligner was the Gresham Professor of Astronomy between 1996 and 2000.
Having begun his career on the Apollo Programme, analysing samples of moon rock, Colin is now working with NASA to develop a craft to search for water on the dark side of the moon. The long-term plan is to establish a permanent station at the lunar south pole.
Colin also has an ongoing involvement with ESA's Rosetta mission, seeking to expand our knowledge of the origins of the Solar System. After a ten-year journey the spacecraft is programmed to rendezvous with a comet, drop a lander onto the surface and travel with it towards the sun - sending back a mass of scientific data.
Dr David Hughes was Professor of Astronomy at the University of Sheffield, where he worked since 1965. Hughes has published over 200 research papers on asteroids, comets, meteorites and meteoroids. He has also written on the history of astronomy, the origin of the solar system and the impact threat to planet Earth.