Professor Colin Pillinger FRS

  • Professor of Astronomy (1996–2000)

Head of Planetary and Space Sciences, Open University, and Principal Investigator for the Beagle 2, Mars Express. Professor Pillinger was the Gresham Professor of Astronomy between 1996 and 2000.

Having begun his career on the Apollo Programme, analysing samples of moon rock, Colin worked with NASA to develop a craft to search for water on the dark side of the moon. The long-term plan was to establish a permanent station at the lunar south pole.

Colin also had 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 was 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.