Microscopy exposes beauty of meteorites


Rebecca Pool

Thursday, March 9, 2017 - 13:15
Image: Just one of a series of framed prints showing meteorites that have crashed from our solar system [Plymouth University]
Planetary scientists from NASA, leading international museums, and even the Pope’s astronomer, are among the contributors to an out of this world exhibition being held at the UK-based University of Plymouth.
From Another Place will show a series of framed prints of meteorites that have crashed into the Earth’s surface from Mars, the Moon, asteroids and elsewhere in our solar system.
All the images were captured using state-of-the-art technology housed within the University’s Electron Microscopy Centre.
The hope is that they will give visitors a unique glimpse into these rarely seen objects, with high-profile academics and curators renowned for their expertise in the field of meteoritics, shedding light on the fascinating scientific stories behind them.
The exhibition is the brainchild of Dr Natasha Stephen, Lecturer in Advanced Analysis (Earth and Planetary Sciences), in collaboration with the University’s Creative Cultivator unit.
Herself a renowned meteorite expert, Stephen has used her contacts around the world to amass an impressive list of contributors, including: Dr Mike Zolensky, curator of the astromaterials research collection at NASA Johnson Space Center; Dr Tim McCoy, Curator-in-charge of the Meteorite Collection at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, Washington DC; Professor Sara Russell, Division Chair (Mineral & Planetary Sciences) at the Natural History Museum, London; and Brother Guy Consolmagno, the Pope’s astronomer and director of the Vatican Observatory.
“This exhibition has been in the pipeline for 18 months, and was originally envisaged as a way to showcase some of the striking images generated by electron microscopy and the fact they can be artistic as well as scientific in nature," says Stephen. "However, it has grown into something far beyond that now, creating something that people are unlikely to have seen before here in the South West, and aims to raise awareness for a good cause at the same time."
"I hope that the images, alongside the thoughts and opinions of some of the world’s foremost experts on the subject, will fascinate and inspire visitors and enable them to see science in a completely new light,” she adds.
From Another Place will be open to the public from March 31 to April 10 at the University of Plymouth.
Individual archival prints will be auctioned at the end of the exhibition, with all proceeds being donated to mental health charity Plymouth Mind, in order to support their work in the local community and beyond.
Learn more here.
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