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Naomi Murdoch

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I am a researcher at ISAE-SUPAERO and part of the Space Systems for Planetary Applications (SSPA) team. I have a MPhys in Astrophysics from the University of Edinburgh (2007) and a PhD in Physics and Planetary Sciences from the Open University and the University of Nice-Sophia Antipolis/Côte d’Azur Observatory (2012).

My research interests are linked to understanding the geophysical evolution of asteroids and terrestrial planets. I also study how space instrumentation interacts with the surface environment of planetary bodies in order to prepare inter-planetary space missions and to allow the most precise interpretation of the data possible.


Added 8 November 2018

Exciting times for asteroid space missions as Hayabusa-2 prepares for the 1st sampling attempt of Ryugu, and Bennu comes into view for OSIRIS-Rex.

Added 11 October 2018

Presenting InSight and the Mars Microphone at the IRT Forum in Toulouse.

Added 3 October 2018

And now MASCOT has safely landed on Ryugu too !! Here’s the first picture of asteroid Ryugu taken by mascot during the asteroid landing. You can see the shadow of the asteroid lander in the top right of the image ! (Image : Mascot / DLR / cnes)

Added 27 September 2018

Click here to see an incredible movie taken on the surface of the asteroid Ryugu by one of the first ever asteroid landers (MINERVA-II1) !! So many boulders !

Added 26 September 2018

On the 21st of September JAXA successfully put two small rovers (MINERVA-II1) onto the surface of the asteroid Ryugu. These rovers, part of the Hayabusa-2 mission, are the first surface packages to ever land on an asteroid ! Well done JAXA !! Here is a photo was captured by Rover-1A on September 22 at around 11:44 JST. It was taken on Ryugu’s surface during a hop. The left-half is the surface of Ryugu, while the white region on the right is due to sunlight (JAXA/Hayabusa2 Project).

Added 5 August 2018

The PIONEERS (Planetary Instruments based on Optical technologies for an iNnovative European Exploration using Rotational Seismology) project, led by members of the SSPA team here at ISAE-SUPAERO, has been funded by the European Commision as part of the H2020 call (H2020-SPACE-20-2018) ! The team will develop an innovative optical seismometer that provides 6 degrees of freedom measurements (3 translational and 3 rotational). The instrument will be built specifically for planetary science missions, and a reduced scale version of the instrument specifically dedicated to the exploration of small bodies will also be developped. The PIONEERS project involves a consortium of research laboratories (ISAE-SUPAERO, ETHZ, IPGP, ORB, LMU) and an industrial partner (iXblue).

Added 25 June 2018

Our Europlanet proposal to return to the Aarhus Mars wind tunnel to perform further experiments with our Mars 2020 Microphone has been funded ! We’ll be heading back up to Denmark for a week of testing in 2019.

Added May 2018

The InSight mission to Mars launched successfully on Saturday 5th May 2018. Watch a video of the launch here. The landing on Mars is planned for 26th November 2018 !

Added April 2018

Interested to hear more about some of our asteroid-related research activites ? Have a listen to the interview I recorded for the Western University (Canada) Western Worlds podcast (thanks Jon Kissi !). The podcast can be downloaded here.

Added 24 November 2017

We have another internship position open for 2018, this time in collaboration with the ’Département Aérodynamique Energétique et Propulsion’ at ISAE-SUPAERO and in relation to the Mars Microphone. The subject is studying the flow regimes in the wake of the Mars 2020 SuperCam instrument. Candidates should by in the final year of a Master of Sciences/Engineering degree and have competencies in fluid dynamics. Full details can be found here.

Added 10 November 2017

Interested in coming to do a 5-6 month internship in our team studying the feasibility and performance of a wheel on the surface of a small body ? Candidates should by in the final year of an Engineering or Master of Sciences/Engineering degree. There is also the possibility to continue on to a PhD at the end of the internship. Full details can be found here.

Added 16 October 2017

Do you want to send your name to Mars with the InSight mission ? If so, you can sign up and get your boarding card here : Send your name to Mars.
Last Day to Submit : November 1, 2017 (11:59 p.m. ET)

Added 16 October 2017

To help us better understand spacecraft - planetary surface interactions, last week we had a great meeting at ISAE-SUPAERO focussed on slow penetration into granular materials in low gravity. Thanks to everyone for coming !

Added 3 October 2017

The SSPA stand and public presentations in the center of Toulouse as part of the European Researchers’ Night on Friday 29th September 2017 were a huge success !

Added 25 September 2017

We’re just back from a great EPSC conference in Riga where Gautier Nguyen (a Masters student working with me) and I presented papers about the Mars Microphone, the seismic pressure noise on Mars for the InSight mission, our new drop tower experiment results and also about asteroid seismology.

Added 30 July 2017

The SEIS flight model has been delivered to Lockheed Martin in Denver ! Integration of the instrument into the InSight spacecraft will begin in August.

Added 12 July 2017

Our 6-hour Asteroid Day live broadcast was a huge success with several hundred thousand viewers around the world. If you missed it, you can see the different panel discussions on the asteroid day website here.

Added 10 July 2017

We’re just back from a great week in Aarhus where we were testing the SuperCam laser and Mars Microphone system in a representative Mars environment. Thank you Europlanet for funding this important test campaign !

Added 14 June 2017

Tune in on June 30th for our LIVE Asteroid Day broadcast ! This will be the first-ever 24-hour live broadcast about space, and specifically asteroids.


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