Society for Popular Astronomy

Colin Pillinger R.I.P.
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Author:  brian livesey [ Fri May 09, 2014 1:41 pm ]
Post subject:  Colin Pillinger R.I.P.

Born in 1943 and with a strong regional accent, Professor Pillinger will be remembered for his contributions to planetary science. He was a fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society and headed the Beagle 2 team that attempted to land a British-made lander on Mars.
The £50m project failed, but Professor Pillinger insisted that "We have unfinished business on Mars". He reckoned that the Beagle 2 failure was due to turbulence in the Martian atmosphere that affected the parachute's performance, and that the lander was sent to Mars at the wrong time.
Professor Pillinger started his scientific career studying Apollo moon rocks. He also worked on the Huygens probe to Titan and other space projects. He became Professor in interplanetary science at the Open University in 1991 and was head of the physical sciences department until 2005.
Charles Laing, a space scientist, called Professor Pillinger a "true visionary,accomplished scientist and inspiration to those around him". Phil Ford, a "Doctor Who" writer, described him as a "proper British boffin".

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