Charles S. Cockell

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Charles Cockell (born May 21, 1967) is Professor of Astrobiology in the School of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Edinburgh and Director of the UK Centre for Astrobiology.[1][2] He was previously the Professor of Geomicrobiology with the Open University and a microbiologist with the British Antarctic Survey, Cambridge, UK. His scientific interests have focused on astrobiology, geomicrobiology and life in extreme environments including studies on volcanic[3] and impact crater environments.[4] He has also contributed to plans for the human exploration of Mars.[5][6] He led the design study Project Boreas, which planned and designed a research station for the Martian North Pole.[7][8][9] He was the first Chair of the Astrobiology Society of Britain.

Education and professional experience[edit]

Cockell received his first degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of Bristol in 1989 and his D.Phil in Molecular Biophysics, University of Oxford in 1994. He was a National Academy of Sciences Associate at the NASA Ames Research Centre at Moffett Field from 1995 to 1998 and then a visiting scholar at Stanford University.

Earth and Space Foundation[edit]

Cockell is Chair of the Earth and Space Foundation,[10] a registered British charity (1043871)[11] which awards grants to expeditions that successfully bridge the gap between environmentalism and the exploration and settlement of space by either using space technologies and ideas in environmental fieldwork or use environments on Earth to advance knowledge of other planets.[12][13][14] He founded the organisation in 1994. Since its establishment the Foundation has supported over 60 field projects around the world. Cockell proposed the inseparable links between environmentalism and space exploration in a book 'Space on Earth' (Macmillan, 2006).[15][16] The book was winner of the best written presentation in the Sir Arthur Clarke Award 2007.

Association of Mars Explorers[edit]

Cockell was the first President of the Association of Mars Explorers,[17] an organisation he co-founded in California in 2002. The association, known as the Mars Club, promotes links between explorers of Mars with a focus on the human exploration of Mars and the exploration of its mountains, poles, deserts, and canyon systems.

Expeditions[edit]

In 1993 Cockell piloted a modified microlight aircraft over the rainforests of Sumatra, Indonesia designed for catching moths over the canopy.[18] The Barnes Wallis Moth Machine had lights for nighttime flying, UV lights to attract moths and a net for scooping moths from the rainforest canopy.[19][20][21] The moth machine was flown during an expedition to the Kerinci-Seblat National Park which also collected plants and insects as part of a biodiversity study. The expedition had the patronage of No. 617 Squadron. During the expedition the moth machine clipped the top of a tree and crashed.[22] Over 5,000 moths were caught which were sent to Germany for biodiversity assessments. In 1997 he was elected an International Fellow of The Explorers Club.

Brief political career[edit]

In 1992 Cockell stood as parliamentary candidate for the Forward to Mars Party[23][24] against incumbent Prime Minister John Major (Huntingdon (UK Parliament constituency). The party advocated the increased involvement of Britain in the exploration of Mars, the European Space Agency's human exploration programme and the construction of a station on Mars. The party received 91 votes in the election[25]

Selected Bibliography[edit]

  • Extraterrestrial Liberty: An Enquiry into the Nature and Causes of Tyrannical Government Beyond the Earth Shoving Leopard ISBN 978-1905565221
  • Biological Effects Associated with Impact Events (with Koeberl C and Gilmour I) Springer ISBN 978-3540257356
  • Project Boreas: A Station for the Martian Geographic North Pole British Interplanetary Society ISBN 978-0950659794
  • Introduction to the Earth-Life System (with Corfield R, Edwards N, Harris N) Cambridge University Press ISBN 978-0521729536
  • Martian Expedition Planning American Astronautical Association ISBN 978-0877035077
  • Ecosystems, Evolution and Ultraviolet Radiation (with Blaustein AR) Springer ISBN 978-1441931818
  • Space on Earth: saving Our World by Seeking Others MacMillan ISBN 978-0230007529
  • Impossible Extinction: Natural Catastrophes and the Supremacy of the Microbial World Cambridge University Press ISBN 978-0521817363

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.astrobiology.ac.uk
  2. ^ http://www.ph.ed.ac.uk/research/groups-institutes
  3. ^ Cockell CS, Cady SL, McLoughlin N. 2011. Volcanism and Astrobiology: Life on Earth and Beyond. Astrobiology 11, 583-584
  4. ^ Cockell CS, Lee P, Osinski G, Horneck G, Broady P. 2002. Impact-induced microbial endolithic habitats. Meteoritics and Planetary Science 37, 1287-1298
  5. ^ Oliver Morton. 2002. Mapping Mars. Harper Collins
  6. ^ Robert Zubrin. 2003. Mars on Earth: The adventures of space pioneers in the high arctic. Penguin
  7. ^ http://www.bis-space.com/what-we-do/projects/project-boreas
  8. ^ Baxter, S. 2008. Project Boreas: A Base at the Martian North Pole. Analog Science Fiction and Fact, March 2008
  9. ^ http://365daysofastronomy.org/2011/06/22/june-22nd-a-research-station-on-mars-the-boreas-project-part-i/
  10. ^ Earth and Space Foundation Home Page
  11. ^ http://www.charity-commission.gov.uk/
  12. ^ Charles Cockell, Don White, Douglas Messier, Dale Stokes. 2002. Fostering links between environmental and space exploration: The Earth and Space Foundation. Space Policy 18, 301-306
  13. ^ Oliver Morton. 2002. Mapping Mars. Harper Collins
  14. ^ Robert Zubrin. 2003. Mars on Earth. The adventures of space pioneers in the high arctic. Penguin
  15. ^ Chung SY et al. 2010. Synergies of Earth science and space exploration. Advances in Space Research 45, 155-168
  16. ^ http://edition.cnn.com/2012/10/02/world/europe/astrobiology-aliens-environment-opinion/index.html
  17. ^ Association of Mars Explorers
  18. ^ George McGavin. Expedition Field Techniques: Insects and Other Terrestrial Arthropods. Royal Geographical Society, 2007
  19. ^ Nick Nutall: Those men in their moth machines, The Times, 13 March 1993, TM62
  20. ^ Roger Highfield: This is the world's first and finest flying moth-collecting machine. Daily Telegraph, 1 April 1993, 5
  21. ^ Expeditions to Indonesia Handbook: Expedition Sumatra 1993 (The Barnes Wallis Moth Machine). ISBN 0951702114
  22. ^ Bernard Levin. 'Of Moths and Flames' The Times, Editorial, Nov 23, 1993, p. 18
  23. ^ http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1992-04-08/news/9202010314_1_marcos-family-body-of-ferdinand-marcos-pravda
  24. ^ Huntingdon (UK Parliament constituency)
  25. ^ http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/person/1014/c-cockell

External links[edit]