Experts contribute to showcase of meteorites under the microscope

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 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. Based within the Faculty of Arts and Humanities, it exists to nurture and support external engagement, knowledge transfer and collaborations between academia, the creative industries and wider community.

Herself a renowned meteorite expert, Natasha 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.

Natasha, who works extensively in the Electron Microscopy Centre, said:

“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. 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.”

The ten featured prints will be exhibited with information about the meteorite’s origins in Space as well as when and where they were found on Earth, and the sometimes amusing stories attached with their discoveries.

After the exhibition, the prints will be individually auctioned off online to the highest bidder, with all proceeds donated to Plymouth Mind to support their important work helping people of all ages affected by mental health issues, directly or indirectly.

From Another Place will be open to the public from March 31 to April 10 in the gallery space on the first floor of the Roland Levinsky Building at the University of Plymouth.

Featured researcher: Natasha Stephen

Natasha’s research focuses on the use of meteorites to study the geology of extra-terrestrial bodies throughout the solar system and links these up to the space missions studying these from afar.

Lecturer in Advanced Analysis (Earth and Planetary Sciences) within Plymouth Electron Microscopy Centre and the Department of Earth Sciences

Find out more about Natasha

Creative Cultivator: supporting projects