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Ian Wright

Professor of Planetary Sciences at The Open University

I have been a member of the OU for more than two decades. As of early 2009 I have finished a 4-year term as being Head of Department for PSSRI, a group of scientists of various hues, who have come together because of their passion for exploring the natural world beyond Earth, and who wish to understand their home planet within its cosmic setting. Whilst my own path was via Earth sciences and geochemistry, my colleagues span a range of expertise in physics, chemistry, biology, geology and planetary sciences.

I am the Principal Investigator for the Ptolemy instrument on board the Rosetta mission, which is currently on its way to land on the surface of a comet in 2014. Ptolemy was born out of many years of experience gained through designing and building novel laboratory instruments. The next logical progression is to develop the spaceflight instruments for applications down on the ground that require the characteristics of small size, low power and portability – we are actively exploring such possibilities.