Tour of the Mullard Space Science Laboratory (MSSL)

I arranged to visit the Mullard Space Science Laboratory (MSSL) after meeting a postdoc student back at the UKSEDS conference in March.  As I will be starting an MSc in Planetary Science at UCL in September, I was curious to find out what goes on at MSSL, which is part of UCL, 30 miles south of London, near Dorking.

Whatever I had been expecting, it is safe to say, I was totally astounded at this huge property. More like a National Trust property or stately home in outwardly appearance, this space laboratory can design and build space-ready instruments.

A canteen provided lunch, which we ate out on the patio which has a view nearly to the south coast:

I was shown round the site, which includes a vacuum chamber, vibration and heat testing labs, electronic workshops, and an outdoor swimming pool, where 4 people had just been swimming in their lunch break.  Afternoon tea took place at 3pm on the patio, where people congregated to have a breath of fresh air, or discuss their latest science problem.  It was a wonderfully laid back atmosphere, despite the pressure and deadlines behind the scenes, a perfect environment for study.

Many thanks to Dr Chris Arridge, Tom Nordheim, and others for giving me their time and a lot of useful information.