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"The search for Earth-2 and how on Earth do we get there once we find it"

By Laurence O'Rourke ESA Madrid

8PM Monday 10th of February



It's now only a matter of "when" not "if" we will discover Earth's twin around a star like our own sun as detection methods to find planets around other stars improve. In fact, we can expect by the late 2020s that the European Space Agency's PLATO mission, my new satellite mission, will lead the way to its discovery. Using imagery and videos I'll explain in an easy to understand way how we find exoplanets including how ESA's missions will contribute to push the boundaries of what we can currently detect. I'll also outline why "Earth-like" - a term used in the news a lot when talking about exoplanets - is a far distance and a lot of sunburn away from being "Earth's twin".

But once we discover Earth's twin, how on Earth are we going to get there? It's all got to do with distance and speed. Expect to see cool videos showing the rockets that are currently in use and which ones are planned in the future to push us further and faster out towards the Moon, Mars....and beyond. But even using rockets it's not fast enough so I'll talk about the techniques we use for satellites to gain speed in space. I will wrap-up by looking to the future to see what has to happen if we want to travel to our twin planet - I mean we only have to travel at fractions of light speed; that's achievable, right?

Suitable for all audiences including children (from 8 years and up).





Laurence O'Rourke is from Mullingar and has being working in the European Space Agency since 1996, located at 3 of its establishments (ESTEC, ESOC and currently ESAC in Madrid) as an Engineer and a Scientist.
In ESTEC he worked on the Teamsat satellite before moving to ESOC in Germany in 1998. There he worked for four years on the Envisat Earth Observation satellite before switching to Rosetta where he was part of the flight control team in ESOC at the time of its launch in 2004. After launch he moved to Spain (ESAC) to work on the Integral mission (ESA Gamma Ray observatory) followed by the Herschel mission (ESA Infrared Space observatory). On Herschel he was the deputy science operations manager for the mission. In 2011 he began working once more on the Rosetta mission and was one of two Science Operations Managers leading the team that scheduled the instrument activities on the satellite. He was also the ESA Philae Lander System Engineer and he supported the landing from the control centre in Germany. Less than two years later he led the group that finally located Philae on the surface of the comet where it lay hidden under a shaded cliff region.
When the Rosetta mission ended on the 30th September 2016, he moved on to work on the PLATO Exoplanet searching mission where he is currently working as Science Operations Coordinator and Senior System Engineer.
He has published various science articles on comets and asteroids with one of his more notable publication being in Nature concerning the first confirmed detection of water in the asteroid belt, namely on Dwarf Planet (1) Ceres. Based upon that paper he has been awarded the O'Rourke asteroid by the IAU. He has also received from the International Academy of Astronautics (IAA) the Laurels for Team Achievement Award for his work on the Philae lander.
He has given numerous public talks around the world over the years including 2 TEDx talks.


After the lecture there will be a social reception in The Lombard Innand we encourage all of you to come along for a chat.

All are welcome to attend and free food will be kindly provided by The Lombard.

Keep up to date on our Facebook and Twitter sites - links on the left.

A prize draw will be held after the lecture.

Booking Information

Date Monday 10th February
Time 8:00p.m.

Physics Bldg, Physics Department , Fitzgerald Building, Trinity College Dublin.
There is an entrance on Lincoln Place (not far from the Merrion Square end of TCD). If you get the DART or bus to Pearse St, or drive. Use the Science Gallery entrance on Pearse Street (near the corner with Westland Row) There are maps here:  Here

Parking: Mark Street , Marks Lane , Lombard St. East .

Free Parking on the above streets after 7pm
Click HERE for a building map of Trinity College campus
Click HERE for Map of area

Admission €10 (€5 Astronomy Ireland members and concessions)
Tickets where possible should be booked in advance. Tickets can also be purchased at the door on the night, please come along 15 minutes early to accommodate.

Book online below

Call 086 06 46 555 to book tickets over the phone using Debit/ Credit Card
Send a cheque, Postal Order, or Draft, made payable to Astronomy Ireland, to: P.O. BOX 2888, Dublin 5.


This lecture is also available to people nationwide (32 counties) on DVD.
To order a copy of the DVD simply:
Order by credit or debit card online below, OR
call 086 06 46 555
Alternatively post a Cheque, postal order, or Draft to: Astronomy Ireland, P.O. Box 2888, Dublin 5.
Price: DVD's cost €10 each incl P&P (€5 Astronomy Ireland members)

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Acknowledgment: Astronomy Ireland would like to thank the TCD Astrophysics Research Group for hosting Astronomy Ireland public lectures in Trinity College Dublin.









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