What is habitability?

Experts in different fields, from extrasolar planets to biology, gather to discuss the concept of habitability -- the potential of a planetary body  to host life. But what is 'life'? This symposium will be hosted by reserch experts and attended by students in various fields related to the topic of habitability. This is an exciting oppotunity to see cutting edge research and discussion in action with limited spaces for members of the public. This event is held in collaboration with Nature Astronomy.

Ages: 11+

Royal Observatory Greenwich Christmas Lecture

Launched in 1997, the NASA/ESA Cassini-Huygens mission to Saturn came to a close earlier this year with a dramatic descent into Saturn's atmosphere in September. Since its orbital insertion in 2004, the Cassini orbiter explored the famous ringed gas giant and its vast system of weird and wonderful moons, one of which was explored up close and personal with the Huygens lander. Professor Carl Murray of Queen Mary University London will share his experiences with the mission from its inception to the latest knowledge gleaned from data that will be studied for decades to come.

Art, Charity and the Navy: The Greenwich and Foundling Hospitals

This day symposium will explore similarities in the origins, artistic involvement and philanthropic purpose of two eighteenth-century charitable hospitals with strong ties to maritime Britain: the Foundling Hospital, the first children’s charity in Britain, founded in 1730s by Captain Thomas Coram, a shipwright in the American colonies, and the Greenwich Royal Hospital for Seamen, established by royal charter in 1694 and from 1712 incorporated a school for the orphans of sailors.

‘The Old Father-River’: The Poetry of the Thames from 1500 to the Present Day

Chart the long history of the Thames through poetry: from the idealised Elizabethan river of Spenser, via the hopeful and despairing responses of Romantics and Victorians, through the early twentieth-century vistas of Eliot and Lawrence, right up to the remarkable sequence composed for the Millennium Bridge. The epilogue, perhaps inevitably, will be that most poignant tribute by a Londoner to his river, 'Waterloo Sunset' by Ray Davies and the Kinks. 

Maritime Lecture Series: The Wrecks of H.M. Ships Erebus and Terror

This lecture by Ryan Harris, a senior underwater archaeologist at Parks Canada and scientific lead for the study of the lost ships of the 1845 Sir John Franklin Expedition, will present on the most recent scientific findings from archaeological evidence gathered since 2014. Painstaking investigation of these two extremely well preserved wrecks is shedding light on the final days of the doomed expedition, while revealing subtile aspects of shipboard life among the imperilled crew, and the detailed manner in which the two discovery ships were outfitted for Arctic Service.

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