Mullard Space Science Laboratory (MSSL) Trip

7 April 2017

The Mullard Space Science Laboratory (MSSL) is part of UCL, and home to its department of Space and Climate Physics.

Located in the picturesque Surrey Hills, at a site utterly unreachable by public transport, an old country house and stables is home to labs working on numerous major space missions, including Cassini, Euclid, ExoMars and Cluster. The USN organised an exclusive tour of the facility, which is not normally open to the public.

After a train to Guildford from London and a coach ride, we arrived at the site and were amazing by the stunning views out over the countryside and the wide open fields surrounding the lab, a far cry from most university Physics departments. After short talks about the history of the site and some of the space missions being operated or developed, we had the chance to look around the electronics and machine labs. Here, instruments for ExoMars, Euclid and Solar Orbiter were being worked on - it was quite incredible to see machines that would soon be launched into space. Finally, we were given a fascinating presentation on new micro-kelvin single photon detectors being worked on at UCL. To anyone considering visiting the site, I would fully recommend it as a wonderful day out!