Eyes on Mars is a public engagement project that has been funded by the Royal Astronomical Society and UK Research Institute’s Science and Technology Facility Council.
Eyes on Mars was created and is run by two PhD students, Catherine Regan and Priya Patel. They are both studying at University College London’s Mullard Space Science Laboratory, and both have research interests on Mars.
As both Catherine and Priya are involved in the ExoMars mission, they are aware of the huge involvement the UK has in Mars exploration. They want to spread this awareness and get the public excited about the upcoming launch, by providing free resources to be used at home and in the classroom.
Catherine Regan was interested in space from a young age,
but as she was not in top-set science, she didn’t believe that
this was an area she would be able to go into as a career.
Having enjoyed geography and maths at school, she went on to
study BSc Environmental Geophysics at the University of East
Anglia in 2016. Catherine enjoyed studying volcanoes and
earthquakes here, and after encouragement from her supervisor
she applied her knowledge of Earth science to Mars! This
kickstarted her interest in planetary science, so she decided
to study for a MSc Planetary Science at University College
London, continuing her research on Mars. In 2020 she applied
for a PhD in planetary physics at the Mullard Space Science
Laboratory and began studying that autumn. She now works on understanding the magnetic environments of planetary induced magnetospheres, including Mars.
Priya Patel grew up Indian-British and had always been passionate about becoming a space scientist. Given the limited number of women of colour in space careers, Priya believed space science might not be for her, however, through her journey, she was able to prove this to be wrong. At school Priya enjoyed Maths and Science, and decided to pursue Physics at Imperial College London for Bachelors and space sciences and engineering at University College London for masters. Keen in being involved in designing upcoming space missions, Priya joined the European Space Agency’s technical centre in the Netherlands to work alongside the future missions office to design the upcoming gravitational waves detecting mission, LISA - Laser Interferometry and Space Antenna. With a strong interest in being involved in Mars Science, Priya then joined as a PhD student at Mullard Space Science Laboratory at UCL to study water on Mars using ExoMars and Perseverance Rover missions. Water is an essential ingredient of life and using the data from various rover and orbiter missions, she aims to study the exchange of water on Mars. As part
of the PhD, Priya is currently spending 10 months at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), contributing towards collecting and analysing data from the Perseverance Rover Mission.
As well as working on their research, Catherine and Priya are both part of the science team for PanCam, the camera designed to look for life on Mars.
Catherine Regan and Priya Patel
To get into contact with Catherine, Priya or the Eyes on Mars Team, visit our Contact Us page.