George William Fraser

George William Fraser

22 July 1955 — 18 March 2014

Professor George Fraser Memorial Lecture

Tuesday 11th December 2018
5:30 pm

Planet Mercury and the BepiColombo mission.

Professor David Rothery, Open University

Venue: Rattray Lecture Theatre, University of Leicester.

All Welcome

This is the fifth in the series of George Fraser Memorial Lectures in memory of Professor George Fraser (Director of the Space Research Centre 2002-2014) who died suddenly and unexpectedly on 18th March 2014.

Mercury is the Solar System's smallest planet, and the closest to the Sun. It has a relatively large core, encased within about only 400 km of rocky mantle and crust. Surprisingly, this planet has turned out to be rich in volatile elements (poorly constrained, but including S, Na, K, and Cl), giving rise to suggestions that Mercury formed from material that condensed further from the Sun than it now orbits. Volatiles have contributed to the planet's dominantly volcanic geological history, may have lubricated Mercury's large thrust faults, and are still active today in fields of 'hollows' where the top 10-20m or surface material are being lost to space in patches. The Mercury Imaging X-ray Spectrometer, brain child of George Fraser, and now on its way to Mercury on board BepiColombo will map Mercury's surface distribution of both volatile and non-volatile elements in unprecedented detail.

About the Lecturer

David Rothery is Professor of Planetary Geosciences at the Open University, where he runs the level 2 planetary science course and a level 1 short course on volcanoes, earthquakes and tsunamis. A geologist by background, he has been a member of the MIXS team since 2006, and leads ESA's Mercury Surface and Composition Working Group.

The lecture is open to all, but we ask you to fill out the form below, to give us an idea of numbers, so we can provide light refreshments.

Maps are available on the University of Leicester pages.

If you have any queries, please contact Mrs. Daxa Patel (