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Dr Ben Rozitis

Professional biography

March 2016 to Present, RAS Research Fellow, The Open University, UK - Conducting a project entitled "Probing Solar System Processes Using Extreme Asteroids"

May 2015 to February 2016, PDRA, The Open University, UK

January 2014 to April 2015, PDRA Planetary Remote Sensing, University of Tennesse, USA

January 2011 to December 2013, PDRA Planetary Thermal Modelling, The Open University, UK

Research interests

My research focuses on the physical and dynamical characterisation of atmosphereless planetary surfaces (e.g. the Moon) and small Solar System bodies (e.g. asteroids and comets) through analysis of ground- and space-based observations, spacecraft data, computer modelling, and microgravity experiments.

External collaborations

I am a collaborator for NASA's OSIRIS-REx asteroid sample return mission, and have developed the asteroid thermal model to be utilised by the mission.

Research Activity

Externally funded projects

60 Second Adventures in Microgravity

RoleStart dateEnd dateFunding source
Co-investigator01/Nov/201531/Mar/2016UKSA UK Space Agency
What is microgravity? Why do scientists use it? Our overarching aim is to produce a series of short, humorous and factual videos, called "60 Second Adventures in Microgravity", aimed at a broad audience of children and adults, to enable them to understand why the UK is involved in microgravity research, what UK scientists do in microgravity research, and how this work benefits our everyday lives. The proposal is based on the OU 60 seconds series, produced by applicant Catherine Chambers, which has covered a number of subject areas. The series started with series of outstandingly successful animated short-form videos for the web - on the history of English, narrated by Clive Anderson, e.g. (600,000 hits on YouTube). This was followed by Sixty Second Adventures in Thought (see stills in additional material), narrated by the comedian David Mitchell, covering philosophical topics (see e.g., over 30,000 hits in just one month). Theseave more than three million views in total to date. More recently, this was extended to astronomy, planetary science and particle physics, again narrated by David Mitchell and funded by STFC. This work will build on this successful formula to generate a novel Sixty Second Adventures in Microgravity, promoting the interests of UKSA and the UK ELIPS scientific community to the general public. The remaining 3 applicants BR, SG and HJF all are involved in current ELIPS research projects. We propose to produce 4 episodes; Microgravity - what is it?: This first video will aim to explain to the audience, what microgravity is - starting from a sketch of the Earth with a cable going to a big switch, and flicking the switch (to switch gravity off) which makes everybody / everything float away. Obviously we cannot turn gravity off, but we need to recreate conditions of "free-fall" so that from the frame of reference within the "microgravity" environment can be recreated. The video will explain the ways we can do this, focusing on ground-based microgravity platforms. Parabolic Flights: fancy getting sick whilst doing your science? Hurtling towards the Earth in an aeroplane? That's what OU scientists do...How do we build planets? Scientists don't know, but they test how the building blocks of Solar systems form by having a great big, slow-motion snowball fight - OK not really - but they use microgravity platforms to collide ice particles with each other. These ELIPS based experiments show that "traffic jam" effects are more important in planet-forming disks than collisions themselves. This will be the one video based on existing OU expertise in ELIPS research. Understanding the aging population: Bed-rest is another way to exploit the "microgravity environment". Imagine sleeping almost upside down for 6 months and being paid for it... luxury - but why do scientists want people to do that? With an ever aging population, issues of poor blood circulation, osteoporosis and muscle wasting are important to understand so that we can maintain the health and wellbeing of the older generation (as well as medical rehabilitation patients e.g. long-term injury patients such as car-crash victims or members of the armed services). Cell Biology: Space might not be the first place to think about biology - given that it's a vast empty expanse of vacuum, and it's still not clear where life originates. But microgravity research shows us cells are pretty clever - they realise in microgravity there isn't an up or down, they change on a molecular level to adapt to the microgravity environment. The basic signalling systems in cell biology are the same systems that result in muscle degradation and cell changes in microgravity environments. And when one tests the resilience of microbes to the space environments - only those with certain genes and protein sequences survive...a kind of survival of the space fittest? And a clue where we come from? Perhaps.

Probing solar system process using extreme asteroids

RoleStart dateEnd dateFunding source
Lead01/Oct/201530/Sep/2018Royal Astronomical Society (RAS)
This is a bid by Ben Rozitis (currently a visiting Researcher and due to return to the OU next year as a named postdoc on the DPS consolidated grant (Project T)). Forms entered by Simon Green as academic contact at the OU. The proposed fellowship project is a theoretical and observational study of Unusual near-Earth Asteroids (similar to the proposed ERF case that was not shortlisted for the OU quota).


The surface roughness of (433) Eros as measured by thermal-infrared beaming (2017-01-01)
Rozitis, B.
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 464(1) (pp. 915-923)
THERMAP: a mid-infrared spectro-imager for space missions to small bodies in the inner solar system (2016)
Groussin, O.; Licandro, J.; Helbert, J.; Reynaud, J. L.; Levacher, P.; Reyes García-Talavera, M.; Alí-Lagoa, V.; Blanc, P. E.; Brageot, E.; Davidsson, B.; Delbó, M.; Deleuze, M.; Delsanti, A.; Diaz Garcia, J. J.; Dohlen, K.; Ferrand, D.; Green, S. F.; Jorda, L.; Joven Álvarez, E.; Knollenberg, J.; Kührt, E.; Lamy, P.; Lellouch, E.; Le Merrer, J.; Marty, B.; Mas, G.; Rossin, C.; Rozitis, B.; Sunshine, J.; Vernazza, P. and Vives, S.
Experimental Astronomy, 41 (pp. 95-115)
Spectral slope variations for OSIRIS-REx target Asteroid (101955) Bennu: Possible evidence for a fine-grained regolith equatorial ridge (2015-08)
Binzel, Richard P.; DeMeo, Francesca E.; Burt, Brian J.; Cloutis, Edward A.; Rozitis, Ben; Burbine, Thomas H.; Campins, Humberto; Clark, Beth E.; Emery, Joshua P.; Hergenrother, Carl W.; Howell, Ellen S.; Lauretta, Dante S.; Nolan, Michael C.; Mansfield, Megan; Pietrasz, Valerie; Polishook, David and Scheeres, Daniel J.
Icarus, 256 (pp. 22-29)
Are thermophilic microorganisms active in cold? (2015-07)
Cockell, Charles S.; Cousins , Claire; Wilkinson, Paul T.; Olsson-Francis, Karen and Rozitis, Ben
International Journal of Astrobiology, 14(3) (pp. 457-463)
Cohesive forces prevent the rotational breakup of rubble-pile asteroid (29075) 1950 DA (2014-08-13)
Rozitis, Ben; MacLennan, Eric and Emery, Joshua P.
Nature, 512, Article 13632(7513)
Physical characterisation of near-Earth asteroid (1620) Geographos: reconciling radar and thermal-infrared observations (2014-08)
Rozitis, B. and Green, S. F.
Astronomy & Astrophysics, 568, Article A43
Orbit and bulk density of the OSIRIS-REx target Asteroid (101955) Bennu (2014-06)
Chesley, Steven R.; Farnocchia, Davide; Nolan, Michael C.; Vokrouhlicky, David; Chodas, Paul W.; Milani, Andrea; Spoto, Federica; Rozitis, Benjamin; Benner, Lance A. M.; Bottke, William F.; Busch, Michael W.; Emery, Joshua P.; Howell, Ellen S.; Lauretta, Dante S.; Margot, Jean-Luc and Taylor, Patrick A.
Icarus, 235 (pp. 5-22)
The internal structure of asteroid (25143) Itokawa as revealed by detection of YORP spin-up (2014)
Lowry, S. C.; Weissman, P. R.; Duddy, S. R.; Rozitis, B.; Fitzsimmons, A.; Green, S.; Hicks, M. D.; Snodgrass, C.; Wolters, S. D.; Chesley, S. R.; Pittichová, J. and van Oers, P.
Astronomy & Astrophysics, 562, Article A48
Granular shear flow in varying gravitational environments (2013-04-01)
Murdoch, N.; Rozitis, B.; Green, S. F.; de Lophem, T. -L.; Michel, P. and Losert, W.
Granular Matter, 15(2) (pp. 129-137)
The strength and detectability of the YORP effect in near-Earth asteroids: a statistical approach (2013-04-01)
Rozitis, Benjamin and Green, Simon
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 430(2) (pp. 1376-1389)
Spectroscopic observations of unbound asteroid pairs using the WHT (2013-02-11)
Duddy, S. R.; Lowry, S. C.; Christou, A.; Wolters, S. D.; Rozitis, B.; Green, S. F. and Weissman, P. R.
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 429(1) (pp. 63-74)
Granular convection in microgravity (2013-01)
Murdoch, N.; Rozitis, B.; Nordstrom, K.; Green, S. F.; Michel, P.; de Lophem, T.-L. and Losert, W.
Physical Review Letters, 110, Article 18307(1)
Simulating regoliths in microgravity (2013)
Murdoch, N.; Rozitis, B.; Green, S. F.; Michel, P.; de Lophem, T.- L. and Losert, W.
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 433 (pp. 506-514)
The influence of global self-heating on the Yarkovsky and YORP effects (2013)
Rozitis, B. and Green, S. F.
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 433 (pp. 603-621)
A thermophysical analysis of the (1862) Apollo Yarkovsky and YORP effects (2013)
Rozitis, B.; Duddy, S. R.; Green, S. and Lowry, S. C.
Astronomy & Astrophysics, 555, Article A20
The nucleus of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko: a new shape model and thermophysical analysis (2012-12)
Lowry, S.; Duddy, S. R.; Rozitis, B.; Green, S. F.; Fitzsimmons, A.; Snodgrass, C.; Hsieh, H. H. and Hainaut, O.
Astronomy & Astrophysics, 548, Article A12
The influence of rough surface thermal-infrared beaming on the Yarkovsky and YORP effects (2012-06)
Rozitis, B. and Green, S. F.
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 423(1) (pp. 367-388)
Physical and dynamical characterisation of the unbound asteroid pair 7343-154634 (2012-02-22)
Duddy, S. R.; Lowry, S. C.; Wolters, S. D.; Christou, A.; Weissman, P.; Green, S. F. and Rozitis, B.
Astronomy & Astrophysics, 539, Article A36
Physical characterization of low delta-V asteroid (175706) 1996 FG3 (2011-12)
Wolters, Stephen D.; Rozitis, Ben; Duddy, Samuel R.; Lowry, Stephen C.; Green, Simon F.; Snodgrass, Colin; Hainaut, Olivier R. and Weissman, Paul
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 418(2) (pp. 1246-1257)
Directional characteristics of thermal-infrared beaming from atmosphereless planetary surfaces - a new thermophysical model (2011)
Rozitis, B. and Green, S. F.
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 415(3) (pp. 2042-2062)
Asteroid thermophysical modeling (2015-12-31)
Delbo, Marco; Mueller, Michael; Emery, Joshua P.; Rozitis, Ben and Capria, Maria Teresa
In: Michel, Patrick; DeMeo, Francesca E. and Bottke, Jr., William F. eds. Asteroids IV (pp. 107-128)
ISBN : 978-0-8165-3213-1 | Publisher : The University of Arizona Press | Published : Tucson, AZ
Astex microgravity experiment: simulated asteroid regoliths (2009)
Rozitis, Ben; Murdoch, Naomi; Green, Simon F.; de Lophem, Thomas-Louis and Michel, Patrick
In : 60th International Astronautical Congress (12-16 October 2009, Daejeon, S. Korea)

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