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Dr Manish Patel

Profile summary

  • Central Academic Staff
  • Senior Lecturer
  • Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics
  • School of Physical Sciences
  • manish.patel

Professional biography

2015 - :  Senior Lecturer (Research) in Planetary Sciences

2011 - 2015:  Lecturer in Planetary Sciences

2008 - 2011:  UK Space Agency Aurora Fellow, PSSRI, The Open University.

2004-2008:  Research Fellow, PSSRI, The Open University.

2003-2004:  Beagle 2 Operations Research Assistant.

Research interests

  • Design of Optical Instrumentation for Planetary Investigations (ExoMars TGO UVIS, ExoMars lander UVIS/AEP, Beagle 2 ESS and UV sensors).
  • Co-PI of the NOMAD instrument on the ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter 2016 mission
  • Science Co-I on the ACS, AMELIA and DREAMS instruments on ExoMars TGO
  • Co-I on the PanCam instrument on the ExoMars Rover
  • Co-I for the JANUS instrument on JUICE
  • Co-I on the SSP insturment in the Cassini-Huygens mission and the ESS instrument on Beagle 2
  • Astrobiological investigation of planetary environments.
  • Radiative transfer modelling of UV and visible light through planetary atmospheres.
  • Opacity studies of dust storms and dust devils.
  • Environmental simulation of planetary/icy body surface environments.
  • Hypervelocity impact investigations within the solar system. 
  • President of the Astrobiology Society of Britain


Teaching interests

S283 - Planetary science and the search for life

Research Activity

Research groups

NameTypeParent Unit
Centre for Earth, Planetary, Space and Astronomical Research (CEPSAR)CentreFaculty of Science


Externally funded projects

ExoMars TGO: CaSSIS operations

RoleStart dateEnd dateFunding source
Lead01/Nov/201731/Oct/2018UKSA UK Space Agency
Operations tasks for the CaSSIS instrument on the ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter, providing Co-I status on a spaceflight instrument.

Characterizing the Martian water cycle by assimilating ExoMars 2016 Trace Gas Orbiter data

RoleStart dateEnd dateFunding source
Co-investigator01/Oct/201730/Sep/2020UKSA UK Space Agency
This proposal aims to exploit data from the NOMAD instrument aboard the ExoMars 2016 Trace Gas Orbiter. This will be achieved through a combination of computer modelling (on both global and local scales) as well as the assimilation of NOMAD data into these models.

NOMAD PLS Additional Support

RoleStart dateEnd dateFunding source
Lead01/Sep/201731/Mar/2018UKSA UK Space Agency
Additional funding to support NOMAD PLS activities to 31/03/2018

Support for the 7th Astrobiology Society of Britain Conference (ASB7)

RoleStart dateEnd dateFunding source
Co-investigator01/Sep/201631/Oct/2017Royal Astronomical Society (RAS)
The Astrobiology Society of Britain (ASB, is a learned society for those interested in the relationship between life and its cosmic environment, with the remit to build capacity in the UK astrobiology community. Since the inception of the Society, a series of biennial conferences have been organised to achieve this aim. The next ASB conference will take place in 2017, and will coincide with the start of the ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO) mission to Mars. We seek support to host the next ASB conference at The Open University, with the intention of using the TGO mission as a central theme, highlighting the leading role the UK plays in this mission in order to encourage and inspire new research and collaborations around astrobiology-related themes. TGO will enter the orbit of Mars in October 2016. One of the scientific objectives of the payload is to search for signs of past and present life on Mars, which is fundamental to the field of Astrobiology. The next ASB conference is planned to take place when TGO is nearing the start of its science operations (following a long period of aerobraking). The ASB conference will be an ideal environment for UK scientists involved in the mission to showcase their work and excite the next generation of scientists. It will also ensure that new novel data will be presented, which will have implications on our understanding of potential life on Mars. The conference is an opportunity to bring UK researchers together from a range of disparate discipline, and will allow students and post-doctoral researchers to hear about new ground breaking research in Astrobiology and develop their own networks. Astrobiology is a multidisciplinary research area that brings together diverse fields of science for example, microbiology and physics. This highlights how important the conference is for developing networks within the UK. ASB 7 will be held at The Open University in September 2017. Key themes for the conference will include the ExoMars TGO mission, future exploration of icy moons and life in extreme environments.

Modelling and retrieval of martian dust, ice and ozone from ExoMars NOMAD data

RoleStart dateEnd dateFunding source
Lead01/Sep/201631/Aug/2020UKSA UK Space Agency
ExoMars TGO Science proposal

NOMAD Post-Launch Support

RoleStart dateEnd dateFunding source
Lead01/Mar/201631/Mar/2018UKSA UK Space Agency
Post-launch support for the NOMAD instrument on the ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter mission.

SterLim Phase 2

RoleStart dateEnd dateFunding source
Lead01/Oct/201530/Jun/2017ESA (European Space Agency)
SterLim: Sterilisation limits for sample return planetary protection measures


RoleStart dateEnd dateFunding source
Co-investigator01/Jun/201531/May/2019EC (European Commission): FP(inc.Horizon2020, H2020, ERC)
The Europlanet 2020 Research Infrastructure (EPN2020-RI) will address key scientific and technological challenges facing modern planetary science by providing open access to state-of-the-art research data, models and facilities across the European Research Area. Its Transnational Access activities will provide access to realistic analogue field sites for Mars, Europa and Titan, and world-leading laboratory facilities that simulate conditions found on planetary bodies. Its two Virtual Access activities will make available the diverse datasets and visualisation tools needed for comparing and understanding planetary environments in the Solar System and beyond. By providing the underpinning facilities that European planetary scientists need to conduct their research, EPN2020-RI will create cooperation and effective synergies between its different components: space exploration, ground-based observations, laboratory and field experiments, numerical modelling, and technology. EPN2020-RI builds on the foundations of the previous FP6 and FP7 Europlanet programmes that established the ‘Europlanet brand’ and organised structures that will be used in the Networking Activities of EPN2020-RI to coordinate the European planetary science community’s research. Furthermore, it will disseminate its results to a wide range of stakeholders including ERA industry, policy makers and, crucially,both the wider public and the next generation of researchers and opinion formers, now in education. As an Advanced Infrastructure we place particular emphasis on widening the participation of previously under-represented research communities and stakeholders. We aim to include new countries and Inclusiveness Member States, via workshops, team meetings, and personnel exchanges, to improve the scientific and innovation impact of the infrastructure. EPN2020-RI will therefore build a truly pan-European community that shares common goals, facilities, personnel, data and IP across national boundaries.

Extension And Validation Of Mars Atmospheric And Dust Models EXTENSION (SP-12-040-SL)

RoleStart dateEnd dateFunding source
Co-investigator01/Sep/201431/Mar/2015ESA (European Space Agency)
Development of Mars global atmospheric and surface models and a software interface to make their output more easily accessible for mission planning and engineering tasks.

NOMAD-UVIS PFM electronics for ExoMars TGO

RoleStart dateEnd dateFunding source
Lead01/May/201401/Oct/2016ESA (European Space Agency)
PFM electronics development and build for the NOMAD UVIS instrument on ExoMars

Astronomy and Planetary Sciences at the Open University

RoleStart dateEnd dateFunding source
Co-investigator01/Apr/201431/Mar/2017STFC Science & Technology Facilities Council
The aim of our programme in Astronomy & Planetary Science at the Open University (APSOU) is to carryout detailed investigations of the origin and evolution of galaxies, stars and planets with a special emphasis on our own Solar System through a combination of observation, simulation, laboratory analysis and theoretical modelling. Our research is divided into two broad areas, reflecting the historical research strengths. This research programme is well-matched to both nationally- and internationally-agreed research imperatives. In its final report, A Science Vision for European Astronomy2, Astronet’s Science Working Group identified four broad areas of strategic importance; our research covers major topics within each of these areas. APSOU projects also map onto two of the four Science Challenges that form STFC’s Road Map3 for science (‘How did the universe begin and how is it evolving?’ and ‘How do stars and planetary systems develop and is life unique to our planet?’). The present APSOU programme comprises 20 projects (labelled A to T), of which 6 are for consideration by the Astronomy Observation (AO) panel, 1 for Astronomy Theory (AT), and 13 for the Planetary Studies (PL) panel. The AO projects cover the breadth of the 7 themes recognised as UK strengths in the report of STFC’s Astronomy Advisory Panel (AAP), whilst the 13 PL projects are directed towards answering questions raised in two of the three themes identified as UK strengths in the roadmap of STFC’s Solar System Advisory Panel (SSAP)4.

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