Meet the Team: Nick Howes

Nick Howes – Our UK Astronomer and space GuruNick Howes and Charlie Duke.

by Robert Brand
That is Nick Howes (r) in the picture at right with Charlie Duke of Apollo 16 fame (l). I first met Nick At Spacefest several years ago and we “clicked” straight away. We have been great friends since and have bumped into each other at space conferences in Tucson Ar; Pasadena Ca and London. Space is very big, but the space sector here on earth is pretty small. Hey Nick played a wicked joke while I was talking to Buzz Aldrin, with the joke being on Buzz. I realised that if nothing else we would have fun together and space was the cement. Well there is more to the relationship than jokes. We are now into the serious stuff.
Nick is Project ThunderStruck’s UK based guy with a super big knowledge of the rocks in our solar system. He is our key guy on knowing were to go and how to get there – not the navigation, but definitely the location.  When we strap an ion engine on to the rear end of ThunderStruck, Nick is the guy that is there to guide our chief Navigator. He is soon to be announced so stay tuned. Back to Nick – this is Nick’s bio:

Nick Howes:

 Nick Howes is an amateur astronomer and formerly deputy director of the Kielder Observatory, as well as a freelance science writer whose work has included the European Space Agencies Science Portal and NASA Blueshift.

A Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society, he has written for Astronomy U.S, Sky and Telescope, Popular Astronomy and many other publications and websites, including major work for the world’s largest telescope project, the Square Kilometre Array. A speaker at international conferences, he has shared the stage with Apollo astronauts, NASA MSL teams and some of the world’s leading experts in comet research as an internationally known speaker.

His images of comets and asteroids have graced the NASA home pages on multiple occasions. and have won awards and been featured by the like of National Geographic,The Times, Universe Today,, The Financial Times and Discovery Channel Science as well as multiple books and peer reviewed journals.

For 5 years, Nick was the Pro-Am Programme Manager for the twin 2-metre Faulkes Telescopes, one based in Siding Spring, Australia, where he has and is coordinating projects with the European Space Agency on their near Earth object program, ESO on massive star cluster observations and NASA’s comet observing campaigns as well as projects with the U.S based Space Science and Planetary Science Institutes monitoring a range of comets and their activity.

With the Planetary Science Institute and Space Science Institute teams Nick works on observations he makes with the 2-metre Liverpool Telescope in La Palma on cometary science relating to their morphology, and also controutes data to the Italian CARA comet research group on dust measurements for cometary bodies.

Nick has over 400 NASA ADS citations for observational work on comets and asteroids, and is in the Guinness Book of records for leading a team of UK Astronomers in creating the World’s largest image composite of the Moon taken by ground based observations.

A STEM ambassador in the UK, he has appeared on both BBC television and radio and he regularly features as the official astronomer for the BBC in the South West of England. He is also the tour leader for astronomy holidays in Africa and Oman and was technical consultant to the GEO Observatory in Andalucia, Spain.
If that is not enough for you, then I don’t know what is. Again, welcome aboard Nick and I look forward to seeing you a Spacefest next year in Tucson Arizona, USA.
Below is a photo of me with Nick Howes in 2012, when he played a wicked joke on  Buzz Aldrin atSpacefest:

Robert Brand and Nick Howes at Spacefest 2012

Robert Brand and Nick Howes at Spacefest 2012

2 comments on “Meet the Team: Nick Howes

  1. So what did Nick Write when joining as part of the Project ThunderStruck team?:

    “Seriously cool project which WILL make global headlines soon…. how many 13 year olds do you know who have remotely piloted a prototype spacecraft at close to Mach 3…!!

    One for the Aussies to really get behind and share, this is going to be epic for your nation. With Robert Brand who has a huge history and heritage in the space industry driving it forward, and some BIG names in Australian science about to come on board… watch this space!!”

    Thanks Nick. Driving the project forward in Europe and especially the UK will truly help.

  2. This from Facebook:

    Graham Ensor said That looks great Nick but what does “UK based guy with a super big knowledge of the rocks in our solar system. He is our key guy on knowing were to go and how to get there – not the navigation, but definitely the location.” mean with regard to the project…confused how that fitted in when I read the project website?

    Tira Shubart said Thrilling! and big congrats Nick

    Nick Howes: Graham, Thunderstruck is designed in one aspect as a vehicle to assist in some of the deep space missions to asteroids planned over the coming years… that’s where I come in

    Graham Ensor: Ah!…did not see that….interesting aim…must try reading more about that….what are the logistics of fueling the longer journey once the first stages of getting up to orbit and back are accomplished?

    Nick Howes: One way is ion drives (slow but steady). The projects that have the aim of drilling are missing a big trick with how they will work, and ferry their payloads back… this is one area where Thunderstruck will kick in.. Robert Brand if you want to explain more, as there may be NDA stuff which I’d rather not mention.

    Robert Brand Said: Graham, You can read lots more on the Project at:
    We explain the modular concept and the fact that one of our bodies is designed to be the smallest winged re-entry vehicle possible with today’s materials. The payload is designed to be 50Kg, but that can change with a suitable business case. We are assembling the core company right now, so if you are interested, you can get involved as a stakeholder. We have a small amount of shares for those wishing to buy in as part of our fundraising – after all, that is what shares are for.

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