Jupiter Girl's blog

Samantha Rolfe: Astronomy and Astrobiology


Twitter: @smrolfe

I am currently a PhD student working at the Open University, Milton Keynes, England. My project focuses on biomarkers on Mars, studying them with Raman spectroscopy.

I graduated from the University of Leicester in 2010 with an MPhys in Physics with Astrophysics.

I have a long-standing interest in all things Astronomy. Notably the Shoemaker-Levy collision with Jupiter in 1994, the total lunar eclipse of 1996 (I believe) and the appearance of the comet Hale-Bopp in 1997 having a strong influence in my early passion for space.

My research interests includes astrobiology, particularly focusing on the moons of the outer planets and Mars, but with other potential places such as the clouds of Venus and exoplanets being of interest too. Further research interests include white dwarf stars, stellar life cycles and the formation of solar systems. Other interests are the Jovian system as a whole, tidal forces, interior structure of the terrestrial planets, exoplanet detection and modelling and pretty much everything to deep space too, from the progress of the Voyager mission to the super structure of the Universe.

I am a keen astronomer. I am a member and previous treasurer for two years of the Open University Astronomy Club. I have an 80mm telescope that does well in my back garden, but I have also used various telescopes such as those at the University of Leicester, the George Abell facility at the Open University and the PIRATE telescope (http://pirate.open.ac.uk), which I used to complete my third year undergraduate project.

I am excited about bringing science to the masses and love to be involved in outreach projects. I am the Science Correspondent at Radio Verulam, where I bring news from the world of science, my Scientist of the Month and what to see in the night sky on the fourth Monday of the month at 17:30 (GMT or BST, time of year dependent!). I am the co-founder of the Cafe Scientifique that runs in Milton Keynes (for more info please see Cafe Sci MK website here.)

Other interests include film and television, gaming, music, dj-ing (radio mainly, but live too), writing, reading, squash, swimming, sitting, gardening, travelling, bird watching, drawing and painting.

Previous blog


Open University people profile



Radio Verulam Science Feature posts are usually a mix of information taken from the sources cited, written, to my best knowledge, in my own words. I then use these pieces as notes for the discussion during the Feature on air. As stated, though the  pieces posted here are written in my own words, they originate from sources that are not my own.

When Wikipedia is cited, this is only used as a means of ease of access to information. Information given here based on citations from Wikipedia should be used with care, Wikipedia is not a peer-reviewed source of information [citation needed].


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s