Professor Taylor will draw on his recent experiment in autobiography, ‘Exploring the Planets: A Memoir’ (OUP, 2016) to describe a 50-year career in space science in non-technical terms. The saga began in the early days of the first weather satellites, leading to recent studies of the climate stability not only on the Earth, but also on the other planets of the Solar System, including Venus and Mars, as well as Jupiter, Saturn, Titan, and a comet.
Professor Taylor is a Northumbrian, a Liverpudlian, a Californian, and an Oxford Don with half a century experience of devising and deploying experiments to study the Earth and the planets, moons and small bodies of the Solar System. From 1970 to 1980 he worked at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory at the California Institute of Technology, before returning to the UK where he is now Halley Professor of Physics Emeritus at the University of Oxford. He led the teams that sent the first British experiment to another planet (Venus) in 1979, and that which (accidentally) put the first British hardware on the surface of Mars in 1999.