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Fellows Directory

Michele Dougherty

Michele Dougherty

Professor Michele Dougherty CBE FRS

Fellow


Elected: 2012

Biography

Michele Dougherty is a space physicist who is leading unmanned exploratory missions to Saturn and Jupiter. Amongst other important findings, her work led to the discovery of an atmosphere containing water and hydrocarbons around Saturn’s moon Enceladus — opening up new possibilities in the search for life.

Michele is principal investigator for the magnetometer (MAG) instrument onboard the Cassini spacecraft on its mission to explore Saturn and its neighbourhood. She and her team measured the level and direction of magnetic materials from the atmosphere of Saturn and the moons visited by Cassini. Michele’s innovative use of magnetic field data has therefore had an enormous impact on our understanding of the moons in our Solar System.

Michele was the lead investigator for the European Space Agency’s JUICE spacecraft, scheduled to go into orbit around Jupiter’s largest moon, Ganymede, in 2032, and was recently selected as Principal Investigator for its magnetometer. She received the Royal Society’s 2008 Hughes Medal and a prestigious Research Professorship in 2014, which enables her to focus on her research throughout this important space mission.

Interest and expertise

Subject groups

  • Astronomy and physics
    • Planetary science (Astronomy and Physics)
  • Engineering
    • Instrumentation

Keywords

Jupiter, Saturn

Awards

  • Hughes Medal

    For innovative use of magnetic field data that led to discovery of an atmosphere around one of Saturn's moons and the way it revolutionised our view of the role of planetary moons in the Solar System.

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