John’s work has provided the space science community with entirely new information about this far out area of the cosmos, and the discovery of the effects of water on this ancient comet is helping to change our understanding of the early solar system. But the research doesn’t stop there; John’s next step is to study meteorites – fragments of Mars or an asteroid that have fallen to Earth. This will provide new perspectives on the evolution of asteroids and the planets.
John highlights why he’s so keen to expand his research: “There’s just so much more left to discover, and the technology is now there to help us push forward with space science. We really need Diamond for this sort of work; the intense beams allow us to see far more in our samples than we otherwise could. Sample return missions from a comet, an asteroid, and in future years from more asteroids, Phobos, the Moon, and ultimately Mars mean that Diamond can have a crucial role in this field of scientific exploration. And that’s why this field is so exciting; because it really is the case that the more we look, the more we’ll find.”
When it comes to space science, the research will never be finished. Each breakthrough inches us towards a greater understanding of the cosmos, but it also opens up new questions and avenues for enquiry. We still only understand an infinitesimal portion of the world around us, but from a scientist’s perspective that’s no bad thing; after all, the universe could be infinite, but that also means that the possibilities for exploration are endless.