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Professor Lucy Berthoud - University of Bristol. Bristol, , GB

Professor Lucy Berthoud Professor Lucy Berthoud

Professor of Space Systems Engineering | University of Bristol


Space exploration, space missions, interplanetary spacecraft, living on Mars and observing the Earth

Areas of Expertise (7)

Engineering Education





Space Engineering



Professor Lucy Berthoud researches technology for travelling to and living on the planet Mars, as well as sample return missions to planets, comets and asteroids. She teaches spacecraft design at the University of Bristol. She is a co-chair of the Space Universities Network which brings together University teachers and researchers from across the country to share ideas, case studies, guest speakers to enhance University space education. As well as her University post, Professor Berthoud works part-time for the UK Spacecraft manufacturer Thales Alenia Space, where she works on future space mission concepts. She has presented a TEDx talk on Life on Mars and been chosen by students as one of the ‘Best of Bristol’ lecturers. She was awarded a National Teaching Fellowship in 2019.

Professor Berthoud is also advancing the excellence of space education in the UK. She has set up and co-chairs a UK-wide Teaching and Learning network for Space Engineering and Science HE staff: the Space Universities Network (SUN). SUN brings together University teachers and researchers from across the country to share ideas and enhance student space education. This organisation has a national profile and allows Universities to share ideas, case studies, guest speakers and other resources. Together, members have prepared a response to government questions on Brexit, consulted with industry to see what skills are sought from graduates and lobbied satellite licensing authorities for better terms for universities. Professor Berthoud believes that by pooling resources and working together, UK universities can help their students reach for the stars.






Is there life on Mars? | Lucy Berthoud | TEDxUniversityofBristol



Accomplishments (3)

National Teaching Fellowship


Nominated by students for Outstanding Teaching Award Engineering


Voted by students ‘Best of Bristol’ lecturer


Education (2)

ISAE Toulouse: Ph.D., Space Physics 1993

University of Bristol: M.Eng., Mechanical Engineering 1990

Media Appearances (5)

Elon Musk wants to get to Mars with this behemoth rocket

CNN Business  tv


SpaceX says Starship is the most powerful rocket ever built. Here's everything you need to know about the vehicle Elon Musk plans to use to set up a self-sustaining city on Mars.

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Prof Lucy Berthoud on the Perseverance Mission to Mars

NewsPoint 360  tv


Why is the exploration of Mars a priority for space agencies around the world and what makes this mission a game changer? Prof Lucy Berthoud teaches spacecraft design as Professor of Space Systems Engineering at the University of Bristol. She shares her expertise and her research into technology for travelling to, and living on the planet Mars.

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Stellar view? Space hotels race to offer tourists a room in the sky

Reuters  online


Yet that could take time to become a reality, said Lucy Berthoud, a space engineering professor at Britain’s University of Bristol. “The launch cost is the bottleneck for anyone who is doing this kind of enterprise,” she said.

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Martian house on Bristol's harbourside given green light

BBC  tv


The architects behind the British Antarctic Survey station have been given planning permission to build a full-scale "Martian" house in Bristol.

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Satellite lab opens at University of Bristol

Bristol 24/7  


The University of Bristol has become the first in the region to have a satellite lab and ground station, allowing students in the department of engineering hands-on access to the cutting-edge tools used for space exploration.

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Articles (5)

The long and winding road: MBSE adoption for functional avionics of spacecraft

Journal of Systems and Software

2020 Model-Based Systems Engineering (MBSE) represents a move away from the traditional approach of Document-Based Systems Engineering (DBSE). It is claimed that MBSE promotes consistency, communication, clarity and maintainability within systems engineering projects and addresses issues associated with cost, complexity and safety.

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Using visualisations to develop skills in astrodynamics

European Journal of Engineering Education

Lucinda Berthoud, Jonathan Walsh


Learning about the geometry and kinematics of bodies and their trajectories through space (or ‘astrodynamics’) is challenging due to its three-dimensional nature. To address this, the University of Bristol have developed simulation exercises for students based on a constructivist learning approach and variation learning theory.

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Measurement of three dimensional volcanic plume properties using multiple ground based infrared cameras

Journal ISPRS Journal of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing

Kieran Wood, Helen Thomas, Matthew Watson, Andrew Calway, Tom Richardson, Kerstin Stebel, Ailsa Naismith, Lucy Berthoud, Josh Lucas


This study presents a method and a proof of principle system for the direct measurement of volcanic plume 3-D spatial properties. The shape of a plume is reconstructed in three dimensions using multi-view imagery collected from static ground-based cameras. The method was developed using data collected during an expedition to Volcán de Fuego in Guatemala, where four thermal infrared cameras were deployed to capture simultaneous images of the regular ash-rich eruptions.

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EURO-CARES - A European Sample Curation Facility for Sample Return Missions

Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)

Sara S. Russell, Caroline Smith, Aurore Hutzler, Andrea Meneghin, Lucy Berthoud


EURO-CARES (European Curation of Astromaterials Returned from the Exploration of Space) was a three-year multinational project (2015-2017) funded by the European Commission's Horizon 2020 research programme. The objective of EURO-CARES was to create a roadmap for the implementation of a European Extra-terrestrial Sample Curation Facility (ESCF).

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University CubeSat Project Management for Success

33rd Annual AIAA/USUConference on Small Satellites SSC19-WKIII-07

Lucy Berthoud, Michael Swartwout, James Cutler, David Klumpar, Jesper Larsen, Jens Dalsgaard Nielsen


CubeSats have been developed by many different institutions since they were introduced by California Polytechnic State University and Stanford University in 1999. Given the 40% failure rate of university missions, it is important to discover what project arrangements may give the CubeSat the best chance of success. The aim of this paper is to offer those wishing to start a CubeSat program some indications of what successful project management at a university may look like.

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