It was with great sadness that we learnt of the death of Prof. Dave Barnes, Head of Space Robotics at Aberystwyth University on 25 July.
He was a central figure in the UK’s Mars exploration programme over a number of years and instrumental in taking forward the UK ambitions in space robotics. He was responsible for the Beagle 2 Lander robot arm calibration, software modelling, simulation, and visualization and took this expertise into the European Mars Rover mission, ExoMars. Here Dave was a Co-Investigator on the Panoramic Camera (PanCam) science instrument, working on modelling, simulation, image data processing and science data visualisation.
In addition to his acknowledged scientific expertise, Dave played a key role in developing the UK’s strategy for involvement in Mars, being on the Aurora Advisory Committee from 2005 until 2012. Importantly he ensured that the UK space programme benefitted from advances in computer sciences and conversely fed back space research into applications on Earth. Dave was also a founding member of the UK Space and Planetary Robotics Network and was a member of the UK STFC Particle Physics, Astronomy and Nuclear Physics Science Committee (PPAN). His boundless enthusiasm and bubbly personality will be sorely missed.