In a new video for the European Space Agency (ESA), Design & Data created a short documentary film on the Herschel Space Observatory. The teams involved share their first-hand accounts of the mission and reflect on its legacy.

Launched in 2009, ESA’s Herschel space observatory studied the cool universe in infrared and sub-millimetre wavelengths. It investigated the formation of stars and their interaction with the interstellar medium – the matter between stars – and the chemical composition of atmospheres and surfaces of comets, planets and satellites.

Our aim with the documentary was to bring some drama and emotion to the mission. Herschel brought together hundreds of scientists and engineers from all around the world, many who have worked on the mission through much of their lives and helped to shape their career. We put our main interview partners into a dark basement room and used light from outside together with film smoke as a dramatic tool.

The video opens with Herschel Project Scientist, Prof. Göran Pilbratt (ESA) and astrochemist, Prof. Ewine van Dishoeck (Leiden Observatory) with pictures of the telescope being built, some of the image highlights from the mission and old photographs of the team. Key team members recall some of their memories and highlights. Towards the end they reflect on what Herschel means to them and its legacy.

The documentary was shown during the Herschel Week from 18-22 September 2017 and can be viewed at:

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