Dr Matt Taylor, part of the team behind the ground-breaking Rosetta mission, may have been at the forefront of one of civilisation’s greatest achievements, but at home he struggles to even park his car, his family has revealed.
The physicist grabbed mainstream attention yesterday as he and his colleagues apprehensively watched to see whether their decade-long Rosetta mission would be a success.
But with his combination of sleeve tattoos and a Rockabilly hairstyle, social media was almost more interested in Dr Taylor’s rock star credentials than Rosetta - and he has since been dubbed the new Professor Brian Fox.
His body ink includes a tattoo of the Philae lander on the comet, which he got while wearing a t-shirt of the death metal band Cannibal Corpse.
Now, the 41-year-old’s sister Maxine, a project manager from Kent, has admitted that while her brother is “brilliant” he is also sometimes “useless” and lacks “common sense”.
She added that he suffers moments of indecision in daily life.
“He gets so involved in everything that sometimes common sense goes out the window - like losing the car in the car park, silly things,” she told the Evening Standard.
“If you go out with him you end up going round and round looking for a car parking space...he doesn’t want to make decisions," she added.
Dr Taylor lives in the Netherlands with his wife Leanne and their two young children Lily, 13, and Harry, 11. The pair met in sixth-form, and in the past he has described as her the most “beautiful and intelligent woman on the planet”.
And although Dr Taylor helped the Philae land successfully - a feat compared to throwing a hammer from London and hitting the head of a nail in Delhi - Leanne said: “He is terrible at following directions, and has lost cars in multistorey carparks many a time.”
In pictures: European Space Agency's Rosetta mission
In pictures: European Space Agency's Rosetta mission
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Image of Comet 67P/CG taken by the Philae lander from a distance of approximately 3km from the surface
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Rosetta's lander Philae took this parting shot of its mothership shortly after separation
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Parting shot of the Philae lander after separation, captured by one of Rosetta's cameras
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A technician celebrates after the successful landing of the Philae lander, in the control room at the ESA headquarters in Darmstadt
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Scientists celebrate at a mission observation centre in Toulouse, southern France as they receive information that Philae has landed on the Churyumov-Gerasimenko comet
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Astronomer Klim Ivanovych Churyumov, who discovered the comet 67P/ Churyumov-Gerasimenko in 1969, reacts after the successful landing of the Philae lander on the comet
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A model demonstrates how the landing device Philae, of the space probe Rosetta, stands on the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko at the press center of the satellite control center of the European Space Agency in Darmstadt, Germany
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An artist impression of Rosetta's lander Philae on the surface of comet
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Picture taken on October 28 by the navigation camera on Rosetta shows the boulder-strewn neck region of comet 67/P Churyumov-Gerasimenko. It was captured from a distance of 9.7 km from the center of the comet
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Picture taken on October 24 shows a raised plateau on the larger lobe of the comet
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The probe is supposed to fly to a comet and put down a small laboratory on the top of it
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A scientist from the European Space Agency with an airworthy copy of space probe 'Rosetta' in the control center in Darmstadt, Germany
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Maneuvers designed for the actual space probe are simulated with the replica. 'Rosetta' will be woken up from an energy saving hibernation after 957 days
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A European Space Agency employee sits in the control room for the Rosetta mission in Darmstadt, Germany
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Scientists at the European Space Agency are expecting their comet-chasing probe Rosetta to wake from almost three years of hibernation
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Europe's Rosetta probe on a NASA mission
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NASA is participating in the European Space Agency's Rosetta mission, whose goal is to observe one such space-bound icy dirt ball from up close for months on end
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An impression of the Philae lander
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ESA probe Rosetta with Mars in the background. The three-tonne probe blasted off aboard an an Ariane V rocket from Kourou, French Guiana in 2004
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Rosetta orbiter deploying the Philae lander to comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko, the spacecraft measures 32 m across including the solar arrays, while the comet nucleus is thought to be about 4 km wide
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The spacecraft, festooned with 25 instruments between its lander and orbiter (including three from NASA), is programmed to 'wake up' from hibernation
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An Ariane V carrying the three-tonne probe Rosetta blasting off from Kourou, beginning a decade-long quest to hunt a comet in the depths of the Solar System and shadow it around the Sun in a bid to tease out secrets of how life began on Earth
But Maxine said that the entire family, from their bricklayer father, Graham, 68, and mother Christine, 69, were “immensely proud” of his acheivements.
Dr Taylor graduated with a degree in Physics from Liverpool University, before completing his PhD at Imperial College London.
Before landing the job on the Rosetta mission last year, he was studying the Aurora Borealis, or northern lights.
But despite his world-changing proportions achievements, the scientist is not phased by the media attention he has attracted, and merely wants to return to his family.
Writing on Twitter today, his daughter Lily said: “Dad! You’re famous! Haha how are you doing? Xx.”
He replied simply: “Just want to come home n see you lot xxxx.”Reuse content