The exploration of Jupiter, Pluto and Mars will headline Australia’s annual gathering of space researchers and scientists in Melbourne next week.
Experts from across Australia and around the world will gather at RMIT from Monday (26 September) to Wednesday for the 16th Australian Space Research Conference.
Professor Frances Bagenal from the University of Colorado will focus on the exploration of Pluto and Jupiter. Bagenal is a science team member of the Deep Space 1 mission and team leader of the plasma investigations on the New Horizons mission to Pluto and the Juno mission to Jupiter.
Professor Kathleen Campbell from the University of Auckland will talk on the astrobiology of hot springs on early Earth and Mars, while Dr Eriita Jones (University of South Australia) will discuss methodologies for finding subsurface water on Mars and other planets, alongside almost 150 other speakers.
There are two forums associated with the conference that are open to the public:
- Saturday 24 September: Astrobiologist Associate Professor Jonti Horner from the University of Southern Queensland will talk about life beyond our solar system. Venue: Planetarium at Scienceworks in Spotswood. Time: 7.30pm. Price: $30-35 includes wine and cheese. Booking recommended.
- Wednesday 28 September: RMIT engineering graduate Dr James Waldie will discuss the ins and outs of the next generation of spacesuits. Venue: RMIT’s Storey Hall on Swanston Street in the city. Time: 6.30pm. Price: Free. Booking required.
Professor Iver Cairns from the University of Sydney will present on cubesats (miniature, customisable satellites), including the INSPIRE-2 mission that will see 50 cubesats launched from the International Space Station later this year.
RMIT researchers and postgraduate students from the Satellite Positioning for Atmosphere, Climate and Environment (SPACE) research centre will be showcasing their research on satellite and space debris orbits and keeping space clean for future use.
The conference will also cover a broad range of other topics, including space and atmospheric physics, planetary science, indigenous sky knowledge, remote sensing, global navigation satellite systems (GNSS), human factors in space travel, space business and entrepreneurship and space engineering.
Professor Kefei Zhang, who heads the SPACE research centre, said RMIT was well placed to host the conference.
“RMIT’s expertise covers a broad spectrum of space science, space technology, geomatics, remote sensing, engineering, material and atmospheric sciences, physics, communication, instrumentation and satellite navigation.
“It’s exciting to have this gathering of local space research talent under our roof. It’s a great opportunity for RMIT to continuing to play a leading role in shaping Australia’s future in space activities.”
For interviews: Professor Kefei Zhang, (03) 9925 3272 or 0408 592 891.
For general media enquiries: David Glanz, (03) 9925 2807 or 0438 547 723.