Tuesday, March 29, 2011

2010 VSSEC-NASA Australian Space Prize Winner Announced

The following article is reproduced from the VSSEC Press Release - for more information on the prize and the VSSEC - head to their website http://www.vssec.vic.edu.au/

NASA has announced the winner of the 2010 VSSEC-NASA Australian Space Prize. Emily Bathgate from the University of Technology Sydney will spend 10 weeks working at NASA Ames Research Center as part of the NASA Academy program. She will work on a current NASA project under the direction of a Principal Investigator, meet leading NASA scientists and engineers, and visit cutting edge research facilities such as JPL (Jet Propulsion Laboratory), Virgin Galactic, SpaceX and Kennedy Space Center.

“I am extremely grateful and humbled by this amazing opportunity to be involved in the NASA mission by attending the Ames Academy. The opportunity to work with leaders in my field on a current NASA project will be an amazing experience I will never forget” said Emily.

Emily is looking for geological evidence on the Planet Mars of the presence of ice sheets and the possibility of an ancient ocean. Her work contributes to the further exploration of Mars and at the NASA Academy she will have the opportunity to collaborate with leaders in this field.

The Geology and Planetary Geology category of the space prize was supported by the Geological Society of Australia: Specialist Group in Planetary Geoscience. “We are delighted to support young Australian geoscientists and to encourage them in the pursuit of their aspirations. Emily’s Honours work is an outstanding example of the quality of the planetary geoscience research carried out in Australian universities by Australian students and their supervisors, and of the wealth of information and knowledge of planetary geology provided by data collected by NASA missions. ” (Dr Graziella Caprarelli, Chair: Specialist Group in Planetary Geoscience).

The Prize was established to promote quality space related research in Australia and raise awareness of study and career opportunities for students. The winner of the 2009 VSSEC-NASA Australian Space Prize, Elizabeth Blaber, has continued her work with NASA and developed an ongoing collaboration between UNSW School of Biological Sciences and NASA Ames. Elizabeth was invited to return to the US in late 2010 and is back at Ames doing more work on the STS-133 Mouse Immunology II experiment after being part of the post-flight recovery team at Kennedy Space Center.

Emily will work with the Victorian Space Science Education Centre to share her NASA experience with secondary students and teachers to inspire Australia’s future scientists and engineers.

Space Boomerang: Congratulations Emily! It sounds like the opportunity of a lifetime.

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