01Mar

Australian Space News Highlights (February 2021)


This month's hottest space news is definitely the NASA Perseverance rover mission. NASA recently published stunning audio and video footages from its Mars mission.

High-Resolution Still Image of Perseverance's Landing (Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)
High-Resolution Still Image of Perseverance's Landing (Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

However, did you know that there were Australians that took a big part in the Mars 2020 mission?

Australians Behind The NASA Perseverance Rover Mission

Dr Abigail Allwood, a geologist and astrobiologist at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), is the first woman and Australian to be one of the seven principal investigators chosen for the mission that just successfully touched down on Mars on the 18th of February this year.

Dr Abigail Allwood (Picture credit: The Sydney Morning Herald)
Dr Abigail Allwood (Picture credit: The Sydney Morning Herald)

The Perseverance rover’s main job is to seek signs of ancient life and collect samples of rock and regolith for a possible return to Earth.

Dr Allwood is in charge of a tool called PIXL or Planetary Instrument X-ray Lithochemistry that uses X-rays to examine the chemistry of the samples in the search for evidence of life.

Another Australian involved in this mission is Dr David Flannery who is a research scientist at NASA JPL.

Dr David Flannery (Image Credit: ABC News)
Dr David Flannery (Image Credit: ABC News)

Now based back at Queensland University of Technology (QUT), Dr Flannery‘s job on this mission is to guide the team of scientists on the mission where to go and which samples to take from Mars.

He plays a critical role in the everyday operation of the rover and the analysis of the data from various instruments that are on board.

While Dr Allwood’s team focuses on PIXL, engineers at JPL and QUT have been building software that can study the data taken from Mars.

Their plan is after the data starts flowing approximately 90 Mars days after the rover lands, the JPL and QUT team will analyse the data around the clock. So, when the US goes to sleep at the end of the operations day, Australia will pick up where they left off.

Updated Space Agreement Between Australia And India

Another update on the Australian space news this month is the amended agreement between Australia and India in the space industry.

Memorandum of Understanding between Australia and India (Image credit: Australian Space Agency LinkedIn)
Memorandum of Understanding between Australia and India (Image credit: Australian Space Agency LinkedIn)

Australian Space Agency and the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) both signed the Memorandum of Understanding that will further unlock space collaboration and create jobs.

According to Karen Andrews, the Australian Industry Minister, this new agreement will strengthen the ties between Australia and India in the space sector.

The signing establishes a significant opportunity for Australia’s role in the Gaganyaan mission, which will make India the fourth country to put humans in space.

Saber And Australian Weather Bureau Collaboration

The third news comes from Saber Astronautics.

Saber Astronautics
Saber Astronautics

Full disclosure, Saber Astronautics is an anchor stakeholder in the Wolfpack Space Hub. Dandelions works out of the premises of the Wolfpack Space Hub.

The company that was founded in 2008 is teaming up with the Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) to have real-time space weather data as part of its new Mission Control Centre.

Saber was selected last year to develop Australia’s Mission Control Centre at the Australian Space Agency Headquarters.

The Responsive Space Operations Centre will be the world’s first professional control centre to use machine learning in daily spacecraft operations.

The BOM has agreed to provide Saber with real-time space weather data that can help diagnose and predict satellite problems.

This information is crucial for RSOC customers who operate satellites because they need to keep a constant eye on their payloads and know what is happening in space.

That's a wrap for February! See you next month!

Recent posts

post

Our People: Vidisha Gosai

post

What You Could Fit In The Gyrochute: Rain Gauge Sensor

post

What You Could Fit In The Gyrochute: GPS

post

Sensors You Could Fit In The Gyrochute: Wind Speed Sensor

post

Sensors You Could Fit In The Gyrochute: Wind Direction

post

What You Could Fit In The Gyrochute: 360 Camera

post

Sensors You Could Fit In The Gyrochute: Rain Sensor

post

Sensors You Could Fit In The Gyrochute: Temperature Sensor

post

We Are Designing A New Gyrochute

post

The Daily Life Of A Dandelions Engineer: Harindi Perera

post

The Daily Life Of A Dandelions Engineer: James Truong

post

The Daily Life Of A Dandelions Engineer: Lea Molnar

post

The Daily Life Of A Dandelions Engineer: Alex Le Poer Trench

post

Are You Prepared For An Emergency? Here Are 7 Steps To Prepare Yourself

post

Attention: New iFly Test Coming Up!

post

Dandelions To Overcome Communication Challenges During A Disaster

post

DIY Project: How To Make Your Own Silicone Toy

post

The Gyrochute Series Compilation

post

We Tested Our Gyrochute At iFly

post

Gyrochute vs Copterbox

post

The Differences Between A Gyrochute And A Gyrocopter

post

How We Tested In A Vertical Wind Tunnel!

post

What Are The Differences Between A Gyrochute And A CoW

post

We Went To The 11th Australian Space Forum!

post

Gyrochute vs RC Helicopter

post

Gyrochute vs Quadrotor Drone

post

Gyrochute vs Parachute

post

Gyrochute: What You Need To Know?

post

Is There Really A Hotel In Space?

post

Australian Space News Highlights (February 2021)

post

Latest Technologies To Prevent and Fight Bushfires - February 2020

post

How To Design And Print Your Own Planetary Gearset

post

Advice For Aspiring Young Engineers

post

Interview With Dandelions Team: Harindi Perera

post

Soldering Tools Used By Professional Electrical Engineer

post

Interview With Dandelions Team: Lea Molnar

post

Pros And Cons Of Being An Electrical Engineer

post

Interview With Dandelions Team: Alexander Le Poer Trench

post

Dandelions' Founder: Brian Lim

post

Our People: Alexander Le Poer Trench

post

Our People: Harindi Perera

post

Our People: Lea Molnar

post

What is the Dandelions product vision?

post

International Fire Fighter Profiled Us!

post

Welcome To Dandelions