3 July 2023

ANU to host ‘From Stars to Sustainability’ forum to highlight space-based technologies

| Andrew McLaughlin
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NASA satellite image

A satellite image of the 2019/20 bushfires along the NSW coast, covering the Shoalhaven, Illawarra, Sydney, Blue Mountains, Central Coast and Hunter regions. Photo: NASA.

The Australian National University’s Office of Research and Innovation Services will next week host a panel discussion exploring the intersection of space innovation and sustainability on Earth.

‘From Stars to Sustainability: Exploring Space Innovation’s Power to Transform Life on Earth’ forms part of Uncharted Territory, Canberra’s new arts and innovation festival celebrating creativity, experimentation and ground-breaking ideas across a range of fields.

The event on Tuesday, 11 July will feature researchers discussing how space technologies can play a role in supporting our future on the planet. Hosted and facilitated by Region‘s Genevieve Jacobs, the panel of experts will include:

  • Associate Professor Caitlin Byrt, a mission specialist for InSpace at ANU and co-founder of local start-up Membrane Transporter Engineers. Her research includes water filtration devices that can be used in space exploration.
  • Professor Paul Tregoning, an ANU Institute of Water Futures and InSpace geophysicist who uses space observations to study changes in the Earth. His research includes climate-driven variations in sea level and melting of Antarctica and Greenland, and water resources over Australia.
  • Dr Callum Shakespeare from the ANU Research School of Earth Sciences who studies the dynamics of ocean, atmosphere and climate. His research draws on the National Super Computer Facility in Canberra, and satellite modelling.
  • Dr Doris Grosse from the ANU Advanced Instrumentation and Technology Centre, who is also a mission specialist for the ANU Institute for Space for Space Situational Awareness. She is a passionate advocate for the sustainability of the space environment.

READ ALSO Government cancels Australian earth observation satellite program, is it an opportunity lost?

The event aims to discover how satellite data can be used to revolutionise agriculture, climate monitoring and disaster response. It will look at advancements in water filtration that are important for space exploration missions and for addressing the global water shortages, and give an opportunity for attendees to meet fellow Canberrans who are leading and applying their research to solve these and other global challenges.

Some of the key questions the panel will be looking to explore include: how satellites improve our understanding of our oceans; how we can make space sustainable; how to improve water filtration for space exploration as well as for mining remediation and agricultural runoff; how we can address the global water scarcity crisis; and how to encourage collaboration between academia, industry, government and community.

The event comes just two weeks after the Federal Government cancelled the promising National Space Mission for Earth Observation (NSMEO) program, a sovereign program that would have seen four Australian-designed and built satellites launched over the next two decades to provide important data to Australian institutions for climate change research, weather, disaster relief, agriculture, and coastal erosion.

‘From Stars to Sustainability’ will be held on Tuesday 11 July at the ANU’s Kambri Cultural Centre Cinema, 525 Kambri Street from 4 pm to 5:30 pm.

To find out more and to register for the event, click here. To learn more about Uncharted Territory and other upcoming events, visit the website.

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