As many of you know, I have the special privilege of working as a science educator at the Victorian Space Science Centre (VSSEC), Strathmore, Victoria. VSSEC’s flagship program for young teenagers, loosely based on the Space Camp program, Alabama (watch this for a run down), is the Mission to Mars; a simulation of humankind’s soon-to-be first landing on our neighbouring planet.
This stellar, fully-interactive Mission to Mars program sends half the student group to mission control, while the other half are landed on Mars as a team of scientist and engineer astronauts. The astronauts conduct experiments, monitor weather readings and collect samples on a simulated Martian surface, while their mission controllers direct them in their endeavours, problem solving and negotiating the astronauts through technical malfunctions and martian dangers to bring their people safely home.
Uniquely, we had the pleasure last week of running a Mission to Mars for The Australasian Society of Aerospace Medicine (ASAM). These visitors were somewhat different to the 13 through 15 year-old astronauts we usually unleash on Mars. These ASAM visitors were a collective of highly skilled pilots, engineers, psychologists, biomedical scientists and educators.
The whole day was a huge buzz; alive with exciting discussions about humans in space, the potential of life on Mars, and what our motivations for exploring that planet should be.
Her eyes are firmly fixed on the skies, but not for the reasons one might expect. You see, Dianne McGrath is motivated by her insight into humanities urgent need to extend our sustainable practices. As she explained to me, Mars One provides an opportunity to model the behaviour she wants to see us humans take down here on solid ground; complete sustainability in water, energy, food and waste. There is simply no other choice in the Martian habitat.
Mission to Mars photos courtesy of Marc Jurblum @mars_psych, used with permission.
A huge thanks to Rabbot Hutch, the inquisitive man behind the camera, genuinely amazing artist, dog owner and housemate extraordinaire. Follow him @rabbothutch on insta.
Follow pug Thor @Thormypug on insta.
Best space day ever goes out to Nicole Morton, the most aspiring and inspiring woman I am lucky enough to call my friend.