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Students in Victoria get hands-on experience of what it’s like working in space industry

Victoria’s next generation of scientists, astronomers and engineers are getting real hands on experience of what it’s like to work in the space industry at an Australian space education centre.

On the 15th of August, Minister for Industry and Employment, Ben Carroll, visited the Victorian space science education centre in Strathmore, where students from across Victoria are participating in Colonising Mars, part of National Science Week.

Colonising Mars is giving 72 high school students from 11 schools the opportunity to take on different scientific roles and work together to design a Mars colony, giving them the skills needed for a future career in science.

Carroll said the world-class education, research and development facilities make Victoria the ideal home for the Australian Space Agency.

READ: ANU to offer businesses access to space-testing facilities

“With facilities like the Victorian Space Science Education Centre already helping to shape our space industry’s future workforce, Victoria is ready and able to lead the way in growing Australia’s space industry,” said Carroll.

The science education centre is the only centre of its type in Australia and is one of six specialist Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) learning facilities in Victoria.

The centre has strong links with international space agencies, including NASA and uses hands-on learning to excite and inspire students’ interest in a future career in STEM fields, including the space industry.

The facility includes a planetary surface simulation room, reproducing a small crater on Mars where students work as a team to successfully complete a geological survey of the Mars surface wearing specially-designed spacesuits and act as astronauts, mission controllers and research scientists.

Victoria’s STEM capabilities are an important competitive advantage in convincing the Federal Government to set up the Australian Space Agency in Victoria.

Already, more than 30,000 young people graduate from Victorian universities with science, engineering and maths related degrees.

Victoria has the experience and knowhow to make sure the new agency thrives – one in five Australian space-related science and technology companies based here – supporting up to 2,300 jobs.

Swinburne associate professor Alan Duffy said at the Victorian Space Science Education Centre, the future generation could see how exciting a career in space and science, technology, engineering and mathematics could be.

“Imagine commanding a scientific exploration of Mars, using the latest technology to search that red soil for life, now imagine doing that at school,” said Duffy.

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