Space - Australia's Final Frontier?November 21 2010
Australia might not be launching rockets, training astronauts or developing space probes, but our involvement in space is significant, according to a leading space science expert.
Professor Andrew Parfitt from the University of South Australia says while salient signs of a space industry are not often visible, Australia’s participation in space is essential and valued.
“Australia is very good at space science and technology, and the processing of satellite data, and we make an important contribution without actually launching our own rockets,” he says.
“We contribute a value-add to the data we get from space and we’ve got a lot of scientific expertise here. Geographically, Australia is responsible for one eighth of the world’s surface, so accessing satellites as they pass over this part of the world has been a critical component of our space activities.”
Prof Parfitt, who will give a free public lecture ‘Space – Australia’s Final Frontier?’ on November 30, says Australia is hugely reliant on space science and its associated technologies and services. This ranges across areas including telecommunications, earth observation and navigation and the application of these technologies and services to many aspects of business and daily life.
“There’s a whole range of services we use every day that wouldn’t be possible without space,” Prof Parfitt says.
“The GPS in your car, the timing stamp when you get money from an ATM, and forecasting the weather seven to 10 days in advance are among the things we might take for granted that we couldn’t do any other way than by using space.”
Prof Parfitt’s public lecture will focus on Australia’s participation in space and explore the challenges and opportunities that space provides in the future.
UniSA through its Institute of Telecommunications Research and its expertise in communication technologies for satellite remote sensing has for many years been at the forefront of space research and education in Australia. In January UniSA will launch the Southern Hemisphere Space Program in partnership with the International Space University where professionals, graduates and senior undergraduates will participate in the intensive five-week live-in program. Graduates from the program are also eligible to continue further studies via the Graduate Certificate in Space Studies at Mawson Lakes campus.
Prof Parfitt, who is a member of the Australian Government’s Space Industry Innovation Council, will give his public lecture as part of UniSA’s Knowledge Works lecture series. The lecture will be held on Tuesday November 30 at 6pm at Allan Scott Auditorium, Hawke Building, City West Campus. Go to www.unisa.edu.au/knowledgeworks/ to register.