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Blog

Filtering by Tag: Space

SmartSatCRC Funded!

Alan Duffy

At nearly a quarter billion dollars (!) of cash and inkind contributions SmartSatCRC is the largest space R&D investment in Australian history. Huge congrats to all 84 partners, but in particular UniSA and Nova Systems who led this bid from an idea just 18 months ago. On a personal level it’s incredibly exciting to know that we at Swinburne will be a core partner in this incredible new CRC developing a new era of tech for space and the better monitoring of our planet.

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A Victorian home for the Australian Space Agency?

Alan Duffy

Over half a century ago this nation became only the third in the world to build and launch a satellite from its own territory. Since that time aerospace ambitions in Australia have waxed and waned but with the announcement by the Turnbull Government of a National Space Agency, led by former CSIRO-head Dr Megan Clarke, it is clear that we are ready once again as a Nation to take our place in space.

The Victorian Minister for Industry and Employment Ben Carroll as well as Victoria's Lead Scientist Dr Amanda Caples believe that the natural home for this Agency is right here in Melbourne and were good enough to let me launch the bid alongside them, at Swinburne's Eric Ormond Baker Charitable Fund Remote Observing Facility in front of media from every TV, print and radio station. It was an unbelievable experience..!

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Cosmic Vertigo 2 is out!

Alan Duffy

The latest series of the ABC Radio National podcast #CosmicVertigo is out and we're taking things to the EXTREME. I have to say I have the most fun with Dr Amanda Bauer recording these, they're made for your listening pleasure so I hope you enjoy it as much as I do... subscribe where you get your podcasts. Rate and review etc.

However this time you can also ask us questions online or by email (especially if you record them!) and we'll feature the best (or at least the ones I can answer) on the show. Enjoy!

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Australia's Future in Space

Alan Duffy

The Australian Space Agency review is to be released in a matter of days but do you know what it means for you, your children's future careers or even how much you already use space in your everyday life? Well with the team at The Royal Institution of Australia we put together a package answering all of these issues on Australia's Space Future. I'm really proud of the team's exhaustive efforts and also amazed by the careers of talented female scientists and engineers like Andrea Boyd, Flavia Nardini and Lisa Stojanovski who we were able to feature. In space our future really is unlimited.

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Space at the World Government Summit

Alan Duffy

At the truly epic World Government Summit I was privileged to lead the discussion of Mars settlement by the best and brightest from the UAE Space Agency and make the broader case for space with an international panel. Apart from that I got to hear from Forest Whitaker, Neil DeGrasse Tyson and Michio Kaku all in one day..! The #worldgovsummit is truly an extraordinary meeting of the world’s best minds. Just as exciting will be to see the new businesses and activities that come from this meeting, I certainly aim to work more closely with an international range of impressive people, all with varied backgrounds I could never hope to have met at any other meeting. It was a genuine pleasure to meet and discuss space technologies with the extraordinary young engineers of the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre. I have to say the task facing the program director for Mars 2117, Saeed Al GerGawi, are humbling - but he and his team are more than up to the task if this gorgeous VR tour of their Mars City is anything to go by!

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Shrinking Mercury all it's cracked up to be

Alan Duffy

Amidst the exciting news of landing on comets and SpaceX plans to get to Mars, NASA released astounding findings that the smallest planet Mercury actually has tectonic activity just like Earth. Such a small world should be geologically dead and yet it has features that appear unweathered by bombardments from meteors meaning that they are no older than a few million years. It means Mercury joins Earth as the only rocky planet to have tectonic activity, and also means it may have Earthquakes (or should that be Mercury-quakes?)

I wrote about it in theconversation and chatted to ABC Breakfast News TV as well as ABC 702 radio.

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Brian Cox - Journey into deep space

Alan Duffy

An amazing opportunity to see Prof Brian Cox speak in a sell-out MCEC plenary event during his Journey into Deep Space tour of Australia. He basically explained the beginning and ultimate end of the universe (Eternal Inflationary Cosmology explains both if you were curious) from first principles which is no mean feat. 

Event better was getting backstage to hang out with him and Robin Ince (thoroughly lovely human being) and chat science. Definitely one of the coolest things I've done recently and it's given me some great ideas (i.e. that I'll steal) to use in my own talks!

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3D printing in space - ABC Breakfast News TV

Alan Duffy

Fun chat on the ABC Breakfast TV couch describing the latest in 3D printing tech - on board the International Space Station!  It allows astronauts to print off any spares as needed, including a new tool designed by a high school student! I also chatted about Saturn's flawless rings seen by NASA's Cassini spacecraft to have a blemish by a nearby moon's gravity and CSIRO's upgrading of the largest telescope on Earth, China's FAST.

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Inflatable space stations and landing rockets - ABC Breakfast News TV

Alan Duffy

Read my thoughts on an incredible week for commercial exploration of space at theconversation or watch on ABC Breakfast News. It started with Bigelow Aerospace successfully inflating their BEAM attachment to the ISS. If the two year long test of this inflatable space module works then they plan to launch larger inflatables to form a commercial space laboratory as well as potentially even a space hotel! This week also saw the landing at sea of a rocket for the third time in a row by SpaceX. Now they need to demonstrate an economic refurbishment and relaunch of any of these three rockets to usher in a new era of space travel.

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Hidden stars and baby Earths - ABC Breakfast News TV

Alan Duffy

A fun chat on ABC Breakfast News TV about 500,000 never-before seen stars found by the Hubble Space Telescope in the centre of our galaxy, incredible observations of a 10 million year old star with planets forming (one at the same distance from it as the Earth is from the Sun!) and an inflatable space room for the International Space Station launching this weekend!

I gave a full write up of it in theconversation too..! 

 

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Year in space - ABC Breakfast News TV

Alan Duffy

What an incredible year it’s been for Scott Kelly and Mikhail Kornienko orbiting 5440 times around the Earth and 340 days later they have traveled a distance equal to that too Mars. This is the test needed to know what humanity will experience getting to the red planet and the science from this has only started. As a control sample there’s Scott's twin brother Mark Kelly, who offers the best (though even as an identical twin not perfect) comparison to try to observe changes in Scott’s genetic profile due to space. 

Also a big shout out to NASA's awesome Hubble Space Telescope finding the most distant galaxy. Madness that it’s forming so vigorously when the universe was just a few hundred million years old.

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Sniffing out a Super Earth - ABC Breakfast News TV

Alan Duffy

Fun way to start a week chatting to ABC Breakfast News about NASA's WFIRST mission, a former spy satellite now repurposed as a new wide-eye Hubble space telescope! I also explained how we measured the atmosphere of a (roasting hot) super Earth for the first time (it's cyanide, don't move there) and how the Sun destroyed potentially dangerous asteroids by baking them into oblivion..!

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Exploding stars & crashing rockets - ABC News Breakfast TV

Alan Duffy

I got a little carried away with the ridiculous scale of the latest explosion in space, outshine the entire Milky Way twenty times over. We have no idea how to produce this level of explosion. Then there was brief chat about SpaceX and its unfortunate crash on a sea barge then a final rant about the wonders of Pluto!

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Brightest supernova ever seen - Ten’s The Project (15/1/16)

Alan Duffy

The Project invited me on the show to chat about an astounding discovery... A new tiny faint point of light appeared in the sky, 10000 times faint than could be seen by the naked eye, but when we realised it was 3.8 BILLION lightyears away it was clear that it must be astoundingly bright to even reach this faint level. This was the brightest supernovae ever recorded - ASAS-SN-15lh

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