A UTS honours student has won the opportunity to work with NASA in America and further her research into whether there once was an ocean on Mars.
Emily Bathgate has just been announced winner of the 2010 VSSEC-NASA Australian Space Prize. It will take her to the NASA Ames Research Centre in California for a 10-week academy program with students from around the world.
"It is a lifelong dream to work with NASA on space research," Emily said. "The NASA academy program involves working with other students on space research and working one-on-one with a principal investigator on the possibility of furthering my honours research.
"I have just completed my honours in sub-ice volcanism – analysing volcanic activity that may have formed under ice sheets on Mars to build evidence that the northern hemisphere of the planet was once host to an ancient ocean.
"My dream is to apply for a post-doctorate position at NASA to discover more about space geology and look further into the existence of an ocean on Mars."
Emily's research coordinator Dr Graziella Caprarelli said the VSSEC-NASA award was highly prestigious and a springboard from which Emily could embark on a PhD project and post-doctoral work in space science, both in Australia and in the USA.
"Emily will also be shown around all the significant space sites in the USA, including the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California and NASA's Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral, as well as companies such as Space X and Virgin Galactic," said Dr Caprarelli.
"I am extremely proud of Emily, she has always expressed a keen interest for space research. I regard this great opportunity as Emily's first step to securing a career in space."
The VSSEC-NASA Australian Space Prize is awarded by the Victorian Space Science Education Centre to promote quality space related research in Australia and raise awareness of study and career opportunities for students. Emily will work with the Centre to share her NASA experience with secondary students and teachers to inspire Australia's future scientists and engineers.