This week, Year 10 students Ananya Garg and Jordan Klos participated in a live online event supported by the National Science and Technology Centre (Questacon) and The Embassy of the United States of America. The live Zoom event allowed these students to participate in an inspiring presentation by space roboticist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Dr Vandana Verma.
Vandana is a team member of the NASA Perseverance Rover Mission that landed in the Jezero Crater on Mars on 19 February 2021 (AEST). Perseverance is NASA's fifth rover mission to Mars and will spend at least one Mars year (two Earth years) exploring the landing site region.
Vandana drives Mars rovers. She has been driving the Curiosity rover on Mars, and controlling its robotic arm and sampling mechanisms, since 2012. Curiosity remains active today. She is particularly interested in robotics and space flight software, and is currently group leader of Autonomous Systems, Mobility and Robotic Systems at NASA JPL.
Vandana is a passionate science communicator who inspires and encourages students, especially young women, into STEM careers.
NASA's major areas of study are the Earth, Moon, Sun and the planets of our solar system as well as the universe beyond. NASA has announced a mission to land on the Moon by 2024, followed by a second mission to establish a sustained human presence on and around the Moon by 2028.
Ananya and Jordan were given the opportunity to pose questions to Dr Verma in real time. It is certainly an exciting time for our Physicists and those students with an interest in space and Aeronautical Engineering.
Mr Paul Mitchell
HOD Science and Enrichment