Engineering Mission to Mars

To recognise and celebrate the immense contributions engineers make to our lives and communities every day, Australian Engineering Week (4-10 August 2014) is hosting an array of inspirational, educational and thought-provoking events throughout Australia.

VSSEC 2As part of the immersive week, Engineers Australia in partnership with its principal partner La Trobe University hosted an Engineering Experience day at the Victorian Space Science Education Centre (VSSEC). Approximately 50 students from Strathmore Secondary College were treated to an exciting array of hands on engineering activities including robotics, aeronautical engineering design and bridge building principles utilised by civil engineers.

Prior to activity commencement, La Trobe University Engineering Lecturer Eddie Custovic provided students with an inspirational presentation about the broad engineering discipline. The presentation covered all of the basics most students are curious about "What is engineering?" and "What do engineers actually do?". The interactive presentation included open discussions and when asked to identify anything in the lecture theatre which has not been designed or influenced by an engineer, students were stunned to discover that Engineers were at the heart of everything!

VSSEC 3"Engineers play vital roles in new developments and global economic growth, but it is also our duty to ensure that students and the general public are well informed of the importance of our profession. Throughout my time in engaging school students I have found that many of them have limited understanding of how exciting an engineering career can be. It gives me great pleasure to play a small part in inspiring future generations of engineers," says La Trobe University Lecturer Eddie Custovic.

VSSEC operates numerous programs which have been designed to support cross curricula with a central focus on space exploration. One of most popular programs run is the "Mission to Mars" which allows students to prepare, train and undertake a simulated space mission over the course of school term. VSSEC provides a dedicated Mars replicated environment where students can dress into space suits and take rock/soil samples. Another team is dedicated to mission control while other analyses samples collected.

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