Your favourite planet and why?
Earth. No matter where we go in space, Earth will always be our home. It has everything we need to not only survive, but to thrive. It is a wonderful fragile ‘Blue Marble’, but we need to look after it.
But if I could visit another planet? It would have to be Venus. Venus is the reason I love space! I remember learning about the planet when I was at school, with it’s chocking thick atmosphere which would crush you within seconds and a landscape of Venus. It would be pretty cool for a day trip – if I had a special spacecraft to protect me!
Your favourite astronaut and why?
Eileen Collins. Not only was she the first woman to pilot the Space Shuttle, she was also the first woman to ever COMMAND as space mission! She broke down barriers for women and helped to ensure equality in the space industry. To date no woman has walked on the Moon (purely because they were not given the chance), but thanks to the work of women like Eileen, we will soon see a woman on the Moon!
I still cannot believe how lucky we all are that she wrote the forward to the book.
Proudest moment of your career so far?
I’m not going to lie, I have had some awesome moments – such as sharing a stage with Moonwalker Buzz Aldrin or swimming with Whale Sharks (NASA algorithms are used to help track them based on the unique pattern of their spots!). But honestly this book The Space Race, is up there. You only get one Apollo 50th and I am just so proud to play my part in honouring the people how made our story with space possible!
Everyday things a scientific mind helps with?
Ooooh good question! I’d have to say anything to do with numbers!
Everyday things a scientific mind does not help with?
Any simple lessons we could learn from space explorers?
Never. Give. Up.
One reason why children should learn about space?
Because the exploration of space is the most significant thing we will ever do as a species. I know that sounds a little crazy now, but it really is. We live in a world transformed by space, all of us alive today are living in the Space Age. In terms of human exploration of space, we have barely left our front porch, there is so much out there just waiting to be discovered. Today’s children will be the generation who get to make those discoveries.
Something you love about your job?
I love inspiring people about why space matters and how it is shaping their world. What most people don’t realize is that one of the main reasons we go to space is about Earth, about understanding more about our home planet, how we can protect it and how we can improve life for everyone who lives here.
Something you love to do outside of work?
You know science and exploration go hand in hand and I LOVE travelling our planet. To me there is no better feeling than jumping on a plane and visiting some place new. We should all try and explore a little bit more, even if it is just visiting somewhere close by that you have never been before.
One of my favouite places to visit is of course Oz! Your country is incredible – but I am guessing you guys know that! I have family not far from Geelong, so I am lucky enough to have a place to stay when I visit!
A goal you’re working towards?
I’m trying to visit every US state. I work in America half the year, so while there I like to take in places I have never visited before.