Curtin University in NASA’s Orbit with new SSERVI deal

August 11, 2015

A new agreement between Curtin and NASA’s Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute (SSERVI).

Greg Schmidt, Deputy Director of SSERVI and Director of international partnerships (left) and Yvonne Pendleton, Director of NASA’s Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute (SSERVI) (middle), join Professor Phil Bland, Principal Investigator at Curtin University in Perth, Australia (right), in signing an international agreement to share scientific and technological expertise in exploration science. Photo Credit: D. Morrison/NASA

NASA and Curtin University, located in Perth, Western Australia, have signed an Affiliate Member statement with NASA’s Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute (SSERVI). With the establishment of a NASA SSERVI Australia node, Australia’s planetary science community will participate in SSERVI programs on a no-exchange-of-funds basis.

“Australia’s impressive proposal to SSERVI offers scientific and technological expertise in understanding Solar System origins and evolution, lunar science, meteoritics and small bodies, asteroid differentiation, planetary mission science and technology, regolith processes on asteroids and the Moon, advanced analytical techniques, fireball observations and orbital dynamics, and links with the exoplanet and stellar evolution astrophysical communities. We are eager to see the collaborative scientific discoveries that result from this partnership,” says Yvonne Pendleton, Director of SSERVI.

The proposal submitted by Principal InvestigatorProfessor Phil Bland (Curtin University in Perth) and Deputy Director Dr Marc Norman (Australian National University in Canberra) included colleagues from a number of institutions across the country and represented a wide breadth of expertise from Australia’s planetary science community. The proposal was selected for Affiliate Membership after it was determined that complementary research activities will help NASA achieve its goals for human exploration of the solar system.

“This is a special moment for Australia,” says  Bland, from the Department of Applied Geology at the Curtin WA School of Mines.

“We are confident that this partnership will result in more great scientific discoveries in planetary science for both our our nations, as well as furthering the SSERVI goal of advancing basic and applied lunar and planetary science research and advancing human exploration of the solar system through scientific discovery.”

Curtin University Vice-Chancellor Professor Deborah Terry says the link with NASA was a fantastic opportunity for Curtin’s staff and students to engage with the global leader for space exploration.

“Given Curtin’s existing expertise in radio astronomy and involvement in the ground-breaking international Square Kilometre Array project, the partnership with NASA is a covetable attachment with many benefits,” says Terry.

“Our Australian partners have put together a compelling proposal that outlines multiple topics for potential collaborative research. We look forward to fruitful scientific collaborations, which will include the study of future potential mission concepts. This partnership will be important to NASA and its international partners successfully conducting the ambitious activities of exploring the solar system with robots and humans, and we look forward to a long and close partnership between our respective countries,” says Greg Schmidt, Deputy Director of SSERVI, who also directs international partnerships for the Institute.

“We look forward to fruitful scientific collaborations, which will include the study of future potential mission concepts. This partnership will be important to NASA and its international partners successfully conducting the ambitious activities of exploring the solar system with robots and humans, and we look forward to a long and close partnership between our respective countries.”

This article was first published by Curtin University on 30 July 2015. Read the article here.

Based and managed at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California, SSERVI is a virtual institute that, together with international partnerships, brings researchers together in a collaborative virtual setting. The virtual institute model enables cross-team and interdisciplinary research that pushes forward the boundaries of science and exploration. SSERVI is funded by the Science Mission Directorate and Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington.

Find more information about SSERVI and selected member teams here.

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