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Rocket into a space career with these school space programs

If your head is in the stars and you dream about a career in space, there are a bunch of new school programs heading your way, starting with a new Australian Space Week coming this November

Speaking at the STEM 2023 conference, NSW Department of Education STEM curriculum advisor Scott Sleap said NASA’s Artemis program, with its aim to put the first woman and person of colour on the moon by 2030, was inspiring STEM students everywhere.

And in case you were thinking you’ll have to head overseas to pursue a space career, Scott says that’s not the case. The Australian Space Agency has an ambition to see 20,000 jobs created in our national space industry by 2030.

As countries around the world set their sights on Mars, there’s a real opportunity for young Australian engineers, scientists and mathematicians to be part of the coming generation of space innovators.

“And problem solving and being able to work in teams will be required because we don’t actually know how to get to Mars at the moment,” Scott says.

“We’re close, but to get people to Mars and back is still something that we need to achieve – we’re going to solve that through STEM skills and we need young people to do that.”

Here are just some of the many space programs underway for students and teachers excited about space careers.

Australian Space Week

In the works right now, this week of events will take place between November 30 and December 8. It will include a space camp for regional and remote schools, along with events connected to the 16th Australian Space Forum.

Young Space Explorers

Happening in Sydney on December 1, 2023, Young Space Explorers is for Year 9 and 10 students and will include rover demos, presos from the Australian Space Agency and a bunch of fun hand-on experiments.

Powerhouse Future Space

As part of this program, five Western Sydney schools just finished a pilot where they developed an experiment, one of which will be further developed and launched to the International Space Station in 2024. The pilot is expected to be expanded, and students at schools around Australia can develop their own analogue version of the experiment to follow along on Earth!

ProtoSat

This program offers resources to teachers to help students engineer some of the tech used in low-cost cube satellites through Arduino, microcontrollers, sensors, and coding.

Australian Virtual Astronaut Challenge

Participants in this virtual comp complete a 9 step STEM design sprint based on challenges facing NASA’s Artemis and the Australian space industry. Finalists will then pitch their ideas at the Young Space Explorers event in December in Sydney.

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