Meet the Mar­tian ex­pert

Canning Times - - FRONT PAGE -

A CURTIN Univer­sity re­searcher, who is the only Aus­tralian in­volved in a ground-break­ing mis­sion to Mars, has been recog­nised with a pres­ti­gious fel­low­ship for women in sci­ence.

Plan­e­tary sci­en­tist Kata­rina Miljkovic has re­ceived a L’Oréal-UN­ESCO For Women in Sci­ence Fel­low­ship for her work in NASA’s Mars In­Sight Mis­sion.

The mis­sion in­volves a Mars-bound robotic lan­der in­ves­ti­gat­ing the con­tents un­der Mars’ sur­face to help sci­en­tists un­der­stand the for­ma­tion and evo­lu­tion of the red planet and sim­i­lar plan­ets. The lan­der was launched on May 5 and will reach Mars on Novem­ber 26.

Dr Miljkovic said In­Sight was a dif­fer­ent mis­sion than any that had jour­neyed to Mars be­fore and she took im­mense pride be­ing a part of it.

“We’re send­ing a dif­fer­ent type of space­craft, which will ob­serve the in­te­rior,” she said.

A seis­mome­ter will lis­ten to tec­tonic ac­tiv­ity and a heat probe will mea­sure tem­per­a­ture and heat flow at the sur­face.

“The ex­per­i­ment will mea­sure the pre­cise lo­ca­tion of Mar­tian ro­ta­tion, so it can in­fer what kind of core struc­ture Mars has,” she said.

Dur­ing the mis­sion, Dr Miljkovic’s role is to ex­am­ine the seis­mome­ter data and in­spect the im­pact cra­ter­ing.

Plan­e­tary sci­en­tist-re­searcher Kata­rina Miljkovic.

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