Monday, 30 October 2023
Kids in Space National Showcase
It is my pleasure to join you at the Kids in Space National Showcase.
I especially welcome students and teachers who have travelled from interstate to be with us today.
Congratulations to all of you for winning your state and/or territory competition and advancing to today’s national final.
We are very happy to have you here in Adelaide, the centre of Australia’s space industry and home to the Australian Space Agency.
I trust you have enjoyed being here at the Australian Space Discovery Centre and have had the opportunity to explore its exciting exhibitions.
I hope the National Showcase has also been a great opportunity for you to meet students from other schools, make friends and share your love of space and STEM.
A few weeks ago Rod and I had the pleasure of travelling to the River Murray International Dark Sky Reserve.
The reserve is about 3,200 square kilometres of land along the River Murray, a 90 minute drive from Adelaide.
What makes this place special is that it’s one of the darkest places in Australia, with no artificial light from cities or towns.
There are only 14 other Reserves like this in the world.
This means you can see the stars in the night sky much more clearly than you can in a city.
In Adelaide you can see about 1000 stars in the night sky, if it’s not cloudy, but in the Dark Sky Reserve you can see about 5000.
There are some very powerful telescopes in the reserve, through which you can look at thousands of stars, planets and distant galaxies.
I found this experience truly inspiring.
As a global community, we are really in the early days of space exploration and the development of a space industry.
There is so much of our universe that we haven’t seen yet, even through a telescope, so much to explore and so many opportunities for you to do so.
Every year scientists are making exciting discoveries, which mean we can develop more powerful technologies that not only teach us more about space, but can help us greatly with our lives on earth, through instruments like satellites.
This is a great time to be a young person considering a career in STEM or space.
There are going to be lots of exciting career opportunities for you all in these fields, and one day we’d love to see you studying or working here in Adelaide, and making an important contribution to the industry.
So far, only three Australian astronauts have been to space – one of whom is South Australian Andy Thomas.
Could you be next?
Maybe you could be a rocket scientist like Flavia Tata Nardini, who runs Fleet Space Technologies here at Lot Fourteen?
Or perhaps you could follow in the footsteps of researchers at the University of Adelaide, who are working out how to grow food in space.
This will be very important if astronauts are one day spending extended periods of time on the moon or even Mars.
As you can see, there are so many opportunities waiting for you, and I hope taking part in Kids in Space will inspire you to study lots of STEM subjects at school, and keep the door open on a career in the space industry.
I thank your teachers for bringing you to Adelaide and for taking you through the Kids in Space program.
This would have meant extra learning and planning time for them, and I thank them for their commitment to giving you the most exciting and relevant learning opportunities possible.
I sincerely thank the Andy Thomas Space Foundation, with funding from the Australian Space Agency and delivery by Makers Empire, for running the first official year of Kids in Space.
The program was undertaken by 10,000 students nationally, which is a fantastic achievement.
Congratulations once again to our national finalists, and I wish you all well for the future.
There’s a well known saying, ‘the sky is the limit’, but when it comes to space, and your future careers in this industry, the sky is just the beginning!