Indigenous Australian university students will be given an opportunity to reach for the stars, with a new internship program supported by the Australian Space Agency (ASA) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).
The National Indigenous Space Academy (NISA) will see up to five students studying in STEM fields travel to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (NASA JPL) in California for a 10 week full time summer internship program.
The selected undergraduate or postgraduate students will attend a “Space Bootcamp” prior to their departure focused on aerodynamics, robotics, astrophysics, planetary science, engineering, computer and earth sciences, as well as past and current space exploration missions they will be exposed to at NASA JPL.
As part of their internships, the students will be partnered with a NASA JPL scientist or engineer mentor and complete projects outlined by their mentors while also contributing to NASA JPL missions.
The program will create a pathway for Indigenous students to participate in NASA JPL projects such as robotics, robot perception control, path planning and Artificial Intelligence.
NISA is being delivered by Monash University but will be open to eligible Indigenous students from all Australian universities. It follows a successful pilot at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) in 2019 led by Indigenous Professor Chris Lawrence, who will oversee the Academy in his current role at Monash.