Page 38 - Australian Defence Magazine August 2018
P. 38

VSSEC’s tips
for engaging kids in STEM
MANY also hope that the agency will pro- vide the impetus to engage kids in STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) education in order to grow local knowledge and expertise.
At ASPI’s Building Australia’s Strategy for Space conference (see P18 for more) in June, many speakers referenced the Apollo moon landings as the single event that propelled them into a STEM career. The years since, however, have failed to match the spectacular optics of seeing a human on the moon.
These days, the best examples of the art of the possible are coming from commercial space initiatives. The sight of Elon Musk’s red Tesla roadster floating in space with Da-
vid Bowie playing on the radio, and the syn- chronised touchdown of SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy launchers afterwards, comes to mind.
Australian schoolchildren will soon be able to witness inspirational events closer to home. These include the possibility of domestic rocket launches and Australia’s future contributions to Mars missions.
Yet engaging kids in STEM subjects is not just a matter of good optics. ADM spoke to Brett Biddington AM, head of external relationships at the Victorian Space Science Education Centre (VS- SEC), about the Centre’s comprehensive strategy for inspiring the next generation of STEM professionals.
The launch of Australia’s space agency last month comes as good news to many. The agency will allow government to implement its national space strategy and act as coordinating body for Australia’s burgeoning space economy.
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