Science Outreach at the Australian Centre for Astrobiology

The Mars Yard at the Powerhouse Museum

A peek into how the Mars Lab operates

Integrating science education with science research

At the outset the ACA made a deliberate decision to integrate education and outreach with its research. It was a bold initiative in 2002 and even today these areas are rarely so intimately related.

Our strategy was to provide opportunities for high school students in particular but to also carry out substantial and solid research on the effectiveness of the education projects that we mostly lead in partnership with national and international universities, NASA astrobiology teams, with other institutions, and in one case with industry.

The result has been four nationally and internationally significant education projects: The Mars Lab, The Smart Science Initiative, Pathways to Space and ongoing development of Virtual Field Trips.

In addition to our projects, the ACA also won the 2002 Fulbright Symposium ($20,000) which enabled us to bring US and Australian teachers together for a four-day symposium Science Education in Partnership on the Great Barrier Reef. The Symposium was held in tandem with the International Bioastronomy conference, which we also organised: IAU Symposium 213 – Bioastronomy: Life Among the Stars.

The journal paper on the Fulbright symposium is here: DeVore, E., Oliver, C.A., Wilmoth, K.L. and Vozzo, L. (2004) Science Education in Partnership: The 2002 Australian-American Fulbright Symposium, Advances in Space Research, Elsevier 34 (2116-2120). The conference proceedings for the Bioastronomy conference can be found here. (