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Tuesday, May 11, 2021
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Say cheese, for the ultimate satellite selfie


Well-known Canberra astrophysicist, Dr Brad Tucker, and Antarctic geologist, Dr Steph McLennan, are encouraging local residents of all ages to participate in National Science Week activities, 15-23 August, including the Satellite Selfie project. Photo: Kerrie Brewer. Shot on location at ANU.

The National Capital will be captured in the ultimate selfie next month, and you’re invited to take part.

In collaboration with Maxar, The Australian National University (ANU) and RISE Canberra, a satellite will orbit over the region and snap a selfie as part of National Science Week ACT 2020, 15-23 August.

Renowned astrophysicist at the ANU, Dr Brad Tucker, has been working with the National Science Week Coordinating Committee for the Satellite Selfie event and encouraged everyone to get involved.

“It’s going to use a high-resolution satellite to take a picture. It’s a good balance because we can’t see faces or number plates, so people don’t feel spied on but there’s enough detail to see you and your friends,” he said.

“Maybe you haven’t mowed your lawn in five months and you want to mow a message into it, or maybe you can park your cars in a certain shape in the work carpark.

“This year is the perfect time to do this because I think people realised how important satellites were during the fires when they could help map out a path of where they were going.”

The satellite is scheduled to fly over the region three times between 17 and 21 August for a five-minute window.

Details of exact dates and times are due to be confirmed in coming weeks.

There are a range of other activities to be held across the week, with National Science Week Coordinating Committee project officer Jillian Matthews saying there is something for everyone.

“A lot of our events focus on families and students, but we also have some adult events, such Shirty Science Up Late where you make science-themed shirts,” she said.

“We also have a Sex Ed event from Phish + Phreak which features top drag scientist Toni Kola to show how science effects LGBTQIA+ people.”

The science field has been thrust into the spotlight this year following a summer filled with devastating bushfires and the ongoing global pandemic.

Dr Tucker said shining a further light on science through National Science Week events helps to make it more fun and accessible for the general public.

“I think one of the biggest things is we feel science is inaccessible. We think of really smart people in white lab coats, but people are using science every day, not just professionals,” he said.

“I don’t think anyone is going to deny we have real issues going on and it’s not just about scientists but all of us understanding how we make decisions on going forward,” he said.

For more information on the satellite selfie or National Science Week events, visit www.scienceweek.net.au

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