Scientist wins Fulbright to work with NASA

Monday, 12 March, 2007

A CSIRO Exploration and Mining scientist has won this year's Fulbright Business/Industry (Coral Sea) Award.

Dr Brent McInnes is one of 21 Australians to be recognised as a Fulbright Scholar in 2007. Through his Fulbright he will undertake a secondment at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland where he will review materials measurement and characterisation strategies being developed for the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Mission, the Mars Science Laboratory Mission and the Earth Observation System Program.

McInnes said there would be benefits to both CSIRO Exploration and Mining and NASA in his secondment.

"CSIRO has been involved in the development of remotely-operated mining vehicles for over a decade and the next stage of evolution of this technology will be to incorporate geochemical analysis and mineralogy sensor feedbacks for use in hazardous or isolated environments," McInnes said.

"My research project will review approaches being developed for the US space exploration program and consider commercial applications of these methods in Australia's exploration and mining industry.

"The Goddard Space Flight Center is spearheading the development of highly advanced sensors and autonomous platforms that conduct scientific measurements and deliver integrated information products to remote observers."

McInnes is also keen to contribute to those NASA teams responsible for prioritising sites for scientific investigation by orbital mapping surveys and robotic reconnaissance vehicles.

"The next phase of planned human exploration on the Moon and Mars requires an exploration and mining perspective because prospecting for the natural resources required to build infrastructure and support life will be an absolute necessity," he said.

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