Australian Students on a “Pathway to Space” with Cisco TelePresence

April 6, 2011 - 9 Comments

Last week was the official opening of the spectacular Mars research exhibit at the Powerhouse Museum (Sydney, Australia) that is a part of the Australian federal government funded “Pathways to Space” school education and university research project.  The aim of “Pathways to Space” is to foster the next generation of scientists and engineers by providing students with the opportunity to interact with practising scientists and engineers on a simulated robotic mission to Mars. 

This three-year research project involves providing several thousands of secondary school students with a unique education and research program on space robotics and the search for life on Mars either directly in the “Mars Yard” exhibit at the museum or virtually via Cisco TelePresence for students outside Sydney. Read press release here.

One of the experimental rovers in the Mars Yard that secondary school students and university researchers will operate as part of the new Pathways to Space project at the Powerhouse Museum. Photo: Powerhouse Museum.

Cisco, a key technology partner in the project, is contributing its expertise and TelePresence technology to “Mission Control” at the Powerhouse Museum.  

From ‘Mission Control’ in the Powerhouse Museum, students from regional and rural Australia will work with astrobiologists and robotics engineers in Australia and oversees via TelePresence in the planning and execution of a simulated robotic mission to Mars. Specially created software will allow the students to drive a virtual Mars rover before actually controlling one of the two roving vehicles in the “Mars Yard” exhibit at the museum. 

In addition to offering a unique experience for students, “Pathways to Space” researchers will be carrying out a study to discover the long-term effectiveness of the project and whether it achieves its goal of nurturing Australia’s future pool of scientists and engineers. Read more on Pathways to Space here.

Senator Carr test driving one of the experimental Mars rovers in the Mars Yard with university researchers and school students at the launch of Pathways to Space at the Powerhouse Museum. Photo: Powerhouse Museum.

Students from Sydney Secondary College Leichhardt Campus are the first to visit the Mars Yard and test drive one of the rovers as part of the new Pathways to Space education and research project at the Powerhouse Museum. Photo: Powerhouse Museum.

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  1. Congratulations, that’s really impressive. However, I personally would see people on the moon first. There is a lot of things next to us to discover, and we still have to chase what requires so huge capital.

  2. Here in Greece we just watching othere countries leading the way. 🙁

  3. Preparing the future residents of Mars

  4. Truly amazing reproduction of Mars.

  5. Wow this looks like such an incredible opportunity for these kids. I’m sure they are loving live and truly enjoying learning at the same time. I believe it is so important to love what you do! The powerhouse museum is going to a be a definite visit in the near future!

  6. That is truly awesome! And really I think viewing the exhibit through TelePresence makes it even more realistic. Someone operating a mars rover is much more likely to do so through a screen. Very cool project.

    Is this something open to students globally? Like the U.S. and the U.K. or something exclusively for Australian students?

    • Initially this’ll be scaled to enable students across Australia to interact with this Mars rover yet the vision is to enable Australian students to engage with their peers around the world!

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  8. The State University of New York at Oswego has selected Verizon to enable its students and staff to interact with experts across the world without ever having to leave campus.

    To offer telepresence, meetings are supported by two Verizon Business Exchanges, which run on Verizon’s Private IP network infrastructure and use Cisco TelePresence technology to give users enterprise-class redundancy, reliability and security.

    Verizon is working to bring the benefits of unified communications and collaboration (UC&C) to the college as part of a three-year, $3.5 million initiative intended to transform the campus infrastructure by using Internet Protocol technologies. This includes deploying Cisco TelePresence technology at the SUNY Oswego Metro Center in Syracuse and on the main campus in Oswego.