It was a pleasure to tour ASA CEO Enrico Palermo and the Australian Space Agency around the International Space Centre facilities during their whirlwind tour to Perth. There was a lot to take in – the first expedition was to the WA Optical Ground Station which, amongst other specialities, is developing coherent free-space communication capabilities between Earth and low-Earth observation satellites.

The ASA’s Chris Hewett experienced the Plants in Space lab with Professor Harvey Millar, which examines questions of mission critical plant production on Mars missions for food, oxygen and wellbeing – and how we can apply that knowledge for on-Earth food security in zones of drought, low land availability. Chris also explored our work in the Microelectronics Research Group, led by Professor Lorenzo Faraone. This is one of Australia’s largest semiconductor electronics research groups, generating a combination of micro-electromechanical system (MEMS) with fourth-generation IR systems, optimised for use on satellites.