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MARS needs ICT Professionals

Australian Computer Society board member contributes vital technology to NASA Rovers.

Mars and Sydney, 7th August 2012: The successful landing of the Mars Curiosity Rover has been heralded as a critical step in one of the most ambitious planetary missions in history. Its two-year journey of discovery on the surface of the red planet is only made possible thanks to cutting edge technology developed by ICT professionals. Contributing to the success of previous robotics missions to Mars is ACS Tasmania Branch Executive Committee board member Professor Paulo de Souza.

Professor de Souza from University of Tasmania has been a Collaborating Scientist for the Mars Exploration Rover Program since 2002. He was member of a team responsible for reducing the size of Mossbauer spectrometer to fit on a planetary rover. The technology is used to analyse minerals in rocks, and was first used on the Spirit rover that landed on Mars in January 2004. The Mossbauer instruments developed by Professor de Souza detected the minerals jarosite and heamatite, the first findings from the surface to indicate that water had once existed on Mars.

Professor de Souza said “It is my hope that the Curiosity mission will inspire the next generation of ICT innovators here in Australia. While the projects success or failure will be measured by hard operational facts and figures, for me the scientific goal of Curiosity is to establish how long conditions that could support life were present on Mars. It is only through the achievements of ICT professionals that we can find conclusive evidence to answer a question that has preoccupied mankind since we first looked up at the sky. The lesson here for young people is that a career in ICT can literally take your work to the stars.”

Alan Patterson, ACS Chief Executive said: “ICT professionals are not just responsible for making our daily lives possible by creating and managing the technology that makes the world go round. They also help to expand our knowledge of the universe with incredible technological feats, to explore new planets and seek new definitions of life.

“Just as the outpouring of joy was captured at NASA following the successful landing of the Curiosity rover, the ICT profession should do more to acknowledge and celebrate our accomplishments. The ACS is very proud of Professor de Souza’s decade of continued support to the robotic exploration of Mars and we are excited to showcase more Australian-based achievement at the upcoming iAwards on Thursday 9th August 2012, and share more success stories at ACS YITCon 2012 in October.”

ACS YITCon (the Young ICT Professionals Conference) is one of the world’s largest events focusing on young ICT professionals and students. Taking place in Sydney on October 8th and 9th YITCon features prominent speakers from industry, government and academia. This year the conference theme is ‘be inspired’.

For more information on YITCon visit the website.

About the Australian Computer Society

The Australian Computer Society (ACS) is the professional association for Australia’s information and communications technology (ICT) sector representing over 22,000 members. Core services to members include professional recognition and development, education, networking, information services and advocacy. As the guardian of ICT professional ethics and standards in Australia, the ACS aims to create the environment and provide the opportunities for
its members and partners to be recognised and succeed.

Visit www.acs.org.au for more information.

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