Space environment


The Australian National University (ANU) and the ANU Institute for Space (InSpace) are marking World Space Week this year (4-10 October), with a suite of virtual events to introduce you to the challenges Australia faces in space and how they affect you.  

It's shocking, but no one knows how many satellites, or broken pieces of satellites, orbit our Earth. You may not have heard of it yet, but space debris and space environmentalism are already informing how we use space to improve life on Earth. Hear from space environmentalists, optical engineers and a space law expert to find out how ANU is working to build a safe, secure, sustainable future in space.  

Dr Cassandra Steer is a space lawyer and space environmentalist based at the ANU College of Law, and a Mission Specialist with the ANU Institute for Space. Her research focuses on space security and sustainability in space, and she has spoken internationally and published widely on these issues. Her law degrees and PhD are from the University of Amsterdam, where she also began her academic career, before moving to Canada to specialise in space law as Executive Director of the McGill Centre for Research in Air and Space Law. She has also held appointments as Executive Director of Women in International Security-Canada, and Acting Executive Director of the University of Pennsylvania's Center for Ethics and the Rule of Law. Dr Steer has consulted to the Canadian and U.S. departments of defence on issues of space security, space law and policy.

Dr Steer joined the ANU College of Law and InSpace in April this year, returning to her home town of Canberra after 20 years abroad. In August this year she launched the Space Law Podcast, through InSpace.

Professor Céline d'Orgeville joined the Australian National University (ANU) Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics in 2012 to lead Laser Guide Star (LGS) activities undertaken at the Advanced Instrumentation and Technology Centre (AITC) on Mount Stromlo near Canberra. Céline is the AITC Laser Guide Star Adaptive Optics (LGS AO) Group Manager, and the AITC Discovery Priority Lead. She is also one of two inaugural recipients of an ANU Translational Fellowship aiming to transfer her semiconductor guidestar laser research into the commercial world. 

Dr Doris Grosse is an optical instrument scientist specialising in adaptive optics with the Advanced Instrumentation and Technology Centre (AITC) at the Australian National University (ANU) Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics. As a mission specialist for the ANU Institute for Space for Space Situational Awareness, she is a passionate advocate for the sustainability of the space environment. Doris joined the Adaptive Optics group at the ANU AITC in 2016 and has been developing optics systems for the characterisation, analysis and management of space debris.    

Professor Moriba Jah is a Visiting Professor at the Australian National University College of Engineering and Computer Science and the director for Computational Astronautical Sciences and Technologies (CAST), a group within the Oden Institute for Computational Engineering and Sciences at The University of Texas at Austin. He is also the Lead for the Space Security and Safety Program at the Robert Strauss Center for International Security and Law. Prior to that, Moriba was at the Air Force Research Laboratory and NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, where he was a Spacecraft Navigator on a handful of Mars missions.  

Dr Noelia Martínez is a postdoctoral researcher in the Adaptive Optics group at The Australian National University Advanced Instrumentation and Technology Centre in Canberra. She was awarded her PhD by the University of La Laguna, Canary Islands (Spain) in September 2019, on the topic "Adaptive Optics for Free Space Optical Communications and generation of Laser Guide Stars". Her primary areas of interest are astronomical and space instrumentation, focusing onto the adaptive optics and laser systems technologies for astronomy, space situational awareness and laser communications.