Drone challenges, wildlife, weird weather and NASA’s search for new worlds

Media releases, National Science Week

Launch tonight 6pm at Brown’s Mart Theatre, with dramatic weather. Plus 100+ Science Week events around NT:

  • Face-to-face with Frill Collins the frill neck lizard and Frida the tawny frogmouth
  • Who will win the ultimate drone challenge?
  • What’s the weather like on Mars, and are there habitable planets outside our solar system? Meet NASA scientists and planet hunters
  • The women changing the world and Costa’s green science in the garden, Alice Springs
  • HealthLAB goes remote, taking a mobile health clinic on the road from Darwin to Tiwi Islands to the Gulf of Carpentaria
  • Weather small talk becomes high drama at the Darwin Festival
  • Help build a better picture of the Great Barrier Reef’s health, without getting your feet wet.

More on these highlights below, and others at www.scienceinpublic.com.au/science-week, and on Twitter at @SciWKMedia.

Scientists, artists, performers and event organisers are available for interview throughout Science Week. Read on for contact details for each event, or call:

Tanya Ha: tanya@scienceinpublic.com.au or 0404 083 863
Niall Byrne: niall@scienceinpublic.com.au or 0417 131 977

Northern Territory’s National Science Week launch—6pm Friday 10 August

Science Week in the Territory  kicks off with a Darwin Festival performance of Pathetic Fallacy, followed by a Q&A session. Canadian theatre director Anita Rochon challenges our understanding of the weather in the hot Top End of Australia, with climate change turning small talk about the weather into high drama.

Where: Brown’s Mart Theatre, Cnr Smith Street & Harry Chan Avenue, Darwin. Event details

Media enquiries: Marianne Harvey, marianne.harvey@cdu.edu.au or 0427 584 939.

About National Science Week

National Science Week has become one of Australia’s largest festivals. Last year saw 1.2 million people participate in more than 2,100 events and activities.

In 2018, National Science Week celebrates its 21st birthday, with events held throughout Australia—from Corals in the Outback in western Queensland to TAStroFest astronomy in the Apple Isle, and from STEM meets dance in Perth to The Innovation Games at Sydney Olympic Park—with everything from science festivals, music and comedy shows, expert panel discussions, interactive hands-on displays, open days and online activities.

National Science Week 2018 will run from 11 to 19 August. Media kit at www.scienceinpublic.com.au, public event listings at www.scienceweek.net.au.

National Science Week in Northern Territory: event highlights

Climate change and green science in The Alice at AridLands EcoFair

Gardening Australia’s Costa Georgiadis, women in science, science and sustainability on the big screen, and a host of other activities and guests will descend on Alice Springs for the desertSMART EcoFair, Central Australia’s premiere science and sustainability event.

In 2018, the desertSMART EcoFair will be celebrating its 10-year anniversary, having connected thousands of locals and tourists with science and sustainability through the event.

Highlights for 2018 include Costa getting dirty with green science in the garden, a BushWok Cookoff with local produce and bushfoods, documentary screenings from the Transitions Film Festival, and the Eco-Science Schools Day for local students.

The program also includes keynote speaker Climate Council CEO Amanda McKenzie, a ‘Women Changing the World’ panel discussion, desert scientists, renewable energy professionals and health experts in a series of community events.

Thursday 9 to Sunday 12 August Event details

Media contacts: Nicole Pietsch, communications@alec.org.au, 08 8952 2497 or 0429 333 960

HealthLAB Goes Remote, with health checks from Darwin to the Gulf of Carpentaria

How good is your health? And how do your lifestyle choices affect the health of your body now, in the future and for the future generations of your family? HealthLAB is a health education clinic on wheels—offering an interactive science education experience that helps people answer these questions. Participants assess their own health in a ‘pop-up’ laboratory, learn about healthy lifestyle choices, and find out about careers in health science-related fields.

HealthLAB kicks off in Darwin at Parliament House. Local football legends and politicians will compete to see who can jump the highest. They’ll also test their upper and lower muscle strength at a special exercise station.

HealthLAB then travels to the Tiwi Islands, and across to Nhulunbuy and the East Arnhem Land community of Yirrkala. HealthLAB will be staffed by a range of scientists and health professionals who will teach participants about the science behind the inner workings of their bodies, ways to reduce their risk of chronic disease, and career pathways in science.

Multiple dates and locations Event details

Media contacts: Melody Song and Paul Dale, communications@menzies.edu.au

Meet the Top End’s wildlife—Palmerston, Casuarina, Nightcliff & The Gardens

Meet Frida the tawny frogmouth, Quilla the whistling kite, Sherbet the sugar glider, Frill Collins the frill neck lizard, Mr Slithers the Rough-scaled Python and Sodium the saltwater croc.

See the wildlife of the Top End at Bush Tales’ ‘Wildlife Workshops’ and learn about the science behind the survival of these creatures.

Kids and adults alike will get to meet native snakes, lizards, birds and more in these 60 minute sessions. It’s a unique opportunity to learn about the flora and fauna of Australia in a fun and engaging setting.

Saturday 11 to Saturday 18 August Event details

Media enquiries: Erin Costelloe, bushtales@outlook.com or 0421 669 058

Pathetic Fallacy: weather in the theatre—Darwin, NT

Climate change is turning small talk about the weather into high drama. How does Canadian theatre director and creator Anita Rochon challenge our understanding of the weather in the hot Top End of Australia?

Over the past 40 years, there have been more frequent extreme weather events than ever before in human history. Up until 40 years ago, hurricanes were only given female names. Hurricanes with female names kill more people than hurricanes with male names because people don’t prepare for them as thoroughly. People will accept any colour of sky in a painting as realistic. A green sky means a storm is coming.

Using a temperamental broadcast media green screen, this piece takes on our changing relationship to weather. Pathetic Fallacy fuses raw fantasy with research into classical art, small talk, forecasting and how storms get named. In each performance, Anita involves a different local stand-in to take on the central role in a work that draws a line between ancient weather gods and present-day conundrums.

Friday 10 to Sunday 12 August Event details

Media enquiries: Matt Fraser, matt@cardinalspin.com.au, 02 8065 7363 or 0401 326 007

Meet the NASA scientists and planet hunters—Parap & Palmerston

NASA scientists are headed to Australia, bringing Saturn to Sydney, new planets to Perth, and more.

What have we learnt from the hundreds of planets discovered by the Kepler Space Telescope? How will the information beamed back to Earth continue to advance science once Kepler runs out of fuel this year? Will we find more worlds outside our solar system? Are we alone in the Universe?

What did we learn from the Cassini spacecraft’s 13 years with Saturn before its ‘death dive’ into the atmosphere? What’s the weather like on Mars? Ask NASA scientists.

Alex Kling studies the atmospheres of planets, from gas giants to the weird weather on Mars. Megan Shabram is an astrophysicist working on the Kepler Mission’s search for worlds outside our solar system. She is researching how exoplanet systems form.

Alex and Megan will be in Darwin as part of a series of events hosted by Australian National University Mt Stromlo Observatory astrophysicist Brad Tucker.

Monday 13 August. Event detail

Tuesday 14 August. Event details

Media enquiries: Brad Tucker, brad@mso.anu.edu.au, 02 6125 6711 or 0433 905 777

The Ultimate Drone Challenge—Darwin

Drone enthusiasts will battle it out over three days to win the title of the Ultimate Drone King or Queen. They will use drone technology to simplify tasks related to infrastructure inspections, the construction of roadways and forest roads, monitoring gas and oil pipelines and high tension electricity lines, and keeping an eye on shoreline erosion.

Drone software, hardware and engineering are already starting to cater to clients in agriculture, land management, energy, and construction. Drones will soon be boosting crop yields, verifying insurance claims, and assisting in future Hollywood blockbusters. It’s a business sector that’s due to boom by more than 6,000 per cent by the end of the decade.

Join the Young Engineers Australia NT as they celebrate National Science Week 2018 by taking part in The Ultimate Drone Challenge, with two days of knockout rounds, followed by a Grand Final.

Tuesday 14 to Friday 17 August. Event details

Media enquiries: Jaimi-Leigh Acres, jacres@engineersaustralia.org.au or 08 8914 1702

Virtual Reef Diver: dive into your computer screen to help scientists—national

Dive online to help the Great Barrier Reef this Science Week—and you could win a GoPro camera!

The ABC’s citizen science project Virtual Reef Diver is celebrating the International Year of the Reef, inviting people to dive through their computer screens into the Great Barrier Reef.

They will review and classify underwater images of the Reef to help scientists identify areas of sand, coral and algae to help build a better picture of coral cover. This work will allow scientists and reef managers to make critical decisions to ensure that the Reef has a future.

The project has been developed by the Queensland University of Technology, in collaboration with a host of scientific and community organisations.

Monday 6 to Friday 31 August. www.virtualreef.org.au