Australind Senior High School students learn from NASA astronaut Jim Reilly

Australind students Isabella Ferrari, Airish Bargola and Beth Gallagher with NASA astronaut Jim Reilly on the surface exploration vehicle in Scitech's planet pioneers exhibition. Photo: Dan Grant.
Australind students Isabella Ferrari, Airish Bargola and Beth Gallagher with NASA astronaut Jim Reilly on the surface exploration vehicle in Scitech's planet pioneers exhibition. Photo: Dan Grant.

Former NASA astronaut Dr Jim Reilly touched down at Scitech last month for the launch of the centre’s new feature exhibition Planet Pioneers.

Comprised of more than 17 hands-on exhibits, Planet Pioneers will challenge visitors to explore, adapt and survive in a brand new environment on a foreign planet.

The Scitech built exhibition will feature full-body tasks to simulate an authentic experience on a planet vastly different to Earth.

Visitors will be challenged to drive a Surface Exploration Vehicle, experience G-Force in a spinning capsule, fly a virtual drone, grow space potatoes and more.

Astronaut and scientist Dr Reilly appeared at Scitech on October 25 and delivered an exclusive, intimate presentation to a selection of metropolitan and regional high school students, including the gifted and talented students from aviation aligned school Australind Senior High School. 

The presentation offered the students a unique look into how science can take a person to the ends of the earth and beyond.

Scitech chief executive officer Deb Hancock said Dr Reilly’s presence had added to the already high calibre exhibition, which will be set up at NASA’s Space Center for four months after its debut in Perth.

“It was an honour to have former NASA astronaut Dr Jim Reilly join us to visit our Planet Pioneers exhibition,” Ms Hancock said.

“With more than 853 hours in space under his belt, Dr Reilly is a prime example of how engaging with science and STEM can build careers that will change the world as we know it.

“We hope this experience with Dr Reilly, partnered with the Planet Pioneers exhibition, will broaden the students’ minds and help them understand how space and planet exploration could be a part of their future.”

Alongside his NASA experience, Dr Reilly has also had a successful career as a geoscientist and has spent more than 22 days underwater in deep-submergence vehicles with the US Navy.