MSA Member NSW Finalist for Young Australian of the Year
December 1, 2005
Mars Society Australia's NSW Branch Coordinator, Michael West, was recently selected as a NSW finalist in the Young Australian of the Year Award for 2006. While Michael wasn't chosen as the NSW recipient to go into the national finals, such an achievement was outstanding. We congratulate him for being selected for this prestigious award. Other state finalists in the Young Australian of the Year Awards include entertainer Guy Sebastian (SA) and world champion womens basketballer Lauren Jackson (ACT). Michael was presented with his finalists certificate by the Governor of NSW, Her Excellency Professor Marie Bashir AC, at a presentation ceremony at Government House in Sydney.
"As always, there was a high calibre of nominations in every state and territory which reminds us how many ordinary Australians there are out there doing extraordinary things," said Warren Pearson, National Director of the Nation al Australia Day Council.
At only 22, aerospace engineer Michael West is producing exciting world fir sts and putting Australia on the map in the eyes of the international aerospace community. His research as an engineering student at the University of Sydney has made a valuable contribution to the world's understanding of the effect s of the space environment upon polycarbonate materials. Michael has focussed in particular upon the damage caused by intense ultraviolet radiation and made several exciting discoveries. Michael's groundbreaking research could lead to the use of polycarbonate materials as shields against micrometeorites, wind ows aboard future spacecraft and as visors for the next generation of spacesuits for the Moon and Mars. Based on his work, polycarbonate materials also appear to be the material of choice for transparent greenhouses on the Moon and Mars which would be used for growing crops.
Michael has also designed, constructed and tested experiments that were launched aboard rockets from Woomera and was a participant on Mars Society Australias 2001 expedition around central Australia that located Mars-like terrain for a future research facility. At the age of 19, Michael organised the 2nd Australian Mars Exploration Conference, which showcased Australia's space exploration science and engineering activities, and assisted with the national speaking tour of Apollo 17 astronaut, Harrison Schmitt. Earlier this year Michael was appointed as a summer research scientist with the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence Institute in California and was invited to sp eak about the results of his research at the 43rd Aerospace Sciences Meeting in Nevada, an honour indeed for a student.
Media wishing to speak to Michael about his achievements can contact him on 0421 062 650.