World space week

Space data to drive innovation in Australia

This week (4 to 10 October 2019) is World Space Week and here at the Office of the National Data Commissioner (ONDC), we are talking about space data.

Human’s exploration of space has resulted in many new innovations that have changed lives here on Earth. In the 1970s NASA developed an advanced drinking water purification system for the Space Shuttle. This technology is now being used in developing nations and a larger system has been developed to cleanse drinking water for thousands of people.

It is an exciting time for the space sector in Australia. The Prime Minister recently announced $150 million to join NASA’s campaign to return to the Moon and on to Mars. The investment will also provide the opportunity for Australian businesses and researchers to bring our skills and expertise to NASA’s plan to return to the Moon and on to Mars. Australian businesses will have the opportunity to compete for a place in the growing international space supply chains.

Governments and businesses around the world are looking to space for new ways to help us here on Earth, including analysing space data.

The new Data Sharing and Release legislation will support the sharing of public sector data for research and development. Already the data collected from satellites is used in weather forecasting, land planning, agriculture and other Earth observations – the sky is no limit.

The Government’s space investment and data sharing reforms will create new opportunities. Space data could help improve the cities of our future by analysing traffic patterns, plan infrastructure requirements, observe water shortages or find resources.

As we strive to return to the Moon and on to Mars, there will be a greater need for improved automation technology. Data underpins the autonomous control of robotics currently used in the mining and resource sector. Right now, mining in the Pilbara is controlled over 1,600 kilometres away in Perth. The Australian Government is planning a Robotics, Automation and AI Command and Control facility in Western Australia that may one day help meet NASA’s ambitions and improve automation on Earth.

Space touches the lives of all Australians, today the data from space helps us to locate ourselves using GPS satellites, in the future we may automate transport in our cities using precise positioning. The ONDC is trying to align the stars so that Australians can get the most value out of its data, the possibilities are out of this world.

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