UNSW astrophysicist, Dr Graeme Salter, will compete in London next week in a test of physical and mental stamina to try and win a trip into space.
More than 87,000 people entered the UK competition; Dr Salter made it through to the top 200 selected for the second stage of the process, thanks to friends, staff and students who voted for him online in stage one, boosting him to position number 87.
Only four people out of a final total of 250 participants in the second stage of the competition in London will qualify to attend astronaut training in Florida and have the chance to be selected to travel more than 100 kilometres above the Earth’s surface with the space tourism company, SpaceXC.
The London event, run by the deodorant company Lynx, will involve tackling an inflatable assault course before an audience of onlookers, a series of individual training tests and an interview with a panel.
“My lifelong dream has been to venture into space,” says Dr Salter, an Australian Research Council Super Science Fellow in the School of Physics, who was previously interested in becoming an astronaut with the European Space Agency.
Born in the UK, he is a keen sports man, mountain climber, and scuba diver and he rowed when studying at Durham and Oxford universities.
His research at UNSW is aimed at understanding what types of planetary systems outside our own one exist, and how they formed.
He uses some of the world’s largest telescopes, including Gemini South, to obtain images of exoplanets and their relatives – failed stars with a low mass called Brown Dwarfs.
You can follow his progress in the competition at https://www.facebook.com/groups/spacevote/
Well done Graeme! He made it to the final ten in the competition, achieving some of the fastest times and highest scores of the day.
Dr Graeme Salter: firstname.lastname@example.org
UNSW Science media: Deborah Smith, 93857307, 0478 492 060, email@example.com