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The sky’s the limit for Curtin planetary scientist elected Fellow

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Curtin University planetary scientist Dr Katarina Miljkovic, who made headlines this year as the only Australian researcher involved in NASA’s Mars InSight Mission, has been recognised with a prestigious L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science Fellowship.

The annual Fellowship program recognises the most outstanding female scientific researchers in Australia, with Dr Miljkovic’s role in the InSight Mission among the achievements that earned her the honour.

Dr Miljkovic is one of only four exceptional early-career female researchers who will be formally announced as Fellows at a ceremony on November 15 at the National Gallery of Victoria, in Melbourne.

Curtin University Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research Professor Chris Moran said that being named a Fellow capped off a tremendous year for Dr Miljkovic.

“Dr Miljkovic was the only Australian chosen to take part in NASA’s Mars InSight Mission, and was a finalist in the Early Career Scientist of the Year category of the prestigious Premier’s Science Awards 2018,” Professor Moran said.

“As an Early Career Research Fellow at Curtin University’s School of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Dr Miljkovic’s areas of expertise continue to grow and include planetary geoscience and astrophysics.

“Just as Curtin is a leader in space and planetary science, Dr Miljkovic is a world-leader in the field who is entirely deserving of recognition with a L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science Fellowship.”

Dr Miljkovic is responsible for the analysis of data from space missions and is an active member of international planetary exploration teams. Prior to the current Mars mission, she was involved in the lunar gravity NASA mission GRAIL.

Dr Miljkovic explained that the InSight (Interior exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport) Mission will reveal what lies under the red planet’s surface so that we can understand the formation and evolution of Mars and other rocky planets in our inner solar system, such as Earth.

“The robotic lander was launched on May 5 and is due to arrive on Mars in late November so now is a really exciting time for me as a researcher working on this mission,” Dr Miljkovic said.

“A desire for greater knowledge and a better understanding of the universe and its celestial bodies is what drives me as a researcher.

“The passion I have for my work goes all the way back to the sense of wonder and awe that I felt as a child looking up at the night sky and continues to inspire me.”

More information about the L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science initiative is here.

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