As part of National Science Week, the Hub and Deakin’s Institute for Frontier Materials were proud to host a breakfast event at Waurn Ponds Estate on Monday 12th August. The guests, from academia, industry and the general public, enjoyed a delicious breakfast and early morning discussion before we launched into the proceedings.

Hub Director Xungai and Dr Darlene Lim

The guest speaker, Dr Darlene Lim, a NASA geobiologist shared her experiences working under simulated mission conditions in volcanic terrains, the Arctic and Antarctic, and underwater. These analog missions, undertaken at Earth destinations that simulate Mars mission conditions, have been used by NASA for the past decade to build capabilities for human and human-robotic missions to the Moon, into deep space, and on Mars.

Dr Lim particularly focused on the BASALT (Biologic Analog Science Associated with Lava Terrains) program based in volcanic terrains in Idaho and Hawaii. She explained how these missions aim to solve a number of unique challenges that are not encountered during typical scientific field expeditions, such as extreme environmental conditions and communication delays (of up to 20 minutes between Mars and Earth).  Only once we have mastered these challenges can we walk among the red dunes of Mars!

Dr Lim presenting during the breakfast

For more information about Dr Lim, and the work that she does please go to her website:

We’d like to also acknowledge the support of The Royal Society of Victoria who were hosting Dr Darlene Lim for National Science Week as an international guest from NASA and provided the introductory comments at the breakfast.