Women on Mars

UNSW Science invites high school science classes to participate in two, free, online interactive events broadcast live from Sydney Opera House on Friday 18 August.

Students will hear from a variety of inspiring speakers including leading NASA scientists and experts in marine science, astronomy, geology and space exploration.

These events are open to all high school students – with a particular focus on students in years 9-12 who have a keen interest in science.

Inspire your students with real world stories from female scientists who have explored our world from the deepest oceans to the outer reaches of the universe.

This National Science Week Women on Mars event will follow a major public event in the Concert Hall the previous evening, Thursday 17 August, when The Sydney Opera House and UNSW Science’s Big Questions Institute join forces to present Life on Mars: The 2020 Rover Mission, with presentations by the NASA scientists and other researchers.

Both of these events are being held as part of Sydney Science Festival during National Science Week.

Schools can view the live stream on the UNSW Science YouTube channel. Students and teachers are encouraged to ask questions of the speakers using UNSW’s online question portal, Slido.


Session one: The Journey to Mars begins

Friday 18 August, 10.00am – 11.00am (Sydney time)


  • Professor Emma Johnston
    UNSW Dean of Science and a leading marine ecologist whose research is carried out in diverse environments including the Great Barrier Reef, Antarctica and Sydney Harbour.
  • Tara Djokic
    UNSW PhD student who recently discovered the oldest fossil evidence of land-based life on Earth, in the Pilbara in Western Australia.
  • Kirstin Banks
    UNSW science student who will talk about Aboriginal astronomy.
  • Solange Cunin
    UNSW Aerospace Engineering student and co-founder of the Cuberider, a STEM education program that brings access to space to the classroom.

Session two: Lift-off to Mars and beyond

Friday 18 August, 1.30pm – 2.15pm (Sydney time)


  • Dr Mitchell Schulte
    A program scientist with the Mars Exploration Program at NASA Headquarters in Washington.
  • Dr Abigail Allwood
    Heading up NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Dr Allwood is the first Australian, as well as the first woman, to lead a team at NASA, and she has designed an instrument for NASA’s rover that will land on Mars in 2020.
  • Professor Tamara Davis
    University of Queensland cosmologist investigating the mysterious dark energy and dark matter in the universe.

Register your class

Don’t miss this exciting opportunity for your students to hear top scientists discuss their careers, explain why they chose to study science at university and outline their great discoveries and innovations. This will be a highly memorable and exciting livestream event!

Read more and register to attend

This event is supported by Inspiring Australia.