1. Home
  2. News
  3. Christchurch explores Space and the Antarctic at Techweek ‘18

Christchurch explores Space and the Antarctic at Techweek ‘18

18 April 2018

Space, the Antarctic and the technological revolution will be explored in Christchurch next month.

Extreme Environments – from the Antarctic to Space is a Techweek ’18 event bringing together local, national and international experts to help attendees understand how exploration in the Antarctic is a dry run for Space exploration. The event will also highlight ways to use Space tech to provide innovative solutions to today’s current navigational and scientific challenges.

Christchurch is one of only five global Antarctic gateways and home to the inaugural NZ Space Challenge. The event is being held on Thursday 24 May, from 9.30am until 6.30pm, at Addington Event Centre, 75 Jack Hinton Drive, Addington.

ChristchurchNZ chief executive Joanna Norris says there Christchurch is a leaping off point for access to the Antarctic and the city has expertise in innovation and technological development in support of Antarctica and Space.

“Christchurch is one of only five gateway cities to Antarctica, our tertiaries are strong in both Space and the Antarctic, and each year NASA’s Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) comes here to study the Southern Hemisphere’s skies from the National Science Foundation’s U.S. Antarctic Program facility at Christchurch International Airport.

Joanna says while on the face of it Space and the Antarctic seem very different, they raise many of the same challenges due to their remoteness and inhospitable climates.

“This event will help leaders in these fields connect and gain insight into the possibilities that lie ahead for Christchurch and New Zealand. Christchurch is gaining a reputation for being a test bed city and we want to play an increasingly important part in tech and innovation relating to Space and Antarctica and helping solve climate change.”

The programme features world-class speakers, including Eric Dahlstrom who was previously involved in the design of the International Space Station for NASA and is currently a consultant for space startup companies in Silicon Valley, and Emeline Paat-Dahlstrom who has worked on the intersection of education, impact, and space at Singularity University. 

Zephyr Airworks' Chief Executive Fred Reid, who has more than 30 years’ experience in the aviation industry, will talk about Zephyr's innovation partnership with New Zealand and how that relationship could be a game-changer for personal mobility.

New Zealand's only space lawyer Maria Pozza, named the New Zealand Woman in Law to Watch, and Miranda Satterthwaite, from Ara Institute of Canterbury, who runs one of the only NASA supported education programmes outside of the US, will also both feature.

Other speakers include Peter Beggs, Chief Executive of Antarctica New Zealand; and Mark Rocket who was an investor in Rocket Lab, responsible for establishing the first Space startup in New Zealand and was the first Kiwi to book a flight into sub-orbital Space with Virgin Galactic.

The day will be broken down into individual speakers, panel discussions and breakout sessions and will culminate in the Grand Final of the inaugural NZ Space Challenge, where regional finalists pitch their Antarctic navigation innovations to a panel of national and international judges with a prize of $40k up for grabs.

The event will appeal to those from the science, research, technology, innovation and education eco-systems and anybody with an interest in the Antarctic and Space and saving the world.

Photo credit: Bruce Davies of the GPR tracking equipment used in the traverse. Supplied by Antarctica New Zealand.