Mars mission on horizon as Galway engineer launches Engineers Week 2018

Mars mission on horizon as Galway engineer launches Engineers Week 2018

26 October 2017 at 12:56
 
NUI Galway PhD student and Mars researcher Ilaria Cinelli has joined Engineers Ireland and Science Foundation Ireland to issue a ‘call to action’ to schools, families, businesses and local authorities across Ireland to start planning for Engineers Week 2018, which begins nationwide on Saturday, February 24, running until Friday, March 2.
 
Speaking at the launch of Engineers Week 2018 at the Science Gallery in Dublin as she herself prepares for her fourth Mars mission, Cinelli said: “Engineering is about pushing the boundaries of what’s possible, both on the planet we live on, but also beyond Earth and into the farthest reaches of our solar system.  
 
“A career in the engineering offers limitless and exciting possibilities, as my work exploring the prospect of people living on Mars shows.  With Engineers Ireland and Science Foundation Ireland, I’m delighted to support Engineers Week 2018 today at the Science Gallery and I want to encourage young aspiring engineers to follow their dreams as I have done.  I’m also calling on the public, students, industry, local authorities, third-level and schools nationally to get involved in the Week next February, to log on to engineersweek.ie and really engage with the powerful impact modern engineering has on Ireland, the world and towards better understanding our whole universe.”
 
Cinelli is currently organising her fourth analogue Mars mission in the role of Crew Commander as she trains to become a Space Leader.  Owned and operated by the Mars Society, the mission’s goal is to contribute to research and the exploration of the possibility of human settlements on Mars in the coming decades, as well as increasing the quality of medical care on Earth.  
 
Cinelli previously led a simulated "mission to Mars" in the Utah desert in the USA that replicated technological explorations of the red planet.  Based out of the Mars Desert Research Station, she was tasked with evaluating the behavioural changes of her crew in order to better understand how people are likely to cope if humans ever live on Mars.
 
Cinelli, originally from Italy, has B.Eng. and M.Eng. degrees from the University of Pisa, Italy, and is working toward a Biomedical Engineering PhD at the National University of Ireland (NUI), Galway, Ireland.
 
Caroline Spillane, Director General of Engineers Ireland, said: “We are issuing our ‘call to action’ now to give industry time to plan events and the general public an early opportunity to see how they can get involved in their local communities.  The Week, driven by the Engineers Ireland’s STEPS programme, encourages primary and post-primary students to explore the world of science, technology, engineering and maths, and promotes engineering as a career choice.  We are extremely grateful to Ilaria for supporting us today.  She is the very essence of the exciting journey a career in engineering can offer and we wish her well on her upcoming Mars assignment.”
 
Dr Ruth Freeman, Director of Strategy and Communications at Science Foundation Ireland, said: “Science Foundation Ireland are delighted to support Engineers Week in partnership with Engineers Ireland.  Engineers Week offers an opportunity to encourage and inspire everyone to increase their knowledge and understanding of science and engineering.  We believe that through participation in these events young people will be empowered, and enabled to make informed choices about their future studies and careers.”
 
Engineers Week, now entering its 12th year, is a campaign held annually to promote engineering as a career and the importance of the profession to Ireland.  In March 2017, 786 events were supported by 177 organisations and attended by over 63,254 participants across 31 counties.  To find out more about events taking place around the country in 2018 or to register an event log onto www.engineersweek.ie. As well as events organised by companies, third-level institutions and the public sector, teachers are also encouraged to run their own classroom-based activities, quizzes and competitions.  
 
As part of the Engineers Week 2018 campaign, Engineers Ireland will also be showing the Dream Big: Engineering Our World movie, narrated by Academy Award winner Jeff Bridges, in secondary schools around the country.  From the Great Wall of China and the world’s tallest buildings, to underwater robots, solar cars and smart, sustainable cities, Dream Big celebrates the human ingenuity behind engineering marvels big and small, and reveals the heart that drives engineers to create better lives for people around the world. Secondary school teachers are encouraged to register to their details on www.engineersweek.ie to find out more.
 
 
 
ENDS
 
Notes to Editor:
 
Engineers Week is coordinated on a national basis by the schools’ outreach STEPS team at Engineers Ireland.  Engineers Ireland’s STEPS programme is a strategic partner of Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) and seeks to promote awareness of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) careers among young people and their influencers.  The STEPS programme is also supported by Arup, Eirgrid, ESB, Kirby Group, Transport Infrastructure Ireland and Xilinx.
 
With over 23,000 members, Engineers Ireland is the voice of the engineering profession in Ireland. Engineers Ireland was established in 1835 making the organisation one of the oldest and largest professional bodies in the country. Members come from every discipline of engineering, and range from engineering students to fellows of the profession. For more information, see www.engineersireland.ie 
 
Science Foundation Ireland funds oriented basic and applied research in the areas of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) which promotes and assists the development and competitiveness of industry, enterprise and employment in Ireland. The Foundation also promotes and supports the study of, education in and engagement with, STEM and promotes an awareness and understanding of the value of STEM to society and in particular to the growth of the economy.