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Mission complete: USQ unveils new space facility

USQ is one step closer to uncovering new worlds after completing construction at its new space facility.

MINERVA-Australis is the only facility in the Southern Hemisphere dedicated to providing ground-based observations to support NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) mission

After years in the making, five new telescopes and a $1 million spectrograph (an apparatus for studying stellar fingerprints) will be unveiled at an official launch on Tuesday (July 23).

The facility has already played a pivotal role in NASA’s TESS mission, assisting in the discovery of ten new planets orbiting distant stars

USQ Astrophysicist Professor Jonti Horner said now that it is fully functioning, many more discoveries lie just around the corner.

“MINERVA-Australis, as a fully dedicated observatory, is the key to the great unveiling that will happen in the next decade, when we will begin to truly understand our nearest celestial neighbours,” Professor Horner said.

The new facility is funded by the Australian Research Council, USQ, and our international partners (Massachusetts Institute of Technology; George Mason University; University of Louisville; University of Florida; University of Texas; University of California, Riverside and Nanjing University).

What:             Official launch of USQ’s new space facility

When:            Tuesday, July 23 from 9.30am

Where:           Mt Kent Observatory, Bernards Road, Greenmount

USQ unveils new space facility