Monash engineer on latest mission to Mars visits the Nova Rover Team
Alumnus Mark Fittock shares NASA stories with our next-generation space engineers.
Monash mechanical engineering and science alumnus and space systems engineer Mark Fittock works on a European Space Agency asteroid defence mission project to protect Earth from rogue asteroids, and was last year part of NASA’s HP3 (Heat Flow and Physical Properties Probe) mission to Mars, and despite working with some of the biggest names in the business, he thinks Monash’s Nova Rover Team are doing incredibly impressive work.
“They've managed to make a working rover - that's something a lot of research and development teams don’t ever achieve,” he said after visiting the student project team and giving the Rover a test run in their Monash workshop.
“They’re learning vital skills in testing and development, gaining practical work experience that looks great on their resume, and are having to think on their feet to solve problems in quick and creative ways. They’re doing very impressive work, and are a leap ahead from what I’d expect from a university student team.”
During the visit, Nova Rover team members shared their experiences in the 2018 University Rover Challenge competition, in which they were the first Australian team to be selected for entry, and talked Fittock through the design and functionality of the Rover’s robotic arm and chassis.
Bachelor of Engineering (Aerospace) and Bachelor of Science student and Nova Rover team lead Henry Lourey was excited to meet someone already pursuing a dream career. “Mark’s inspirational, he’s already achieved what everyone in the team aspires to do,” he said. “We’re grateful that he’s been so helpful and interested in our progress, and we’re excited to show him our work, as we’re really proud of everything we’ve achieved so far.”
Fittock generously answered the team’s many questions, shared stories about working on NASA and European Space Agency projects for German company OHB System, and gave them top insider tips on progressing their space career dreams post-university. “Getting any hands-on experience you can is very important, so doing internships and working on projects like Nova Rover give a clear advantage,” said Fittock. “I wish I’d had an opportunity like this when I was a student.”