2017 Kenneth Finlay memorial event: Utilising in-situ resources on Mars

The 20th Kenneth Finlay Memorial Lecture, delivered by Rob Mueller from the NASA Kennedy Space Center was held at the University of New South Wales, Sydney Tuesday 19th September, 2017.  This public lecture kicked off the 3rd Off Earth Mining Forum, co-hosted by the Australian Centre for Space Engineering Research (ACSER).

Addressing the audience of space enthusiasts and members of the mining and METS industry Mueller explored the topic of 'Zero Launch Mass Space Pioneering' or 'How to survive in Space when the supply ship doesn’t come', with a focus on safety lessons for the mining industry. He discussed how to get from Dust to Thrust, Trash to Gas, Rocks to Blocks and Towers for Power.

You can watch the full lecture and check out the conceptual NASA video of a Mars station here.

The lecture was followed by the annual Alumni and Industry Dinner, which comprised a special 'Q&A' with a panel of space, mining and METS industry experts who teased out the issues around technologies that would be required to allow humans to survive on Mars.  With thanks to Bob Anderson, NASA,Chris Gibbs-Stewart, Austmine, Rob Mueller, NASA, Rae O'Brien, Glencore and Laurent Sibille, NASA.

You can watch the panel discussion here.

 All photos from the evening can be found here.

The late Kenneth Finlay was a supporter of UNSW at the time of his death in the mid-1990's when he was CEO of Exxon Coal and Minerals. Ken was a person with a genuine commitment to improving safety in the Australian Mining Industry. The Kenneth Finlay Memorial Lecture was established in 1995 in recognition of Ken's pioneering work and leadership in improving safety. We are excited to extend this sense of pioneering safety to the next generation of mining.




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  • Associate Professor Serkan Saydam welcoming attendees
  • Associate Professor Lyria Kay Bennett Moses talks about the Grand Challenge of living with technology in the 21st century
  • Dean of Engineering Professor Mark Hoffman introduces the keynote speaker
  • Andrew Dempter (ACSER) and Robert Mueller (NASA)
  • Guest speaker Robert Mueller, NASA
  • Part of the 3rd Off Earth Mining Forum 2017
  • Rae O'Brien, Glencore and family
  • Rob Muller, NASA
  • Chris Gibbs Stewart, Austmine, Bob Anderson, NASA and Michael Dello-Iacovo UNSW research student
  • Attending the Mining Engineering Alumni and Industry dinner 2017
  • Attending the Mining Engineering Alumni and Industry dinner 2017
  • Attending the Mining Engineering Alumni and Industry dinner 2017
  • Discussion panel members Bob Anderson of NASA, Chris Gibbs Stewart of Austmine, Rob Mueller of NASA, Rae O'Brien of Glencore and Laurent Sibille of NASA Kennedy Space Centre
  • Panel members picture with facilitator Wilson da Silva, UNSW Engineering
  • Attending the Mining Engineering Alumni and Industry dinner 2017
  • Syeda Muin and Yesenia Saavedra-Moreno, UNSW research students pictured with Dr Chris Daly and A/Prof Seher Ata, UNSW Mining Engineering lecturers
  • Attending the Mining Engineering Alumni and Industry dinner 2017
  • UNSW Mining Engineering staff A/Prof Paul Hagan, Head of School, Meredith Hudson, A/Prof Serkan Saydam Off Earth Mining Forum Lead, Lynn Hutchinson, Dr James Tibbett, VR Development Manager, Prof. Ismet Canbulat Kenneth Finlay Chair