Minerva Predavec

NSW

I want to go into space engineering because it’s an area that inspires me. In a few decades, or sooner, people could be taking trips to the Moon and Mars easily, and the frontiers of the Solar System could be opened up. People could be walking on the moons of Jupiter, or look up and see Saturn overhead in a generation or two, and in a century, humanity could be spreading to the stars, future-proofing the species. I want to be part of that.

Minerva Predavec is a problem solver, with xir feet on the ground and xir eyes firmly set on the stars. Not satisfied with mere earth-based engineering, Minerva is determined to go beyond our atmosphere, and solve the problems of tomorrow, with a career in space engineering. Xe is well on the way to achieving this goal, while still studying for xir year 12 exams.

In 2016 Minerva and xir brother Declan employed their keen engineering minds to solve a problem close to home. After their mother was involved in a cycling accident, in which a car came too close to the back of her bike, the siblings set about developing their ‘High Viz Bike’ safety system. Utilising lasers, rotating mirrors, infrared distance sensors, indicators and 3D printing, their system draws a line of light on the road, to show the safety area of 1 metre around the bike and displays a warning to motorists when they come too close to the bike.  This innovative safety system earned the siblings joint second place in the 2017 BHP Billiton Foundation Science and Engineering Awards, and a trip to the Intel International Science Fair (ISEF) in the USA.

I’m really passionate about learning more about how the universe works, and science explains the fundamental laws of how everything works. I’ve been interested in engineering for a while, creating projects such as High Viz Bike, because it’s applying science to the real world to solve problems and improve people’s lives.

Minerva’s experiences as part of the Awards and Intel ISEF inspired xem to continue following xir passion for science, engineering and developing new things. Minerva's current project, Planetary Transfer Calculator, is an online simulation of the entire solar system at real scale and enables you to calculate many types of interplanetary and interstellar transfers. As part of this project xe taught xirself patched orbital mechanics and coded this knowledge into the website. As xir exploration into space engineering and knowledge grows xe continues to build this into the site.

For students aspiring to explore their own engineering projects, Minerva has this advice:

When starting with a project, don’t just look at it as one massive project. Have a goal, but break it down into smaller tasks that work towards that goal. If something goes wrong, don’t think of it as the end, but keep working and you’ll get there.


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