Flinders Uni space archaeologist recognised for literary works

Stephen Kuper

A new book by Flinders University’s internationally renowned space archaeologist, Dr Alice Gorman, has won the People’s Choice category at the 2019 Nib Literary Award in Sydney.

Flinders Uni space archaeologist recognised for literary works
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The Waverley Council’s Mark and Evette Moran Nib Literary Award, known as ‘the Nib’, was established in 2002 and recognises the role of research in publications – with Dr Gorman shortlisted as a finalist for Dr Space Junk vs The Universe: Archaeology and the Future, which was released earlier this year.

On winning the People’s Choice Nib, Dr Gorman said she is grateful to all the readers who went the extra mile to register their vote.

"To know your writing has made an impact definitely makes the hard work of research and writing worthwhile," Dr Gorman said. 

Dr Gorman’s book traces the deeper history of human interaction with space, with a chapter on the moon and lunar missions. It includes the Apollo 11 mission, which celebrated its 50th anniversary in July, and highlights several Australian contributions that influenced the success of this mission.

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"My book is about human connections to space, and in the era of private corporations and commercial exploitation of space resources, I think it’s more important than ever to recognise our common heritage," Dr Gorman explained. 

Dr Gorman’s Flinders University International Space Station Archaeology Project also featured as part of a South Australian government Space Industry Centre promotion at the International Astronautical Congress held in Washington, DC, in October.

The ARC-funded project is creating a new database record of the past 19 years of activity on the Space Station.

By raising space issues and history that’s rarely discussed, Dr Gorman believes her book will help more people engage with broader aspects of space – which is especially timely on the advent of the Australian Space Agency Mission Control and Space Discovery Centre being introduced to Adelaide.

Dr Gorman explained, "My aim for the book is to give people stories they can relate to that makes them feel a part of space. This is what heritage and archaeology does; it makes the connection from the past to the present to the future. To talk about space from a whole range of perspectives gives you a voice and an opinion about what is happening in space right now."

"Because I’m an archaeologist – not the conventional type of space scientist – I want to tell a diverse range of stories to allow different types of people to make a stronger connection with space."

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