The satellite platform Lena Meyer holds in her hands is the culmination of two years’ work. Combining materials science and advanced manufacturing, this technology demonstration will inform future small satellite design and cubesat missions.

Lena is a PhD candidate and an integral member of the UNSW Canberra Space team. Her work, which focuses on the development of multi-material metallic structures, requires patience and precision.

“If you work to this level of detail you really have to be thorough in what you do, and I really enjoy that sort of work,” Lena said.

“It’s a challenge, but it’s a good challenge because scientists always want to be perfectionists.

“Because I work on composite materials, I really get to see the differences between the materials on a microscopic level and that in itself as a picture looks very beautiful.”

Lena has always been interested in materials and how they can be used more effectively across all areas of science. She said nature is particularly inspiring.

“What fascinates me is how we can learn from nature and mimic nature to make materials more effective. Just thinking about space – they’re researching biomimicry and its applications in robots with adhesive feet inspired by geckos, so they can walk out of the International Space Station and do some work without flying into space. That’s very cool, and that’s just one example.”