NASA scientist Dr Abigail Allwood and Zoox co-founder Tim Kentley Klay have been recognised for their achievements as expat Australians excelling overseas.
The first Australian to become a scientific lead on a NASA mission to Mars and the founder of a pioneering billion-dollar company making driverless cars have been jointly crowned as Australia’s top expatriates in the annual Advance Global Australian Awards, which recognise the country’s far-flung high achievers.
Dr Abigail Allwood and Tim Kentley Klay were chosen from more than 250 nominations for the federal government-backed award, which has demonstrated the calibre of science and technology talent exported in recent years.
Last year’s winner was David Putrino, a neuroscientist and physical therapist who creates innovative ways to rehabilitate patients at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York.
Dr Allwood has a huge responsibility on her shoulders. She is a geologist, astrobiologist and research scientist working at NASA’s prestigious Jet Propulsion Laboratory and is leading a team that has developed a cutting-edge Planetary Instrument for X-ray Lithochemistry (PIXL). This is an artificial intelligence-equipped tool that will examine rock chemistry on Mars and search for signs of life, as part of the Mars 2020 rover mission.
She is the first female and first Australian principal investigator on a NASA Mars mission.