|Mark Rigby is the Curator of the Sir
Brisbane Planetarium - one of Australia's major planetariums,
located in the "Sunshine State" of Queensland, and the first in the
southern hemisphere to be equipped with full-dome, digital projection
during 2004. It was further upgraded in early 2007.
A lifetime interest in astronomy and space exploration led to his professional involvement in astronomy and space education - initially achieved via science journalism.
During the 1970's and 1980's, Mark covered various space activities, including the Apollo Soyuz Test Project, Viking 1 Mars launch and the maiden flight of the space shuttle Columbia.
He managed the Australian Space Shuttle Science Contest for high school students during the early 1980s - the goal being to fly selected experiments on a shuttle. Whilst the Challenger accident derailed plans, the project created enormous interest at the time. The selected student winners received VIP status during visits to space facilities across the US in 1986. (The major sponsor was AUSSAT Pty Ltd, which launched two of its satellites on space shuttles.)
Mark's later activities included involvement in studies for a possible Spaceport at Cape York in north Queensland.
These days, life at the Brisbane Planetarium keeps Mark quite busy. Mark has also written for Brisbane's major newspaper, The Courier-Mail and in recent years, he has written a range of major Teacher Kits and student materials for The Courier-Mail on subjects ranging from space exploration to ancient civilisations. He was consultant and contributor for a 12-book series on Space for The Courier-Mail and The Sunday-Mail.
Mark carried out research and compiled photographic material, in association with writer/artist John Millington, for a major book about his father's (Australian artist John Rigby) art and life, which was launched at the Queensland Art Gallery in November 2003.
To bring himself back to Earth now and again, Mark loves to travel to ancient sites around the world and indulges in a passion for studying ancient Egypt. He visits Egypt whenever he can, and has created one of the Internet's most diverse Egypt web sites. Of course, he also chases the odd total solar eclipse, recent ones being seen from the Libyan desert (2006), Siberia (2008), China (2009) and Easter Island (2010).