The goal of the Space Studies Colloquium is to bring guest researchers from the
astronautical and space science communities in both industry and academia to support
space-related scholarship in the Department of Space Studies and at UND and other
North Dakota institutions of higher education. Guest researchers will be invited
by the Department of Space Studies to give a seminar in their area of professional
expertise, guest lecture in existing courses offered through the Department, and
consult on space-related research with faculty and students. Guest researchers will
be invited from a variety of backgrounds and research areas such as Space Engineering,
Space Life Sciences, Planetary Sciences, Astrobiology, Earth System Sciences, and
Space Policy. In addition to the Department of Space Studies, guest speakers will
interact with faculty, researchers, and students in a number of programs at UND
including the Upper Midwest Aerospace Consortium (UMAC), School of Aerospace Sciences,
College of Business, and the Departments of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering,
Geography, Geology, Physics, and Political Science.
Dr. Kevin McGouldrick Research Scientist, Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics, University of Colorado Boulder
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Kevin McGouldrick attended The Pennsylvania State University as an undergrad, where he hoped to be able to discern which of his two scientific loves he should pursue as a career, astronomy or meteorology. Instead, while there, he was introduced to Dr. Jim Kasting, who showed him that he could do both by pursuing studies in the field of planetary atmospheres. After earning BS degrees in Physics and in Astronomy & Astrophysics, he continued on to graduate studies at the University of Colorado Boulder. There, he earned MS and PhD degrees under the guidance of Dr. Brian Toon, defending his thesis on the interactions between the microphysics and the radiative transfer in the middle and lower clouds of Venus in 2007. Since that time, he has continued to broaden his study of the Venus atmosphere, first through the analysis of VIRTIS_M_IR data, beginning as a postdoc working at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science with Dr. David Grinspoon. More recently, he has been working on an as yet incomplete project to reanalyze Pioneer Venus UVS data to improve the estimates of SO2 in the Venus atmosphere from that era, and to compare it to more current observations from Venus Express. He was named a NASA Participating Scientist on JAXA's Akatsuki mission to study Venus, and hopes that the second attempt at orbit insertion planned for November of 2015 is more successful than the first attempt in December 2010.
The two defining characteristics of the planet Venus are its atmospheric super-rotation and the planet-enshrouding cloud layers. The clouds reflect more than 70% of the incident solar flux back into space, but about half of the solar flux that is received by the planet is absorbed at the altitudes occupied by the clouds. But for its massive greenhouse effect, the planet Venus would be even cooler than Earth, despite being located closer to the Sun. The clouds play a pivotal role here, too, as they are the fourth largest contributor to this greenhouse effect, following CO2, H2O, and SO2. Thus, a large fraction of the incident solar flux and a significant fraction of the upwelling infrared flux are absorbed by the Venusian cloud layers. This energy deposition possibly plays a significant role in sustaining the global super-rotation of Venus in which the entire atmosphere circles the planet with periods of as little as four days at the cloud tops. However, these clouds are also highly variable, especially when viewed at ultraviolet and near infrared wavelengths. In this talk, I discuss the value of multispectral analysis of Venus in characterizing the properties of the planet’s clouds and their role in the global energy and momentum budgets; especially when coupled with in situ measurements of the clouds themselves.
March 9, 2015
Impacts in the Earth-Moon System - What, When, and Why?
Dr. Nicolle Zellner Associate Professor, Albion College in Albion Michigan
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Nicolle Zellner is an associate professor of physics at Albion College in Albion, MI, where she teaches introductory and advanced astronomy and physics courses. Nicolle’s research interests focus on understanding the impact history of the Earth-Moon system and how those impacts affected the conditions for life on Earth. She studies lunar impact glasses to interpret the bombardment history of the Moon (and Earth), and a second project focuses on understanding how the chemistry of simple molecules is affected by impacts.
During the 2006-2007 field season, she was a member of the ANSMET team that searched for meteorites in Antarctica. She spent two months there, and she and the team collected over 800 meteorites! Before coming to Albion College in 2005, she was a post-doctoral researcher at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory’s Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics. While there, she was also a Faculty Scholar associated with the Edward Teller Education Center. Nicolle was a member of the scientific ground crew during NASA’s STS-67 Astro-2 mission in 1995.
Her PhD is from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (2001), where she received the school's first Multidisciplinary PhD. Her undergraduate degree, with majors in Physics and Astronomy and a certification in Environmental Studies, is from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She was an AAUW American Fellow, as well as a two-time Zonta Amelia Earhart Fellow. Her research has been supported by the American Astronomical Society and by the National Science Foundation and is currently supported NASA.
Impacts in the Earth-Moon System - What, When, and Why?
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The Moon continues to provide scientific answers – and pose new questions – over 40 years after the last Apollo mission. While the Moon provides the most clear and complete history of impact events in the inner Solar System since its formation ~4.5 billion years (Ga) ago, the timing is not well understood and has been a topic of continued interest and persistent uncertainties. As our closest planetary neighbor, the Moon’s impact record, if properly interpreted, can be used to gain insights into how the Earth has been influenced by impacting events over billions of years.
Lunar impact glasses, pieces of melted lunar regolith created by energetic impacting events, can offer information about the Moon’s impact history. These samples possess the composition of the target material and can be dated by the 40Ar/39Ar (argon) method in order to determine their formation age. Understanding the ages of impact glasses, along with their compositions, allows us to begin to piece together information about the rate of impact events in the inner Solar System and their effects on Earth.
Important questions that can be answered include determining the form of the large-impact distribution with respect to time (e.g., smooth decline versus cataclysmic spike), whether there is periodicity in Earth-Moon cratering history, and the applicability of the lunar record to other planets. Of great interest to astrobiology and the study of the origin of life is the impact flux prior to ~3.7 Ga ago, and specifically, whether or not early life, if it existed on Earth before 4.0 Ga ago, may have been destroyed during these early impact events.
Mars Exploration and Sample Return using Dragon: A New low cost paradigm for Mars science missions
Mr. David Willson Research Engineer, NASA Ames Research Center
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David is a research and development mechanical engineer at the NASA Ames Research Center working on
Mars exploration technologies for spacecraft sample handling equipment, subsurface drilling and life search instruments.
During the last years, he has involvement in three major projects. The first is the concept development of a Mars sample
return mission using the SpaceX Dragon capsule, in the areas of sample retrieval and handling, structural design, the
Earth return vehicle design, and the in-situ resource utilization concept design version. The second project is building
a subcritical water organics extractor to provide extract for extant and extinct life detection instruments, and the
third project is the development of an ice/water subsurface drill detection instrument for Mars or moon applications.
A Mars Sample Return (MSR) mission is the highest priority Mars science mission for the next decade (Decadal Survey
of Planetary Science. During this Colloquium talk the feasibility of reducing mission cost by adopting the emerging
commercial capabilities, in particular the SpaceX Falcon Heavy launcher that can deliver an un-manned Dragon crew
capsule to Mars will be presented. The Dragon capsule can be modified to land on Mars with all the hardware needed
to return samples to Earth, including a Mars Ascent Vehicle (MAV), an Earth Return Vehicle (ERV) and sample
collection and storage hardware.
Remote Sensing and Locusts: The 21st Century Science vs. The Biblical Enemy of Agriculturists
Dr. Latchininsky Extension Entomologist
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As Extension Entomologist for the State of Wyoming, Dr. Latchininsky’s goal is to provide state residents
with up-to-date, research-based, efficient, economic and environmentally acceptable tools for arthropod
pest management. One of the main areas of his outreach activities in this domain is educating people in
the West on best ways to control rangeland grasshoppers and other pests.
Dr. Latchininsky's research interests include:
Biology and ecology of main arthropod pests of Wyoming, including rangeland, horticultural, forest, urban, and crop pests.
Methods of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) in Western High Plains.
Biology, ecology, population dynamics, and management strategies of grasshoppers and locusts.
Remote Sensing and Geographic Information Sciences (GIS) applications in insect ecology and pest management.
Environmental impact of pest management programs, including the influence on the non-target terrestrial arthropods.
Diapause, migrations and other adaptations in insect life strategies.
Phase variation in locusts.
Conservation of rare and endangered Orthoptera species.
From Earth to the ISS to the Moon and Mars: Development Considerations for Space Habitation and Current Efforts at NASA
Tracy R. Gill Technology Strategy Manager, Research & Technology Management Office
NASA Kennedy Space Center
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Tracy Gill works for NASA at the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in the Research and Technology Management Office as a Technology Strategy Manager.
In this capacity, he is responsible for top level strategic planning of KSC investments in research and technology
areas of the NASA Technology Area roadmaps and coordinating those efforts across multiple projects and organizations.
Tracy holds a BS in Electrical Engineering and an MS in Aerospace and Mechanical Systems from the University of Florida,
an MS in Space Systems from Florida Tech, and is a graduate of the International Space University (ISU) Summer
Session Program in 2006. He served as visiting faculty for ISU in 2012 and in 201, he was named as an adjunct
professor for the International Space University.
Tracy has nearly 20 years of Shuttle and ISS payload processing experience.
Through Spacelab and ISS Utilization payload processing activities, Tracy has worked extensively with
employees and contractors from other NASA field centers, from universities, and from international
engineering teams from the European Space Agency (ESA), Italy, Germany, France, Canada, and Japan.
This work was in preparing payloads for launch on projects such as the German Spacelab D2 mission,
several international Spacelab missions, the Japanese Manipulator Flight Demonstrator,
the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer-2 payload, ISS Expedite the Processing of Experiments to Space Station
(ExPRESS) Racks, and several ESA provided ISS racks such as the Microgravity Science Glovebox and
the Minus Eighty Laboratory Freezer for ISS.
Prior to his involvement with the Research and Technology Management Office,
Tracy was also involved on the Constellation program supporting the Orion, Ground Operations, Altair, and Lunar Surface Systems projects,
developing initial requirements and planning concepts of operations. After Constellation, he was a deputy project manager for
the Habitat Demonstration Unit (HDU) project. He was responsible for leading members of a multi-center team, designing and
building a habitat system to support analog testing of advanced habitation systems. In this capacity, he led the systems
integration effort, defining how sub-systems would be installed and configured and how they worked together to satisfy
the requirements of the habitat prototype.
Psychological Considerations in Astronaut Selection and Crew Support for Long Duration Space Missions
Dr. Gloria R. Leon Professor Emerita, Department of Psychology, University of Minnesota
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Gloria R. Leon, Ph.D, Professor Emerita, served for 10 years as Director of the Clinical Psychology graduate program at
the University of Minnesota, and 7 prior years as Assistant/Associate Director. She continues to carry out research and serve on
advisory committees in both space and disaster-related areas. Much of her research has focused on the influence of personality and
cultural factors on individual and group functioning. She has conducted extensive space analog research on personality, behavioral
functioning, and team processes of different polar expedition groups, studying teams composed of single gender, mixed gender, and
cross-national members as an analog for space missions, and continues research in this area. Over a 13 year period, she was co-PI
on NASA-funded research on the development and testing of cooling garments for space purposes, with a particular focus on the subjective
perception of comfort and thermal status. Dr. Leon collaborated with Russian and Belarus colleagues investigating the psychological
status and health attitudes and concerns in a population affected by the Chernobyl disaster; the psychological status of Chernobyl
power plant workers; the translation and standardization of the Russian language version of the MMPI-2 and other personality measures.
The psychological criteria used to select international crews for lunar and Mars exploration missions has been a subject of
considerable discussion; strategies for maintaining optimal functioning during the mission also present considerable challenges.
A change in emphasis in the initial astronaut applicant screening process is needed, from ruling out psychopathology to identifying
adaptive personality traits to enhance individual and group performance over an extended period of time. During the mission, psychological
dysfunction and crew conflicts among highly diverse mixed gender and cultural crews need to be anticipated and dealt with. Computer-interactive
intervention programs show considerable potential to reduce intra-and interpersonal problems during the mission, and may be more
“consumer friendly” in a space agency culture in which disclosure of personal issues can have negative consequences. Studies of
polar expedition teams as an analog of planetary exploration can inform about adaptive personality traits and decision-making processes
in extreme environments. Findings from a longitudinal study of the Danish Sirius Patrol teams operating in Greenland indicated the
importance of systematic interpersonal communication training prior to the start of a long-duration mission. In addition, considering
the 2.5 year length of a Mars mission, it is possible that significant negative events in the home environment may occur that have a
deleterious effect on work performance and interpersonal interactions with other crew members.
Growing Plants for Supplemental Food Production on a Mars
Dr. Raymond M. Wheeler Senior Scientist, Surface Systems Office
at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida
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Dr. Ray Wheeler is a senior scientist in the Surface Systems Division of the Engineering
Directorate at NASA Kennedy Space Center (KSC) and serves as the current lead for advanced life support activities at KSC.
Ray has worked on bioregenerative life support research and development since 1982 (University of Wisconsin) and then
KSC from 1988 to the present. Ray’s research includes plant production testing for food and O2 production, and CO2 reduction
for space life support systems. In particular, his work focused on lighting and CO2 concentration effects on plant growth
and development, and the use of hydroponic techniques for production systems. Ray is the author or co-author of over 220
scientific papers and has presented over 60 invited talks since 1990. Ray received NASA’s Exceptional Scientific Achievement
Medal, the USDA-ARS Morrison Lecturer Award, NASA’s Exceptional Service Medal, and the Amer. Society for Gravitational and
Space Research Founder’s Award. Ray holds or has held adjunct / courtesy appointments at: Florida Institute of Technology;
University of Florida; Utah State University; Cornell University; Texas A&M University, and the University of Arizona.
Ray also serves as a vice-chair for the Life Sciences Commission (F) in COSPAR--the International Committee
on Space Research.
Space travel to Mars, even for early fly-by missions,
will require meeting all the life support needs of the human crew. This includes oxygen, food, and clean water.
Bioregenerative life support approaches for space, such as using plants to generate oxygen and food have been discussed f
or many years, and become increasingly cost-effective for longer duration missions. But even “shorter” missions, such as
a Mars flyby could benefit from the inclusion of plants for supplemental, fresh foods. The plants could provide a constant
source of high value, perishable fruits and vegetables to improve the nutrition and acceptability of the diet.
These plants might be grown in growth chambers that could range from 0.5-5 m2 of growing area, depending on the vehicle
size and available power to operate electric lighting. Alternatively, direct solar light might be concentrated and
delivered to the inside of the vehicle to sustain plant growth. Validating plant growth and assessing system
reliabilities for a Mars transit mission will be an important step toward the ultimate use of larger, more autonomous\
bioregenerative life support approaches for long-duration surface missions on Mars. Various challenges and concepts
for growing plants on a Mars fly by missions will be presented.
Critical Human Factors in a Manned Martian Mission (Inspiration Mars fly-by mission as a case study)
Dr. Vadim Rygalov Associate Professor, Department of Space Studies
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Vadim Rygalov is an Associate Professor of Life Sciences and Life Support at UND Space
Studies Department. His current research interests include study for hybrid bio-regenerative life
support approaches in long-duration autonomous space missions and role of Human Factor as a major
control element for such systems functional stability. He joined Space Studies in 2004. Before that
he worked as a Research Associate at NASA Kennedy Space Center Space Life Sciences Laboratory (SLSLab)
on Martian Deployable Greenhouse project. More than decade Vadim worked within Russian Space Program
on functional optimization of long-term Closed Ecological System (CES) for Life Support (LS) BIOS-3
known around the globe as one of the most stable bio-regenerative life support systems. He earned
his Ph.D. in ecological biophysics in 1987 within the area of intersection between marine sciences
and controlled cultivation of water organisms (for industrial purposes), participating at the
same time between 1972 and 1987 years in number of tests on human adaptation to extreme environments.
Prolonged stays in space environments expose human subjects to multiple stressors with different effects and consequences for human physiology and psychological conditions. Some of those effects are well known and
countermeasures developed, other ones are still uncertain and study can’t be considered as sufficient.
Inspiration Mars private initiative currently is proposing to send a two-person crew on a round trip
flyby mission to Mars in 2018. Adding a human component to a Mars flyby exploratory by nature mission
offers unique opportunities for exposure astronauts to the deep space environments. At the same time
physiological limitations for human subjects and life support technology as well as human factors
science aspects of such a mission are not clear yet. This presentation will focus on preliminary
evaluation of the deep space manned missions Human Factors (HF) science aspects and assessment
of potential scientific outcome from this ‘bold endeavor’ - class exploratory missions.
Artificial Gravity as a Human Health Countermeasure for Long Duration Spaceflight
Jon Rask Life Scientist in the Space Biosciences Division at NASA Ames Research Center
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Jon Rask is a Life Scientist in the Space Biosciences Division at NASA Ames Research
Center. His current research focuses on human health effects of space flight and the exploration of the Moon and Mars.
Jon has investigated the toxicity, reactivity, and abrasiveness of Apollo lunar dust specimens, and developed
novel brick-like regolith biocomposite technologies made from lunar dust simulants.
Jon has also developed and tested life science hardware and experiments that flew aboard the Space Shuttle
and the International Space Station. He has performed experiment operations aboard the NASA C9B parabolic
aircraft, been a test subject in hypergravity experiments aboard the centrifuge facilities at NASA Ames,
and has conducted field astrobiology research in desert and polar regions. Most recently, Jon served as a
Principal Investigator for the NASA Ames Space Life Sciences Training Program in Artificial Gravity.
Jon is a 2001 alumnus of the Space Studies M.S. program at the University of North Dakota.
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Future long duration human exploration of the Moon and Mars will expose astronauts to the
deleterious effects of spaceflight. Although artificial gravity has been proposed as a human health
countermeasure for reduced-gravity environments, it is unclear what g level, duration,
and frequency ofexposures is optimal for successful application of artificial gravity in space.
This presentation highlighted results from recent human experiments aboard centrifuges at NASA Ames
that investigated subject familiarization to centrifugation, as well as the effect that artificial
gravity has on the cardiovascular system. Experiences of being an artificial gravity test subject were also shared.
January 27, 2014
Mars Science during a Human Flyby Mission
Dr. Mike Gaffey Chester Fritz Distingushed Professor, UND Space Studies
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Dr. Gaffey joined UND'S Department of Space Studies in July 2001.
Prior to that, he had been a Professor of Geology in the Department of
Earth and Environmental Sciences at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (Troy, New York) from 1984 to 2001.
He was a research professor at the Hawaii Institute of Geophysics, University of Hawaii
at Manoa (Honolulu, Hawaii) from 1977 to 1984.
Following his Ph. D. research,
Mike was a post-doctoral researcher in the Planetary Astronomy Laboratory at MIT from 1974 to 1977.
Mike's research focuses on the study of asteroids in order to better understand
the formation and early evolution of the Solar System
Spacecraft flybys of planets have initiated virtually every planetary exploration project,
from the first lunar flyby by the USSR's Luna 1 in January 1959 and Luna 3 in October 1959
which imaged the moon's farside for the first time through the upcoming July 14, 2015 flyby
of the Pluto system by the New Horizons spacecraft.
Inspiration Mars has proposed
sending a two-person crew on a round trip flyby mission to Mars. Adding a human component to
a Mars flyby mission offers unique opportunities and limitations the science aspects of such a mission.
This talk will focus on an assessment of the Mars-related science that could be incorporated into the
April 15, 2013
Lunar Dust: Problems and Potential For Future Explorers
Jon Rask Senior Scientist, Space Biosciences Division of NASA Ames Research Center
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Jon Rask is a Life Scientist with the Space Biosciences Division of NASA Ames. His current
research focuses on human health risks associated with space exploration, and the search for
life on Mars. Jon has investigated the toxicity of Lunar Dust, and developed and tested life
science hardware and experiments for Space Shuttle missions and the International Space Station. He
has performed experiment operations aboard the NASA C9B parabolic aircraft, and been a test subject in
hypergravity experiments aboard the centrifuge facilities at NASA Ames.
Jon has also been involved in Mars analog research at the Mars Desert Research Station, in the Mojave
and Empty Quarter Deserts, in the relic glacial terrains and badlands of North Dakota, in the
Arctic on Svalbard, and in Antarctica. Prior to his work
at NASA Ames, Jon was a farmer, rancher, and high school science teacher in North Dakota.
Jon is a 2001 alumnus of the Space Studies M.S. program at the University of North Dakota.
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The fine-grained nature of the lunar surface is both a concern and an opportunity for future lunar surface
operations. Our research on lunar dust has focused on the biological concerns that relate
to astronaut exposure to lunar dust, as well as the development of regolith
biocomposite technology. This presentation will highlight results from recent experimental investigations
that have characterized lunar dust skin abrasivity, chemical reactivity, and pulmonary toxicity, and
will feature examples of concrete-like materials made of lunar dust simulants.
April 8, 2013
The Politics and Promise of Near-Earth Asteroids
Dr. Mark V. Sykes Ph.D., J.D., CEO and Director, Planetary Science Institute
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Mark V. Sykes is CEO and Director of the Planetary Science Institute,
a non-profit corporation dedicated to the exploration of the solar system
for more than 40 years. Mark began his science career as an undergraduate at
the University of Oregon, studying photometric and polarimetric lightcurves of
eclipsing stellar binaries - particularly the first black-hole system, Cygnus X-1.
As a graduate student at the University of Oregon, he discovered cometary dust trails
using data from the Infrared Astronomical Satellite and engaged in ground-based studies
of asteroids in the thermal infrared. He is a Co-Investigator on the NASA Daw mission to
Vesta and Ceres in the asteroid belt. Sykes chairs the NASA Small Bodies Assessment Group,
which provides science input for the planning and prioritization of the exploration of asteroids
and comets. He is also a member of the Board of Advisors of Planetary Resources, Inc., a for-profit
corporation planning to mine asteroids. He is also involved with PSI's Atsa Suborbital Observatory,
and plans to travel into space to make telescopic observations using the XCOR Lynx as a platform.
Near-Earth objects are viewed primarily as hazards. One is noted for killing the dinosaurs.
This February, another much smaller object exploded over the Siberian city of Chelyabinsk in Russia,
injuring more than 1500 people. The perceived threat drove Congress in 1998 to direct NASA to find 90%
of asteroids having diameters exceeding 1 km. Recognizing the potential damage from another Siberian airburst
over Tunguska in 1908, Congress modified their mandate in 2005 to include
objects down to 140 meters in diameter.
However, asteroids represent more than just threats,
they represent the potential to expand human presence and economy
beyond Earth. The Obama administration has committed to sending a
crewed mission to a near-Earth asteroid by 2025 and
it is planning to propose that Congress allocate $100M in 2014
to begin planning for a mission to return a 5 meter object
to Earth orbit. A non-profit company says it will raise hundreds
of millions in donations to survey NEOs to reduce the hazard
threat. Private companies have started up with the goal of mining
asteroids and turning a profit. Is this the Dawn of a new space age? Or business as usual?
February 25, 2013
Reading Tea Leaves, Space Law & Space Policy: A Method for Elucidating the Next Big Thing
Dr. Edythe E. Weeks, Esq. Adjunct Faculty, Webster University
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Weeks completed a Bachelor’s degree in Economics in 1984 and a J.D. in
1987 from the University of Missouri – Columbia in 1987. In 1998, she
decided to pursue a long term goal of pursuing a Ph.D. in Politics &
International Affairs. In 2006 Weeks successfully defended a
dissertation entitled The Politics of Space Law in a Post-Cold War Era:
Understanding Regime Change at Northern Arizona University in
Flagstaff, Arizona. This research relied on a critical analysis of
space law and policy to elucidate newly emerging trends. In 2002, while
still a graduate student, Weeks began teaching courses and attending
and presenting at space conferences. For the past 4 years, Weeks has
been creating and teaching online courses, including The New Space Rush
and International Law and Politics of Outer Space at Webster University
Worldwide and Washington University in St. Louis. Weeks has presented
and published a variety of papers before the international space
community via the International Astronautical Federation Congresses,
and was elected into the International Institute of Space Law in 2004.
She speaks on topics related to space law and newly emerging trends for
outer space development to space organizations, K-12 groups, university
clubs and organizations, companies, and creates space themed courses
for social and behavioral sciences students
Dr. Weeks will discuss recent U.S. space policy and U.S. space law
provisions and how they complement and/or potentially conflict with
International space treaty provisions, and how this is likely to be
relevant regarding space mining plans being articulated by various key
actors within the space community.
February 11, 2013
Space Resources Utilization: Living off the Land
Dr. Angel Abbud-Madrid Director, Center for Space Resources at the Colorado School of Mines
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Dr. Angel Abbud-Madrid is the Director of the Center for Space Resources at the Colorado School of Mines.
He has more than 25 years of experience conducting experiments in a variety of NASA’s low-gravity facilities,
such as drop towers, parabolic-flight aircraft, and orbiting spacecraft. He is also the president of
The Space Resources Roundtable, an organization focused on bringing the space exploration community, the financial sector,
and the mining and minerals industries to discuss issues related to lunar, asteroidal, and planetary resources.
Just as our ancestors for centuries relied on the use of local resources to explore every
corner of our planet, so the utilization of space resources will enable the affordable establishment
of extraterrestrial exploration and operations by minimizing the materials carried from Earth.
The search and use of resources to produce materials, propellants, energy, and basic consumables
for life support on the Moon, asteroids, and other planets may very well become one of the main
drivers for continuing our exploration of space.
February 4, 2013
The DAWN Mission to Asteroid Vesta – Lessons Learned & Questions Raised
Dr. Mike Gaffey Chester Fritz Distinguished Professor, Department of Space Studies, UND
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Dr. Michael Gaffey is a Participating Scientist on the DAWN at Vesta mission, and
has studied Vesta using Earth-based telescopes for more than thirty years. Dr.
Gaffey joined the UND Aerospace School’s Space Studies Department in 2001,
having retired after seventeen years with the Earth and Environmental Sciences
Department at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York. His prior
affiliations include the Planetary Geoscience Group and Institute for Astronomy
at the University of Hawaii (seven years), the MIT Planetary Astronomy Laboratory
(PhD Student and post-doc), and the Geology / Astronomy Departments at the University of Iowa
(BA & MS). Dr. Gaffey is a Chester Fritz Distinguished Professor at UND, a Leonard
Medal winner from the Meteoritical Society, a recipient of the G. K. Gilbert Prize
from the Geologic Society of America, and recipient of the Thomas J. Clifford Faculty
Achievement Award for Excellence in Research. Asteroid 3545 was named Gaffey in recognition
of his contribution to the field.
The DAWN mission to asteroids (4) Vesta and (1) Ceres was the ninth mission
in NASA’s low cost Discovery Program. The spacecraft was launched in September 2007
and went into orbit around the large main belt asteroid (4) Vesta in July 2011,
staying in orbit until September 2012, before departing for a rendezvous with asteroid
(1) Ceres in mid-2015. During the more than a year in orbit, the DAWN spacecraft imaged
the surface at high resolution and in many colors to map surface units. Additionally
visible and near-infra spectra were obtained of nearly the entire surface to assess
surface mineralogy, and gamma ray spectra were obtained to map elemental composition
of the surface. Although Vesta had been the most intensely investigated asteroid prior
to the DAWN mission, many surprises awaited the science team once data began to be returned.
One major goal of the mission was to test this asteroid as the parent body of the most common
type of igneous meteorites, the HEDs. Confirming such a link would allow the detailed chemical
and chronological data from the HED to be used to outline the geologic history of this largest
igneous body in the asteroid belt.
Mario Runco, Jr. NASA Astronaut on three Space Shuttle missions (STS-44,54,77) and
the NASA-JSC Lead Earth and Planetary Scientist for
Spacecraft Window Optics and Utilization of the International Space Station
Destiny Laboratory Module's Optical
Quality Science Window, Youtube video,
and the Window Observational Research Facility
Models of Space Future in Science Fiction of 2000-2012
Dr. Larisa Mikhaylova Professor of World Literature of the 20th Century,
History and Translation of Science Fiction at Lomonosov Moscow State University
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Larisa Mikhaylova (b. 1954) – Editor, literary critic and translator.
Ph.D. (Moscow State University, 1982). Teaches World Literature of the 20th Century,
History and Translation of Science Fiction and SF TV Series at MSU. Russian Society of
American Culture Studies Academic Secretary. SF magazine Supernova. F&SF Chief Editor (www.snovasf.com).
SFRA and SFWA member. Interests: drama, science fiction and gender aspects of culture. Translated into
Russian fiction by many SF authors, among them Ursula Le Guin and Pat Cadigan.
About the Topic: Is international cooperation essential for the
humankind movement into the Universe? What may be the goals of space exploration
as seen by contemporary science fiction writers today, in the beginning of the 21st
century? These questions will be approached from the perspective of comparative
culture research on the basis of Russian and American new trends in literature and film.
April 30, 2012
National Security Space Strategy: A Path to Success in a Changed Environment.
Colonel William J. Liquori, Jr. Chief of Staff of the Air Force
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Colonel William J. Liquori, Jr. is a Chief of Staff of the Air Force
Fellow assigned to the Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (Space),
Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, the Pentagon, Washington, D.C.
He is responsible for providing policy advice and support to the Secretary of Defense
and other senior Department of Defense leaders by formulating, recommending, integrating,
and implementing policies and strategies to improve United States space capabilities.
Colonel Liquori entered the Air Force in 1991 as a distinguished graduate of the Air
Force ROTC program at Boston University. His career has included numerous satellite
operations and staff positions in Air Force Space Command and the National Reconnaissance
Office. He is a graduate and former instructor of the United States Air Force Weapons
School (USAFWS). The Colonel also served as Chief, Space Control and Force Application
Branch, National Security Space Office, Office of the Under Secretary of the Air Force.
The Colonel commanded a space operations squadron of over 700 military, civilian,
and industry personnel. The unit provided 24/7 operations and maintenance of a $12B
national space system providing near real-time threat and mission support data to the
President, multiple national agencies, unified military commanders, and deployed warfighters
worldwide. Prior to his current assignment, Colonel Liquori was the Chief of Missile Defense
at Headquarters United States European Command.
Space capabilities provide the United States and our allies unprecedented advantages
in national decision-making, military operations, homeland security, economic strength,
and scientific discovery. Space systems provide unfettered global access, enable rapid
response to global challenges, and are vital to monitoring strategic and military developments.
Space systems allow people and governments around the world to see with clarity, communicate with
certainty, navigate with accuracy, and operate with assurance. An evolving strategic environment
increasingly challenges U.S. space advantages. Space, a domain that no nation owns but on
which all rely, is becoming increasingly congested, contested, and competitive. This presentation
will discuss the 2011 National Security Space Strategy and the path it charts for success
in this changing environment. The speaker will address how the strategy maintains and
enhances the advantages derived from space through the following approaches:
Promoting responsible, peaceful, and safe use of space
Preventing and deterring aggression against space infrastructure
Partnering with responsible nations, international organizations, and commercial firms
Providing improved U.S. space capabilities
Preparing to defeat attacks and to operate in a degraded environment
April 23, 2012
Landsat, and the Landsat Data Continuity Mission (LDCM)
Jon Christopherson Principal Systems Engineer and Contract Work Manager for the Remote Sensing
Technologies Project at the USGS EROS Data Center
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Education - BS Electrical Engineering, 1984, S.D. School of Mines;
MS Space Studies, 1998, University of North Dakota; additional scattered course
work from University of Maryland, Mission College, Santa Clara, CA
Experience - Electro-optical sensor manufacturing and
operations, system engineering, sensor calibration, quality assurance, and
project management. Experience with DoD, DARPA, NASA, and USGS customers.
Currently the Contract Work Manager for the Remote Sensing Technologies Project.
Current Projects - Digital Aerial Quality Assurance, Camera Calibration, System Characterization.
GPS and the Next Generation Air Transportation System
Joseph Post Manager, NAS Modeling
and Simulation at FAA
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Joseph Post is Acting Director of Systems Analysis & Modeling
and Manager of NAS Modeling in the FAA’s NextGen organization.
He is responsible for cost, benefit, and performance analysis for all things NextGen..
Mr. Post has 30 years of experience in aerospace, defense, and civil aviation.
He holds degrees in Aeronautics and Astronautics from MIT, Electrical Engineering
from Yale University, and Economics from George Mason University. Mr. Post is an instrument-rated pilot.
The Federal Aviation Administration and its partners in
the aviation industry are engaged in an unprecedented effort to
modernize air transportation. The Next Generation Air Transportation System,
or NextGen, will replace outmoded terrestrial
navigation and surveillance systems, and analog voice communications,
with modern, space-based digital technologies, thereby
increasing operating efficiencies, enhancing safety, and improving environmental performance.
The speaker will describe the NextGen concept and technologies,
with particular emphasis on NextGen's Global Positioning System (GPS) applications.
He will describe how Automatic Dependent Surveillance - Broadcast (ADS-B),
Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS), Ground-Based
Augmentation System (GBAS), and Performance-Based Navigation (PBN)
will be used to improve the performance of air transportation.
How Science Drives Operation of NOAA’s Weather Satellite Assets
Thaddeus Johnson Attitude Control Engineer, National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA),
Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites (GOES)
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Thaddeus Johnson joined NOAA’s Engineering team as an intern supporting POES
Engineering and the launch of NOAA-19. After graduating with his B.S. degree in
Mechanical Engineering, Thaddeus joined NOAA’s GOES Engineering team as Attitude Control Subsystem Engineer.
While with NOAA, Thaddeus has supported the launches of POES-19 and DMSP F-18
and the handover of GOES-14 and GOES-15 from NASA. With the GOES team, he has transitioned
GOES primary operations from GOES-IM spacecraft to newer GOES-NOP series spacecraft.
This presentation centers around the requirements and modus operandi that drive NOAA's
Satellite operations at the short and long term levels for the GOES and POES programs.
As an example, at the daily level, team members deliberate such things as missed satellite contacts for
POES and product impacts due to maneuvers for GOES, while at the long-term
level, the changes in requirements that compel technological advances for the GOES and POES programs are considered.
This will also demonstrate how NOAA’s Space Assets have improved and how that improvement
has advanced our knowledge of weather and climate.
February 24, 2012
Space Habitats: An Overview of Simulations, Analogs, Pressure Chambers, and Development Technologies
Marc Cohen Architect, Principal Investigator & Project Manager at
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Marc M. Cohen, Arch.D
Architect, Principal Investigator & Project Manager
From the time he saw his first satellite at age five – Explorer 3 in July 1958 -- Marc grew up believing that
the Space Program was the story of his life. Marc studied Architecture, developing notions
for habitats, bases, settlements, and colonies off the Earth.
Starting out as a facility architect at NASA Ames, Marc designed projects
for wind tunnels, life science labs, and aircraft support buildings. When the current
Space Station Program began in the early 1980s, Marc served on the Space Station
Concept Development Group at NASA HQ and became a charter member of the Space Human
Factors Office at Ames. There, he developed the triangular-tetrahedral space station
concept, the nodes and cupola (US Patent #4, 728,060), of which went into the Space Station
Freedom and later the ISS configuration. He invented the Suitport (US Patent 4,842,224) now
part of NASA’s Lunar Electric Rover that appeared as the NASA float at President Obama’s inauguration.
Marc facilitated the Human Exploration Demonstration Project: “A day in the
life of a planetary habitat,” as his dissertation project for the University of Michigan.
He led the Human Engineering team of 15 for the crew cabin systems on SOFIA, a 747 that
carries a 2.5m infrared telescope. Marc led the Habot Mobile Lunar Base Project for John Mankins at NASA HQ.
Marc was a founding member of the Ames Federal Employees Union,
(IFPTE Local 30) and was elected President four times over eight years.
This experience gave him a deep insight into the working of the NASA institution
and its internal relations. Marc is an AIAA Associate Fellow, having served as Chair
of the Design Engineering TC and as founding chair of its Aerospace Architecture Subcommittee.
Taking early retirement from NASA in 2005, Marc worked for Northrop Grumman,
as Human Systems Integration Lead for the Altair Lunar Lander. As part of the Altair
program, Marc developed the Crew Productivity FOM. While at Northrop Grumman, Marc also
performed human factors evaluations of for the Air Force Global Strike, Navy UAV control
workstation, and DARPA’s “HART” project.
Presently, Marc is starting a business, Astrotecture, for the professional practice of Space Architecture.
AB cum laude, Architecture and Urban Planning, Princeton University,
M.Arch, Columbia University, Kinne Summer Travelling Fellow,
Arch.D, Design Methods, University of Michigan, Saarinen-Swanson Fellow.
This presentation offers a common frame of reference for understanding full scale mockups and
simulators for human spacecraft. Mockups and Simulators have a range of objectives and purposes, including:
- Concept evaluation,
- Design research,
- Engineering integration
- Operations simulation and development, and
- Crew Training.
These purposes are not mutually exclusive, but can co-exist or overlap in the same mockup or simulator.
April 18, 2011
The Vital Role of ICESat Data Products
Dr. Douglas D. McLennan ICESat-2 Project Manager NASA, Goddard Space Flight Center Greenbelt, Maryland
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Dr. Douglas D. McLennan has been at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC)
for over 23 years and has been instrumental in the development and management of
Earth Science, Earth Observatory and Planetary missions. Dr. McLennan began his
career managing the development of the six instruments and the AQUA spacecraft for
the Earth Observing System (EOS) mission. After the successful completion of the
mission, Dr. McLennan was appointed Deputy Project Manager for the Geostationary
Operational Environmental Satellites (GOES) Series N-Q. In 1999, Dr. McLennan
was promoted to Project Manger of the Space Technology 5 (ST-5) mission.
The ST-5 mission consisted of three micro-sat satellites integrated into a
single suite. In 2005, Dr. McLennan was appointed as Project Manager to
the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) mission. The SAM instrument was successfully
delivered, integrated and tested as part of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL)
Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) rover. Currently, Dr. McLennan is the Project
Manager of ICESat-2 mission. The ICESat-2 mission is the next cryo-spheric
remote sensing satellite mission providing coverage of the Earth’s surfaces.
Dr. McLennan received his PhD from Georgetown University, Washington DC.
Changes in Ice sheet thicknesses, sea level, and sea ice extent have
been explicitly identified as a current priority in the President’s Climate
Change Science Program, the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment, the 4th
Assessment Report of the IPCC and other national and international policy
documents. In response the National Aeronautics and Space Administration
(NASA) formulated the Ice, Cloud, and land Elevation Satellite-2 (ICESat-2)
mission to continue the exploration and understanding of our planet.
The ICESat-2 is a remote sensing satellite mission providing coverage of
the Earth’s surfaces. The ICESat-2 mission will provide multi-year elevation
data needed to determine ice sheet mass balance. It will also provide topography
and vegetation data around the globe, in addition to the polar-specific coverage
over the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets.
The ICESat-2 observatory is comprised of one instrument, a laser
altimeter called ATLAS (Advanced Topographic Laser Altimeter System).
ATLAS is a laser altimeter, utilizing a measurement technique known as
photon counting, which is designed to measure ice-sheet topography and
associated temporal changes.
This presentation will focus on the role of ICESat-2 mission as
we monitor the changes in the global cryosphere and the generation and
subsequent distribution of data products to the user community.
An overview of the mission will also be presented.
“Serving the Arctic – CSA Polar Communications and Weather Mission”
Mr. Guennadi Kroupnik Acting Director of Satellite Communications and Space Environment
Projects and Project Manager for the Polar Communications and Weather (PCW) Mission at the Canadian Space Agency (CSA)
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Guennadi Kroupnik, M.Eng, PMP, P.Eng.
Mr. Kroupnik is the Acting Director of Satellite Communications
and Space Environment Projects and Project Manager for the
Polar Communications and Weather (PCW) Mission at the Canadian Space Agency (CSA).
Mr. Kroupnik holds Master of Engineering/Aerospace degrees from Moscow
University of Aerospace Technologies and Concordia
University (Montreal), and the Project Management Professional (PMP)
certification from the Project Management Institute (PMI).
He has more than 25 years of engineering and functional and program
management experience in aerospace domain. Mr. Kroupnik participated
in major space programs ranging from the Russian Space Shuttle "Buran"
to Canadian Radarsat –1, Radarsat-2, and Radarsat Constellation Programs.
From Northern Village to Global Village: Satellite Communications for Development in the Arctic
Dr. Heather E. Hudson Director, Institute of Social and Economic Research University of Alaska Anchorage
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Dr. Heather E. Hudson is Director of the Institute of Social and Economic Research (ISER) and
Professor of Public Policy at the University of Alaska Anchorage. Previously, she was founding
Director of the Communications Technology Management and Policy Program at the University of San Francisco.
Her work focuses on applications of ICTs for socio-economic development, regulation and policy issues
including universal service/access, and policies and strategies to extend affordable access to new technologies
and services, particularly in rural and remote areas.
Prof. Hudson has planned and evaluated communication projects in Alaska, northern Canada,
and more than 50 developing countries and emerging economies in Africa, Asia, Latin America,
the Caribbean, the Middle East, Eastern Europe, and the South Pacific. She has consulted for the private sector,
government agencies, consumer and indigenous organizations, and international organizations.
She is currently an IEEE Distinguished Lecturer, and been a keynote speaker for IEEE chapters in South Africa,
Tanzania, and New Zealand.
She has written many articles and several books,
and has presented numerous conference papers and as well as
expert testimony on communications policy issues such as universal service and access, incentives
for investing in information infrastructure, restructuring of the telecommunications sector,
and telecommunications planning for socio-economic development. She is the author of From Rural
Village to Global Village: Telecommunications for Developing in the Information Age; Global Connections:
International Telecommunications Infrastructure and Policy; Communication Satellites:
Their Development and Impact and When Telephones Reach the Village, and co-author of Electronic Byways:
State Policies for Rural Development through Telecommunications and Rural America in the Information Age.
In fall 2009, she held the Fulbright Visiting North American Policy Research Chair at Carleton
University in Ottawa to conduct a comparative study of Canadian and U.S. broadband policies. She has also
been a Sloan Foundation Industry Fellow at Columbia University’s Institute for Tele-Information, has held a
Fulbright Distinguished Lectureship for the Asia/Pacific, and has been an Honorary Research Fellow at the
University of Hong Kong, and Senior Fellow at CIRCIT in Australia, and at the East-West Center in Hawaii.
She has served as a board member of the Pacific Telecommunications Council (PTC), Telecommunications
Policy Research Conference (TPRC), Women in Telecommunications (WiT), Farm Radio International, and the
International Council for Computer Communications (ICCC). She has served on the editorial boards of
Telecommunications Policy, Information
Technologies and International Development, and The Journal of Community Informatics.
She has been a member of Advisory Committees of the U.S. National Research Council, the Federal
Communications Commission, the Department of Commerce and the Office of Technology Assessment. Her research
has been funded by inter alia the Benton Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the Sloan Foundation, the
International Development Research Centre, the World Bank, the International Telecommunication Union,
the Aspen Institute, and the Telecommunications Education Trust.
This presentation will examine the role of satellites in linking isolated communities
in the Arctic, particularly in Alaska, with examples also from Northern Canada and Greenland. It
will include a review of telemedicine, distance education, e-commerce, e-government, and indigenous
cultural applications. Also covered will be current projects in Alaska funded by Stimulus grants from
the U.S. Department of Commerce and the Rural Utilities Service. Current policy issues including technology trends,
expansion of broadband, and universal service fund support for rural areas will also be addressed.
January 18, 2011
The Changing Maritime Arctic: Space Needs for Future Marine Operations
Dr. Lawson W. Brigham Distinguished Professor of Geography & Arctic Policy, University of Alaska Fairbanks
and Senior Fellow, Institute of the North, Anchorage
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Dr. Lawson Brigham is Distinguished Professor of Geography & Arctic Policy at the University of Alaska Fairbanks,
and a Senior Fellow at the Institute of the North in Anchorage.
During 2005-2009 he was chair and U.S. co-lead of the Arctic Council's Arctic Marine Shipping
Assessment (AMSA) and Vice Chair of the Council's working group
on Protection of the Arctic Marine Environment (PAME). Dr. Brigham was a career U.S. Coast Guard
officer from 1970-95, retiring with the rank of Captain.
He commanded four Coast Guard cutters, as well as serving
at Coast Guard Headquarters. In 1994, he commanded
the polar icebreaker Polar Sea crossing the Arctic Ocean with
the Canadian Coast Guard icebreaker Louis S. St-Laurent.
He is a graduate of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy,
the U.S. Naval War College, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute,
and the University of Cambridge. His research interests for more
than three decades have focused on the Soviet/Russian
maritime Arctic, Arctic climate change, marine transportation,
remote sensing of sea ice, Arctic environmental protection, and polar geopolitics.
National Security Space: Opportunities and Challenges.
Dr. Peter Hays, Lt. Col. (Ret) Senior Scientist-SAIC-National Security Space Office at the Pentagon
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Peter L. Hays works for SAIC supporting the Department of Defense and the Eisenhower
Center, and teaches at George Washington University. He helps develop space policy initiatives including the
National Defense University Spacepower Theory Study. Dr Hays holds a Ph.D. from the Fletcher School and was
an honor graduate of the USAF Academy. He served internships at the White House Office of Science and Technology
Policy and National Space Council and taught space policy courses at the USAF Academy, School of Advanced Airpower
Studies, and National Defense University. Major publications include: Spacepower for a New Millennium; “Going
Boldly—Where?” and United States Military Space.
Recent military operations in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Kosovo indicate
space capabilities have become a foundational enabler of most U.S. military actions and
an increasingly important component of U.S. national security. Worldwide, there is growing
recognition and focus on the broad and ubiquitous contributions space capabilities make to
global prosperity and security. The 2001 Space Commission Report found that because U.S. military
and economic security has become so dependent on space capabilities, the nation could face a
“space Pearl Harbor.” The U.S. National Space Policy released in October 2006 stated: “In this
new century, those who effectively utilize space will enjoy added prosperity and security and will hold
a substantial advantage over those who do not. Freedom of action in space is as important to the United
States as air power and sea power.” And the National Space Policy of the United States of America
released in June 2010 indicates: “Space systems allow people and governments around the world to
see with clarity, communicate with certainty, navigate with accuracy, and operate with assurance.
Dr. Wendell Mendell Chief, Office for Lunar and Planetary Exploration, NASA, Houston
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Dr. Wendell Mendell is a Planetary Scientist serving as Assistant Administrator
for Exploration in the Directorate for Astromaterials Research & Exploration Science of
the NASA Johnson Space Center, where he has been employed since 1963. He is married and has
four children. Dr. Mendell has a B.S. in physics from CalTech; a M.S. in physics from UCLA;
and a M.S. in Space Science and a Ph.D. in Space Physics and Astronomy from Rice University.
His scientific research focus is remote sensing of planetary surfaces, particularly specializing
in thermal emission radiometry and spectroscopy of the Moon. Since 1982, his activities in NASA
have focused on planning and advocacy of human exploration of the solar system, especially on the
establishment of a permanent human base on the Moon. His interests lay as much with policy issues
as with technical solutions. He is most well known as the editor of the volume, Lunar Bases and Space
Activities of the 21st Century; and he received the 1988 Space Pioneer Award for Science and Engineering
from the National Space Society for this work. Dr. Mendell is currently detailed to the Constellation Systems
Program Office as Chief, Office for Lunar & Planetary Exploration,. He acts as a liaison between the scientific
community and the Program responsible for implementing the Vision for Space Exploration.
He is an Associate Faculty of the International Space University. At the ISU, he has led
Design Projects for an International Lunar Base (1988), International Mars Mission (1991), International Lunar
Farside Observatory and Science Station (1993), Vision 20/20 [a sampling of the future as
seen by young space professionals] (1995), and Space Tourism: From Dream to Reality (2000).
He belongs to several professional scientific and engineering societies. He is most active in
the International Academy of Astronautics, where he is currently serving on Academic Commission III;
and in the AIAA, where he has chaired the Space
Science and Astronomy Technical Committee and sits on the International Activities Committee.
He served on (and chaired) the Executive Committee of the Aerospace Division of
the American Society of Civil Engineers. He has been editor for nine technical
volumes and has published over 40 articles in professional journals and conference
proceedings. He is also author of numerous abstracts and short papers presented at technical conferences.
On February 1, 2010, the federal budget for Fiscal Year 2011
was released. NASA received an increase, unlike almost any other federal agency.
At the same time, the budget revealed that the Constellation Program would be cancelled
and that NASA would look to private sector providers for transportation of cargo, and
eventually crew members, to the International Space Station. The Constellation Program
had included a human return to the Moon by the year 2020, and the program plans called
for a permanent surface facility capable of supporting human explorers.
In the FY2011 announcement, the prescription of a lunar objective was
replaced by a concept called “flexible path” that was
advertised to open possibilities of other types of human missions beyond low
Earth orbit.The policy direction has polarized the U.S. space community, where the
reactions have been swift and polemical. The new policy has been described both
as the death knell of human space exploration and as the only hope to save human
space exploration. Some members of Congress have threatened legal action based on
the current law regarding appropriation of funds to NASA, which states that Constellation
cannot be cancelled without prior consultation with Congress. As might be expected,
some of the reaction is directly related to losses or gains of jobs in districts
associated with NASA facilities. However, various statements show high emotional
content, suggesting that personal belief systems have been challenged. Meanwhile,
many details of the new policy are not yet clear; and some aspects seem to be shifting
in response to political reaction. The final direction for NASA will not be known
until the FY2011 budget has been passed by Congress and signed by the President.
I will draw upon my 28 years’ of studying, writing, and speaking on the topic of
future human exploration beyond low Earth orbit to discuss the various issues at
stake and the historical context for the debate. My own work has had a central
theme of lunar exploration and development,
but I have also come to believe that human exploration will never be more than a
political sideshow until a significant economic sector can be created in space
off of the Earth. Disclaimer: The views presented will be my own and in no way
reflect official policies of the NASA.
April 19, 2010
Mars Direct: Humans to the Red Planet within a Decade
Dr. Robert Zubrin President, Pioneer Astronautics
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Robert Zubrin, formerly a Staff Engineer at Lockheed Martin Astronautics in Denver
is now president of his own company, Pioneer Astronautics. He holds Masters degrees in
Aeronautics and Astronautics and a doctorate in Nuclear Engineering.
He is the inventor of several unique concepts for space propulsion and exploration,
the author of over 200 published technical and non-technical papers in the field, as
well the non-fiction books 'The Case for Mars: The Plan to Settle the Red Planet and
Why We Must' (Simon and Schuster 1996), 'Entering Space' (Tarcher Putnam 1999), and
'Mars on Earth' (Tarcher Penguin 2003). He is also the author of the novels
'The Holy Land' (Polaris Books, 2003) and 'First Landing' (Ace 2001), and most
recently, the science-humor immigrant guidebook, 'How to Live on Mars' (Three Rivers Press, 2008).
He is a Fellow of the British Interplanetary Society and former Chairman of the Executive
Committee of the National Space Society. Most recently, he founded the Mars Society;
an international organization dedicated to furthering the exploration and settlement
of Mars by both public and private means. In that capacity, he personally led the
construction and operation of a human Mars exploration training station on Devon Island,
an uninhabited island in the Canadian Arctic 900 miles form the North Pole. Prior to
his work in astronautics, Dr. Zubrin was employed in areas of thermonuclear fusion research, nuclear
engineering, radiation protection, and as a high school science teacher.
In July 1989, on the 20th anniversary of the Apollo Moon landing,
the first President Bush called for America to renew its pioneering push into
space with the establishment of a permanent Lunar base and a series of human
missions to Mars. While many have said that such an endeavor would be excessively
costly and take many decades, a small team at Martin Marietta drew up a daring plan
that could sharply cut costs and send a group of American astronauts to the Red
Planet within ten years. The plan, known as "Mars Direct", has attracted
international attention and broad controversy, including coverage in such publications
as Newsweek, Fortune, The Economist, Air and Space Smithsonian, the New York Times,
the London Times, the Boston Globe and Izvestia. It has also been covered by the
Discovery Channel, PBS, ABC, NBC, CBS, National Public Radio, and the BBC.
Its principal author, Robert Zubrin, has presented it to such fora as the
International Astronautical Federation congress in Germany, and the blue ribbon
"Synthesis Group" headed by former Apollo astronaut General Thomas Stafford,
the Augustine Committee, as well as to various government officials, including
House Speaker Newt Gingrich, former NASA Administrators Dan Goldin and Mike
Now, with nation debating how to proceed with human space exploration,
the “Mars Direct” plan is more relevant than ever: Can Americans
reach the Red Planet in our time?
March 22, 2010
NASA's Technology Development for Human Exploration Missions to Mars
Dr. Christopher Moore Dy. Director, Advanced Capabilities Department, NASA HQ
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Chris Moore has worked at NASA for 24 years. He is the Deputy Director of
the Advanced Capabilities Division at NASA Headquarters in Washington, DC, where he
leads the development of advanced technology for future exploration missions.
From 1985 to 2002, he worked at NASA Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia
where he designed, integrated, and tested Space Shuttle payloads, and conducted research on robotics.
He received a Ph. D. degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Minnesota in 1991, a M. S. degree
in Aerospace Engineering from Virginia Tech in 1984, and a B. S. degree in Aerospace
Engineering from the University of Virginia in 1983. In his free time, Chris likes
to run, ski, read, and travel to other countries.
Current plans call for the first human missions to Mars to be
launched around 2030. The recently completed "Mars Design Reference Mission 5.0"
study defines a conceptual mission architecture and identifies enabling technologies.
NASA is beginning long-range development on key technologies needed for these missions
because it will take many years for them to reach maturity. The ISS and the lunar
outpost will be used as test beds for these technologies to reduce risk and prepare for human exploration of Mars.
Dr. Pascal Lee NASA Ames; Chairman, Mars Institute
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Dr Pascal Lee is Chairman of the Mars Institute, a planetary scientist at the
SETI Institute, and Director of the Haughton-Mars Project at NASA Ames Research Center.
He has worked extensively in the Arctic and Antarctica viewed as “analogs” for the Moon and Mars.
He was first to propose the Cold Early Mars model based on his field work in Earth’s polar regions.
Dr Lee is internationally recognized for his efforts to advance the human exploration of Mars,
in particular via its moons Phobos and Deimos. He was recently scientist-pilot in the first field
test of NASA’s new Small Pressurized Rover, a concept vehicle currently under development for the
future human exploration of the Moon and Mars.
The first human mission to Mars will likely be humanity’s greatest
undertaking in space exploration in the 21st century. As with all expeditions,
its success will depend on planning. The first steps towards a human journey to
the Red Planet are already underway, as we explore extreme environments on Earth
and prepare for new journeys to the Moon, near-Earth asteroids, and the moons of Mars,
Phobos and Deimos. Dr Pascal Lee will discuss progress being made around the world,
from the Arctic to Antarctica, to achieve these milestones. He will examine in turn
the what, why, when, who, and how of a human mission to Mars. Specific lessons learned
from the NASA Haughton-Mars Project will be discussed.
February 22, 2010
Extravehicular Activities for Mars Exploration
Mr. Pablo de León Research Associate, Department of Space Studies, UND
Extravehicular activity is one of the most critical areas for planetary exploration.
On Mars, due to gravity conditions, dust contamination and a specific thermal scenario,
a special kind of suit is required to protect the astronauts. Since 2005 the Department
of Space Studies at UND has been researching in the area of planetary space suit systems
and developed the NDX-1 a Mars suit demonstrator which was tested on Earth under analog
conditions. As a result of these studies new developments are taking place and a series
of design improvements have been done to prepare a suit that can cope with the Mars conditions.
Since a space suit is just part of the extravehicular system, an integrated design of the
mission contemplating all different aspects of the tasks to accomplish, is required.
A new NASA grant is allowing the Department of Space Studies to develop a complete
minimal mission scenario including inflatable habitat, airlocks, rovers and space suit,
to attempt to address all the different problems related to a human mission to Mars.
A mission to Mars and return to Earth will take more than two years, possibly
a lot more. The travelers will be exposed to microgravity, radiation, and sensory deprivation,
and other space phenomena in amounts which have never been experienced or tested before.
For example, the longest stay in space microgravity on board the Russian space station Mir
performed by Russian cosmonaut-physician Valery Polyakov was 438 Earth days.
will address questions such how can astronauts survive this long duration trip in hostile
environments of space? How can they maintain their health for an acceptable level of performance?
What are those natural mechanisms which help people to survive in extreme environments?
Rygalov also will discuss available techniques and current research trends in human factors in space.
The status of NASA’s Constellation program has been in question since it was first proposed in 2004.
In the last year or two, its status had become even more questionable. The recent US budget included
the new NASA budget. The NASA Administrator, Chuck Bolden Said on February 1, 2010: “So this budget
cancels the Constellation Program.”
David Whalen (background), Michael Gaffey (budget analysis),
and James Casler (Business and Management) of the Space Studies Department at UND will discuss this
shocking—but not surprising—announcement and its implications. This will be followed by Q&A and general
discussion. All are welcome to attend.
James Casler, David Whalen and Michael Gaffey (l to r) Faculty Page
February 1, 2010
The Planet Mars
Dr. Mike Gaffey Chester Fritz Distinguished Professor, Department of Space Studies, UND
The planet Mars has been long identified as a target for human
space missions and possible human settlements. Since the 1986 discovery of possible
– but very controversial – microbial fossils in the Martian meteorite ALH 84001,
a fleet of unmanned spacecraft from several nations have visited the Red Planet.
Although many questions remain to be resolved, we now know a great deal more about
Mars than we did in 1989 when NASA, at the request of the President, outlined a
scenario for a manned Mars mission. In this presentation we will outline the present
state of knowledge concerning the nature and history of the planet Mars, with a
special focus on aspects which would impact planning for a manned Mars mission
and future human settlements.
Developing space resources or a space business venture requires capital.
Lots of it. Especially early on in the life cycle of a new business. While there
are some differences in a space business as compared to a terrestrial business,
there are many more similarities than one might believe. In fact, business rules
are pretty much business rules be it a space business of some type or a terrestrial
business in an established industry. While business planning and due diligence are
common, even routine in evaluating and managing terrestrial businesses, this is not
so in some areas of space, particularly with the NewSpace industry. What makes NewSpace
different? Why is it so hard to do real due diligence regarding all aspects of the
business, not just for management or potential markets, but also technical and
engineering due diligence regarding the end product of the company in question.
Why does the wish list mentality prevail and why are those applying real standards
to claims, rhetoric, and Power Points often attacked and accused of not being with
These and other issues such as assumptions making and commonly
used foolish terminology and rhetoric will be discussed in this presentation.
SpaceX is revolutionizing access to space by developing a family of launch
vehicles and spacecraft intended to increase the reliability and reduce the cost of
both manned and unmanned space transportation. This presentation will highlight
the details of the Falcon 1 (F1), Falcon 9 (F9) and Dragon programs that SpaceX
is currently undertaking.
On September 28, 2008, the Falcon 1, designed and manufactured from the
ground up by SpaceX, became the first privately developed liquid fuel rocket to
orbit the Earth. Details of the F1 vehicle will be presented along with video from
the first flight.
As a winner of the NASA Commercial Orbital Transportation Services competition
(COTS), SpaceX is in a position to help fill the gap in American spaceflight
to the International Space Station (ISS) when the Space Shuttle retires in 2010.
The Falcon 9 Launch Vehicle is the platform that will be used to provide access to
the ISS. Details of the design, manufacture and testing of the F9 vehicle will be
presented along with a video of the nine-engine, full duration test performed in our
McGregor, TX test site.
The Dragon spacecraft is made up of a capsule and trunk used for Earth to
LEO transport of cargo and/or crew members. Details of the design, manufacture
and testing of the Dragon capsule will be presented along with samples of PICAX
(a SpaceX developed heat shield material).
In his two talks beginning at 4.00 PM, Dr. Narain will first
trace the history of India's remote sensing program and then
follow it up with a presentation on India's recent unmanned
moon mission. India's space program has made significant
progress over the years in launch vehicle development, pay
loads for communication and remote sensing, and recently
joined an exclusive club of few countries that have capabilities
to orbit and study the moon. Much of this has been
achieved by the various centers of the Indian Space
Research Organization and technology transfer to the private
industries. The talks will cover how India's space program
has resulted in societal benefits through management
of natural resources, tele-education and tele-medicine.
Why Go to the Moon? The Many Faces of Lunar Policy
Dr. Roger D. Launius Senior Curator in the Division of Space History at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington,D.C.
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Roger D. Launius is senior curator in the Division of Space History at
the Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.
Between 1990 and 2002 he served as chief historian of the National Aeronautics
and Space Administration. A graduate of Graceland College in Lamoni, Iowa, he
received his Ph.D. from Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, in 1982. He has
written or edited more than twenty books on aerospace history, including Robots
in Space: Technology, Evolution, and Interplanetary Travel (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2008);
Societal Impact of Spaceflight (NASA SP-2007-4801, 2007); Critical Issues in the History
of Spaceflight (NASA SP-2006-4702, 2006); Space Stations: Base Camps to the Stars
(Smithsonian Books, 2003), which received the AIAA's history manuscript prize;
Reconsidering a Century of Flight (University of North Carolina Press, 2003);
To Reach the High Frontier: A History of U.S. Launch Vehicles (University Press of
Kentucky, 2002); Imagining Space: Achievements, Possibilities, Projections,
1950-2050 (Chronicle Books, 2001); Reconsidering Sputnik: Forty Years Since the
Soviet Satellite (Harwood Academic, 2000); Innovation and the Development of
Flight (Texas A&M University Press, 1999); Frontiers of
Space Exploration (Greenwood Press, 1998, rev. ed. 2004); Spaceflight and
the Myth of Presidential Leadership (University of Illinois Press, 1997);
and NASA: A History of the U.S. Civil Space Program (Krieger Publishing Co., 1994, rev. ed. 2001).
He served as a consultant to the Columbia Accident Investigation Board in 2003
and presented the prestigious Harmon Memorial Lecture on the history of national
security space policy at the United States Air Force Academy in 2006.
He is frequently consulted by the electronic and print media for his views on space issues,
and has been a guest commentator on National Public Radio and all the major television network news programs.
Why Go to the Moon? The Many Faces of Lunar Policy. What is it about
the Moon that captures the fancy of Humankind? A silvery disk hanging in the night sky,
it conjures up images of romance and magic. It has been counted upon to foreshadow
important events, both of good an ill, and its phases for eons served humanity as
its most accurate measure of time. This paper discusses the Moon as a target for
Human exploration and eventual settlement. This paper will explore the more than
50-year efforts to reach the Moon, succeeding with space probes and humans in
Project Apollo in the 1960s and early 1970s. It will then discuss the rationales
for spaceflight suggesting that human space exploration is one of the least
compelling of all that might be offered. The paper will then discuss efforts
to make the Moon a second home, including post-Apollo planning, the Space
Exploration Initiative, and problems and opportunities in the 2004 Vision for Space Exploration.
T Tauri stars are low mass, pre-main sequence stars, many of which are still surrounded
by active accretion disks where it is believed planet formation is currently under way. Stellar
magnetic fields including a strong dipole component on these newly formed stars are believed
to play a critical role in the early evolution of the young star plus disk system. It is
currently believed that the stellar magnetic field truncates the accretion disk several
stellar radii above the star. This action forces accreting material to flow along the
field lines and accrete onto the star at high stellar latitudes. It is also thought that
the stellar rotation rate becomes locked to the Keplerian velocity at the radius where
the disk is truncated. I will review recent efforts to measure the magnetic field
properties of T Tauri stars, focussing on how the observations compare with the
theoretical expectations. A picture is emerging indicating that quite strong fields
do indeed cover the majority of the surface on young stars; however, the dipole
component of the field appears to be alarmingly small. I will also briefly discuss
recent work on the origins of magnetic fields in fully convective stars such as T Tauri stars.
Saturn's moon Titan is larger than the planet Mercury and has a dense atmosphere like a planet.
Until Cassini and its atmosphere-piercing radar got to Saturn little was known of Titan. Now with ~30%
of the surface revealed Titan is seen to have a very young surface, with deserts of dunes, rivers,
and hundreds of lakes and a few large seas of liquid methane/ethane. We can infer that Titan is
dynamically active, possibly with erupting volcanoes, blowing sediments, rainfall and rising
and falling lake levels. In the debate about what is a planet, Titan would be considered a
planet in all ways - except that it orbits another one.
March 28, 2008
Shedding Light on Dark Energy
Dr. Wayne Barkhouse Assistant Professor for the University of North Dakota (UND) Department of Physics
One decade ago, the astrophysics community was shaken to its core with
the announcement that the expansion rate of the Universe was speeding up
rather than slowing down due to gravity. This discovery - corroborated
at the time by two independent teams searching for supernovae -indicates
that the Universe is filled with a mysterious negative pressure or
"Dark Energy". For the past 10 years, theorists have invoked numerous
mechanisms to help explain this force, including Einstein's cosmological
constant, extra dimensions, quintessence, and even hypothesizing the
breakdown of General Relativity on cosmological scales.
To acquire a deeper understanding of dark energy, the Dark Energy Task
Force (jointly commissioned by NASA, DOE, and NSF) has recommended that
an aggressive program be established to fully characterize dark energy.
A part of this process includes support for a new large-area,
ground-based optical survey to chart the position and brightness of
several hundred million galaxies out to a redshift of order unity. The
leading contender that will satisfy these requirements is the Dark
Energy Survey (DES).
The DES is a 5000 square degree photometric survey that will image the
South Galactic Cap in multiple filters (griz), using a new 3 sq. deg.
CCD camera mounted to the Blanco 4-meter telescope in Chile. The nature
of dark energy will be probed utilizing four independent but
complementary techniques: the redshift distribution of galaxy clusters,
weak gravitational lensing by large-scale structure, the angular
correlation of galaxies as imprinted in the baryon acoustic
oscillations, and supernova distances. As a member of the DES, I will
explain how these techniques will allow us to unravel the mystery of
Physiological, Environmental and Operational Risk Factors for Crews and Passengers of Future
Commercial Space Vehicles
Dr. Melchor Antuñano Director, Civil Aerospace Medical Institute Office of Aerospace Medicine Federal Aviation Administration
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Melchor J. Antuñano, M.D., M.S. has been the Director of
the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Civil Aerospace Medical Institute (CAMI)
since January 14, 2001. CAMI is located at the Mike Monroney Aeronautical Center
(MMAC) in Oklahoma City. Dr. Antuñano provides executive
direction and is responsible for the administrative oversight of FAA Office
of Aerospace Medicine's programs in Medical Certification, Medical Education,
Medical Research, Human Factors Research, and Occupational Health Services,
that are critical and integral elements of the Office of Aviation Safety (AVS).
He is the focal point in leading the activities of a professional, technical,
and clerical team engaged in the policy development, planning, evaluating,
and administering of: 1) a program to fulfill the medical certification needs
of approximately 620,000 holders of U.S. pilot certificates, 2) a program for
the selection, designation, training, and management of about 5,000 Aviation
Medical Examiners (AMEs) appointed to conduct physical examinations and issue
FAA medical certificates to pilot certificate holders throughout the U.S.
and in 93 countries worldwide, 3) medical education programs in aviation physiology,
global survival, and aviation human factors for FAA flight crews and civil
aviation pilots, 4) medical publications and other didactic materials used to
disseminate medical information to promote aerospace safety, 5) a highly
specialized library system in support of a broad range of aerospace medical and
safety reference/research programs, 6) an integrated program of field and
laboratory performance research in organizational and human factors aspects of
aerospace work environments, 7) an applied research program to identify
human tolerances, capabilities and failure modes (physiological, psychological,
and performance) both in uneventful flights, and during civilian in-flight
incidents and accidents, 8) an occupational medicine program to improve the
safety of FAA employees, and 9) a medical clinic that provides health
services to employees and students at the MMAC.
This presentation will discuss a number of physiological,operational,
and environmental risk factors (actual and potential) for the occupants of
commercial space vehicles. Actual risks include exposure to: 1)
High acceleration of flight profiles, 2) Decreased barometric pressure,
3) Microgravity, 4) Solar and galactic cosmic radiation, 4) Noise and vibration.
Of particular concern are the effects of exposure (short-term and long-term)
to microgravity on the cardiovascular, neurological, endocrinological, muscleskeletal,
and gastro-intestinal systems, among healthy and diseased passengers.
Furthermore, U.S. and Russian experience regarding space physiology and
medicine involve short-term and long-term space flights but does not address
the effects of: 1) Frequent repetitive exposure (several times a week) to
flight profiles involving: normal gravity (pre-flight) - acceleration (launch/take off)
- microgravity (space) - deceleration (return) - normal gravity (post-flight),
2) Frequent repetitive exposure to solar and cosmic radiation, and 3)
Exposure to microgravity among individuals who have medical pathology.
Other potential risk factors include unexpected exposure to: temperature
extremes, in-flight cabin fire, cabin air contaminates, electricity,
non-ionizing radiation, mechanical hazards, impact forces during crash
landings, post-crash fire, emergency evacuation, and post-evacuation survival.
February 4, 2008
Election 2008: Does Space Matter? - Space policy discussion of the U.S. presidential candidates
Dr. Paul Hardersen Assistant Professor, UND Department of Space Studies
P. Diane Rausch Director, Advisory Committee Management Division, in the Office of External Relations, NASA Headquarters
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P. Diane Rausch currently serves as the Director, Advisory Committee Management Division,
in the Office of External Relations,
NASA Headquarters. Appointed to this position in 2004 by the NASA Administrator,
she provides management oversight and executive
direction for all of NASA's external independent advisory committees.
She also serves as the Executive Director of the National Space-Based
Positioning, Navigation and Timing (PNT) Advisory Board, a new Presidential
advisory committee providing recommendations on the U.S. Global
Positioning System (GPS).
Since its inception, NASA has pursued a broad range of international
cooperative endeavors with foreign countries. The National Aeronautics and
Space Act of 1958 established international cooperation as a fundamental
objective of the Agency. To achieve this objective, NASA operates within
broad U.S. Government policies, including economic, scientific and foreign
policies, and has established Agency guidelines for international cooperation.
Potential benefits of international space cooperation include access to unique
capabilities or expertise, increased mission flight opportunities, access
to program-critical locations outside of the United States, cost-sharing,
and building or reinforcing positive international relations among nations.
To date, NASA has concluded thousands of agreements with over 100 nations
and international organizations. In January 2004, President Bush announced
the new Vision for Space Exploration, and NASA was directed to pursue
opportunities for international participation in support of the U.S. Government's
new goals for human exploration of the Moon, Mars and beyond. As NASA implements
the Vision, the Agency is promoting new international space cooperation with
its foreign space partners in areas of mutual interest, through a variety of
bilateral and multilateral mechanisms. At the same time, NASA will continue
to develop and implement international cooperative missions, projects and
activities in its longstanding Agency program areas of space science,
earth science, aeronautics and space operations.
Dr. Ashbindu Singh Regional Coordinator, UNEP Division of Early Warning & Assessment
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Ashbindu Singh has a strong multidisciplinary background with
postgraduate degrees in physical and natural sciences and a
Ph.D. in environmental science. He has 30 years of work experience:
13 years working with the Indian Forest Service (1977-1990) in
various capacities at local, provincial and national levels and over
17 years with UNEP in different parts of the world.
He is intimately involved in analyzing environmental sustainability
issues around the globe. He has over 100 publications
including 35 UNEP reports, in peer reviewed scientific journals and
conferences, on various environmental issues. Findings
of his research work are extensively referred by the scientific
community and those involved in the environmental policy
formulations. One of his papers titled "Digital change detection
techniques using remotely sensed data" has made a lasting
impact the field of remote sensing (citation 439 in Google scholar).
The team under his direction has produced highly influential
reports on various environmental issues including global forests,
threats to freshwater, coastal vulnerability, linkage between
environment and health, environmental conflicts , transboundary
air pollutants , biodiversity and UNEP's best seller ever publication
"One Planet many people: Atlas of our changing environment"
His current interest focuses on how to bridge the gap between science and
policy and applications and communication of earth observations
technologies for environmental assessment and monitoring.
The topic of Singh's presentation is Remote Sensing in
Decision Making - an International Perspective' in which he will
speak about his involvement with analyzing environmental sustainability
around the world. His talk will focus on how to bridge the gap
between science and policy and applications and communication of
Earth observations technologies for environmental assessment and warning.
This presentation illustrates the outstanding achievements of the USSR,
and later Russia, in the study and exploration of space during the past century,
including the flight of the first artificial Earth satellite and orbital station
MIR. It outlines man's eternal dreams of fathoming the mysteries of the Universe
and the process whereby leading Soviet scientists developed and brought to fulfillment
the theoretical and practical principles of cosmonautics. Most of the presentation
describes and illustrates the various stages of preparation and training for
cosmonauts and the carrying out of manned space flights of different durations,
starting from the first in history, accomplished by Yuri Gagarin and finishing by International Programs at ISS.
At the same time that the U.S. and the Soviet Union started their space programs,
several countries in South America were also willing to enter the space race to a lesser degree.
In the 1960s, Argentina started launching its own sounding rockets. In the 1970s, Brazil did the same.
Today, despite the economic setbacks common to the region, several countries in South America have
their space projects with advanced high altitude rockets, several satellites in orbit and strong
research and development programs. Cooperation between the countries of the region and international
partners is also very important and reaffirms the peaceful purposes of the space research in
South America. A sample case of the non-governmental educational satellite Pehuensat-1 will be presented.
Professor Rao is an internationally renowned space scientist, presently
the Chairman of the Governing Council of the Physical Research
Laboratory popularly known as PRL, which is considered as the cradle
of India's Space Program. Prof. Rao is also the chancellor of
Ambetkar University and serves on the board of governors of Reserve
Bank of India. He also chairs the National Center for Antarctic
Research and the Institute for Tropical Meteorology.