YOUNG AUSTRALIAN INVITED TO NASA FOR PLANETARY EXPLORATION PLANNING SESSION
July 31, 2006
Australian Aerospace Engineer and manager of Mars Society Australia's Project Marsskin, Dr. James Waldie, has been invited and funded by NASA to attend their Next Generation Exploration Conference at the AMES Research Center next month, as an international delegate.
NASA has designed this event to bring together a very limited number of emerging leaders, young professionals and students with a keen interest in the long-term direction for human spaceflight. It will allow them the opportunity to take part in a planning session "to develop strategies for human space exploration in the 21st century, as humanity prepares to return to Earth's nearest neighbor in space: the Moon," according to the conference Website ( http://ngec.arc.nasa.gov/). NASA has aimed to include some foreign nationals at the session, as it recognises that they are likely to play an active role in designing and implementing future human space exploration missions.
James, 29, who was awarded a PhD with respect to his research on new technologies for spacesuits, is thrilled to be invited to take part in this prestigious conference. "The Apollo program was before my time, so a chance to be involved with NASA in future planetary exploration planning is incredibly exciting. I hope Australia can play a small but important part in such pioneering endeavours of the future." As Project Leader of MarsSkin, he designs, produces and tests simulation space suits that behave like real suits would on Mars. These suits are worn for spacewalks during full Mars habitation simulations performed by the Mars Society in Australian and US deserts. He has also attended the International Space University's Summer School program in Adelaide in 2004, and has received a great deal of attention and media exposure for his research, including a segment on TV's 'Beyond Tomorrow' and numerous radio and print interviews.