NSS Space Forum August 10: Astronaut Scholars

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The National Space Society invites you to the next Space Forum

Thursday, August 10, 2023, 9:00 pm to 10:15 pm EST

Astronaut Scholar Space Panel


NSS Space Forum August 10 2023

For almost forty years Astronaut Scholars have been contributing to nearly every frontier of science, engineering, and technology. Since the creation of the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation (ASF) in 1984, almost 800 students have earned the distinction of being an “Astronaut Scholar.” Today they are engaged as STEM professionals in practically every discipline, working as astronomers, biologists, chemists, physicists, mathematicians, computer scientists, inventors, consultants, entrepreneurs, professors and military officers.

In these positions they have launched payloads into space, studied the origins of the universe through the Hubble and Webb Space Telescopes, worked on the Mars Rover missions, trained astronauts, researched alternative energy devices, investigated integrated circuit manufacturing, developed more efficient equipment for firefighters, produced new ways to cultivate agriculture, developed noise control devices, researched the basis of congenital heart disease, mentored future scientists and engineers, and so much more!

Here is your chance to hear from several recent Astronaut Scholars during a special space forum panel session. The panelists, Ruth Nichols, Grace Robertson, and Mitchell Wall will share their stories. You will hear about what got them interested in STEM careers, their paths to becoming Astronaut Scholars, the challenges they overcame, their current projects, their career plans and how they are working to inspire the next generation. Don’t miss this informative and inspirational session. And invite your kids so they can hear and learn from these scholars about opportunities in STEM fields and space. Register for the space forum using the link below.

The Astronaut Scholarship Foundation was created in 1984 by the six surviving Mercury 7 astronauts (Scott Carpenter, Gordon Cooper, John Glenn, Walter Schirra, Alan Shepard and Deke Slayton); and Betty Grissom (widow of the seventh astronaut, Virgil “Gus” Grissom). ASF’s mission is to aid the United States in retaining its world leadership in technology and innovation by supporting the very best and brightest scholars in science, technology, engineering and mathematics while commemorating the legacy of America’s pioneering astronauts. Each year ASF awards 65 scholarships ($15,000 each) to students in their junior and senior year of college studying science, technology, engineering, or mathematics. NSS and the ASF are collaborating in several areas to further STEM education to ensure there is a talented space workforce that will help to create and sustain a spacefaring civilization.

Ruth Nichols is a 2022 and 2023 Astronaut Scholar from the Florida Institute of Technology, where she is double majoring in astrobiology and applied mathematics. Now she is doing research on the probability for the origins of life on other worlds and in different environments with the Lingam Lab, on the effects of changes at the quantum level on biogenetics in the Usselman  Lab, and on plant biology and growing plants in simulated Martian Conditions in the Palmer Lab. She is the Undergraduate Student Rep for the PKP Honor Society National Board of Directors and the Mission Support Specialist for the ARES analog astronaut mission to the Inflatable Lunar/Martian Analog Habitat in North Dakota. This summer, Ruth is interning with the Aerospace Industries Association in Washington, DC.

Grace Robertson is a 2021 Astronaut Scholar from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, where she majored in aerospace engineering, focusing in astronautics. She also led the integration and test of two CubeSats, one of which is set to land on the Moon later in 2023 with Intuitive Machines. Now at Sierra Space, Grace is working toward her flight controller certification for the Dream Chaser program while working toward a Master’s degree in Bioastronautics from the University of Colorado Boulder. While at CU Boulder, Grace’s research focuses on the large-scale use case of bioregenerative life support systems for permanent human installations in space.

Mitchell Wall is a 2019 and 2020 Astronaut Scholar from the University of Wisconsin, where he majored in engineering mechanics and aerospace engineering. As an undergraduate student Mitch had a co-op position with ATA Engineering, which included working on NASA’s Mars 2020 rover project, and he also worked at Relativity Space as an aerodynamics and flight sciences intern. Now he is a Ph.D. student at the University of Colorado Boulder in the Aerospace Engineering Sciences Department. Mitchell’s research focuses on the computational modeling of hypersonic flows for reentry vehicles.

Register today to reserve your seat and ask your questions. Use the link below.

Register no later than August 10 at 8 pm EST

Past NSS Space Forums and Town Halls may be viewed here.


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