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Dava Newman        

Former Deputy Administrator of NASA; Professor of Aeronautics & Astronautics at MIT; Director of MIT Media Lab

Dr. Dava Newman is the Apollo Program Professor of Astronautics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and a Harvard–MIT Health, Sciences, and Technology faculty member. Her research in multidisciplinary aerospace biomedical engineering investigates human performance across the spectrum of gravity, including space suits, life support, and astronaut performance. Newman has been the principal investigator on 4 spaceflight missions on the Shuttle, MIR, and ISS. Known for her second skin BioSuit™ planetary spacesuit, her inventions are now being applied to “soft suits/exoskeletons” to enhance locomotion on Earth. Her BioSuit™ museum exhibits include the Venice Biennial, American Museum of Natural History, Victoria and Albert Museum, and Metropolitan Museum of Art. Her latest research includes Earth Speaks™ – an open-source platform of curated space data that applies AI, natural language, and supercomputer visualizations to help accelerate actions to help regenerate Earth’s oceans, land, and climate. Newman is the author of Interactive Aerospace Engineering and Design, has >300 publications, and has supervised 90 graduate students and mentored >200 undergraduates.

Dr. Newman served as NASA Deputy Administrator from 2015–2017, nominated by President Obama and unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate. Along with the NASA Administrator, she was responsible for the agency’s vision, leadership, and policy direction and representing NASA to the White House, Congress, international space agencies, and industry. Dr. Newman was the first female engineer to serve in this role and was awarded the NASA Distinguished Service Medal. She championed the human journey to Mars, technology and innovation, and education. She and her partner, Guillermo Trotti, circumnavigated in 2002–2003, sailing 36,000 nm around the world and teaching ‘Exploration via Space and Sea’. Newman earned her Ph.D. in aerospace biomedical engineering, Master of Science degrees in aerospace engineering and technology and policy from MIT, and her Bachelor of Science degree in aerospace engineering from the University of Notre Dame.

Speech Topics

Human Exploration from Earth to Mars: Becoming Interplanetary

Abstract: Recent space science missions to Pluto and Jupiter, the discovery of thousands of exoplanets, and orbital missions to monitor Spaceship Earth will be highlighted. Humanity will become interplanetary, and is on a journey to Mars. We are closer to reaching the Red Planet with human explorers than we have ever been in our history. Space agencies, academia and industry are working right now on the technologies and missions that will enable human “boots on Mars” in the 2030s. We are testing advanced technologies for the next giant leaps of exploration. From solar electric propulsion to cutting edge life support systems, to the first crops grown in space, the journey to Mars is already unfolding in tangible ways today for tomorrow. A three-stage plan will be highlighted – from missions close to Earth involving commercial partners and the International Space Station, advancing to missions in Earth–Moon orbit, or deep space, and finally moving on to Mars, where explorers will be practically independent from spaceship Earth. The innovation required to realize humanity becoming interplanetary cuts across science, human exploration and technology. Fundamentally, education, knowledge and access are the keys to exploring our solar system, Spaceship Earth, and ourselves. The urgency of education about our own planet is shown through super computer data visualizations accessible through online open platforms. The presentation concludes with an inclusive message on STEAMD (science-technology-engineering-arts-math-design) about changing the conversation to include everyone: the artists, designers, poets and makers. We are all astronauts on Spaceship Earth! Eleanor Roosevelt once said that the “future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”


Dava Newman named director of MIT Media Lab
Dava Newman SM ’89, SM ’89, PhD ’92, an MIT professor of aeronautics and astronautics whose groundbreaking work has advanced human performance in space with the goal of interplanetary reach, has been named the new director of the MIT Media Lab, effective July 1, 2021.
Some Entrepreneurs Are Adapting To A COVID-19 World. Others ...
Others include Professor Sandy Pentland, one of Forbes's “7 most powerful data scientists in the world,” and former NASA deputy administrator Dava Newman.
Bullhorn Announces EngageX, an Immersive Experiential ...
Guest Keynote: Dr. Dava Newman, Apollo Program Professor of Astronautics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), former NASA Deputy ...
At Cape Canaveral, Trump's Search for a Heroic Narrative Is Thwarted
Dava J. Newman, a former deputy NASA administrator under Mr. Obama who now teaches at M.I.T., said the achievement of this new phase in America's space  ...
This Sleek Spiderman Spacesuit Could Take Astronauts To Mars
When humans go to live on Mars, those 300-pound space suits are going to get old fast. The Biosuit, with its tight-fitting Spiderman look, could make exploring the red planet a bit sexier.

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