Dava Newman, the deputy director of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, will detail NASA’s progress in planning human exploration of Mars at a lecture next Thursday.
The organization is currently researching technology — including solar-powered propulsion and space agriculture — that will design long-term missions in which “explorers will be practically independent from spaceship Earth,” according to a release from Cornell’s School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. NASA aims to have “boots on Mars” within the next two decades.
“The innovation required to achieve a human mission to Mars cuts across science, human exploration and technology,” the release said. “It builds on what has gone before, while driving the next advances.”
Newman was nominated to her position in January of 2015 by President Barack Obama and began her term on May 18 of that year, according to the release.
Newman is also a professor of astronautics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she conducts research, focusing on how low gravity affects human biology, and works to design technology to optimize astronaut locomotion, according to MIT’s website.
The lecture will take place on Dec. 8, at 2 p.m. in B14 Hollister Hall, and is free and open to the public.