Nat Geo Live Brings Together the World’s Leading Space Exploration Authorities

Meet Apollo legend and some of the world’s leading authorities from U.S. and European space agencies who you can see LIVE on stage this November

BUZZ ALDRIN

Buzz Aldrin grew up in Montclair, New Jersey. His mother, Marion Moon, was the daughter of an Army Chaplain and his father Edwin Eugene Aldrin was an aviation pioneer. Buzz graduated one year early from Montclair High School and he attended the US Military Academy at West Point, graduating third in his class with a BS in mechanical engineering. He then joined the Air Force where he flew F86 Sabre Jets in 66 combat missions in Korea, shot down two MIG-15′s, and was decorated with the Distinguished Flying Cross. After a tour of duty in Germany flying F100′s, he earned earn his Doctorate of Science in Astronautics at MIT and wrote his thesis on Manned Orbital Rendezvous.

Selected by NASA in 1963 into the third group of astronauts, Aldrin was the first with a doctorate and became known as “Dr. Rendezvous.” The docking and rendezvous techniques he devised for spacecraft in Earth and lunar orbit became critical to the success of the Gemini and Apollo programs, and are still used today. He pioneered underwater training techniques to simulate spacewalking. In 1966 on the Gemini 12 orbital mission, Buzz performed the world’s first successful spacewalk – extra-vehicular activity (EVA), and set a new EVA record of 5 1⁄2 hours. During that mission he also took the first ‘selfie’ in space.

On July 20, 1969, Buzz and Neil Armstrong made their historic Apollo 11 moonwalk, becoming the first two humans to set foot on another world. An estimated 600 million people – at that time, the world’s largest television audience in history – witnessed this unprecedented heroic endeavor.

Upon returning from the moon, Buzz was decorated with the Presidential Medal of Freedom and numerous awards all over the world. Named after Buzz are Asteroid “6470 Aldrin” and the “Aldrin Crater” on the moon. In 2011 along with his Apollo 11 crewmates Neil Armstrong and Michael Collins, he received the Congressional Gold Medal.
Buzz is the author of 9 books, most recently his children’s book, Welcome to Mars: Making a Home on the Red Planet and his newest NY Times and Washington Post Bestseller, “No Dream Is Too High: Life Lessons from a Man Who Walked on the Moon”. Both published by National Geographic.

In October of 2014 he revamped his ShareSpace Foundation to be focused on STEAM Education – Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math to ignite the spark and fuel excitement for space in kids –Specifically for K-8. In August of 2015 he launched the Buzz Aldrin Space Institute at Florida Tech to promote and develop his vision of a permanent human settlement on the planet Mars.

Since retiring from NASA and the U.S. Air Force, Col. Aldrin calls himself a Global Statesman for Space and has remained a tireless advocate for human space exploration.

Courtesy of Buzz Aldrin Enterprises.

 

PROFESSOR MARK McCAUGHREAN

Prof Mark McCaughrean works for the European Space Agency, where he is the Senior Scientific Advisor in the Directorate of Science and Robotic Exploration, responsible for communicating the scientific results from ESA's astronomy, heliophysics, planetary, and fundamental physics missions. Following his PhD from the University of Edinburgh in 1988, he has worked in the UK, the US, Germany, and the Netherlands.

His personal research involves observational studies of the formation of stars and their planetary systems using state-of-the-art ground- and space-based telescopes. He is an Interdisciplinary Scientist on the Science Working Group for the NASA/ESA/CSA James Webb Space Telescope.

The European Space Agency (ESA) is Europe’s gateway to space. Its mission is to shape the development of Europe’s space capability and ensure that investment in space continues to deliver benefits to the citizens of Europe and the world. ESA is an international organisation with 22 Member States.

By coordinating the financial and intellectual resources of its members, it can undertake programmes and activities far beyond the scope of any single European country. ESA's 22 Member States are Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. Canada takes part in some projects under a Cooperation agreement. Bulgaria, Cyprus, Malta, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia and Slovenia have cooperation agreements with ESA.

Specialties

Space, Science, Navigation, Earth Observation, Communications, Manned Space Flight, System Engineering, Innovative, Inspirational, Aspirational, Rockets, Materials, Astronomy, Simulation, System Engineering, Concurrent Engineering, Testing, Hardware, Software, Training.

 

JASON CRUSAN

Jason Crusan is director of Advanced Exploration Systems, a division of NASA’s Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate.

As director of the Advanced Exploration Systems (AES) Division within the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate (HEOMD), Jason Crusan serves as NASA’s senior executive, advisor and advocate on technology and innovation approaches leading to new flight and system capabilities for human exploration of space. He manages over 450 civil servant employees and 150 onsite contractors with an active portfolio of 20-30 technology, engineering and flight development projects.  He leads integration with the agency’s Space Technology Mission Directorate and programs within other HEOMD divisions including International Space Station and Exploration Systems Development.

Using an integrated approach that leverages public-private partnerships, industry, international partners, and academia, Mr. Crusan serves as the senior leader for AES across all NASA centers which involves: developing and maintaining critical human spaceflight capabilities; maturing new integrated systems, instruments, and ground systems; and delivering critical multi-million dollar flight hardware for NASA. He provides the executive management and leadership needed to develop effective technology development strategies, system acquisition strategies, contracting mechanisms, joint investment models and partnerships—in short, he develops the innovative approaches needed to maximize NASA’s access to new technologies and capabilities for human spaceflight.

Before becoming director of the agency’s new Advanced Exploration Systems organization in 2012, Crusan fostered innovation at NASA in many key roles beginning in 2005. He served as chief technologist for space operations, and successfully directed various technical and strategic initiatives as program executive or project manager. He was part of the Miniature Radio Frequency Program (Mini-RF), which flew two radar instruments to the moon to map the lunar poles, search for water ice, and demonstrate future NASA communication technologies.  Currently, he also serves as the Director of the Center of Excellence for Collaborative Innovation (CoECI) formed to advance the utilization of open innovation methodologies within the U.S. government.

Crusan holds bachelor’s degrees in electrical engineering and physics, a master’s degree in computer information systems, and is currently a candidate for a doctorate in Engineering Management at George Washington University. Mr. Crusan is married and has two children.

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