Waynick Lecture to focus on life inhabiting the universe

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — David W. Miller, chief technologist at NASA, will deliver the 2015 Waynick Lecture at 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 19 in 113 IST Building. The event is free and open to the public.

His lecture, titled “Our Next Destination in the Human Journey Beyond Earth,” will address humanity’s next great migration into inter-planetary space in the search for life. 

Whether its NASA’s science or human exploration program, life and how it may have evolved elsewhere, and could evolve elsewhere, is a central theme, according to the program description.

As NASA’s chief technologist, Miller will help make the search a reality, and partnerships, both international and commercial, play an essential role.

His lecture will discuss how technology provides the tools that enable engineers to build the missions that answer the ever-more challenging scientific questions about the existence of, and potential for, life beyond Earth. In NASA’s science and human exploration programs, questions about life beyond Earth come together at Mars, making it NASA’s next destination for human exploration.

Miller began as chief technologist in 2014 through an intergovernmental personnel agreement with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he is the Jerome C. Hunsaker Professor in the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics and former director of the Space Systems Laboratory.

As chief technologist, he serves as NASA’s principal adviser and advocate on NASA technology, policy and programs.

Prior to his appointment, Miller held various positions on NASA projects, including principal investigator for the Regolith X-ray Imaging Spectrometer for the OSIRIS-REx asteroid sample return mission planned for launch in 2016.

Arthur Henry Waynick profoundly influenced the course of radio science and atmospheric research both in the United States and abroad. He began his electrical engineering career at Penn State in 1947 and founded the Ionosphere Research Laboratory, later to become the Communications and Space Sciences Laboratory at Penn State. Waynick served as department head and the first departmental A. Robert Noll Professor until his retirement in 1971.

Last Updated November 12, 2015