Dublin Tech Summit

Dublin Tech Summit Virtual concluded with Live Q&A with NASA Chief Technologist

By Business & Finance
18 June 2021

Dublin Tech Summit Virtual saw over 5,500 attendees logging on yesterday for the day-long tech summit. With over 15,000 networking connections and extensive engagement on social media platforms, the summit concluded with a live Q&A with Dr. Douglas Terrier, Chief Technologist for NASA. 

Dr. Terrier was in conversation with Amarit Charoenphan, Partner, Untold Ventures. He was asked about the missions NASA has currently underway.

Dr. Terrier said spoke about the Artemis programme, the commercialisation of low-Earth orbit, the ongoing exploration of Mars, icy moons and much more. He said NASA was excited about Artemis, about their return to the Moon and getting humans out into the solar system for a sustainable stay. He said it was just one of the many exciting missions currently going on.

We have the commercialisation of low-Earth orbit with the commercial flights now providing transportation of both astronauts and cargo to the international space station which has now had crew working for over 20 years.   

In the meantime, as we extend human presence with the Artemis mission, we’re also very excited about our Mars exploration programme…with the Ingenuity helicopter, the first flight of an autonomous flying vehicle on another planet. We’re learning more and more about Mars and the possibilities of life sustaining conditions on that planet

We’re looking at icy moons and other areas where we’re interested in seeing potential habitation or opportunities to search for life.  

We have the James Webb space telescope which has 100 times more resolution and definition. You’ll be able to see back almost to the beginning of time. And, for the first time, we have two experimental aircraft looking at supersonic flight. 

Dr. Terrier said that there was an amazing burst of activity across the board, with government,  international partners and the private sector all involved.

One audience question came from 6 year old Adam King who has brittle bones disease, famous for his virtual hug on The Late Late Toy Show. Adam recently landed an animated show on RTE which he will be using as a platform for change. He asked:

Are you developing any technology to support sending wheelchair users and/or people with OI (Brittle Bone Disease) to space?

Another question posed if humans can spend a long time in space without detriment to their health. Dr. Terrier described the impact of long duration space flight in a micro gravity environment as including bone loss and muscular atrophy. He said: “So we’ve developed very sophisticated exercise machines to let the crew exercise daily.” He said some of the crew have stayed up to a year on the International Space Station and they can now come back in as good shape as when they left.

He said the International Space Station has provided 20 years of an orbiting laboratory where NASA can test the long term effects of  being in space. Other issues included occular degeneration and nutritional deficiencies which NASA has countered with dietary supplements, one of which is so effective that it is now found in up to 90% of infant formula in the US.

Click here to see the live Q&A. For more on Dublin Tech Summit Virtual.