American astronaut Dr Sandra Magnus, whose five missions for NASA included the last space shuttle flight in 2011, will be the guest speaker at a free public event at Griffith University’s Nathan campus on Monday, May 18.
Hosted by Griffith and the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), Dr Magnus’s Perspectives from Space encompasses stories, experiences and views acquired over her many years with NASA.
Now the Executive Director of the AIAA, the world’s largest technical society dedicated to the global aerospace profession, Dr Magnus’s time at NASA also included a four-and-a-half-month stint aboard the International Space Station.
Born and raised in Belleville, Illinois, Dr Magnus attended the Missouri University of Science and Technology, graduating in 1986 with a degree in physics and in 1990 with a Masters in electrical engineering. She holds a PhD from the School of Materials Science and Engineering at Georgia Tech.
Selected to the NASA Astronaut Corps in April 1996, Dr Magnus first went into space in 2002 with the STS-112 shuttle mission. Nine years later she was part of the crew of the final shuttle flight: STS-135.
In November 2008, Dr Magnus boarded the International Space Station as a member of the Expedition 18 crew. She served as flight engineer and science officer, eventually returning home on STS-119 after logging 133 days in orbit.
Dr Magnus then served at NASA Headquarters in the Exploration Systems Mission Directorate. Her final duty at NASA before joining the AIAA was as deputy chief of the Astronaut Office.
Such rare and remarkable experience has informed Dr Magnus’s perspective and philosophy, as exemplified by the following excerpt from her journal written during her time aboard the International Space Station:
“As we fly over the various continents, we can easily see the imprint of man on the landscape … it isn’t necessarily a question of Mother Nature’s natural disorder versus man’s determined march toward order, but the geometry associated with habitation tends to be a bit more defined than that found in the more remote areas.
“The contrast is interesting to note — both have their beauty; both can blend well together or fight each other and that can occasionally be seen. Like it or dislike it, we are definitely leaving our mark on the surface of the planet.”
Unsurprisingly, Dr Magnus is an avid supporter of young people pursuing study and careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) fields.
“I think it is really important for all young people, and not only girls, to have opportunities to expand their horizons so that they can see the possibilities for their future,” she says.
“It is hard to imagine a future as a young person without some exposure to the possibilities. They don’t know what they don’t know. Also they need to be encouraged to believe in themselves and dream.”
WHAT: Perspectives from Space, with Dr Sandra Magnus
WHERE: Building N22, Theatre 1, Off East Creek Road, Griffith University, Nathan
WHEN: 6.30pm on Monday, May 18, 2015.
Registration for Monday’s event is essential. Go to: http://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/perspectives-from-space-brisbane-tickets-16655264344