Be inspired to explore the most far flung places at University of Northampton conference

Human exploration of far-flung places will be the subject of a conference at the University of Northampton next month.

Monday, 9th May 2016, 5:29 pm
Updated Monday, 9th May 2016, 6:32 pm

The university will host a one-day conference called Human Endeavour in Antarctica and Space at which a range of speakers will talk about the human side of exploration.

The conference will share stories of extreme human performance, explain more about the complex process of astronaut training and selection, and reveal what it is like to live in isolation and confinement – both on planet Earth and in outer space.

University lecturer Dr Nathan Smith, who recently returned from a research expedition to Antarctica, said: “It is a real pleasure to be able to welcome guests to the university to learn more about the human dimension of Antarctica and Space. In the next 20 years it is possible that a human mission to Mars may have been attempted. One of the most important factors for any future long-duration space mission is to ensure the safety and performance of the crew, and on Earth we have many research stations where experts work to understand human performance and safety issues in space.

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“During the Human Endeavour in Antarctica and Space conference, these experts will discuss their own experiences in these two incredible domains. We will learn about human physiology and the benefits of modern exploration equipment, talk about photography and how that can be used to communicate information, and take a step back in time to understand the history of exploration.

“For all of those would-be astronauts and explorers out there, I can safely say this is a conference not to be missed.”

Speakers include:

Kelvin Murray – A professional diver, expedition leader and consultant to Blue Abyss. Kelvin will talk about his former position at the British Antarctic Survey and more recent work as a consultant. He will discuss the role of underwater development pools for training budding astronauts to perform in conditions of microgravity.

Dr Beth Healey – A medical doctor who recently overwintered for the European Space Agency in Antarctica. Beth will talk about the science conducted at the Concordia Research station and give us an insight in what it is like to live in isolation and confinement and what she learnt about the potential for human journeys into deep-space.

The Turner Twins – The unique pair will discuss their motivations for completing new vs. old expeditions. They will provide a fascinating insight into the developments in modern expedition gear and talk about how it compares to the old kit worn during the golden age of exploration at the beginning of the 20th century. The twins have undertaken various studies on physiological factors and were recently at the GSK Human Performance Lab for further testing on related to their expedition endeavours.

Simon Middleton – Simon is an entrepreneur and founder of The Shackleton Company. Simon’s talk promises an opportunity to be inspired to follow your dreams.

Professor Gro Sandal – Principal Investigator on the Mars-500 project, where the team studied how a group of six people performed when isolated and confined for 520 days. He is a consultant to the European Space Agency and was involved in the most recent round of astronaut selection.

Martin Hartley – Martin is an acclaimed expedition photographer and serial visitor to the Polar Regions. He has completed over 40 expeditions in these areas and will talk about communicating information through photography. Photography has been one of the most popular pastimes of astronauts since the Apollo days, and many astronauts publish their photography in various forms and share via social media. Martin’s talk will explain what it takes to capture a good shot in extreme conditions!

Dr Smith added: “This is an incredibly unique and one-off event that will be sure to broaden horizons and get you looking toward the stars.” All of the talks will be accessible to the general public, and there will be plenty of opportunity to network with the speakers. To keep up to date with the conference, both in advance and on the day, please use the hashtag #ExploreConfUN.

Tickets cost £85, £50 for students and £30 for University of Northampton students.