Director, MIT Media Lab | Apollo Program Professor of Astronautics | MacVicar Faculty Fellow | Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics | Harvard-MIT Health, Sciences, and Technology | Institute for Medical Engineering & Science | Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Humans have evolved in and are optimally developed for the Earth-normal 1 G (9.8 m/s2) environment. Are the mechanics and energetic requirements of human performance across the continuum of gravity from microgravity (0 G) to lunar and Martian gravity levels (1/6 G and 3/8 G, respectively) to hypergravity (>1 G) altered from the 1 G mechanics and energetics? The multidisciplinary research effort combines aerospace bioengineering, human-in-the-loop dynamics and control modeling, biomechanics, human interface technology, life sciences, and systems analysis and design. The research studies are carried out through flight experiments, ground-based simulations, and mathematical and computer modeling. Other research efforts include advanced space suit design and navigation aids for EVA astronauts.
Dr. Dava Newman is the Apollo Program Professor of Astronautics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and a Harvard–MIT Health, Sciences, and Technology faculty member. Her research in multidisciplinary aerospace biomedical engineering investigates human performance across the spectrum of gravity, including space suits, life support and astronaut performance. Newman has been the principal investigator on 4 spaceflight missions on the Shuttle, MIR, and ISS.Known for her second skin BioSuit™ planetary spacesuit, her inventions are now being applied to “soft suits/exoskeletons” to enhance locomotion on Earth. Her BioSuit™ museum exhibits include the Venice Biennial, American Museum of Natural History, Victoria and Albert and Museum, and Metropolitan Museum of Art. Her latest research includes Earth Speaks™ – an open source platform of curated space data that applies AI, natural language and supercomputer visualizations to help accelerate actions to help regenerate Earth’s oceans, land and climate. Newman is the author of Interactive Aerospace Engineering and Design, has >300 publications, and has supervised 90 graduate students and mentored >200 undergraduates.
Dr. Dava Newman served as NASA Deputy Administrator from 2015–2017, nominated by President Obama and unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate. Along with the NASA Administrator, she was responsible for the agency’s vision, leadership and policy direction, and representing NASA to the White House,Congress, international space agencies, and industry. Dr. Newman was the first female engineer to serve in this role and was awarded the NASA Distinguished Service Medal. She championed the human journey to Mars, technology and innovation, and education. She and her partner, Guillermo Trotti, circumnavigated in 2002–2003, sailing 36,000 nm around the world and teaching ‘Exploration via Space and Sea’. Newman earned her Ph.D. in aerospace biomedical engineering, Master of Science degrees in aerospace engineering and technology and policy from MIT, and her Bachelor of Science degree in aerospace engineering from the University of Notre Dame.