A unique and exciting opportunity to learn from Don Pettit, an engineer by schooling, a scientist by profession, and an explorer by heart.
We were delighted to welcome Don Pettit, NASA astronaut to our 2019 World Extreme Medicine Conference. He brought with him an enormous amount of knowledge and experience of Aerospace medicine; as a veteran of three spaceflights, he has logged more than 370 days in space and over 13 spacewalk hours. Don served as NASA Science Officer for Expedition 6 in 2003, operated the robotic arm for STS-126 in 2008 and served as a Flight Engineer for Expedition 30/31 in 2012, where he lived aboard the International Space Station for more than 6 months.
This was an amazing opportunity to learn first-hand from a real-life NASA astronaut; as well as having the chance to ask Don questions about some of the most challenging and austere environments known to humankind. Be enthralled by his stories and experiences and inspired by his knowledge and passion for Aerospace and science.
It was whilst growing up in a small logging and farming town in Oregon that Don learnt to fix and take care of things, as well as designing science experiments and making small scientific inventions. It was this interest in all things technical, engineering and science encouraged by his teachers at a young age that formed his education path through school and college.
After graduating Oregon State University with a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering and then the University of Arizona with a Doctorate in Chemical Engineering, Don worked as a staff scientist for 13 years at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, New Mexico. It was after graduating that Don realised, he was qualified to become an astronaut and just at that point in time there happened to be an astronaut selection. So, in April 1996 Don was selected by NASA to become an astronaut and in the August of that year, he began his journey reporting to the Johnson Space Center for duty.
With an infectious zeal for anything involving math, physics, chemistry, exploration, space and education, Don thrived living in space. As well as carrying out his NASA duties, he devoted his off-duty time to carrying out science experiments in microgravity and photographing his various adventures. As a keen photographer, Don used spare parts found throughout the ISS to build a ‘barn door tracker’ and get higher res shots of the Earth at night, as well as using photographic surveys whilst in Antarctica collecting meteorite samples.
Don and his camera have been to some of the most hostile, remote and extreme environments, and we couldn’t wait to see what was sitting on his camera roll, as well as hearing the stories behind these awe-inspiring snaps! In what other medical conference would you have such a fantastic opportunity?
Feeling inspired? Join us this year where for the first time in WEM history, we’re hosting #VirtualWEM20 a virtual conference on Saturday 17th & Sunday 18th October 2020 – so you can be inspired from the comfort of your sofa (or, frankly, from wherever in the world you can get online). Book your place today!