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The 42nd Maurice Lubbock Memorial Lecture, titled ‘Paving the Path for Human Space Exploration: The Challenges and Opportunities,’ was delivered by Lauri N. Hansen, Director of Engineering, NASA Johnson Space Centre, and took place on 25th May 2016.

Over 350 representatives from industry, academia, the University’s alumni community, and government attended. In addition, 40 pupils, aged 15 to 18, attended from schools across Dorset, Northamptonshire, Leicestershire, Warwickshire and Oxfordshire.

Prior to this lecture, guests had enjoyed three mini-lectures on the theme of hypersonics and cryogenics, the 4th Year project competition and a research exhibition focussing on space, Lauri Hansen had also held a special Q&A session with pupils from local schools.

In her Maurice Lubbock Memorial Lecture, Lauri Hansen discussed the challenges of human space exploration, as well as the engineering solutions to complex problems such as the design of heat shields for spacecraft. She said: ‘There are many challenges in designing spacecraft including safety, complex vehicle design, and mass challenges.  Together, NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) will provide the capability to take humans further than we have ever been before – 70,000 km past the moon.  This will be the next big step in expanding the frontiers of human exploration, eventually leading to human footprints on Mars’.

Comments included:

‘Many thanks for a great event. I have been thinking about space problems far too much since those interesting lectures’.

‘I thought Lauri Hansen’s lecture was the most captivating ever. The topic was fascinating, but also her presentation was superb’. 

For a full report on the Lubbock day, including videos of the lectures, see the Engineering Science website.