Aidan Cowley

European Space Agency

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Flying people into space is hard – getting to space and staying there in a sustainable way is even harder. As we move forward with manned exploration of our solar system, we can no longer rely exclusively on logistical support from our home planet. We will increasingly need to live off what resources we find locally. At ESA, we have been investigating how we can utilise local lunar resources to sustain our astronauts for longer periods of time and provide them with infrastructure needed to survive sustainably. In this talk we outline the challenges of living off world and how we can change the paradigm of space exploration using space resources.

Biography

Aidan Cowley received his B.Sc in Computer Applications and M.Eng in Electronic Systems from Dublin City University, Ireland, in 2004 and 2005 respectively, and a Ph.D in 2011. Subsequently he went on to work as a researcher and lecturer at the National Centre for Plasma Science and Technology (NCPST), Dublin City University, Ireland. There, his research activities included novel optoelectronic materials, thermoelectrics, plasma deposition and metrology as well as renewable energy systems. In 2014, Dr. Cowley joined the European Space Agency as a Research Fellow, stationed at the European Astronaut Centre in Cologne, Germany, and in 2017 became a Science Advisor there. As part of this work, he is conducting research into energy generation and storage solutions for future lunar and cis-lunar missions, in-situ resource utilization (ISRU) as well as investigating disruptive technologies such as additive manufacturing and their potential as an exploration enabling technology. 

Aidan Cowley received his B.Sc in Computer Applications and M.Eng in Electronic Systems from Dublin City University, Ireland, in 2004 and 2005 respectively, and a Ph.D in 2011. Subsequently he went on to work as a researcher and lecturer at the National Centre for Plasma Science and Technology (NCPST), Dublin City University, Ireland. There, his research activities included novel optoelectronic materials, thermoelectrics, plasma deposition and metrology as well as renewable energy systems. In 2014, Dr. Cowley joined the European Space Agency as a Research Fellow, stationed at the European Astronaut Centre in Cologne, Germany, and in 2017 became a Science Advisor there. As part of this work, he is conducting research into energy generation and storage solutions for future lunar and cis-lunar missions, in-situ resource utilization (ISRU) as well as investigating disruptive technologies such as additive manufacturing and their potential as an exploration enabling technology.