Space Exploration Symposium 2016

FREE Public Talk - all are welcome!

No ticket or registration required

Wednesday, Oct 5, 2016

5:00 PM

ETLC Solarium

University of Alberta


Dr. Parness received two Bachelor of Science degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and a Masters of Science and Doctor of Philosophy from Stanford University. Currently, he performs research on the attachment interfaces between robotic systems and their surrounding environment, working primarily on climbing robots and robotic grippers. An expert in novel methods of prototype manufacturing, Dr. Parness has experience in microfabrication, polymer prototyping, and traditional machining (both manual and CNC). He has also worked on mechanical part design and mechatronic systems during his career. For more information, please see Dr Parness' bio.

The Institute for Space Science, Exploration and Technology
RASC Edmonton Centre
Dr Matt Taylor

Project Scentist for the ESA Rosetta Mission to Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko

The Keynote Speaker opening the 2016 Space Exploration Symposium


The ESA Rosetta Mission to a Comet
[What, how, and why?]

The ESA Rosetta Mission was launched in 2004 toward the comet 67-P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. In 2014, Rosetta successfully rendezvoused with the comet, and the robotic lander, Philae, was successfully deployed to its surface. Rosetta has accompanied the comet during its closest approach to the Sun in August 2015 and is now moving back into the outer solar system.
Rosetta Project Scientist Matt Taylor will present a personal view of the entire mission.

FREE Public Talk - all are welcome!

Register at

Tuesday, Oct 4, 2016

7:00 PM

Room 1-430

Centennial Centre for Interdisciplinary Science

University of Alberta


Matt Taylor was born in London. He received his undergraduate degree in physics from the University of Liverpool as well as a PhD in space physics from the Imperial College of London. Taylor began his time at the European Space Agency in 2005, working as the Project Scientist for Cluster and the ESA-China Double star mission. Most recently, in 2013, he was appointed the Project Scientist on the Rosetta Mission.

Dr Aaron Parness

Engineer at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Keynote Speaker

Aaron Parness

Asteroid Anchors, Rock Climbing Robots, Gecko Grippers, and Other Ways to Stick in Space

The ability to rove the surface of Mars has revolutionized NASA planetary missions. With more advanced mobility, new targets like cliff faces, cave ceilings, and the surfaces of asteroids and comets could be explored. This talk will present the work of JPL's Robotic Rapid Prototyping Lab. This includes grippers for NASA's Asteroid Redirect Mission, which plans to extract a 15-ton boulder from the surface and alter the asteroid's orbit, a method that could prevent future impacts to the Earth. The talk will also present gecko inspired adhesives currently being tested on the International Space Station, miniaturized robots that can drive across surfaces in zero gravity, and rock climbing robots traversing giant lava tubes in New Mexico. We will discuss not only the projects, but the new tools and techniques (3D printers, computer-aided-design software, miniature electronics) that allow us to build and iterate robots more quickly than ever before.