A former Nasa astronaut who spent more than 100 days in space and completed six space walks has been chosen to deputise for space pioneer Dr Buzz Aldrin, who has had to abandon plans to deliver a lecture in Cork for medical reasons.
Dr Aldrin, the second man to step on the moon after Neil Armstrong from Apollo 11, was due to give the opening lecture as part of the International Space University’s 30th space studies progamme hosted by Cork Institute of Technology on Tuesday, June 27th.
However, Dr Aldrin (87) has had to withdraw on medical grounds and will not able to travel to Cork. His place has been taken by astronaut Dan Tani, who during a 16-year career with Nasa flew on two space missions for an accumulated 132 days during which time he performed six space walks.
Among Mr Tani’s space walks was the 100th space walk on the International Space Station, and this will be among the experiences that he will draw on when he delivers the lecture at CIT where he will discuss human space flight and the future of space exploration.
Mr Tani was born in Pennsylvania, US, and now lives in Tokyo with his Cork-born wife Jane Egan and their three children. He has previously visited Cork and spoken at the Blackrock Castle Observatory. He also served as grand marshall for Cork’s St Patrick’s Day parade in 2009.
‘Museum of Moon’
Mr Tani’s lecture at CIT will be given in front of a seven-metre Museum of Moon, an art installation by UK artist Luke Jerram, which has been brought to Cork as part of the Cork Midsummer Festival and the International Space University’s space studies programme.
According to Dr Niall Smith, head of research at CIT, who led the pitch to bring the ISU’s space studies programme to Cork, the event will attract some 320 space experts from 26 countries. It will run from June 26th to August 25th
Among the many experts are astronauts Nicole Scott, Robert Thirsk, Yi So-yeon and Jeffrey Hoffman who represent more than 30 years of international spaceflight experience and who will join with Dan Tani in a panel discussions on space exploration.
In addition to the official elements of the programme reserved for delegates, CIT and Blackrock Castle Observatory are also running an extensive public engagement programme with over 50 public events, aimed at young and old alike across Cork city and county, said Dr Smith.
For further information, visit www.ssp17.ie