We're huge space geeks. That's why the guest of TechFusion Sky event was Matt Harasymczuk, a pilot, aerospace and software engineer as well as astrobiologist, currently working in the European Space Agency in around a dozen of projects. Generally (duh!), a very impressive figure that seems to perceive the world in an analytic and methodical way but also with an almost childlike curiosity and fun.
The topic of Matt's lecture was a broadly understood software engineering and high-end technologies used by space industry; from the education and training of the astronauts, through calculations and data management up to Moon and Mars colonization efforts.
We learned much about the importance of A.I. development and machine learning in regard to space exploration. Especially in the context of data crunching and optimizing the way certain types of machinery such as rovers, drones (also autonomous swarms) and satellites (trajectory optimization) work. Matt also underlined the importance of Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality in the training of the astronauts and possible future application of VR/AR technology in live missions.
He talked quite a lot about other topics such as robotics, bioastronautics, extraterrestrial habitation, extreme botanics (basically, The Martian-like food farming), and biomimetics, which I find quite fascinating. As I understand, it is an approach in finding solutions to complex engineering problems, by imitating solutions already found in nature. For example, printing an element that by its design resembles bone's structure. Because they're not symmetrical and even, they better deal with structural weaknesses and tension.
Other than that, we learned a lot about everyday life on ISS, how astronauts are recruited, and a ton of titbits. Not a moment of boredom.
All in all, TechFusion presented us with a chance to meet a methodical and professional engineer who's also easygoing and very likable. And very, very inspiring person. Be sure to meet him if you'll ever have the chance to!
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