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NASA astronaut visit reinforces University’s space aims

A visit from NASA astronaut Dr Kate Rubins has strengthened the University’s space technology ambitions.

Principal Peter Mathieson stands next to astronaut Kate Rubins holding a large collection of photographs of space.

Dr Rubins toured Edinburgh’s National Robotarium and the University’s Higgs Centre for Innovation at the Royal Observatory before taking part in a panel discussion on the future of space exploration. 

She was joined by Professor David Alexander, Director of the Rice Space Institute at Rice University in Houston, Texas.

The visit, which took place on 21 August, reinforces the University of Edinburgh’s aim to be a leading institution in the application of space technology and data.

The University recently signed an agreement with Rice University, who have close ties to NASA.  The agreement identifies Rice as a valued partner and includes a focus on energy and sustainability, data and imaging for space and satellites, robotics and healthy ageing and healthcare technologies.

Kate Rubins is talking to a young woman after the panel discussion

Dr Kathleen Rubins

The visit of Dr Rubins, who has spent a total of 300 days in space, underlines the wealth of expertise in related space exploration fields at the University. 

During the visit, Dr Rubins also provided insight into her role as part of NASA's Artemis missions, the aim of which is to land the first woman on the Moon and create a lunar base.

Rice University

The visit strengthens the University’s close relationship with Rice and NASA and builds upon NASA Administrator Bill Nelson’s visit to Edinburgh in 2022.

Rice University is consistently ranked among the top twenty universities in the United States.

The University is known for its highly respected schools of Architecture, Business, Continuing Studies, Engineering, Humanities, Music, Natural Sciences and Social Sciences and is home to the Baker Institute for Public Policy.

Working in partnership with Rice University we can achieve our ambition to be the Space Data Capital of Europe. We host the fastest university-based supercomputer in Europe, we deliver world class research data, and we have the first NASA Valkyrie humanoid robot outwith North America. I visited Rice last year and I was struck by how much we have in common. Our projects reach across the breadth of our expertise and feature key areas of shared interest, including energy, climate and sustainability, and robotics. It’s great to see all of these first steps and I’m looking forward to where this can lead.

Professor Iain GordonVice-Principal and Head of College of Science and Engineering at the University of Edinburgh

Related links 

College of Science and Engineering

Rice University

The National Robotarium

The Higgs Centre for Innovation