Dava Newman

Apollo Program Professor of Astronautics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT); Harvard–MIT Health, Sciences, & Technology Faculty Member

Prof. Dava Newman is the Apollo Program Professor of Astronautics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and a Harvard–MIT Health, Sciences, and Technology faculty member. Her research in multidisciplinary aerospace biomedical engineering investigates human performance across the spectrum of gravity, including space suits, life support and astronaut performance. Newman has been the principal investigator on 4 spaceflight missions on the Shuttle, MIR, and ISS. Known for her second skin BioSuit™ planetary spacesuit, her inventions are now being applied to “soft suits/exoskeletons” to enhance locomotion on Earth. Her BioSuit™ museum exhibits include the Venice Biennial, American Museum of Natural History, Victoria and Albert and Museum, and Metropolitan Museum of Art. Her latest research includes Earth Speaks™ – an open source platform of curated space data that applies AI, natural language and supercomputer visualizations to help accelerate actions to help regenerate Earth’s oceans, land and climate. She is the author Interactive Aerospace Engineering and Design, has over 300 publications, and has supervised 90 graduate students and mentored more than 200 undergraduates. She served as a faculty Head of House @Baker House @MIT from 2005-2015. Recent honors include: Lowell Thomas Award, Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar, AIAA Fellow, AIAA Jeffries Aerospace Medicine and Life Sciences Research Award, and Women in Aerospace Leadership Award.

Dr. Dava Newman served as NASA Deputy Administrator from 2015–2017, nominated by President Obama and unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate. Along with the NASA Administrator, she was responsible for the agency’s vision, leadership and policy direction, and representing NASA to the White House, Congress, international space agencies, and industry. Dr. Newman was the first female engineer to serve in this role and was awarded the NASA Distinguished Service Medal. She championed the human journey to Mars, technology and innovation, and education. She and her partner, Guillermo Trotti, circumnavigated in 2002–2003, sailing 36,000 nm around the world and teaching Exploration via Space and Sea. She enjoys sailing, SCUBA, skiing, and partial gravity. She recently visited Antarctica and the South Pole and is passionate about humans becoming interplanetary as well as urgently accelerating positive actions to help regenerate spaceship Earth. To this end, Trotti and Newman have started EarthDNA. Newman earned her Ph.D. in aerospace biomedical engineering, Master of Science degrees in aerospace engineering and technology and policy from MIT, and her Bachelor of Science degree in aerospace engineering from the University of Notre Dame.