Sigma Xi Grand Challenges in Science Symposium:

“Making Space a Realistic Frontier”


Held each spring, the Sigma Xi Grand Challenges in Science Symposium attracts scientists, Small jpg. Sigma Xi posterresearchers and other recognized authorities to delve into a topic drawn from the spectrum of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The symposium is also designed to support Texas A&M’s mission as a land, sea and space grant university.

“Making Space a Realistic Frontier” symposium will be held on Friday, March 21, 2014, at 2:00 p.m. in Rudder Tower, Room 410, on the Texas A&M main campus. Admission is free and open to the general public. A reception will follow.

  • Former astronaut Leroy Chiao’s lecture, “Astronaut Perspective of Space Biomedical Effects,” will cover the biomedical effects of living and working in space. From 1994 to 2005, Chiao flew aboard three shuttle missions for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and one Soyuz mission for the Russian Federal Space Agency, spending a total of 229 days in space. He walked in space six times and has experience with both U.S. and Russian space suits designed for extra-vehicular activities.


  • Frank Little, a Distinguished Research Scientist from the Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station, will give a presentation titled, “There and Back: Engineering Challenges of Long-Term Space Travel.” Little has conducted research into wireless power transmission for 20 years. In 1993, Little participated in a project to design and fabricate a rectenna panel and to launch it aboard a Japanese-led research rocket. He took part in a demonstration of wireless power transmission for a Discovery Channel broadcast.


  • Texas A&M Professor of Kinesiology Susan Bloomfield will present evidence to address the question, “Can humans survive three years in space?”  Bloomfield’s research seeks to understand how exposure to the microgravity of space can contribute to a weakening of the human skeleton, with the goal of devising effective countermeasures. Funded by NASA and the National Space Biomedical Research Institute (NSBRI), her projects involve interdisciplinary teams that include biomedical and mechanical engineers, muscle biologists, vascular physiologists and radiation biologists.


For additional information, contact Michelle Sullens at (979) 458-4066 or


Sigma Xi is an international, chapter-based organization dedicated to nurturing the research enterprise in all fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Unique among scientific honor societies, Sigma Xi has a broad outlook that scans the spectrum of science and technology and is committed to the core values that unite across disciplinary boundaries. For more information, visit