Mumbai: US astronaut Jerry L. Ross, who jointly holds a record for maximum space flights, will deliver the keynote address at the Purdue University's 150th International Ideas Festival in Mumbai on January 18, an official said here on Thursday. Ross, 70, who flew in seven sace shuttle missions during 1985-2002, will speak on "My Journey as a NASA Astronaut: What if we found evidence of Previous Life on Mars?".
During his long innings with NASA, he logged in more than 1,393 hours in space including 58 hours in spacewalks, and his keynote address would highlight the sesquicentennial festival theme -- Space: Earth, Exploration and Economics.
The festival, Purdue University's largest global ideas meet and the only that focuses on all the 150 Giant Leaps themes like space, artificial intelligence, health and sustainability, will also showcase the varsity's global milestones in the past one-and-half centuries.
The half-day event will feature an India-Purdue Collaborative Lecture Series in honour of its distinguished alumnus, scientist and Bharat Ratna C.N.R. Rao, and would exhort the audience to think about the challenges and opportunities before the world in the next 150 years and beyond.
Rao, 84, is an eminent chemist and currently the Head of Scientific Advisory Council to the Prime Minister.
Other prominent speakers at the festival include Ambarish Kenghe of Google Play who will speak on "What if AI is the New Electricity?", and Vijay Chandru of Yantri Labs Inc. on "What if you could lead a healthy and productive life until you were 164 years old?'.
Former Microsoft India Chairman Ravi Venkatesan of the Global Alliance for Mass Entrepreneurship will speak on "What if every young person were a leader?" and Purdue University's Executive Vice-President for Research & Partnerships Suresh Garimella will be the master of ceremonies.
The event is being organised jointly by Purdue India Alumni Network, GVK, Wockhardt Ltd, Dr Reddy's Laboratories, SMT and Alok Nanda & Co.This is second time in barely three months that a former spaceman will be visiting Mumbai.
On October 25-26, Russian Cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko had attended the Rosatom Festival of Science & Culture, organised by Nehru Science Centre, Mumbai and Rosatom State Nuclear Energy Corporation, Russia.