PSI’s Kirby Runyon prepares Educators for a future that includes Space Tourism

Category: Cover Story

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No one knows exactly what the future holds, but it is becoming increasingly clear that space tourism for everyday people might be a not too distant reality. From Blue Origin’s New Shepard flights over the Texas deserts to SpaceX’s flights on Crew Dragon to low Earth orbit, more options are increasingly allowing more people to fly to space. Helping prepare kids and teachers for a future that includes space opportunities for them is PSI Research Scientist Kirby Runyon.

On May 22, 2024, Runyon attended the Space Tourism Conference in Los Angeles, CA where he participated on the panel “Kids & the Future: Prepping the Next Generation for Working in Space.” As part of this panel, he presented on the planetary analog field geology training he conducts.

Runyon’s research at PSI focuses on the surfaces of other terrestrial worlds and small bodies. When not mapping images and doing field geology, he may be found taking parabolic flights on the Zero-G airplane to do weightless and reduced gravity training and research, and also teaching others about space science and exploration.