JAMES PARR

THE CITIZEN SCIENTIST

“I think the human race is about to see itself come of age in the solar system. We have amazing possibilities to discover new things, and go to new planets. But we’re also realising that we’re on a fragile, tiny planet, tailored perfectly for us, that is under threat.”

Not everyone has the physicality to be an astronaut, or the PhD to be a scientist, but James Parr, founder of the Open Space Agency, realised that there were people out there with other skills that could still make a very meaningful contribution to space exploration.

“I’d always been inspired by the space programme… so when I started working with NASA, all my space dreams came out again.”

James and his colleagues have worked on projects big and small – from a whisky glass that works in zero gravity, to 3D printing lunar habitats.

“I love the fact that there is a real purpose to this work,” he says. “Much of it is far beyond my capabilities, but I get to work with amazing people. It’s nice holding the rudder for the geniuses!”

Photography by Nicholas JR White