A former NASA astronaut claims collaboration between the aerospace and energy industries is key to the future development of both workforces.
Rick Hieb is a three time veteran of space flight, logging over 750 hours orbiting the planet and including 17 hours on spacewalks.
And with both the oil and gas industry and the aerospace industry pushing new boundaries into what is possible, he said it is critical that the two sectors share their findings.
He said cross industry experience was key to finding new and innovative ways of applying knowledge and technology as practical solutions to problems.
Hieb said: “There’s already huge collaboration. People and technologies often move and back and forth between the two.
“When oil and gas is doing well they will steal aerospace engineers from NASA and then when it takes a dip NASA will get them back to work for them.
“That’s awesome for both actually because they go off to another industry and learn new things.
“They come back and say ‘why aren’t we doing this? Those guys are doing this’ and then that leads to new methods being adopted in both the oil and gas industry as well as the aerospace industry.
“It’s not often a world of the lone genius now.It’s often a case of back and forth and people working together on ideas.
“Collaboration is helping to create the solutions of the future.”
Heib is currently in Aberdeen along with Sue Lederer, a space scientist with NASA’s Orbital Debris Program Office and Hyang Lloyd from the Scottish Space School Foundation USA.
The trio are taking part in a number of public events in a project jointly organised by the Society of Petroleum Engineers, the Energy Institute and the Society of Underwater Technology, in conjunction with Aberdeen Science Centre.
Lederer said NASA already has programmes designed to rotate staff through different industries in order to cross over skill sets.
She added: “Given that NASA recognise the benefit of that and given that industry recognise the benefit of that I want the children to see that there is some cross contamination going on in a really good way.
“There’s a huge amount of technology that was developed by NASA that can be adapted into a completely different world.
“If you take away the technologies developed by NASA and industry and kept them separate then the world would not be what it is today.”