Dr. Durda is a Principal Scientist in the Department of Space Studies of the Southwest Research Institute’s Boulder Colorado office. He has more than twenty years of experience researching the collisional and dynamical evolution of main-belt and near-Earth asteroids, Vulcanoids, Kuiper belt comets, and interplanetary dust. He is an active pilot, with time logged in over a dozen types of aircraft including the F/A-18 Hornet and the F-104 Starfighter, and was a finalist in the 2004 NASA astronaut selection. He serves as a flight astronomer for the SWUIS-A airborne astronomical imaging system flown aboard NASA and military high-performance, high-altitude aircraft and has spent over 110 minutes of time in zero-gravity conducting experiments on NASA’s KC-135 Reduced Gravity Research Aircraft. Durda is one of three SwRI payload specialists who will fly on multiple suborbital spaceflights with commercial suborbital flight providers.
Dan Durda is a Fellow and a former member of the Board of Trustees of the International Association of Astronomical Artists. His space art has appeared in numerous magazines, web news stories, and books, and has been internationally exhibited. He has co-authored a book and published dozens of articles popularizing planetary science and human exploration of space.
Dan is an experienced cave diver and holds multiple scuba and cave diving certifications, including Full Cave and Cave Recovery Specialist. He enjoys hiking in the wilderness of the Rocky Mountains, photography, birding, and paleontology.