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Transformation, Mars and the African Space Agency – meet Dr Adriana Marais, panellist at the 2021 Standard Bank Top Women Conference

Written by Editor

September 13, 2022

The Standard Bank Top Women virtual conference is set to take place on the 12 and 13 of October. The event will connect more than 100 global industry leaders, futurists, award-winning entrepreneurs, policymakers, industry bodies, and philanthropists in efforts to celebrate women and their contribution in business and their respective sectors. 

One of the panellists in 2021 was Dr Adriana Marais –  Director at the Foundation for Space Development Africa, an organisation aiming to send Africa’s first mission to the Moon. 

Dr Marais’s passion for space exploration saw her named an astronaut candidate with the Mars One Project. She is a member of the Faculty at the Singularity University, where she shares her research in quantum biology, technology required to sustain terrestrial life on Mars, space exploration and how space exploration technology can be applied on Earth.

Topco Media sat down with Dr Marais to talk about amongst others; transformation, Mars, African Space Agency and life in general with Adriana Marais. Watch and Listen to Topco Media CEO, Ralf Fletcher, talking to Dr Marais here.

Key takeaways to listen out for in this podcast:

  • The COVID-19 lockdown gave us the opportunity to rethink where we’re going as a society. We can rethink on a personal level what we’re doing with our time, our jobs and how we’re living.
  • We need to start thinking globally and this means considering every single human mind and body on the planet.
  • In order to progress through this era of change, we need to recognise that it’s not about resilience it’s about being flexible and being able to do more with less.
  • Being able to share knowledge in a way that people understand is a powerful process that can help us in more ways than we may understand.
  • The beauty in talking to the youth about big ideas is that they’re open to almost anything. Encouraging curiosity in children isn’t necessarily about telling them our ideas, but rather about opening their minds to the possibilities of what could be.
  • We are not doing ourselves any favours by running away from challenging situations. We are simply postponing learning that needs to take place.
  • The time is now. We need to explore beyond what we are doing on earth – if we want to sustain our species beyond this era, it’s imperative that we become a multi-planetary species.
  • We need to figure out how to get on – the fundamental nature of life is the network and collaboration between all living species.

 The Standard Bank Top Women awards entries are open

Dr Adriana Marais is a South African theoretical physicist and technologist. She was one of four South Africans chosen in the third round of astronaut candidate selection for Mars One and was awarded the 2015 L’Oreal-UNESCO International Rising Talent Award. Adriana holds an MSc (summa cum laude) in quantum cryptography and a PhD in quantum biology. Her postdoctoral research focused on quantum effects in photosynthesis as well as the origins of prebiotic molecules and life itself. She is currently pursuing a second PhD in economics in team dynamics in extreme environments at the Graduate School of Business at the University of Cape Town.

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